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Security Camera Recommendations, and is C4 Integration Needed?


burowyako

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I'm trying to help a family member with their current security camera situation.  I don't have any experience with security cameras, and I've been wanting to add some to my own home, so maybe now is a good time to dive in.

In short, my family member currently has a Control4 HC-800 as their controller, and they have a third party security camera system that isn't integrated with Control4.  Though the security cameras were only installed just a few years ago, the installer decided to pull coax instead of Category cable for some reason.  My family member isn't happy with the video quality and is looking to upgrade.

I imagine that only having coax cable available is going to limit our camera options.  I'm not opposed to running new cable if needed, but it's definitely going to be a challenge.  With that said, I have a few questions:

  1. Are there any wireless cameras that are worth looking at for outdoor use?
  2. Can the coax connections be used for anything, including just power?
  3. Do good-quality cameras require dedicated Category cable runs for each camera, or can they connect to a switch?  The reason I ask is there is a Cat 5e cable near where some of the new cameras would be installed.  It currently serves a wireless AP but if a switch can serve some of the cameras, I can make that work.

Along with any kind of new cameras, I know that an NVR will be needed, and I don't have a clue what's needed.  In the end, this setup will only have four to five cameras in total.  They'd like to not have to pay for any kind of monitoring service if possible, but they'd like to go back and view footage as needed.

Lastly, should I worry about integrating the cameras with Control4?  As I mentioned, this person is currently using an HC-800, but they'll make the jump to a newer controller if needed.  What are the pros and cons of having the cameras integrated with Control4?  Viewing the live feeds within the Control4 app is a plus rather than using a third party app, but again, I don't have any experience with security cameras and don't know what they do/don't need.

I know that I'm all over the place, but I promise that I'm a good student. :)  Any help from those of you that have been there and done that is appreciated!

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1 hour ago, burowyako said:

I'm trying to help a family member with their current security camera situation.  I don't have any experience with security cameras, and I've been wanting to add some to my own home, so maybe now is a good time to dive in.

In short, my family member currently has a Control4 HC-800 as their controller, and they have a third party security camera system that isn't integrated with Control4.  Though the security cameras were only installed just a few years ago, the installer decided to pull coax instead of Category cable for some reason.  My family member isn't happy with the video quality and is looking to upgrade.

I imagine that only having coax cable available is going to limit our camera options.  I'm not opposed to running new cable if needed, but it's definitely going to be a challenge.  With that said, I have a few questions:

  1. Are there any wireless cameras that are worth looking at for outdoor use?
  2. Can the coax connections be used for anything, including just power?
  3. Do good-quality cameras require dedicated Category cable runs for each camera, or can they connect to a switch?  The reason I ask is there is a Cat 5e cable near where some of the new cameras would be installed.  It currently serves a wireless AP but if a switch can serve some of the cameras, I can make that work.

Along with any kind of new cameras, I know that an NVR will be needed, and I don't have a clue what's needed.  In the end, this setup will only have four to five cameras in total.  They'd like to not have to pay for any kind of monitoring service if possible, but they'd like to go back and view footage as needed.

Lastly, should I worry about integrating the cameras with Control4?  As I mentioned, this person is currently using an HC-800, but they'll make the jump to a newer controller if needed.  What are the pros and cons of having the cameras integrated with Control4?  Viewing the live feeds within the Control4 app is a plus rather than using a third party app, but again, I don't have any experience with security cameras and don't know what they do/don't need.

I know that I'm all over the place, but I promise that I'm a good student. :)  Any help from those of you that have been there and done that is appreciated!

Ill take a stab on a few points:

1) I run about 12 cameras and I am using an HC-800 - so no issue using that controller and cameras in C4.

2) NVR.- I use Blue Iris, 1 time fee for the license and you need a PC running 24x7.  Given a system of 5 cameras you can get a used Dell Optiplex for about $300 that would be powerful enough.  So for $50 for the software and $300 for a PC you could be up and running (may need to add a larger HD depending on how much storage you want to keep on the NVR and at what frame rate/quality) - google NVR Calculator and you’ll figure out how much storage you’ll need then add 20-50% more just because....

3) You could use a switch for some cameras if those home run to the main switch.  Is it ideal - no.  Would it work, probably.  If its a small PoE Switch 1 cable would be able to service you per camera

4) You say you do not like the quality of the video via the Analog/Coax cameras.  There may be better coax cameras available - what model(s) do you have currently and what dont you like?  Low light performance?  Overall quality?  Bad FOB? Did the dealer lower the resolution or frame rates and maybe you can increase it?

5) There are devices that can make an analog camera into an IP based camera, but its not going to make the camera better.  Just easier to get the cameras into your network, more recent NVRs, etc.  Those can be $100+ per camera, so maybe you do want to run some new cable.

I am sure others with more experience will chime in.   But lastly, when you want info on cameras - IPCamTalk is a great forum that deals just with security cameras and you’ll get tons of expert advice.  

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3 hours ago, burowyako said:

My family member isn't happy with the video quality and is looking to upgrade.

As per above, there's HD cameras over coax available. https://www.snapav.com/shop/en/snapav/luma-surveillance-501-series-dvr---16-channel-lum-501-dvr-8ch

These have full C4 drivers to view cams on a system and can handle HD-TVI cameras (Doesn't have to be the same brand at all) to 1080p

I'm thinking that may just be the easiest way to go about it.

Alternatively, you can get HD analogue to IP converters as well and use many other available options (including blue iris)

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You don’t need to re-wire the camera locations.  You either use analog TVI cameras or get converters that use the coax to supply power and network to each location.  Going the converter route, you will need to stash a “receiver” of sorts somewhere.

As for recording, there are many options. Dedicated NVRs, software based solutions like Blue Iris and Synology NAS, etc.

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