Installing a cheap (or expensive) video surveillance system in your home isn’t as complicated or difficult as people tend to believe; it is, however, extremely time consuming. Pulling wires throughout your home (I do NOT recommend wireless systems due to reliability issues) is a pain in the rear-end, and that’s why homeowners tend to hire out to do it.
The following is an overview of the process. Variables include (but are not limited to):
What material your house is made out of (Block, wood, metal, etc.)
If you have attic space, and if so how much
How far away from the DVR your cameras have to be in order to cover the whole house
How you want (are are willing) to hide the wires
Step 1: Purchase Items
Purchase your home surveillance system. I have provided the following links to the system I have personally bought and installed on three separate occasions, and I have included three separate lists: Items that are absolutely critical, items that you may need, and items that are nice to have but not necessary.
Absolutely Critical Item(s)
The DVR itself and the associated cameras are the central components of any home surveillance system. The one I have listed here is an inexpensive Chinese knockoff brand, and is the same one I have installed in my home. I’d like to have a higher end system, but I can’t afford it and to be frank I really just don’t need it.
What do you get with a knockoff brand versus a name brand? Ease of use, image resolution, and video review quality. All of these aspects are reduced when purchasing a knockoff brand, but the good news is that this article may still apply to you even if you have the bankroll necessary to buy a nice expensive name-brand system.
At $130 for the DVR and 8 cameras, this is a fair deal.
At this price point, the ZOSI DVR does not come with a hard drive to record video. All this will do is show you what the cameras see, but it will not save what the cameras see. (see “May Need” section next)
May Need Item(s)
Recording the video for playback will require a hard drive ($50) to store the data. The hard drive is technically optional, but pretty important in case you have to playback video for the police or something similar.
Displaying the video on a screen will (obviously) require a monitor, but you can also use an old PC monitor you may have lying around, as long as it has a VGA port.
Depending on how far away the cameras are from the DVR, you may need to purchase BNC extensions. The DVR comes with 100 foot BNC cables, but in my experience there’s always at least one camera that’s too far away and will require a longer cable. You will also need one BNC coupler per extension.
If, and only if, you are using BNC cable extensions, you will also need to purchase BNC couplers, one for each extension.
If you will be securing the camera cable into wood, you will need nail clips.
A TV wall mount will secure the monitor to the wall, and keep it out of the way.
Zip ties will help you keep your cables tidy.
A cable wall plate will keep your installation looking professional.
Warning: You will be drilling a hole all the way through the wall. You MUST take care not to drill through power or data cables. Injury may occur if you don’t pay attention!