How to Install a Digital CCTV System

In the 1970s though the beginning of the 2000s, CCTV surveillance systems depended upon experienced technicians installing expensive, specially built video cassette recorders and running lengths of wire from cameras to the recorders. Technology designed for the computer was soon put to use for video surveillance in the early 2000s, and it is now easy for almost anyone to install an affordable, complete digital CCTV system that comes in a box, ready to go. Two people, one setting the camera up and the other monitoring the video, display make the task go more quickly.

Laws vary from state to state as to what is required in video surveillance notifications.
  1. Decide whether you want to monitor the system via in the Internet. If so, ask your Internet provider for a static IP address. Your wireless-capable computer or a standalone digital video recorder (DVR) gives you recording capability if desired.

  2. Survey your area and determine how many cameras you'll need. Systems with 1 to 4 cameras are available at many electronic and home stores. Many one- or two-camera systems can expand to accept more cameras. Wireless cameras need an electrical outlet to work. If the outlet is easily accessible it may allow someone to unplug the camera and avoid being seen.

  3. Install the software on your computer if it is being used or turn on the DVR and allow it to boot up. Click on the setup menu and follow the instructions for that particular software. You'll need your static IP address and a user name and password to protect your security.

  4. Attach the first camera to a stable surface and plug it into a wall socket or extension cord. Point it in the coverage direction and turn it on. Have an assistant near the video display help you adjust the camera so that maximum coverage is available. Label the camera in the software with an easy-to-remember name such as "Swimming Pool" or "Garage Door."

  5. Continue to install the other cameras in the same fashion.

  6. Test the system after the installation is complete by bringing up a browser in an Internet-capable computer. Type the static IP address into the browser address bar. A login page should appear where you enter your user name and password. Once that is done you should be able to see the software, which allows you to choose which camera view to see and even to check what has been recorded.

About the Author

Jack Burton started writing professionally in 1980 with articles in "Word from Jerusalem," "ICEJ Daily News" and Tagalong Garden News. He has managed radio stations, TV studios and newspapers, and was the chief fundraiser for Taltree Arboretum. Burton holds a B.S. in broadcasting from John Brown University. He is a 26-year veteran of the U.S. Navy/Navy Reserves and the Navy Seabees.