FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about HDCCTV

Do you install or just supply equipment for self installation?

Both. We have a UK wide team of professional CCTV installers available, simply choose installation when purchasing the system and we will do the rest.Our Installation page has full details of our installations CLICK HERE Many customers will DIY install the system themselves, running the cables tidily is the hardest part, once it is all connected up you can simply follow along with our technical support videos to help you understand the system and to get the most out of its many features and functions

What is the difference between your Standard and Standard PLUS Installation packages?

The Standard PLUS Installation package includes up to 2 metres of conduit per camera to protect and secure all external cabling With the Standard package all cabling is secured to external surfaces with cable clips. Full details of our installation packages are given on our Installation page - CLICK HERE

Do you carry out Domestic and Commercial Installations?

BothWe are able to offer installation on all properties, houses, bungalows, schools, blocks of flats, factories, multi-building sites, uk wide sites For larger installations we recommend using our Site Survey option where our installers visit you to discuss various options of camera placement, cabling, recorder location etc. The site survey is a paid option but we refund if the work is carried out.

What brands do HDCCTV sell?

We sell Xvision and IQCCTV Equipment, we chose it over other brands because it is great quality and reliable with superb features and most importantly the equipment is designed in the UK and technically supported in the UK, and finally it not owned by the Chinese government as is some of our competitors equipment.

Megapixel Resolutions Explained

High Definition CCTV cameras are available in different resolutions to suit different requirements, the resolution is measured in "Megapixels" or millions of pixels that the image sensor can capture. The Megapixel number is calculated by multiplying the horizontal resolution by the vertical resolution. 2 Megapixel camera has a resolution of 1920 x 1080, this gives the total of 2,073,600 pixels, this number is rounded up or down to the nearest million.

4 Megapixel cameras resolution is 2592 x 1520 = 3,939,840, slightly under 4 million pixels.

5 Megapixel camera resolution is 2560 x 1960 = 5,017,600*

 8 Megapixel camera resolution is 3840 x 2160 = 8,294,400. 8 megapixel is commonly known as "4K", it is called 4K because the horizontal resolution is almost 4000 pixels wide.

*Notice how the horizontal resolution of 5 Megapixel is less than 4 Megapixel, this is because 5 Megapixel is a more square image than 4 Megapixel, 5MP is similar to older televisions it is a 4:3 ratio, modern TV's are 16:9 ratio. Having 4:3 ratio cameras gives you extra height in the image, this is perfect for cameras looking down from high up on a property as they see more area than a 16:9 camera.

CCTV Megapixel Resolutions Graphic

The video below shows real-world differences between 2,5 and 8 megapixel cameras

How many cameras do i need

We can supply a complete cctv kit with only one camera up to 32 cameras to suit your needs.


Many domestic customers will take a 4 camera recorder and 2 to 4 cameras to cover the main front and rear areas, larger properties will sometimes take an 8 channel recorder and up to 8 cameras, this way they can cover more areas and outbuildings etc.

In an ideal world you would have a camera system set up so that all possible angles are covered, if someone should wander onto your property for whatever reason there should be at least one camera recording what they do and where they go, think about how an intruder would be able to get onto your property, could they climb a fence or come through a hedge or rear gate?

It is often not always possible to cover every eventuality within budget so you should at least cover the important areas, front/rear doors, any large windows or patio doors, garden gate, driveway etc.

How Much Recording Storage do i need?

High definition cameras can use a lot of hard drive space up very quickly, a camera may use up to 40 gb per 24 hours of constant recording. When you have several cameras recoding constantly the daily storage requirement can be quite high. For example 4 cameras recording constantly will use 160gb per day, this gives a weekly requirement of over 1TB. So a 4 camera recorder constantly recording all 4 cameras will store recordings for 7 days before the oldest file gets overwritten. This is fine if you are usually at home and not on holiday for more than 7 days but more drives are required if you do. To get more recording time out of the hard drive you can set the recording mode to motion detection, this means it will only record when the camera detects movement, so it is not recording hours of nothing. The recorder lets you set the recording mode individually for each camera so you can have some set to constant and others to motion, many customers will set their most important cameras to constant record and the secondary cameras to record motion only. Our recorders also have a Record Schedule function that allows you to set the record mode differently at different times of the day, or different days of the week, the Record Scheduler allows you to set the mode differently for each hour of the entire week for each camera individually

Do your systems have Cloud Storage

Our CCTV Systems can send snapshot still images to a Dropbox account, these images can be sent whenever motion is detected, or you can set it up to send an image at a timed interval. At present sending high definition video images of 25 frames per second from multiple HD cameras to a remote network server is not viable for 99% of UK customers, there simple is not the network bandwidth available to most people.

Can i backup and export recordings if the police need evidence

Yes you can export video clips and snapshots to a USB memory stick or hard drive and you can export recordings and snapshots over the network using the software XIQ CMS although the latter method is considerably slower than a directly connected USB storage device

Can i Remotely access the cameras with my smartphone?

Yes, all of our cctv systems allow remote access, simply connect the recorder to your broadband internet, or use a 3G dongle if there is no internet at the location.You can then access the cameras live, and playback recordings using a smartphone or tablet device.Android and IOS devices are supportedAlso you can use a Windows or Apple Mac computer to access the cameras using the software XIQ CMS, playback recordings and have full remote control of the recorder Many customers install the recorder in the attic and remotely access it using their devices in the house and their phone when they are away from home HERE is a link to the mobile ANDROID APP  HERE is a link to the mobile IOS APP HERE is a link to the manufacturers Windows/Mac software download page This video shows the mobile app XIQ Mobile CMS This video shows the computer software XIQ CMS

What is your mobile app called?

XIQ Mobile CMS It is available to download for free from the Apple App Store and the Android Play Store

Will i get Email Notifications

Yes, the CCTV recorders will send out email notifications to let you know of motion activity being detected with a snapshot of the camera that detected the motion. The mobile app XIQ Mobile CMS can also give you push notifications to the home screen of your smartphone or tablet that takes you direct to the system when opened.

Where can i download software, firmware and manuals from?

I'm upgrading from an older CCTV System, what is the best choice?

If your existing CCTV system uses coaxial cables you can leave the cables in place and simply replace cameras and recorder for a brand new 2 or 5 Megapixel AHD CCTV system.Choose AHD cameras and Hybrid Video Recorders from the Products menu for coaxial cable compatible camerasThe Hybrid AHD Video Recorders are also backwards compatible with older cctv cameras, meaning you could keep your existing cameras as well as new AHD cameras, but please be aware you will not get a HD image from a non HD cameraOur Hybrid DVRs are also compatible with IP cameras that are connected to your network, you can use any of our IP cameras or any IP camera that is ONVIF compatible.

Can I watch the cameras on my TV or computer monitor?

Yes. There are several ways to get the recorder and cameras showing onto your television screens or a spare computer monitor. If the recorder is located close to the TV you can use a standard HDMI cable or a VGA computer cable to connect TV/monitor to the recorder If the recorder is not located close to the TV you could use extra long cables and a remote mouse for recorder control. Alternatively if you have a Smart TV that uses the Android operating system you can download the app to the TV, or use a cheap Android box with the app

What about wireless?

Wherever possible it is always better to run a cable because they are secure and reliable, but sometimes it is just not possible. If running a wire is not possible you have a couple of wire-free options available using IP CCTV cameras and recorders. The next best thing to a wire is to use a Powerline system. Powerline comprises of a pair of plugs, one plug plugs into the wall close to your broadband router and the other would plug in near to the CCTV camera and a short ethernet cable connects between Powerline plug and camera and the other plug and router. The picture from the camera is then sent to the other plug via your house electricity cabling, the network video recorder would then see the camera and begin displaying and recording it just as if it was directly connected to it. Note: Powerline only works on single phase electrical systems If Powerline is not possible the next option is to use Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi is the least recommended type of system to use for mission critical cctv security cameras, being a radio system it is open to interference from other radio devices may reduce signal quality, as will walls, people, vehicles etc. A secure point to point wi-fi network is the best option if cables or Powerline is not possible.

Can i buy a camera that records stand alone

Some of our IP cameras have a built in slot to take a micro SD card for stand alone recording The limitation of using a camera stand alone with an sd card is the length of time you are able to record for, HD camera images use a lot of data up quickly, a 32 gb card will last for 24 hours only, you would need to set it to motion detection only to get more storage timeContact us to discuss the best camera model for your needs

My neighbours might think i'm spying on them

You are legally allowed to install cameras to look at your property even if the view includes another property. It only becomes illegal if you deliberately point cameras at their property If this is an issue for your neighbours you are able to blank out several areas of the view to prevent viewing and recording their property using the Privacy function of our recorders

Do i have to display a sign on my property if CCTV is installed?

Domestic Properties do NOT have a legal requirement to display warning signs however many customers do as a visual deterrent Commercial Properties DO need to display warning signs along with details of who manages the CCTV system and their telephone number

Can i legally record audio with CCTV Cameras?

The Information Comissioner has released a document to offer guidance to CCTV installers and operators regarding all aspects of CCTV installations. The UK law is quite strict on audio recordings and privacy invasion and what is and is not court admissible. The document can be viewed by CLICKING HERE, page 35 of the document deals with audio recording and the law.

What is the maximum camera cable run i can use?

There are two things to consider here, signal and power. Signal: Coax based CCTV AHD can be used up to 500 metres away HOWEVER that is maximum in ideal conditions, cable joints, cable damage and electrical interference can all reduce the maximum workable cable length. IP Based CCTV uses Ethernet CAT5 or CAT6 cabling, the maximum single cable run is 130 metres. IP signals can be re-boosted by putting a network switch every 100 metres or soPower: If you are able to power the camera locally, ie where it is located, then you will attain maximum cable runs, however you will struggle to power a camera at the far end of a 130 metre cable.The voltage loss over such a long cable run would make the camera stop working, this would occur at night when the cameras IR LEDS are on, therefore drawing the most power.The maximum runs for both AHD and IP when power is being sent down the cable is approximately 80 metres.

How long are the cables in your CCTV kits?

AHD CCTV kits come with 18 metre cables, you may upgrade them to 40 metre cables or if you need longer cables you can upgrade to a professional wiring kit which comprises of a roll of cable and enough plugs, connectors and power supplies to complete the installation. IP CCTV Kits come with 30 metre long cables as standard, you can downgrade to 10 metre or 3 metres if 30 metres is too long, if longer cables are required we can supply a 315 metre roll of cable and enough plugs to complete the installation. Purchase of a tool would be required for this option if you do not already have an RJ45 crimp tool. You may also use any other correctly wired CAT5 Cable, for installers the cable must be wired to the "B" standard for RJ45 CAT5 cabling. CLICK HERE to see the Wiring Diagram

Do you offer Technical Support?

We offer excellent technical support When you purchase a system from us you are buying not just the equipment but a service. You get lifetime technical support. If you have any issues at all you can contact us and we will help if we can. If the enquiry is beyond our technical capabilities or is regarding software we cannot amend we have the manufacturers UK technical support team behind us to help further. Our extensive videos, information and even this FAQ will help answer the majority of your questions, if not you can call us on 01952 505696, emails [email protected] or use the blue button in the bottom right corner of this website

How do i return a product to you?

First of all please contact us with the reason for return, if it is something we can help with we will If it is decided that an item is to be returned please visit our Returns page and complete the Returns Form. CLICK HERE FOR THE RETURNS PAGEOnce we have received the form will then contact you with your returns number and how to proceed from there. We deal with returns very quickly here, quite often same day

Do I really need a HD CCTV security camera system?

That depends if you want to OBSERVE or IDENTIFY

OBSERVE - Any working camera system will let you observe people, objects, vehicles etc, but you wont necessarily get a clear image, perhaps if the person or object is close to the camera then it wouldn’t be a problem to identify them, but if they’re more than a few feet from the camera it can be a problem due to low quality pictures, and this can be a huge issue if you need to positively identify someone, after a burglary for example.  

IDENTIFY - How many times have you seen a fuzzy blurry photo on Crimewatch or in your local paper? poor quality cameras are almost as useless as having no camera at all.   the ONE THING that should be uppermost in your mind why are you buying a video system is IMAGE QUALITY. the one thing that will prove a crime easily, the one thing that removes any doubt of what happened, a fuzzy picture will give you a clue what happened but the proof is in the detail

Here are examples of standard resolution and high definition cameras, this is how they look when showing full screen on a modern TV

CLICK ON THE IMAGES BELOW TO SEE THEM FULL SIZE.

CLICK AGAIN TO SEE THE IMAGES ZOOMED IN - PAY PARTICULAR ATTENTION TO THE DETAILS, NUMBER PLATES AND GENERAL IMAGE SHARPNESS WHEN FULLY ZOOMED IN 

BEST STANDARD DEFINITION BEST STANDARD DEFINITION

960H is the highest standard definition CCTV system, still sold by many companies, 960H is 960 x 576 pixels, it is basically widescreen format D1

1080P HIGH DEFINITION 1080P HIGH DEFINITION

The image above is a full HD one, 1920 x 1080 Pixels. This is the same resolution as broadcast by the BBC HD channels

 4 MEGAPIXEL HIGH DEFINITION4 MEGAPIXEL HIGH DEFINITION

Here is 4 Megapixel. The pixel size is 2592 x 1520

Here is a small section of the picture above shown zoomed in - CLICK TO ENLARGE

960H 960 x 576 Pixels Standard Definition - 960H

1080P 1920 x 1080 Pixels High Definition - 1080P

4 MEGAPIXEL 2592 x 1520 Pixels Ultra High Definition - 4 Megapixel

Which HD CCTV system is best? AHD or HD IP?

Neither are better than the other, they both have their merits and strengths 

 
  AHD  HD- IP
     
RESOLUTION 2 & 5 Megapixel 2-8 Megapixel
DVRS 4- 32 CAMERAS 4-32 CAMERAS
REMOTE VIEWING YES YES
ANALOG COMPATIBLE* YES NO
ONVIF IP COMPATIBLE** YES YES
CABLE LENGTH UP TO 500 M UP TO 130M
SUITABLE CABLE COAX OR CAT5 CAT 5/6
     

 *  AHD Recorders are also compatible with older standard definition and 960H CCTV cameras

** The HD- IP Recorders are compatible with ONVIF compatible cameras. More information on ONVIF can be found HERE

Which camera is best? Dome or Bullet camera?

Neither is better  - they are often the same camera in a different housing, the camera style choice is purely for aesthetic reasons. Some people prefer a camera to be discreet and dome style, others like a bullet style camera.

What is the differece between fixed lens and a varifocal lens camera?

A fixed lens is pre-focused and its viewing angle is fixed, usually 78 or 92 degrees, a varifocal lens allows the installer to set the viewing angle manually using just a screwdriver, the viewing angle can be set between 23 and 92 degrees.

An example of when a fixed lens camera would be used  would be a small camera mounted above a front door to see any callers, a fixed lens wide angle camera will clearly see anyone near or at the door, as well as giving an overview of the front area of the property

doorcam

Why would I change the viewing angle of a camera?

To make distant objects appear closer, to zoom in

Using the image above, see that little black car in the top left corner, whats the registration number?  Try clicking and zooming into the image, the number plate is too small to read even when zoomed in.

 A varifocal lens lets you set the camera viewing angle from wide (92 degrees) to a narrow view (23 degrees) and anwhere inbetween.

Doing this brings distant objects closer and therefore makes them clearer.

varifocal zoomed

Heres that little black car again, the camera lens is zoomed in. you can now read the number plate, but at the cost of the wide angle view

This is why a varifocal lens is best so you can set the best viewing angle for each location, not too wide and not too narrow

To explain the point further - Football on TV…. love it or loathe it everyone has seen football on TV at some point

football wide

In this first image we can see a lot of the pitch and the players on the pitch in this wide angle camera shot, but the players are tiny and its impossible to make out a face of a player

 rooney

But now looking at this shot of this poor fella hobbling off to oblivion, you can see the camera viewing angle is much narrower, the lens is zoomed in to a significantly smaller area of the football pitch and now its easier to make out the faces & details simply because they people in the shot are much larger.  

This applies to all video cameras no matter their cost, including CCTV cameras - the more area the camera can see, the wider the viewing angle the smaller everything will be on screen, the smaller things are on screen the less detail you will see.   A varifocal lens lets you or the installer set the perfect viewing angle for every camera position, increasing the chances of identification.

Can I zoom in with HD Cameras either live and when playing back?

Yes, the DVRs and NVR recorders have digital zoom functions that you can use live and while playing back recordings.

If a clearer, remotely controlled optical zoom is required the best option is to have a camera with motorised zoom lens or a fully motorised PTZ (Pan, Tilt, Zoom) camera, these will do the job very nicely but they are the more expensive option.

What is the night vision like?

We think its pretty impressive. Have a look at a few night snapshots below taken using our cameras,

Click to enlarge the images

night shot  night 2 night 3 night 4 night 5

How do I capture vehicle number plates?

During the daytime it is not a major problem to read number plates, all you need to do is set up a camera to capture the plate, make the number plate as large as possible on screen and it will capture it, if the camera viewing angle is too wide the number plate will be too small and will not be readable.

Night time number plates is a different story…what happens is the Infra Red light that the camera gives out bounces back off the plastic plate and shows on screen as a white glowing rectangle. This is why on motorways where there are cameras there are lights

There are specialised number plate cameras available but these are costly and more importantly they are only useful for capturing number plates, they acheive the number plate capture by dimming down the whole picture by closing the iris so much that the plate becomes readable, but this darkened picture makes them useless as a general purpose security camera. 

 The best solution for capturing number plates at night is a three point method….light it up, slow it down and zoom it in. Light up the car with a security light, this switches the camera to daytime mode, slow the car down with traffic calming methods to reduce image blur as much as possible and zoom it in, make sure the number plate fills a significant portion of the overall screen, doing all three of these will capture number plates, doing any less than the three things will reduce the chances of capturing plate 100% of the time.

What about facial recognition?

HD 1080P or 5 megapixel system is clear enough for facial recognition. 

faces video

The image looks darker on one camera than on another camera at night?

This can be caused by IR bounce-back. IR bounce-back is caused by the IR light from the camera being in the cameras view and is bouncing back into the cameras image sensor and making the camera close down the iris, causing the image to be darker. To prevent this try moving the camera slightly so the white is not in the view, then the iris will open up again and give you a brighter overall image.

Do you supply to the trade?

We are primarily a retail supplier for end-users however we are able to offer discounts for genuine CCTV installers, please contact us via our trade page.

CLICK HERE FOR TRADE SITE