Here is a very controversial topic out in the CCTV world. Many people want the luxury of having a security camera for when events arise to capture the events. Realistically, events arise at times that are just unpredictable. There is no way one person can time what is going to happen and try and be there to record it. The technology to do something like that is just now being developed. As consumers demand this randomness more, then eventually there will be a solution for that. We have customers call us asking for technical support to hook their security cameras up to their PCs. Most either have a quad processor or they just run RCA plug and play cable to their VCRs. Those are not bad options, but long-term recording is not an option. You could look at a time-lasp dvr but again you have to play through hours of video to find what you are looking for. So you are left with looking at your PC. It is not a terrible solution, you will need a RCA to BNC connector, dvr card, and a RCA plug and play cable. You can pop a card into your PC's expansion slot and run the software and start recording right away. However, most people have little or no money and that solution is still a $79 - $110 solution. Most dvr cards cost $50.00. MPEG4 dvr cards cost $99 and those are the ones we are seeing on the market. Sometimes you can find them for $79, but that is if it is on sale. So if you cannot afford the card, you are looking at a free dvr software compressed solution. Word to the wise, this is not a long-term solution. Software compressed programs are cheap and sometimes you can find one for free, however, they are going to stress your PC. Over periods of a day or two, you will see the major side affects of doing that. You are really better off trying to get a cheap dvr card, but if you cannot do that and you are desperate, then do a Google search and find a free security dvr software solution.

It is up to you whether you should do it. Our perspective is whatever gives you peace-of-mind. In the end, we want you to be informed and know that you need to plan for more room to grow your CCTV system in the future. But on the contrary we do not recommend plugging a security camera up to your computer to record data. First, you will crash your system. Security cameras shoot at real-time recording. That is 30 frames per second. That is extreme! Typically if you just have one camera, you will be fine, but anymore than two and you are going to run out of hard-drive space fast. This would be okay on a dvr, but on a personal computer no! You will crash your hard-drive and loose all your data. Typically at 6gig per camera per day, you will only have a few days before the hard-drive is ruined. Most people do not realize that video data are large files. If you do not have a hardware compression card or system to run on, then you are looking at trouble. Secondly, we do not recommend it, because you will indeed ruin your processor. Since most of you will go with a software compressed solution primarily because it is free, know that you will kill your computer running that software for long periods of time. Running that software for more than 24 hours will cause harm to the computer system.

All in all, you can see why this topic would be tough to talk about. There are advantages to hooking your cameras up to a PC, but there are side affects too. We tell people all the time that it is easier when you know what you are trying to do. It solves every mystery, espcially when you are just unsure of what to do. We recommend sticking with a VCR setup instead of crashing your personal computer. Replacing a hard-drive or even a CPU is more than what it would cost to just buy a DVR. Again, if it is a temporary solution, then plugging up your camera to your PC and using a software compressed program is okay. If you have any questions about this or need to talk to someone, our tech support line is open at no charge.