When it comes to monitoring and recording, there is no doubt that the most common – and desired – form in the surveillance industry is the Digital Video Recorder. Originally designed to replace low quality, high maintenance analogue recorders, the DVR has revolutionised the system and is now far superior to anything that went before.

Not only has the DVR eliminated the need for constant exchange of video tapes by recording higher quality digital video to a hard drive or drives, it has also brought the ability to record multiple channels of CCTV video simultaneously, while at the same time reducing the amount of equipment by utilising built-in multi-pexers.

Rest assured that there are other ways in which DVR software has greatly improved the security and video surveillance systems designs, functions and effectiveness. For example, by integrating digital alarm inputs and outputs to a DVR, security systems of all types can monitor and control devices such as sensors and motion detectors to electronic gates and magnetic door locks, and there is the capability to record video surveillance according to certain settings such as motion detection, alarm detection, scheduled recording and so on.

DVR’s can also be connected to a network or the internet, giving them the ability to construct a large-scale system which can then be administrated via DVR software to create one large virtual DVR. This brings the added benefit of allowing a single DVR or multiple DVRs to be monitored and reviewed from local and remote locations.

So, having hopefully been convinced on the overall quality of DVRs, the next step is to decide which of the four types of DVR is most suitable for your situation, and there are several important aspects that should be considered.

You should take note of the amount of the frames per second capability of the DVR, both in terms of display and recording; the compression method and hard drive space in order to estimate the amount of time the DCR can record; the amount of alarm and audio inputs; Network connection type; and the DVR remote viewing capability.

Having taken all this into account the main types of DVRs from which to choose are as follows:
Standalone DVRs and embedded DVRs have a single circuit board with software burned into the chip. A DVR of this type is almost always a Linux-based system, which makes it more reliable and stable than most windows-based systems.

PC DVRs or PC Based DVRs are essentially modified PCs with a DVR capture card. A PC DVR is usually windows-based, offers more features than a standalone DVR, and can be more user friendly, having on-screen menus and mouse controls, for example.

Mobile DVRs are designed for the purpose of use with cars, boats, planes and other vehicles. These will, more often than not, include such special features as anti vibration, and they will also have power requirements of 12VDC, which are common in vehicles such as cars. They are also more compact than the standalone type. Other than that the two are very similar.