Understanding Surveillance DVR Hard Drive Storage in Charlotte, NC

Charlotte, NC did you know that the amount of hard drive storage space on your DVR is very important, because surveillance applications can place heavy requirements on your digital video recorder. We put together a few considerations and pointers to assist you with hard drive storage selection, so you can choose a DVR with the hard drive that has enough storage space that meets the needs of your security application.

Security Grade Hard Drives

When it comes to security DVR hard drives, not every hard drive is engineered equally to deliver the performance needed for security applications. Unlike conventional, standard hard drives, security-grade hard drives are engineered to handle the harsh demands of video surveillance and video security applications. Digital video recorders that feature purpose-built security-grade hard drives are optimized for security applications and engineered for continuous, around-the-clock recording of security video. Some people assume that a standard hard drive is sufficient for security applications, but while a low-end standard hard drive may be cheaper, it does not provide either the capacity for storage of video or the degree of performance that many everyday surveillance applications require.

Advantages of a Purpose-built Surveillance DVR Hard Drive: (Versus a hard drive that is standard grade)

  • Built to withstand the rigorous demands of 24 hours per day, 7 days per week of video surveillance
  • Better reliability
  • Enhanced performance
  • Greater capacity for video storage and archiving of video
  • Consumes less power
  • Runs at a lower temperature
  • Offers video streaming that is smoother with a lesser amount of vibration

Determining Your Storage Needs

To ensure you choose a security digital video recorder with a built-in security grade hard drive that has enough storage space for your security application, you should first determine your needs for recording video. If the demands of your video recording are greater (more cameras, higher resolution, more hours of recorded video, etc.) - the more space on your security hard drive you'll need to store the recorded video.

  • How many cameras needed
  • Frames per second (FPS) per security camera
  • Number of days of recorded and stored video needed
  • Number of hours per day needed to record video
  • Number of days per week needed to record video
  • Resolution for recording video
  • Video compression

How Many Security Cameras are Required?

A larger number of cameras required for your security application require greater hard drive storage capacity. The greater the number of surveillance cameras you need to capture your security video, the greater the amount of storage space you'll need on your DVR's hard drive.

Frames per Second (FPS) Per Security Camera

If you record video at higher FPS per camera versus at a lower or lesser frame rate, you'll get smoother video but your storage requirements will be greater. Recording at a frame rate that is lower per camera will save hard drive storage space, but the video quality will be of lower quality than video recorded at a higher frame rate.

Video Recording Resolution

Resolution as it relates to an image can be explained as the number or amount of dots needed to create the image. Higher dots or pixels per inch (DPI) utilized to display a full picture or image. The higher the video resolution, the greater the amount of dots required to create the picture or image. Video recorded at a higher resolution needs a larger file size and a greater amount of hard drive storage space. Recording at a lower resolution will reduce the video file size, but will sacrifice the quality of recorded video.

Video security cameras and DVRs that are capable of recording at 960H resolution produce an image that is 960 x 480, or 960 horizontal pixels and 480 vertical pixels large. 960H recording resolution delivers high quality, high-resolution video for live-viewing and recording.  The 960H image sensor can increase a DVR's recording resolution by approximately 30% compared with standard D1 DVRs that record at 720 x 480 pixels, to produce sharper, more detailed recorded video. 960H requires more DVR hard drive storage space than both D1 resolution and CIF resolution that records at a lower image resolution than D1 at 360 x 240 pixels.

How Often Do You Need To Record Video?

Determining up front how often you think you'll need your DVR to record video is another important consideration when calculating your hard drive storage needs. Will you need to record continuous video? Do you need to record every day of the week? Recording video for a greater number of days per week and hours per day will affect storage needs - it would require more hard drive space on your security DVR in order to provide the needed storage capacity to store the recorded video.

Consider Video Compression

When calculating the amount of video hard drive storage space you'll need on your DVR, video compression rates are also important to consider. Video compression is needed to capture, transfer store and view video footage within a manageable file size. Think about this, if the video wasn't compressed, downloading video and the time it takes to watch the video would take too long. You'd need an enormously large amount of storage space to store the video because the video file size would be so large.

The compression rate of your DVR will affect storage space. For example, a security digital video recorder that utilizes and H.264 codec or video compression will need a lesser amount of storage space than MPEG-4 codec or video compression.

What about Recording Modes?

Recording modes also affect the amount of storage needed on a security DVR'[s hard drive. For instance, recording video continuously will take up more hard drive storage space than motion detection video recording. Here's a quick look at various recording modes:

  • Continuous Recording - Records video around-the-clock, 24-hours each day, 7 days per week
  • Motion Detection - Starts recording video only when the camera detects motion
  • Alarm Recording - Begins recording video only when triggered by an external alarm
  • Scheduled Recording - Records on a set schedule or time frames, selected by a user (e.g. record 8AM - 5:30PM Tuesday - Saturday)

Always Select More Hard Drive Storage than You Think You Might Need

When it comes to DVR hard drive storage space, more is better. Choosing a DVR with a greater amount of space on the hard drive than you think you may require is a smart choice; versus having to upgrade or purchase an external hard drive because you chose a DVR that did not provide enough storage space for recording and archiving your recorded video.

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