Security cameras have a lot of features and understanding what those features are can help you plan out your security system. When looking at a security system, one of the terms you will hear is channel. This is usually mentioned along with the product name.
A security camera system is typically powered by either a Network Video Recorder (NVR) or a Digital Video Recorder (DVR). The security camera’s cable connects to the back of the device in these systems, and each possible camera plug is a channel. Consider each input to be a television channel into which you are plugging. A 16-channel security system, for example, can connect to 16 different cameras.
Most security camera systems have 4, 8, 16, or 32 channels. Systems with a different number of channels exist, but those are uncommon. While you can have a camera system with more channels than you need, most people opt for a system with only the channel numbers they require. In general, the more channels you add to a recorder, the more expensive it becomes.
How Do I Connect a Security Camera to a Channel?
There are several methods for connecting a camera to a channel on a DVR or NVR. Coax cable is the most common connector for analog cameras. These cables are attached to a post on the back of the recording device. Some camera systems still use proprietary camera connectors, but this is becoming increasingly rare.
Network cameras do not function in the same way. A recording device is not required for all network cameras. Instead, they use the internet to connect to a network for recording and viewing. Ethernet cabling is used to connect network cameras that have a Network Video Recorder to the NVR.
Can I Add More Channels to My Security Camera System?
It is important to note that the number of cameras included with your system does not always correspond to the number of channels. Some DVRs or NVRs have fewer cameras than channels to allow for future expansion.
It’s important to keep in mind that the majority of camera systems cannot be upgraded. Advanced systems that run on commercial networks can be expanded, but these are far more complicated systems that must be installed by a professional.
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Desiree Macy is the Editorial Director of SIA Online Magazine which is frequented by security executives, corporate security officers, and private protection professionals each month. Desiree’s interests revolves around cyber-security, and business continuity.