A DVR (Digital Video Recorder) works like a VCR, but is much more efficient, because it records video images and stores them in a digital format – no tapes are used like a VCR, but pictures can be stored on computer files or a Compact Disc.
Even mini hidden cameras, such as the Keychain Hidden Camera above, have a built in DVR. So the DVR circuitry doesn’t have to take a lot of space.
The difference between the “mini” DVR security cameras and larger systems, is that with the mini cameras, images are recorded on to an SD card (usually a Micro SD card). Then you insert the card into an Adapter, insert that into your computer’s USB port, and watch the video.
There is a different file recorded every time you start and stop the camera. These files can also be deleted.
Many of the mini or hidden cameras operate for about 2 hours on a single battery charge.
Other DVR hidden cameras, such as an Alarm Clock Hidden Camera, can record for up to 10 hours or more. The alarm clock shown above is a fully functional alarm clock with a hidden camera inside that uses up to a 32 GB SD card. It also has motion activated or continuous recording.
A DVR Camera System includes a DVR that’s like the hard drive of your computer. DVR’s come in stand-alone models or a PC based system, which actually puts the software in your computer.
A stand-alone system will probably only allow you to use 16 DVR Security Cameras, while a PC base system will allow you to monitor and record up to 64 cameras.
You can log into these systems remotely and see your cameras over the internet in real time. Up to 16 cameras can be viewed at any time on a single monitor – it’s better to buy a larger size monitor for this.
You can also see the pictures on your cell phone, if you have the proper 3G or 4G internet access.
You can archive video with these systems for up to a month in many cases.
Many systems include motion-detection recording, and they can also be set up to record at scheduled times, or to record continuously. Specific cameras can be programmed to come on at specific times. Cameras are grouped into zones.
The better DVR Camera Systems have search features for the archived videos that will allow you to simply enter the dates and times for videos you want to play back. The images themselves are also stamped with the time and date.
More professional systems may also provide watermarking of the videos. The watermark is an assurance the video hasn’t been tampered with and is a valuable tool for law enforcement.
Better systems with higher quality cameras, will also allow you to adjust the cameras (even remotely) using PTZ (Pan, Tilt, Zoom) features.
They will also allow viewing of your DVR cameras by several people (many times an unlimited number). This means that whoever you authorize with the login information and passwords can view videos from any location.
Depending on your situation, you could have a security company monitoring cameras at your home or business at specified times. Also, several family members (even in different states) or authorized employees could check cameras from anywhere in the world they have any internet connection, at any time.