How to Connect CCTV Camera to Laptop without DVR

When you are putting the best outdoor security camera system in your house, office, or any other place to keep an eye on what is happening, it is essential that you monitor them.

CCTV cameras require a DVR device to connect the system. It prohibits you from keeping your eyes on whatever is happening at the present moment because of the time-lapse between recording and watching the footage.

If you do not want to miss anything while using a CCTV camera with a DVR, how about using a laptop? How does it work? How to connect CCTV camera to laptop without DVR? All possible questions can confuse you, so here we provide a complete guide about using it.

Can we connect a CCTV camera to a laptop without a DVR and view a video on it?

Yes, you can. But the process is a bit complex and not for everyone who has little knowledge about computers.

So, before going ahead with this article, please make sure that you have some basic knowledge of computers.

Before going further, let me tell you what I mean by DVR. In simple words, a DVR is a device that records videos from cameras or camcorders, or any other external source and stores them in its memory.

So that you can use it later either directly through television using an AV cable or through a system unit using software installed in it.

If you intend to view video through your laptop, you do not need a DVR, and all you need is a good webcam that supports night mode/video mode to capture explicit videos even in darkness.

How to Connect CCTV Camera to Laptop without DVR
ANNKE 5MP Lite H.265+ Surveillance DVR Recorder
[Image Credit: Amazon]

If you are using wireless IP cameras to capture videos from a distance or want to record them for future purposes, you will require a DVR afterward port forwarding IP camera.

But if your intention is only to record video to watch later on a computer screen, then there are many ways of doing this.

Some will do it by capturing the real-time feed from the camera into software like Fraps.

It captures the activity that happens on your computer screen as an uncompressed AVI file with lossless video compression resulting in significantly less space occupied by the recorded file and maintaining much better quality than other compression technologies.

Even though the lossless compression reduces file size, it does not reduce the quality of recorded video at all, and you will still be able to see every pixel if played on a bigger screen than your laptop’s.

You can also use a VLC media player to record live video from any camera attached to a computer using a USB or Firewire connection, including built-in iSight/FaceTime cameras on Macs.

Windows users can download similar software called CamStudio.

How to connect CCTV camera to laptop without DVR

The most important thing about surveillance is that it should be undetectable. So, you can’t allow the target person to realize that they are always on camera.

This article tells you CCTV Camera types and specifications and how you will achieve your objective without investing too much money in equipment. The answer lies in the computer’s Webcam.

A high-quality webcam equipped with LED lights can serve as an excellent replacement for an expensive surveillance kit.

How to Connect CCTV Camera to Laptop without DVR
Image Credit: iStockPhoto

Simple steps to connect the camera with your laptop

Here are some simple steps to connect the camera with your laptop/desktop:

  • First of all, remove the cover of your laptop and locate where the built-in Webcam is situated. Most probably, at the top of your screen.
  • If the Webcam is without LED lights, you must buy some external lights and attach them to the Webcam. Ensure that these LEDs have a power supply. If your camera is with LED light, there is no need to buy extra ones.
  • Now get an adapter with a USB connection port at one end and RCA or S-video at the other end. Plug it into your laptop’s USB slot and connect the RCA/S-video connector to your cam’s inbuilt connector.
  • Please turn on the lights provided with the Webcam and adjust their angle according to your convenience. You can remove any internal light from your laptop if it is getting too bright.
  • Now make sure that you do not cover the lights with any objects because this might lead to shadows on the captured images/videos. Also, keep in mind that the Webcam only works when it connects through a USB port. So, never disconnect or turn off your laptop while using your camera, as this might also create some darkness on the images you had already recorded earlier.
  • Now test your setup by keeping a file containing some scene before the Webcam and checking whether it records appropriately or not. If yes, then start surveillance! You can either record things manually on your computers or use some specific software that does the job for you.

CCTV cameras with DVR

One of the most beautiful parts about owning your own home is that you can customize it to your liking.

If you have a security system, this might include adding more cameras in different areas around your house or finding a nearby CCTV IP address.

It might be quite an investment when it comes to money and time, however.

It isn’t just a matter of running wires throughout your house or strategically placing surveillance equipment in certain rooms.

Many people today have chosen to use wireless CCTV cameras with DVRs.

These types of devices allow you to place cameras virtually anywhere, so long as they are within range of a wireless connection point.

However, there are some instances in which wired cameras might be preferable for their users.

How CCTV DVRs Work:

Closed-circuit television (CCTV), also known as video surveillance, uses video cameras to transmit a signal to a specific place on a limited set of monitors.

It differs from broadcast television in that the signal is not openly transmitted. In most cases, it uses multiple video cameras and receivers at the same time.

Since WWII, it has been around but was made famous by security videos such as those that captured footage of OJ Simpson driving down the highway only minutes after murdering his wife and Ron Goldman.

There are two types of CCTV systems available today – analog and IP-based.

Analog CCTV systems are still valuable to monitor physical locations, but IP-based systems allow users to do much more.

The analog system uses a coaxial cable to send video communications between devices, while an IP CCTV system communicates using network infrastructure equipment such as routers and switches.

Advantages of CCTV camera connect with the laptop.

The CCTV camera connects with the laptop, and there is no need for any converter.

The picture quality also remains high as the data gets transferred through a USB cable. The following are advantages of using a CCTV camera with the laptop:

  • 1. The installation process becomes straightforward if you connect your system using a USB cable. There will be no use of  VGA cables, power supply, etc.  Also, you can easily view things on your laptop screen instead of getting them printed on paper like the traditional method.
  • 2. You can even do live streaming over the internet and transfer video files quickly to other devices through memory cards or hard disks.
  • 3. If you want to keep an eye on your working space remotely, then you can install a CCTV camera with your laptop.
  • 4. The best part of using CCTV cameras with laptops is that you can share the instant video feed to anyone in the world through the internet without transferring any kind of data via CDs or memory cards.
  • 5. You can even set motion detection alerts and record motion-captured videos after configuring them properly.

It will help you prevent unwanted persons from entering your office premises without proper permission.

Josephine is a technology enthusiast and loves to explore new technologies. She has been programming since she was 12 years old and enjoys learning about the newest trends in tech. Josephine is currently studying Computer Science at Stanford University, where she has become involved with organizations such as Women in Computer Science (WCS) and Code X: The Stanford Center for Professional Development.

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