Compare Stand Alone Digital Video Recorders (DVR) Windows or Linux based and also Capture cards.
What if the difference between common DVR's?
Most recorders are called DVR's being Digital Video Recorders and standalone systems are generally the best as they usually operate on Linux and handle the 24 hour recording and power loss well.
PC Cards are ok: [pro's] they are normally a cheap alternative if you already have a PC and don't mind sharing it with 24 hr recording processes. [Con's] they typically rely on windows and you can have memory allocation, storage and reboot issues.
Stand Alone DVR: [Pro's] they are built for 1 purpose to record, playback, view CCTV cameras. 100% memory and 100% hard drive is for CCTV recording. If Linux based they are very stable and can handle power outages easily.
With PC cards you simply add more cards if the PC and Operating system can handle it.
With standalone they normally come in the option of 4 channels (cameras), 8 channel and 16 channel. Some variations to that but they are the norm. High end systems allow for card expansion, but serious money when you get to those commercial systems.
In Australia many electronic stores like Dick Smiths, Jaycar and some hardware stores Bunnings sell basic home based CCTV packages and there are many, many professional suppliers and installers for basic and intermediate and professional CCTV camera systems.
MONITORS: Try to make sure any system you have allows for a Composite or video out and VGA option so you can watch the cameras using any option of TV, and/or LCD monitor.
NETWORK / Internet: Try to get something with network access, as you never know when it may be handy to watch the cameras from your laptop, or when away from home via a network LAN or WAN over the internet.