How to setup a Big Brother surveillance system for your home

by DrDarko

Domestic surveillance, tracking and monitoring can do wonders for your safety and peace of mind. It is easy to setup a Big Brother-like system for your home and family.

When you want to stay aware of what’s happening in and around your home, video surveillance is necessary. Fortunately, the prices of such professional, yet easy to install, systems were never lower.

The other thing that any fan of Big Brother will probably want to keep under control is movement of your vehicles.

GPS Tracking devices are indispensable tools for safety of your cars as well as monitoring the movement of unruly teenager or spouse.

Today, with long working hours and too long commute times, you are never able to spend enough time at home. Security of your home is important and, while good alarm system and quality safes can help, you do not know what is going on while you are away.

Setting up a Big Brother system for your home is actually very easy and relatively cheap. One quality system, with few night vision cameras and digital video recording system, will set you up on the right track. Adding a GPS tracker, with or without monthly subscription to a tracking service, to your cars can be done in a few minutes (or even seconds).

In a single day, using just few tools, you can have everything setup and monitor your new system from the comfort of your Big Brother lair.

Video surveillance system

4CH Security Surveillance DVR system with four CCD Bullet Cameras is a great complete video surveillance system.

Digital Video Recorder with 500 GB hard disk with H.264, 4 channels, real-time video and audio recording is a heart of this system. In case you need more storage, it is extremely easy to backup your DVR to your PC or external USB disk. You can also record live audio/video to external networked PC’s or storage devices.

For viewing live or reviewing recorded audio/video, you can attach any computer monitor or TV with VGA input connector.

Four Night Vision Sony cameras with Sony Super HAD CCD Sensor are top of the line. These cameras have excellent resolution, clear picture and Night Vision that actually works. Videos recorded in full darkness are just amazing.


Four 65 feet video cables are usually enough for most installations. If, however, you need to place your DVR more than 65 ft away from camera, you can always buy 100 or 150 feet video/power cable.

What I love about this system is that video and power cables are combined so the actual power supply and DVR are kept at the same place. This enables you to provide power supply to both DVR and cameras using single cheap UPS. By adding UPS to this system, it becomes truly independent of any power outages.

Remote Access

Best thing about this system is that you can easily access this DVR remotely using native application for iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, Nokia and Windows Mobile phone (or a tablet). While the image quality is not too great with remote viewing, it is enough if you just want to do a quick spot check on your home.

If you do not own any of those mobile devices, you can access your system using any remote PC with internet browser.

A cheaper solution

You can find a cheaper solution if you decide to skip on the DVR and use your PC as a recording device. However, in my opinion, such system is less flexible and less reliable. USB video capture device offers lower video quality and in the end, you will probably decide that you have to have a dedicated system for recording. Still, if you have an old PC just lying around, you can put it to good use with this system.

GPS Tracking systems

Most of the vehicles tracking systems require you to pay a monthly subscription. LandAirSea GPS Tracking Key Pro offers you a freedom from such monthly fees and still allows you to keep track of your vehicles wonderings.

It is actually a brilliant idea. This compact and portable passive GPS tracking unit is extremely small. It is especially easy to hide it since it comes with a very strong magnet that will attach to any metallic surface.

Every second, it records Speed, Address of stops, Duration of stops, Time in route, Arrival addresses and Direction of vehicle.

Once your car comes back home, you can covertly recover the device and review the collected data using special software. The software will display the vehicle travel log over animated digital street map, or satellite imagery with Google Earth interface. From now on, nobody will be able to lie to you about his or her comings and goings.

The system goes to sleep mode whenever it detects no movement so its batteries can last for a very long time. With an average of two-three hours of driving per day, batteries can last for a month.

Real-time tracking

If, on the other hand, you really want to know your vehicle whereabouts in real time, there is no other way but to pay for a monthly service. This low cost, real time GPS tracker with advanced features offers you real-time tracking using Bing and Google maps.

The monthly service fee also offers various other benefits like auto theft tracking, speed and inactivity alerts.

You can monitor all your car’s activity using any internet connected PC or any mobile phone or tablet using mobile web browsers.

I do not see much use in using supplied lighter power adapter since it makes this tracker too conspicuous. Fortunately, you also get a wired fuse adapter that will allow you to easily hide this device and still keep it powered.

Big Brother notes

So, you see how easy (and relatively cheap) is to become a homegrown Big Brother. If you have need for more cameras or tracking devices, it is easy to buy more of these systems.

One suggestion, though. Although there are video surveillance systems with DVR for 8 or 16 cameras, it is much better to buy several 4-camera systems. This way you will have more reliable, more resilient and somewhat redundant system.

Updated: 03/23/2012, DrDarko
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