Are Cheap Cameras Reducing Overall Installation Quality?


The race to the bottom isn't just letting qualified installers make more money or sell more cameras. It's inviting unqualified installers and other trades who are less intimidated by a $100 camera than $1000.

I'd add that $700 12 camera / recorder kits also make professional installers look far more expensive, i.e., you pay $700 for the hardware paying $2,000 to install feels a lot more costly than if you were paying $5,000 for the equipment.

It could cut both ways: Cheaper equipment means more professional install opportunities vs cheaper equipment means more people choose to DIY because they don't want to pay professional labor prices.


We try to sell the client on warranty and not having to worry about things when the cameras start to fail or the system starts having issues. We also do not compromise our install quality, even if the price is a little lower - losing a few hundred in profit to do things right is worth more to us than doing things quickly and having it look bad.

If the client wants to do it themselves or thinks they can do almost the same level of work for "free", there is really no way to win. Most commercial/industrial clients we deal with do not have the manpower to do it all but residential (and doctors offices, surprisingly) seems to be where we get the most "DIY".

A properly installed system will have the associated components such as a UPS, back boxes, conduit as needed and such.

It's hard to justify the cost when the mounting accessories cost almost as much as the camera and a UPS is more expensive than the recorder. Those items are usually not installed when the cameras are $30.00 and the recorder is $150.00. IMHO

Are they reducing installation quality? I voted no, because we went with ADT and learned that expensive cameras are no assurance of a quality installation.

What cameras did ADT install? They have classically pushed lower end equipment in our market.

What cameras did ADT install?

Related: ADT's Terrible "Business Video Special"

I hope the poster didn't consider these as expensive cameras. I can't imagine what is considered cheap if that is the case. Maybe the installation skewed the cost or something else was proposed?

2010:$3183 for 4 NTSC cameras with 7 days storage on an 8 channel, remotely accessible analog DVR.

Cameras connected via baluns and power to CAT5 run above the suspended ceiling. Boxes, conduit, or cosmetic accomodations were not needed. The cat5 octopus dangled from the ceiling's acoustic tile inserts to connect to the power and baluns at the DVR. External connections were the dual wall socket and the RJ45 ethernet.

ADT ruined the security alarm market with "free equipment" and monthly monitoring charges with a 36 month contract.

Around our way its American Dynamics cameras

Or, in our case, un-"free equipment" and a $70/mo monitoring fee. Oh well, we've done our "born every minute" part to keep the industry well.

Maybe the cheap installation is what made the cameras expensive?