Subscriber Discussion

Milestone Vs Costco System For 16 Camera System

I am the end-user for a video surveillance system that must meet the requirements below. We are estimating that we will need about 25 cameras. A professional-grade system (e.g., Milestone software, $500 cameras) will cost about $24K if we install all the cabling (price includes integrator installing and connecting cameras, NVR, etc.). Costco sells a 16-channel Q-See system for $3K-- and there doesn't appear to be a requirement to have all images recorded on a single system (two systems = $6K). We are only trying to meet the minimum requirements now, not to achieve any specific level of system performance. Will the Costco system credibly meet the following requirements?


At a minimum, a complete video surveillance with minimum camera resolution of 640x470 pixel and must be internet protocol (IP) compatible and recording system for controlled areas within the licensed premises and entire perimeter fencing and gates enclosing an outdoor operation, to ensure control of the area. The requirements include image acquisition, video recording, management and monitoring hardware and support systems. All recorded images must clearly and accurately display the time and date. Time is to be measured in accordance with the U.S. National Institute Standards and Technology standards.

(a) All controlled access areas, security rooms/areas and all points of ingress/egress to limited access areas, all points of ingress/egress to the exterior of the licensed premises, and all point of-sale (POS) areas must have fixed camera coverage capable of identifying activity occurring within a minimum of twenty feet of all entry and exit points.

(b) Camera placement shall allow for the clear and certain identification of any individual on the licensed premises.

(c) All entrances and exits to the facility shall be recorded from both indoor and outdoor vantage points, and capable of clearly identifying any activities occurring within the facility or within the grow rooms in low light conditions. The surveillance system storage device must be secured on-site in a lock box, cabinet, closet, or secured in another manner to protect from employee tampering or criminal theft.

(d) All perimeter fencing and gates enclosing the operation must have full video surveillance capable of clearly identifying any activities occurring within twenty feet of the exterior of the perimeter. Any gate or other entry point that is part of the enclosure for an outdoor operation must have fixed camera coverage capable of identifying activity occurring within a minimum of twenty feet of the exterior, twenty-four hours a day. A motion detection lighting system may be employed to illuminate the gate area in low light conditions.

(e) Operating areas shall have a camera placement in the room facing the primary entry door, and in adequate fixed positions, at a height which will provide a clear, unobstructed view of the regular activity without a sight blockage from lighting hoods, fixtures, or other equipment, allowing for the clear and certain identification of persons and activities at all times.

(f) All camera recordings must be continuously recorded twentyfour hours a day. All surveillance recordings must be kept for a minimum of forty-five days on the licensee's recording device. All videos are subject to inspection by any liquor control board employee or law enforcement officer, and must be copied and provided to the board or law enforcement officer upon request.

(For the curious, all of this is required by the State of Washington's new I-502 licensing)

With just those very basic requirements, the Costco system will likely be sufficient. A few things to call out:

  • You might need a bigger hard drive than what comes stock considering they are asking for continuous recording for 45 days. For 16 cameras under those terms, assuming 1Mb/s, that would be ~7TBs.
  • You might need a varifocal or narrow FoV camera/lens because of this "identifying activity occurring within a minimum of twenty feet." Many Costco cameras come with very wide FoVs that would probably deliver little usable detail at twenty feet.

There are obviously other reasons / benefits of going for a professional system (like Milestone). We reviewed this here: Consumer Vs Professional VMS: What Should I Choose?