A User's Guide to Digital Video Surveillance


RG59 CableWhen connecting your cameras to the DVR in terms of video, either coaxial cable or category 5 twisted pair cable should be used.

The most traditional coaxial cables for video installation are RG-59 and RG-6 (RG = Radio-Guide).

BNC ConnectorBNC connectors (Bayonet Neill Concelman connector-sometimes called a Britih Naval Connector or Bayonet Nut Connector) are molded or crimped onto the RG-59 or RG-6 coaxial cable ends for connection to the camera and DVR.

BNC Connectors on cableStandard pre-made RG-59 coaxial cable lengths with BNC ends attached are 3', 6', 10', 25', 50', 75’, 100' and 150'. 

RG-59 and RG-6 coaxial cable also come in bulk rolls of 500' or 1,000' without BNC ends attached.

Cable Spool 1000 feetAlthough RG-59 and RG-6 cables are great stuff, they are relatively heavy and may be awkward at times, depending upon where you have to pull the cable. While cable manufacturers say you can run RG-59 out to about 750-1,000 feet, we recommend not to run RG-59 more then 600’ from a camera to the DVR, otherwise you may experience signal loss and subsequent picture interference. RG-6 can usually be run at least 300 – 400 feet further than RG-59, but it does cost more.

Video BalunWith the advent of a new product called “video baluns” (BALanced UNbalanced), you can now run video over a Category 5 cable. A balun is a device that connects a balanced line to an unbalanced line, such as a twisted pair to a coaxial cable. A balanced line is one in which both wires are electrically equal. In an unbalanced line, such as coaxial, one line has different properties than the other.

Cat 5 CableThe Category 5 cable also known as Cat-5 carries four twisted pairs of copper wires in a single jacket, allowing for more camera runs on a single cable. Some even run power over the Cat-5 but you run the risk of interference, even if the cable is shielded. If you are going to run power over Cat-5 cable, we recommend running video on one cable and power on a completely separate cable. Cat-5 is also much lighter and easier to work with then RG-59. Cat-5 cable sometimes called network cable is the same cable you plug into your PC from the network. While distances beyond 1,000' may become a video signal problem for RG-59 and RG-6, Cat-5 can comfortably extend out beyond 1,000' and with “active” video baluns that distance can be increased to 10,000'. Active video baluns are baluns with transmitters and receivers. Much debate is made as to whether RG-59, RG-6 or Cat-5 produces a better signal. In our opinion they are both fine and have their place.
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