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Burglar Alarm Vs CCTV: What’s the Difference?

Are you a new homeowner looking for a home security system but aren’t sure where to start? Maybe you have recently dealt with a break-in and want to protect your property for the future?   

Either way, you might be feeling confused and a little overwhelmed by the sheer number of security systems out there. We are all pretty familiar with burglar alarm systems and CCTV systems as they’re both fairly common, but which is the right choice for your home? How do these two systems work? Do they meet the same needs? 

If this is you, don’t worry. We’ll go over how both systems work, their uses, and which would be best suited for your needs. Here at Boundary, we create smart home security systems with you in mind, and we’re going to run you through everything you need to make an informed decision.

What is a burglar alarm system?

The burglar alarm is one of the most common security systems out there and while there are newer versions, like wireless alarm systems, they generally still perform the same functions as they did when they were first invented. 

A burglar alarm is, essentially, a network of either wire or signals that spans an entire building. This network is punctuated by sensors that are installed on doors and windows, and when the alarm is armed, an electric current runs along the wires or a signal passes around your network. When a window or door opens, thus breaking the circuit, an alarm sounds to alert the owner about a disturbance or unauthorised entry to the property. 

Burglar alarm systems today are much more sophisticated than this original concept. While the general idea is the same, the way they work differs. 

The most advanced burglar alarm systems, like Boundary, are usually wireless. These systems include sensors of various types, a central hub, and sometimes a light and/or siren, depending on what you need.  

Sensors are still installed on doors and windows, but instead of an interrupted circuit causing the alarm to sound, Boundary’s alarm system works with magnet field detection. When a door or window with a sensor is opened or tampered with, the sensor will pick up fluctuations in the magnetic field caused by the movement and alert the main hub. The hub then alerts you and, if you choose a police response alarm, it can also prompt an alert to the police.

boundary hub with alexa and sonos

What is a CCTV system?

A CCTV system, or closed-circuit TV system, is a common form of video surveillance and security used by businesses more often than it is homes.  

The reason why it’s called a “closed-circuit” system is that anything recorded or viewed on a CCTV system is private, and is only shared with a few designated monitors. CCTVs can either record and store the footage for later viewing, or they can run more like a live stream feed, thus requiring someone to monitor the live feed. 

As we mentioned, CCTVs were originally strictly used and managed by a business to protect their premises. However, many providers now install CCTV services and monitor, log, and record the data they collect for you. 

Like burglar alarms, while CCTVs have become more sophisticated over the years, the general idea has stayed the same and is fairly simple. Generally, the system consists of the camera, a monitor, and the necessary cables to attach the two. Today, digital changes have come into play. You can now view your CCTV footage on your phone and install other accessories to add additional capabilities to your system. 

A CCTV does not include an alarm. The only way you would know something happened to your property in real-time is if you or someone else is actively monitoring it. Because of this, CCTVs are usually used for businesses rather than private homes. 

Aside from their very different mode of function, CCTVs can become tricky in terms of legalities. In the UK, there is strict legislation put into place for video surveillance, per the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice 2013 and the Data Protection Act and CCTV

These rules and guidelines include but are not limited to:

  • Alerting your neighbours that you will be installing a CCTV
  • A posted notice
  • You must position your cameras to avoid impeding privacy or use privacy masking
  • Any footage must be deleted regularly 

This, along with the need for real-time monitoring, is one of the reasons CCTV is still primarily used by businesses rather than home-owners. It’s why a home alarm system is probably a better bet for individuals looking to protect their home.

Burglar alarm systems are perfect for home security

All in all, burglar alarms are the best option for protecting your home when directly compared to CCTV. 

Burglar alarms don’t need a permit, which instantly makes them a simpler option to a CCTV system. Keeping a CCTV in line with local laws is a continuous task that does not add much value to your home security system. CCTVs are not alarms, and therefore they can’t alert you should something go wrong at your home.  

Boundary’s smart alarm system is easy to install and customisable. Your system can be set up to ignore pets (and avoid false alarms), call the police when triggered, all this with full control from your smartphone.   

We offer you the ability to design your own security system too and pick from a range of monitoring options via our monthly security plans. With these options, your plan will always fit your needs and budget.  

Looking for more handy home security tips to keep your place safe and secure, then look no further, as we’re here to help.