Can a DVR work without a hard drive?

In this article, I will discuss whether or not a DVR can work without a hard drive.

When it comes to cameras and security systems, finding the right video system and storage for you is crucial. A lot of points such as location, space, budget, and type of camera come into play.

Amcrest DVR

Surveillance videos need to be stored appropriately in order to have a good and functioning system. With the increase in technology and the possible alternatives, there are ways to go around the issue.

How Surveillance Systems Can Store Footage

Footage from a surveillance system can be recorded using a DVR or an NVR. Though you have probably heard about DVRs as they are more common, especially in houses.

DVRs have hard drives which allow them to store footage easily and remotely.

They work with analog cameras and convert the signal to digital to record on a hard drive (HDD). Nevertheless, they can only record a limited amount of time and footage before running out of space. 

As long as the camera signal is converted to digital, it's possible to have remote access to the DVR and watch the cameras live. You can also record the footage on a cloud system even if your DVR does not have hard drives.

What is your needed storage? 

Determining the correct amount of storage for your CCTV system can be key to realizing your needs.

cloud storage without hard drive

It mostly depends on how many hours of footage you film, the resolution in which you film in, and the bit rate..

Remember, more is better. It is better to have more and not needed than come off short. Keep in mind that generally, systems record for 30 days before looping over themselves.

For instance, day one is recorded. The camera will continue to save the footage until day 30. Day 31 will become day one, and the footage for day one will be gone. And this process repeats itself over and over again.

Though it might seem complicated, it is relatively straightforward, as the footage will replace itself every thirty days. It can be longer or shorter depending on your needs. 

Businesses and large operations often spring for 90 days, or three months of consecutive footage, to make sure they will have the video stored for a longer period.

Keep in mind that the price is usually relative to the amount of storage. Therefore, the higher the number of days, the higher the budget.

The main issue with recording for 90 continuous days is the storage necessary to hold all the footage. You will need both hard drives and physical space to store your DVR or NVRs.

With this in mind, it is understandable why 90 days of recordings are mainly used for companies and other businesses with bigger storage space and budgets than the average household would have. 

Apart from that, businesses tend to keep that footage to ensure any issues requiring footage will be accessible for more extended periods of time, usually to prevent any concern with employees or clients.

On the other hand, households are not likely to deal with angry clients or non-compliant employees. Therefore, they're not likely to need more than 30-days of consecutive footage.

==> To learn more, read the article: Videoloft Cloud Surveillance Review

Is a hard drive needed in a DVR?

So, when it comes to a DVR, it can work without a hard drive, in the sense that you can connect the DVR to a camera and visualize the image and record it to the cloud.

However, without a hard drive, the DVR cannot record locally.

Storage in the cloud

Though you might not be able to record locally into your DVR without a hard drive, you can record in the cloud. This can remove the issue of on-site storage and might just make your life easier.

You should keep in mind that you will need to purchase or pay monthly to store your footage in the cloud with a company. However, they tend to be inexpensive.

Though cost might be a drawback, the footage will be able to be accessed quickly and anywhere, making it better than having it in one location.

Don't want to waste your money on cloud storage? Learn how to avoid paying cloud subscription for security cameras!

Decrease your needs

There are some things you can do to keep yourself from overpaying for storage. By doing this, you will need less storage and, therefore, pay less.

Motion trigger

The first tip is to only record when there is motion present. This makes an excellent cut down in the footage. Think of this as the lights that turn off after some time without movement, therefore saving energy.

The concept is the same, but using the camera and saving on storage. It is a simple hack that you might not have thought about it before. If you turn off the lights when you leave the house, then let the camera rest until it needs to record. 

On the clock

clock on the wall

One of the best things you can do is set up timers of when to record and when not to record. Most houses and businesses will only need to have a camera on during the day, as the nights are mainly uneventful.

If you do not want your camera to be off at certain times, you can also lower frame rates. However, it might make the picture blurrier and less quality, it will keep it from wasting too much storage.

The bottom line

In short, a DVR can work without a hard drive, much like a car can turn on without gas. However, without gas, the car cannot move, and without a hard drive, the DVR cannot record locally.

Lastly, the DVR can record without a hard drive if the footage is saved to the cloud instead of being recorded locally.

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