Andy Wendt – Fun Technology

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Cheap Consumer Technology Victim

What CCTV Is Beginning To Stand For: Cheap Consumer Technology Victim

A new acronym I just came up with  that describes how today’s security minded public is falling for low cost video surveillance solutions, pushed by the nations largest retailers, that are little more than toys.

If some of you think I am being to harsh then consider the cost of a Play Station 3 at roughly $499. Then put yourself in my shoes and listen to the calls I take each week from customers who tell me how badly they need a security system at their home or office and yet balk at spending more on a Digital Video Recorder than they would have spent on a game system.

So bad has this become that I recently visited the website of one of the above mentioned toy pushers to take a look at what sort of camera systems they were selling these days. This site just so happens to belong to the nation’s fourth largest retailer.  Using their store search bar I type in the words “CCTV” and the site comes back with one lone result: that being a Suzuki Concertino Collection Trumpet.

When I changed the search to “security cameras” I did get an entire page of results, an entire page of Digital Cameras.

But if you look hard enough on their site you will find what you are looking for, and once you manage to get to the right spot you can’t help but notice they sell an almost complete 4 camera “security system” for as little as $299. (Offer valid through Feb 22 and reqires a coupon) Again judging by the calls I take from customers looking for help getting these system installed they sell quite a few.

I did learn something about this company’s target market the other day when I was speaking to a lady who told me she saw an entire 6 camera system installed for less than $1,000. When I politely explained to the caller that you need to be careful when buying security cameras that are that cheap she replied: “What do I care what the picture looks like?”. In my opinion this lady was a Cheap Consumer Technology Victim waiting to happen.

I did see on their web page that this giant retailer had one of their security systems featured on the Today Show just 4 days ago. I quickly followed the link to see this great product. Though I wish I could say I was surprised I was not, as the page for this great product simply read “This product is no longer available”. But even if the product were there I would imagine this disclaimer , and it’s implications, listed on the bottom of the page would go unnoticed more times than not: “ offers merchandise which complements our warehouse product selection. Therefore, most items available on our web site are unique to”

In case you don’t see the problem with that let me explain it. They are saying that they are selling what they have in stock. That it may be uniquely sold by them, and if you ever want to buy a compatible unit, or parts at a later time, don’t get your hopes up because these may be one of a kind systems. Again pardon me if I am being insensitive but who would read that and say “yep sounds good, lets buy that camera system”?

So as more and more of the American media and the American consumer fall victim to this mindset that a video security system can be had for less than the cost of a Play Station 3, I can’t help but be disappointed by the thought that these some day once tragedy strikes these people will  learn the hard way how worthless their video surveillance systems actually are.

*In the spirit of full disclosure Andy Wendt is a writer for Xopnex Media Services and Camera Security Now

February 14, 2008 - Posted by | Security Cameras | , ,


  1. How many times have we seen technolgy customers spend more money doing it ‘cheaply’ than if they had just spent the money upfront.

    So often it is the service provider who suffers.

    Comment by John Beagle | February 14, 2008 | Reply

  2. I could not agree with you more. They are truly victims.
    They may buy these lower cost no name security camera systems today and the company goes out of business tomorrow. Now they are stuck with what they have purchased.
    Next God forbid if they get robbed or worse and the law enforcement reviews the recording device to find out they can’t make out the criminal or criminals.
    Now what is the purpose to have security cameras?
    The law enforcement we work with says, we need a clear picture of the criminals face and how many of them? and possibly what are they driving or what direction did they come from and or leave the seen?
    Thank you
    Eye Spy MO

    Comment by eyespymo | March 13, 2008 | Reply

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