Reolink - Be Prepared, Be Reolink
Reolink - Be Prepared, Be Reolink

4K Security Camera Systems: Complete Guide to Be Ahead of the Curve

Jenny Hu3/29/2022
4K Security Camera Systems: Complete Guide to Be Ahead of the Curve

4K security camera systems, also called 8MP (2160p) security camera systems, have arrived as a bench-marking advance in the world of CCTV systems, promising to deliver the maximum clarity and details ever.

Whether you are new to the 4K IP security camera systems or hesitate about how to choose a best 4K security camera system, this post will cover all you should know about the 4K ultra HD security camera systems to help you gain fresh insights and choose the best ones.

Note: In order that readers searching for 8MP/2160p security camera systems can also find this article for their guidance, in some contexts the 8MP/2160p security camera systems are used to substitute 4K camera systems.

What Are 4K Security Camera Systems

4K security camera systems, or 8MP (2160p) security camera systems, refer to the security systems with high performance image sensors that can capture videos at 3840 x 2160 pixels. And that’s four times the 1920 x 1080 pixels found in 1080p full HD security systems.

Beyond the technical details, this means the images recorded by 4K home security camera systems will be incredibly clear with great details. You can also zoom in on distant objects without reducing image quality.

4K (8MP) IP security camera systems are normally sold with several 4K security IP cameras (at least 2) and a 4K NVR/DVR with densities of 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, and 128 channels.

Some 64 and 128 channel 4K NVRs even possess the hard drives with hot-swap ability, which allow you to replace video storage without experiencing any downtime. Such 4K NVR security camera systems are especially suitable for your business security projects.

When it comes to the 4K video surveillance systems for your home or property security, it is wider of you to choose the proper number of channels and cameras based on your needs and budget.

Reolink RLK8-800B4

4K 8-Channel PoE Security System

4 pcs 4K Ultral HD Security Cameras; 2TB HDD 8-Channel NVR for 24/7 Recording; Person/Vehicle Detection; Plug & Play; 2 Network Solutions.

High Resolution Image Sensor: “Eye” of 4K Security Camera Systems

For 4K security camera systems, the image sensors that capture the light hitting the camera lens and turn it into electrical signals, are the main factors affecting their video quality.

The image sensors are classified by the number of megapixels and their resolution will determine the maximum resolution of your security systems.

So a “real” 4K ultra HD security camera system should have at least 8-megapixel images sensor to deliver 2160p images and videos.

And some top wired and wireless 4K security camera systems are even packed with image sensors of high sensitivity, low noise, and high dynamic range to achieve optimal performance in low-light conditions and high-contrast scenes.

Watch the video of a horrible rollover accident captured by the 4K security camera system Reolink RLK8-800B4 to check out its image quality.

4K Security Camera Systems vs 1080p Security Systems vs 720p Security Systems

So what is 4K in megapixels? Now check out the differences between 4K security systems and 1080p/720p security camera systems from the chart below.

Format Image Size in Pixels Aspect Ratio
720p/1MP 1280 x 720 16:9
1080p/2MP 1920 x 1080 16:9
3MP 2048 x 1536 4:3
4MP 2688 x 1520 16:9
5MP 2592 x 1944 4:3
2160p/8MP 3840 x 2160 16:9

At an aspect ratio of 16:9, 4K 8MP security camera systems offer 4 times the resolution of 1080p security systems and 9 times of 720p security systems.

Since more pixels mean clearer pictures and more details, 8MP security camera systems are the clear winners in the image quality and details compared with 1080p/720p security systems.

That is to say, with a 4K camera system, you are more likely to capture and recognize human faces and license plate numbers from a distance.

Another obvious advantage of 4K security systems over 1080p/720p camera systems is that, you can adjust the resolution of a 4K home security camera system to 4K, 5MP, 4MP or 1080p as you wish, but not for the 1080p/720p security systems.

4K vs 1440p vs 1080p vs 720p

Are 4K Security Camera Systems Actually Any Good

So what do 4K security camera systems actually mean to you? Let’s explore the benefits of 8MP (4K) home security camera systems you can expect to enjoy.

1. 8MP Security Camera Systems Deliver Crisper and Detailed Images

The TOP 1 benefit of 8MP/4K security camera systems, without doubt, is the sharper and clearer images with more details.

And that is mainly credited to the high performance image sensors of 4K IP security camera systems, which can capture clear and high-visibility images in moonlit environment or over-exposure areas. So you can have a better chance to obtain useful evidence from your 4K PoE or wireless security camera systems such as distinct human face features, license plate numbers, clothing colors, etc.

2. 4K Security Camera Systems Retain Details After Zooming In

4K (8MP) security camera systems are packed with better digital zoom function due to greater amount of pixels compared with 1080p/720p security systems, which allows you to zoom in further while maintaining crisp details.

For example, if a 4K outdoor security camera system captures the vandals destroying your garden decorations, say, 20 meters away, you can zoom in to identify their facial features and get useful clues.

3. 4K NVR Security Camera Systems Cover Wider Areas at Minimal Cost

Since a 4K security IP camera can effectively monitor larger areas with wider angle lens (learn how to choose security camera lenses) and therefore eliminate security camera blind spots, you can select a 4K security camera system with less number of cameras to save the cost without compromising your security needs.

In this way, you can also reduce the camera installation time and efforts with a 4K/8MP security system at hand.

4. 8MP Security Camera Systems Are Easy to Expand

After you buy an 8MP/4K security camera system and find blind spots that required monitoring, you can enjoy the convenience to add more security cameras compatible with 4K security IP camera DVR/NVR based on your needs and budget.

Mind that some 4K home security camera systems only support the cameras from the same brands. And if you intend to add a wireless 4K IP camera to your PoE 4K security camera system, it is best to consult the system seller first.

5. 4K IP Security Camera Systems Allow for Customized Recording Modes

Another benefit of 4K security camera systems is that you have flexible recording modes to choose: 24/7 continuous recording, motion detection recording and scheduled recording.

If you are worried that 24/7 recording might eat up too much bandwidth or take up much storage space, you may switch the recording modes of 8MP (2160p) security camera systems to motion recording or scheduled recording.

6. 4K Camera Systems Work with and Without Internet

No doubt that you can get the most of 4K security camera systems when there is Internet – instant alerts, remote viewing on your phone, video playback and more.

And a 4K HD security camera system can also work without Internet !

Simply power on the 4K home security camera systems, and the security cameras and NVR will communicate with each other to record videos 24/7 without Internet connection.

Please note that Internet connection is required for 4K NVR security camera systems if you want to receive real-time alerts or watch remote viewing on your phone (learn the security camera functions with & without network).

Reolink RLK16-800B8

24/7 Surveillance in 4K Ultra HD

Power over Ethernet; 24/7 Continuous Recording; 16-Channel NVR; 3TB HDD Built-In; Audio Recording; 100ft Night Vision.

7. 4K Security Systems Offer Multiple Resolution Options

8MP/4K security camera systems don’t mean you are limited to the 8MP images and videos only! They can also produce 6MP/5MP/1080p/720p images and videos.

If you have limited bandwidth or storage space, you can watch live viewing and save videos recorded by 4K Ultra HD security camera systems in lower resolution.

And the same applies to your TV or your monitor which is not 4K standard (explained in the following part.)

8. 4K Home Security Camera Systems Feature Massive Hard Disk Drives

The best 4K IP camera systems often include large security certified hard drives to store recorded footage. When you need to be away for weeks, the 4K IP security camera systems can offer uninterrupted security footage as if you were actually there.

What to Consider When Selecting 4K Security Camera Systems

Shelling out your hard-earned money on a 4K (8MP) security camera system can be an important decision. To help you settle on the best 4K security camera systems, here we’ve listed some important factors you need to consider before your purchase.

1. What Is the Video Compression Format of 8MP Security Camera Systems

While 8MP/4K security camera systems offer 4 times the resolution of 1080p security systems, another undeniable fact is that the high resolution videos take up more bandwidth and storage space.

To solve this problem, some top 4K home security camera systems have adopted the high efficiency video coding (HEVC), also known as H.265 video comprehension format, to keep file sizes low without losing the 4K video quality.

You can find the video code format in the product specifications and exclude those 4K IP security camera systems for sale without H.265 video comprehension.

2. How Is the Night Vision of 4K Home Security Camera Systems

The 4K security camera system night vision can be affected by multiple factors. Lux ratings and night vision range are the basic specifications you need to check out.

The smaller Lux number is, the better a 4K surveillance camera system can capture videos at night. (0.0 Lux represents the 4K security system can work in total darkness.)

The longer night vision range of 4K video surveillance systems is, the further you can see at night and you are also more likely to capture criminal activities.

Some top 4K (8MP) security camera systems are even featured with full-color night vision (ambient lighting is needed). In total darkness conditions, the images will automatically switch to black and white to ensure maximum quality night vision.

An easier and more reliable way to examine the 4K security system night vision is to read customer reviews in the product page (you can also watch night vision videos submitted by the real users). Or you may refer to the professional reviews written by the reputable tech media.

3. What’s the Storage Space of Wireless or PoE 4K Security Camera Systems

The storage space of 4K security systems should be one of your top considerations, especially if you want to save 4K ultra HD videos around the clock.

Normally the best 4k security camera systems are packed with a pre-installed hard disk drive, just like the 8MP security camera system Reolink RLK8-800B4 which comes with a 2TB built-in HDD for 24/7 recording.

Also, you may directly consult the sellers of 4K home security camera systems whether the kits allow you to insert external HDDs and what’s the maximum supported storage space. (Such information is available in the product page.)

If you need any help calculating the rough recording time of a 4K NVR security camera systems, check out this post for the calculation formula.

4. Can You Easily Watch Live Viewing of 4K Security Camera Systems

Yes, many 4K (8MP) security camera systems are advertised to allow for easy remote viewing anytime and anywhere as you wish.

But how?

Are you provided with a free App or Client to access the 4K ultra HD security camera systems on your phone or computer? And how many 4K security cameras can you manage at the same time?

Though there are multiple ways to watch the IP camera remote viewing, the easiest way to go is via the sellers’ customized free App and Client, which would be upgraded regularly to release new features and improve some old issues.

Besides watching live viewing of 8MP or 4K home security camera systems, you can also customize motion detection zones and sensitivity, schedule your recording and manage multiple cameras simultaneously on the App and Client.

Watch Live Feed on Phone

5. Are 4K Camera Systems Easy to Install

Installing 8MP/4K security camera systems is supposed to be as easy as possible to save you time and labor.

For example, for the 4K PoE security camera systems, you simply need a single network cable to connect each IP camera to the NVR for both power supply and video signal transmission, which make for much easier wiring.

When looking for the best 4K PoE or wireless security camera systems, keep these questions in your mind:

  • Is “plug and play” a selling point of the 4K security camera system?
  • What about the 8MP (2160p) security camera system reviews? Do the system users feel it easy to install?
  • Will you be provided with free professional tech support to help you install the 4K home security camera systems?
  • Is it difficult to run wires of the 4K IP security camera systems? (Learn how to run security camera wires.)

6. Are There Any Hidden Fees with 4K IP Security Camera Systems

When searching for 4K security camera system reviews online, you may find some users complained about the high installation fees that they are not aware of before they buy it.

Such cases are NOT rare in the 4K security system market.

Besides the installation fees, be careful of the hidden accessory costs, professional monitoring service costs, shipping fees and customs fees (for online shopping) as well.

Though these hidden expenses may look trivial, they can add up to a great amount of money, and even exceed the price of your 4K IP security camera systems.
Editor’s Note: Besides these factors above, you also need to decide whether you need a waterproof 4K home security camera system based on the location you are going to place it.

4K Security Camera System Reviews

When you search “2018 4K security camera system reviews” online, you might find little useful information available. And the leading cause lies in the limited number of 4K home security camera systems for sale now.

But as more reputable brands, like Reolink, are joining in the 4K CCTV kit competition battle in succession now, it is just a matter of time for the 4K/8MP security camera systems to become prevailing in security field.

And despite of the lack of professional 4K security camera system reviews, you can also refer to the customer feedback of 4K security systems as an alternative to locate the best ones that meet your needs.

“These cameras have amazing quality and were very easy to install. Getting connected with the app was even easier. So far all functions of the cameras are very easy to configure. (Motion zones, sensitivity, alerts etc.)”

--User reviews of the 4K security system RLK8-800B4

Is a 4K Monitor/TV Required for 4K Security Systems

Technically speaking, it is recommended to use a 4K monitor/TV for your 4K security camera systems to avoid possible compatibility issues. And you can also obtain 2160p high resolution images to justify the cost the 8MP/4K security systems.

But if your monitor or TV is unable to display 4K high resolution videos, you don’t necessarily need to purchase new 4K monitors or TVs. Some monitor or TVs might be able to display degraded lower resolution (like 1080p) videos.

And we’ve heard 4K security camera system users even claiming the sub-stream 1080p videos are of better quality than those of ordinary 1080p security cameras. Please feel free to share your experience if you have tested this in your application.

Fact Check: Other Questions You May Ask About 4K Security Camera Systems

Here we have collected some other hot questions about 8MP (4K) security camera systems, and please feel free to add yours in the comment below if you’ve got any problems.

Q1: What if the 4K security camera system NVR is full

Normally a 4K (8MP) security camera system is packed with a pre-installed large-capacity hard disk drive to meet your storage needs.

When the NVR storage of 4K IP security camera systems is full, the older footage will be automatically overwritten by new ones.

And some 4K home security camera systems also allow you to add an external HHD to expand the storage space. It is best for you to keep a habit of exporting the important videos regularly and saving them to your computer.

Q2: Can I replace the HDD of 4K camera systems with an external hard drive manually or add an external HDD

Opening the 4K security camera systems and replacing the built-in HDD will void the warranty. You may manually back up your videos to an external HDD or your computer on a regular basis, say, once a month.

And as noted above, many of the best 4K home security camera systems 2018 offer you the option to add an external HDD as you want. You may consult the system sellers before you add one.

Q3: What’s the maximum recording time of 4K security systems in 24/7 recording mode

It depends on the internal HDD storage space of 4K security camera systems, the video compression, bitrate, etc. (Read this post to learn how to calculate the storage space.)

Q4: Will 4K IP security camera systems use all our bandwidth and slow down our internet connection

This might be one of the common concerns about 4K security camera systems. The fact is, your 4K home security camera systems won’t eat up your bandwidth unless you access the cameras for live viewing, or they send images or videos clips upon motion detection.

Are 4K Security Camera Systems Worth Your Investment

Currently, the 4K security camera system price varies from around $600 USD dollars to more than $3000 USD dollars with the different brands, the number of security system channels and cameras.

4K (8MP) home security camera systems are bound to be the new trend following 1080p security systems and will become more budget-friendly as more and more security camera sellers are catching up.

If you are looking for a future-proof security camera system, the 8MP (2160p) security camera systems are definitely worth your investment and will justify the cost by the long-term applications.

Reolink, for instance, has recently launched its first 4K security camera system Reolink RLK8-800B4 to cater to the needs of ultra clarity. This 8MP camera system is capable to present the finest key details in vividness both day and night.

Reolink RLK8-800B4

4K 8-Channel PoE Security System

4 pcs 4K Ultral HD Security Cameras; 2TB HDD 8-Channel NVR for 24/7 Recording; Person/Vehicle Detection; Plug & Play; 2 Network Solutions.

But if the 4K camera systems for sale exceed your budget and you don’t want to sacrifice your home security, the super HD 5MP security cameras can also be a good alternative for you.

Below is a video shared by a user of 5MP security camera Reolink RLC-410.

So are you 4K ready? Will you consider buying a 4K/8MP security camera system or replacing your home security systems with 4K CCTV systems? We are keen to know your thoughts and don’t hesitate to leave your comment below to share your ideas with us!


All Comments Are Welcome

Jenny is an editor from Reolink. Her posts are helpful for homeowners, undergraduates, small business owners, and pretty much anyone who needs security tips for a worry-free world. If you want to say hi, you can email her at (replace # with @) to connect!