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  1. I guess a stand alone system would suit your requirements. A DVR for recording, a dedicated screen and the cameras. Various systems can display the image on your TV, something like a Swann system seems to fit your requirements... http://www.swann.com/
  2. Wow, I empathise with your predicament! It's the unknown that makes it worse. Not to parrot what others have already mentioned, what I would suggest is to invest in a GSM enabled bug. Yes it's audio only, however is easier to conceal and doesn't need vision. You can configure it to dial your mobile (or Cell phone) if it detects noise, you can then listen in live. "Sophisticated" equipment can be had to perform live taps to digital CCTV (it was demonstrated at Defcom), however from what you are describing it doesn't sound like anything that advanced is happening...
  3. Yup, it means you can talk and listen. Several of my cameras, mostly Foscams, have 3.5mm audio jacks allowing the use external mics & speakers. Depending on how they are being viewed there can be significant delay (well 1 or 2 seconds), fine for answering a caller at your door for example...
  4. Personally I would evaluate what you want to achieve from a CCTV system. Is it just to give your parents peace of mind? I take it you are based in the UK - if so the easiest/cheapest solution is to visit Maplin - they do a range of DVR camera combos under £500. They are DIY installations and aren't that difficult to install. My friend has a CCTV system installed, he too fitted it after being burgled. As he is in the country, he uses it to vet visitors and has 2 way coms. He doesn't record anything and has only 4 cameras, I installed it and it has a DVR, he always turns it off when he leaves the house. To me I don't see what practical benefit it provides. I guess it's really just a comfort. That's the practicalities, now for the realities.... Home CCTV presents more problems than it solves - for example, you have just fitted CCTV cameras on your property, an invite to burglars as it looks like you are trying to protect valuables. A £500 budget isn't going to be enough to capture any detail of any value. Basically if you do get burgled you have may have footage. What can you do with that footage? In the UK it's not going to be any use in a court, there are laws on CCTV installations, mainly the Data protection act, read up on the Information Commissioner's UK CCTV code of practice, also Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), the POFA, the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA) and the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice issued under the Protection of Freedoms Act (POFA code). Yes, in the UK the burglar has more rights than the victim... Generally speaking the police usually have a good idea who the culprits are, sadly the reality is no amount of CCTV footage is going to help in a conviction. I can speak from personal experience, our car was parked @ McDonalds in a well CCTV'd area - 4 different businesses had eyes on the parking space, even better Police HQ was across the road. All footage showed our car being broken into and contents removed, even with eye witnesses the thief got away... A link to the 45 page document: https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1542/cctv-code-of-practice.pdf
  5. I just created an account to answer your question! It looks like a generic DVR, it's very similar to the Crypto Product brand, Model:VRS300 DVR-SA 4 CH - IP http://www.bizcspia.com/Products/ProdDetail_11040.html