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How to Connect a CCTV Camera to Your Computer Without a DVR

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Muhammad Baballe Ahmad, Mehmet Cavas, Sudhir Chitnis, and Zhen-ya Liu.

✓ Verified & Tested Information

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to connect a CCTV camera to your computer without a DVR.


If you want to connect a CCTV camera to your computer without a DVR, there are a few things you need to do first. First, you will need to make sure your computer has a video input port such as VGA, HDMI, or Display Port. Next, you need to make sure you have the correct cables and adaptors to connect the CCTV camera to your computer. Finally, you will need to install the appropriate software on your computer to view the video feed from the camera. Let’s take a closer look at each of these steps.

Gather the necessary materials

To connect a CCTV Camera to your computer without a DVR, you will need the following materials: a compatible CCTV Camera, an inexpensive computer-converter cable, and a USB port on your laptop or desktop computer. The cables typically range in length from six feet to twenty feet, so be sure to select one that is long enough for your desired setup. Some models may require a power outlet for connection if the cable does not provide power; however, many modern CCTV Cameras can receive power directly from the converter cable. Before purchasing any cables or supplies, double-check with your manufacturer to ensure that a power outlet is not necessary.

Download and install the necessary software

In order to connect your CCTV camera to your computer without a Digital Video Recorder (DVR), you will need to download and install the necessary software. This software will act as the interface between the camera and the computer, allowing you to view, record and control the camera. You can obtain software from reputable online sources or from independent developers who have adapted their own programs for specific types of cameras. Once you have downloaded and installed the software, read through its instructions for complete compatibility information and follow any instructions for configuring settings. Make sure that all other programs on your computer have been closed before you start the installation process.

Connecting the Camera

Connecting a CCTV camera to your computer without a DVR is not as difficult as it may seem. The first step is selecting the right type of camera for your needs. The most popular types are IP cameras, which are easy to install and have multiple recording and storage options. Once you have the right camera, you need to properly connect it to your computer. Let’s look at the steps for connecting your camera to your computer.

Connect the camera to the power source

Once you’ve decided on the position for your CCTV camera and the power source it will be plugged into, you can connect to the camera. Ideally, look for a power source that is close to where the camera will be mounted.

The first step is to connect the power supply. In most cases, this involves plugging one end of a power cord directly into an electrical outlet and connecting the other end of the cord to a power adapter (sometimes referred to as a wall wart), using an included DC connector. The other side of this adapter typically comes with two or three screw terminals that securely connect video cables and power cables from your cameras’ corresponding cable ports. Make sure that your selected power source is providing enough voltage (usually 12V or 24V) that matches your camera’s technical specifications and camera settings. Some cameras are Power-over-Ethernet (PoE), meaning they draw their power directly from an Ethernet cable connected between them and your router or switch – eliminating the need for extra cabling, but in general, most CCTV systems require separate cabling for their electrical connection.

Connect the camera to the computer

Once you’ve assembled the parts, you’re ready to connect the camera to your computer. You’ll need a video capture card that plugs into an available PCI slot on your computer motherboard. It is important to remember to insert the card firmly into its slot and lock with the screw provided.

You’ll also need a USB cable that connects from your computer’s USB port to your CCTV camera. If using IP cameras, then one additional network cable will be required. Once plugged in, you’ll need to adjust any settings that are appropriate for your specific CCTV camera and software application setup.

You may be required to install new drivers or update existing drivers in order for the system to recognize the hardware components of your CCTV system. Some systems will require software applications designed specifically for IP cameras or a general video capture device detection utility program.

Depending on what type of software application you use, there may be some minor configuration requirements before the application will detect and display real-time images from your connected cameras. When all settings are correctly configured and working, you should be able to access real-time or prerecorded video images from any connected cameras on an assigned monitor or other compatible output device.

Configuring the Software

In order to use your CCTV camera with your computer, you need to configure the software that interfaces between the camera and your computer. This can be done in two ways – manually, or through the use of dedicated software. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s worth taking a look at each of them in order to decide which one is best for your needs.

Install the software on the computer

Before beginning the process of installing the software to connect your CCTV camera to the computer, it is essential to take all safety precautions. All electrical equipment should be powered off before connecting any cables in order to avoid electrocution. Also, make sure to check the compatibility of your hardware with the latest version of the software you are about to install.

Instructions for installing the software on a Windows 10 computer:
1. Go to Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Security > Virus & Threat Protection .
2. Click on “Update now” in order to see if there are new updates or security patches available before installing other software or hardware related assets on your computer.
3. Once this is complete, restart your computer system fully before proceeding with these instructions in order to achieve successful installation and prevent any system crashes during installation or after it’s been completed..
4. After fully restarting your device check if all data is securely backed up and should be accessible after installation completion, just in case something goes wrong unexpectedly during this process it can always be recovered easily with recent backup files stored somewhere else on other devices or cloud storage systems in capable circumstances.
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Configure the software settings

Now that you have a camera connected to your computer, you can configure the software settings. Depending on what software program you are using, the specifics of this process may vary. Typically, however, you will need to set up all of the server parameters for the camera and then create an account for each user who will be accessing the system.

The server settings typically include items such as frame rate, resolution and network settings such as port forwarding if needed. Once these items are configured correctly, it is recommended that they should not be changed unless needed. If a user experiences connection issues or other errors after making changes to these settings it is best to revert them back and then try again.

After completing the server setup you can then start creating accounts for each user who will be connecting to your surveillance system. Each account must have a unique username and password associated with it in order for access to be managed properly. In most cases, this process is quick and easy since most software programs already have default account templates available for you to fill out with user information.

Testing the Connection

Before setting up your CCTV monitor, it is important to make sure that the connection between your computer and the camera is working correctly. To do this, you can perform a simple test. This test will not only check that the connection is established, but it also helps to diagnose any potential issues with the cables or the camera. Let’s dive in and walk through the steps needed to perform the connection test.

Check the connection status

Before connecting your CCTV camera to your computer, it is important to check the connection status. Most cameras come with an installation disk that allows you to view the live feed on your computer. You will be able to watch the footage from any device on the same network as your camera.

If you have already done this, and have set up an IP address for your camera, then you will need to log into it with a web browser. You can find information on how to do this in the product manual. Once logged in, you should be able to see all of the settings for your camera and use the interface to configure them.

The most important feature that needs to be checked is whether or not the network connection between your CCTV camera and computer is working correctly. If it isn’t, then you won’t be able to view any video footage or recordings that are taken by your CCTV system without a DVR in place. To test if there is a connection present between your camera and computer, open a web browser and type in either ‘http://localhost’ or ‘http://IP_ADDRESS’ (replace IP_ADDRESS with the actual IP Address assigned by the manufacturer). If successful, you should see some sort of response in your browser window indicating a valid connection has been made between both devices.

View the camera feed

Once the camera is physically connected to the computer, you should be able to view the camera feed. This can be done through a few different methods, depending on your device and program settings.

The first method is to open the program used to control and manage your CCTV cameras (most often software like iVMS-4200, Dahua Config Tool or NVR/DVR software). The program should have an option for viewing the camera’s live feed. Once you select this option, you should be able to see a window with a live stream from each of your connected CCTV cameras.

The second method is to view the streaming video feed from a web browser on your computer or other device. To do this, enter the IP address of your DVR or NVR into a web browser URL field (consulting with your device’s manual first). You can then log into the device using designated user credentials and view live stream from any available connected cameras.

Finally, some programs allow you to use mobile apps such as SmartPSS mobile app in order to view live stream from CCTV cameras while on the go. To access this service via mobile device, download and install appropriate coding according to user guide accompanying services provider’s website and login using user credentials previously supplied during setup of CCTV system on computer.


When it comes to connecting a CCTV camera to your computer without a DVR, there may be some technical hurdles that need to be overcome. In this section, we will go through the steps for troubleshooting your CCTV camera connection in order to identify any potential issues and find a solution.

Check for any loose connections

When troubleshooting any connection, it’s important to check for any loose connections. This is especially true with CCTV cameras – if the connection is not secure it can lead to a lack of image clarity or failure of the CCTV camera to connect. Ensure that all cables and equipment are firmly connected before continuing with further troubleshooting steps. You may find that unplugging and reconnecting all components helps to re-establish a solid connection between the camera and computer. In addition, you should make sure the required ports are open on your computer for proper functionality; this will usually involve allowing ports 80 (http), 21 (ftp) or 3389 (remote desktop connection) through your firewall settings.

Make sure the software is up-to-date

Before attempting to connect your CCTV camera to your computer, it is important to make sure that the software related to the camera or system is up-to-date. If you don’t have the most recent version, you may need to download and install new ones. Additionally, be sure that all updates for your operating system are also installed so that there are no compatibility issues with different software versions. Once everything is up-to-date, you can move on to connecting the camera.

Check the camera’s settings

It is important to ensure that the camera’s settings are correctly configured to allow for a connection to your computer. Before attempting a connection, turn on the camera and check the settings to confirm that it is set up for network connectivity. Connect your camera to your router and open the camera’s software configuration page as this will typically allow you to verify/update existing settings. Make sure that any parameters which take the form of IP addresses or usernames/passwords are assigned properly and recorded for future reference. Additionally, confirm that streaming protocol (RTSP, RTP) and video formats are enabled. Keep in mind that some cameras might require manual firmware updates in order for them to be compatible with your computer or other devices, so be sure to follow any directions provided by the manufacturer before making a connection attempt.

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