After a breakin soon after moving into our house, we used our cash reserve to improve security. One of these updates was an 8-channel DVR with four external CCTV cameras.

The DVR exposes the cameras over TCP/IP, but I'm going to assume it will require replacement as well.

The cameras are "good" for outdoor standard definition closed circuit cameras, but with the use of some HD IP cameras for other purposes (bird monitoring, etc.) we've decided to improve the resolution of the security cameras both for identification purposes as well as being able to tolerate some loss of image detail with the use of wider-angle lenses.

These are currently cabled with twinned power and video cables that are broken out at the outdoor cameras, with power and coax (single-cable BNC) video broken out indoors.

When replacing the cameras, will I need to replace the cabling (assuming I don't go cat5/5e) or should "decent" HD cameras be able to reuse the same video feed?

I'll also be rewiring the power injectors because the installer ganged a bunch of cheap wall-warts onto a power strip, so I can increase power within reason.

Or, should I use the existing cable as fishtape and run new cabling?

  • 1
    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about surveillance system installations
    – Steven
    Feb 20, 2014 at 19:49
  • Thanks, Steven. Is there a better SE site that I should use? My primary thought was that it was a wiring/signal issue, which are covered in this SE, but I could have obfuscated it with my wordy question.
    – Art Taylor
    Feb 20, 2014 at 20:41
  • 1
    I'm not sure what a better SE site would be. Is your question primarily about what type of cabling to use for your cameras? Maybe if you could provide some details on the gear you are getting we can try and help. Something like "how do I mount my cameras" would be more on-topic...
    – Steven
    Feb 20, 2014 at 23:56
  • 1
    The problem with this question, is that it completely depends on the equipment you choose. Some equipment may work with your existing wiring, while others will not. Without knowing what equipment you're installing, it's impossible to know what type of cabling will be required. Your best option, is to do a bit of shopping and see what's available. If you want to avoid installing new cabling, shop for equipment that can work with the existing cables.
    – Tester101
    Feb 21, 2014 at 11:14
  • Security systems seem to be on topic here. The problem I see is that the question is about the wiring requirements which will be product specific. So the answer will be "maybe, depends on what you buy." Asking what product you should by is shopping advice, and what products support your cabling is product specific advice, so neither of those would be good replacement questions.
    – BMitch
    Feb 21, 2014 at 18:49

3 Answers 3


Coaxial cables are good for pretty much any resolution. So a full HD security camera will probably be fine over your existing coax. After all, your HD television signal probably arrives via coax to your TV or STB.

What you will need at the other end of the cable is a receiver that can record full-hd images at a reasonable FPS over the number of channels you have active. If you have HD cameras and a recorder that can record your HD images, then you should be good to go.


Most newer HD security camera systems are IP based, and would require Cat5/5e to be run. If you want to keep your old cables, then make sure the new cameras are analog and not digital/IP.


Yes, you can use the existing coaxial cable for "HD" cameras. These camera will need to be HD-TVI analog cameras and you will need to replace your DVR with a HD-TVI DVR.

You most likely will not be able to use the existing cable as a "fish tape" as this cable should have been secured with staples inside the walls if cabling was installed at time of building construction and not a retrofit. If you want to upgrade to IP cameras you will have to replace/install cat5 wiring for the cameras. IP cameras have to ability to do much higher resolution VS hd-tvi cameras. A hd-tvi camera and 5mp ip camera will look about the same on a 22" monitor but when you zoom in on the image you will get much better resolution/image quality with the ip camera (assuming you have a high quality ip nvr)

For ip cameras they should be POE meaing you will only need 1 cat5 to camera and no power cable.

For hd-tvi power supply you should install a CCTV specific power supply. You will need to confirm camera's power requirement of 12v dc or 24v ac and get the proper power supply.

Something like this


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