How To Connect Security Camera To TV Without a DVR/NVR

You can connect a security camera to a TV by plugging in the video cable from the security camera to your display.  

That said, you might run into issues with compatibility. This is because connectors or devices will need adapters to run in between.  

Bypassing a DVR is not recommended for most systems. You’ll lose DVR storage and features such as multiplexing. 

Things to Know

  • You can connect the video cable of a security camera directly to your TV and stream live footage. 
  • However, you must check the input ports in your TV and security camera. After that, you’ll need to decide if adapters will be necessary to make the connection.
  • Analog cameras typically use a BNC or RCA connector. You can connect these directly to your TV or use a BNC to HDMI adapter. 
  • IP cameras mostly come with a Cat5 connector. For these, you’ll need to use a Cat5-HDMI adapter/converter.
  • Without a DVR, you’ll lose the option to store footage on a hard drive.
  • You’ll also lack multiplexing features and the ability to view multiple cameras. However, you can implement these using a CCTV multiplexer or video switcher. 

What You Need To Connect a Security Camera to a TV Without a DVR

When trying to connect your security cameras to a TV, the only step you’ll run into issues is when matching the data cables with the input ports of your TV.  

So before you decide to set up your TV for live viewing, take note of the input ports in your TV. Then compare it with the output ports of your security camera. 

You might find that the ports match. Otherwise, you’ll have to purchase an appropriate adapter.

Usually, you’ll run into these kinds of cables and ports: 

  • Coaxial Cables with BNC Ports: The most commonly used for analog security cameras. Check if your TV has a BNC input port, or consider purchasing a BNC to HDMI adapter. 
  • RG-59 Siamese Cables: These are simply coaxial cables coupled with the DC power cables for easy installation. The same BNC adapter can be used. 
  • RCA: Some analog security cameras will come directly with RCA. Check with your TV’s input ports and consider an RCA to HDMI adapter.
  • HDMI: Some modern IP-based cameras will include an HDMI port, which you can directly connect to your TV.
  • Cat5 Networks Cables: The majority of IP cameras come with Cat5 cables. Here, you will have to purchase a Cat5 to HDMI adapter to connect to your TV. 

In addition, you’ll also need the power supply for your security camera. You can simply use the one that came with the camera or purchase it separately.

Step-by-Step Guide On How to Connect a Security Camera to a TV Without a DVR

To set up your security camera-TV connection without a DVR, follow these steps:

  1. Start by turning off all devices. This includes the security camera, TV, and any adapter if used.
  2. Connect the security camera to the power supply using the power cables.
  3. Then, connect the appropriate data cable to your camera. This can be coax, RCA, Cat5, or HDMI, depending on your camera.
  4. Then, connect the other end of the data cable to your adapter (if you need one).
  5. After that, you can connect the adapter (or the other end of the data cable) to the input port of your TV.
  6. Turn on your security camera and TV.
  7. Switch the input channel to the one connected to your security camera.
  8. Finally, you can check the video feed and verify everything as needed.

Benefits of Connecting a Security Camera to a TV Without a DVR/NVR

Bypassing your DVR and connecting your security camera’s video feed directly to your TV can be useful in certain situations. These are:

  • In situations where it’s important to live stream the footage in real-time. This includes time-sensitive situations such as banks, casinos, and retail outlets.
  • To monitor and greet guests coming into your house or business
  • To show customers a dedicated live view of an important location or event.
  • To discourage intruders and shoplifters by providing them with live footage of themselves.
  • When your DVR is broken or you simply don’t have one.

Potential Drawbacks of Connecting a Security Camera to a TV Without a DVR

Depending on the setup, it can also present a couple of notable issues. These are:

  • Limited Video Storage: Without a DVR, you’ll lose the option to store and retrieve past footage. This can be counterproductive when the camera doesn’t have alternative storage options such as Micro SD and cloud storage. 
  • No Multiplexing: Without a DVR, you won’t have the option to view multiple camera feeds on a single screen. 

Possible Workarounds

To overcome these issues, consider using a hybrid setup. Here, you can split the video cable to provide real-time monitoring on a TV while also storing footage on a separate DVR.

For multiplexing, you can use a security camera switcher or multiplexer device

These will allow you to switch between camera feeds at the push of a button. You’ll also have the option to customize multiple viewing modes, such as grids or picture-in-picture.


Connecting a security camera directly to a TV without a DVR involves specific equipment such as the security camera itself, compatible cables, and possibly an adapter. 

The process is quite simple. However, you need to check for the compatibility of your existing ports and purchase adapters as necessary. 

The benefits of this setup include live, direct surveillance and potential cost savings. However, you might be limited on storage options and multiplexing features.

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