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What is CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) – A Guide

CCTV, otherwise known as closed-circuit television, is a monitoring system that lets you keep track of what’s going on in and around your home and your business. Monitors and cameras allow you to view everything that is happening live, and recorders on the cameras let you save footage that you can look over later.

This isn’t your regular TV, because it can’t receive broadcasts from signals elsewhere in the region – it only shows footage that is recorded by security cameras within the vicinity.

Surveillance through CCTV has been around for a while now, and as technology advances so do the CCTV cameras that people use to catch criminals. This guide on CCTV cameras includes everything you need to know about CCTV cameras.

three cctv cameras

What is CCTV?

The reason for CCTV is to capture, and record footage, particularly in places know for high crimes rates. There are a few popular options to choose from when it comes to a CCTV camera:

Wired:

A wired camera is used to send the footage back to the security system. One downside to this is that the signal can be weak at times, especially if the camera is more than 300 meters away from the source. If you use the right signal boosters, switches, and network cables, this issue can be solved. In fact, you can connect several different cameras to one monitor.

Analog:

An analog CCTV camera is one of the oldest models and is still one of the most popular CCTV camera installations today. They come with all essential functions and can store recordings internally.

IP (Internet protocol):

This type of CCTV camera comes with all the features of an analog camera; however, it has many more things it can achieve as well. They have higher resolution images and are much more flexible, meaning they can move around and zoom in on a moving object. They also allow you to look at the footage from the internet. This means you can get notifications from the camera on your computer if anything happens that’s suspicious – and you can view what’s happening from your desktop or even your smartphone. One of the biggest downsides to IP CCTV cameras is that they’re a lot more expensive than Analog ones.

Different Components of CCTV

DVR is short for digital video recorder. This is the most current model when it comes to analog recorders that pair with videotapes to keep all the footage they film.

DVR digitalises footage from analog cameras, which keeps the quality of the resolution and the frames per second up to par. When the hard disk attached to your camera is full of footage, the camera will begin to tape over it, beginning with the oldest footage first.

NVR, otherwise known as network video recorders, work in a similar way to DVR, except that they’re compatible with IP CCTV. NVR and the camera connect through a router or a network switch. This allows you to quickly look at your recorded footage through your smartphone or on a desktop.

If you want to view any recorded or even live footage, it’s important to connect your NVR or DVR to a monitor or TV. The display screen can be anything – it’s up to you how big or small you want it.

As well as the different types of CCTV cameras that we’ve highlighted above, there are a few others out there that you may want to consider. They include:

  • Thermal heat detection camera
  • HD camera
  • Wireless camera
  • Infrared camera
  • Dome camera
  • Bullet camera

A coaxial cable is the one you want if you’re considering which cables you need for a CCTV camera attached to wires. If you’re using an IP camera system, you’re looking at a Cat5 or 6 cable.

Your best bet for your HD camera is a RG59 coaxial cable, which can come as long as 600 feet, which should be more than enough for your wiring needs. However, if you do require a longer cable, there are others available out there that measure more.

How Does CCTV Work?

When a CCTV camera picks up something interesting, it records it so you can go back and view it at a later time. You can set up your CCTV camera to log everything it views; however, this method does require a lot of storage space.

With this in mind, you may want to think about setting up your camera to only record at certain times during the day, or when movement is detected. There are a couple of video recording options available, so let’s take a look at what these are.

All cameras used for CCTV surveillance need certain cables at specified lengths, even if you’ve picked up a wireless model. As you can expect, cables are used to connect different parts of the system together, which includes monitors, modems and recorders.

Your CCTV camera will pick up a series of images which are then sent through to the recording device and kept until the next day when old footage is recorded over. The front of the camera includes an aperture, which is open and receiving of light that streams through the lens.

This is captured by an internal digital chip that is then translated into a series of images. The transmitting of these images can either be done through a wire or wirelessly.

To find out how to install CCTV cameras, read our article here.