Archive for the ‘ Knowledgebase ’ Category

Indoor Security Cameras

Written By:
Monday, June 4th, 2012

Indoor Security CamerasMany times, when people think about adding security cameras to their home or business, they mainly consider the outside. Indoor security cameras are just as important as outdoor security cameras, however. In both residential and commercial settings, indoor security cameras can help to prevent crime and help home or business owners to properly monitor their property at all times.

Why Do I Need Security Cameras Inside My Home?

Although many homes rely solely on security cameras that monitor and record activity on the outside of the house, indoor security cameras are important as well. Indoor security cameras allow you to monitor the activity inside your home, and with some security systems, you can even watch the footage from your indoor security cameras from your laptop or mobile phone while you are away from home, whether you are right down the street or on the other side of the world.

Indoor security cameras help to capture more footage in the unlikely event that your house is broken into. This footage can help to have the culprit caught and arrested, and it could lead to the recovery of your stolen property. Although outdoor security cameras are helpful for these surveillance purposes, an indoor security camera can sometimes capture video that is much more clear, making it easier to identify an individual.

Indoor security cameras can also work as a “nanny cam,” allowing you to supervise the activities of your nanny or babysitter. Many people feel uncomfortable leaving the care of their children in the hands of a complete stranger, but an indoor security camera can give you peace of mind as it allows you to see how your nanny treats your children and your home when you are away. Indoor security cameras also work to monitor the activity of maids or other service people, allowing you to catch someone who is dishonest in the act.

In some cases, indoor security cameras can also function to allow you to better supervise your children. If your child comes home by himself after school, an indoor security camera can allow you to see that your child is safely at home after school, all from your work computer, laptop or even your mobile phone. Indoor security cameras also help with the safety of your children, as they can help parents catch teenagers who arrive home after curfew or who sneak out of the house late at night.

Why Do I Need Security Cameras Inside My Business?

Indoor security cameras are an absolute necessity at any business, whether it be a tiny office or a large retail store. Indoor security cameras are relatively inexpensive to install, and the money they can save a business owner easily pays for the cost of the cameras and the installation.

If you have employees working at your business, indoor security cameras are a must. Employees who know they are on camera are usually more honest and less likely to attempt to steal money or merchandise from their employer. Indoor security cameras also boost productivity in the workplace, as your employees know that they will be caught if they begin slacking off on the job. It is important to watch the footage from your indoor security cameras frequently and reprimand employees when necessary, or the purpose of your indoor security cameras is defeated.

Obviously, employees are not the only dishonest people that you should be concerned about in a business setting. In the event that your business gets robbed, an indoor security camera greatly increases the chances of the robber getting caught and arrested. Indoor security cameras can also capture footage of any other foul play in the workplace, such as an altercation between employees or customers.

Petty theft and shoplifting cost many businesses a lot of money each year. It can be difficult to keep an eye on all of your customers at once, particularly when you are busy waiting on customers, doing paperwork or completing other tasks. Properly placed indoor security cameras are a great aid in loss prevention. If you are able to monitor your indoor security cameras throughout the day, you will be surprised by the amount of theft that you will be able to reduce. In fact, in large retail stores or in high crime areas, it might be worth it to pay someone to monitor your indoor security cameras during business hours, as the amount of loss you will be able to prevent just might be more than enough to pay that person’s paycheck. Indoor security cameras allow business owners to hold people responsible for their actions, and they help police to better do their jobs in the event that an investigation or arrest is required.

What Are The Different Types of Indoor Security Cameras?

There are several available options when it comes to indoor security cameras, and each option has its own set of pros and cons. Use common sense and good judgement when shopping for indoor security cameras to suit your home or business’s individual needs.

One of the most popular types of indoor security cameras are covered, or domed, security cameras. You have probably seen domed security cameras in retail settings and other areas before. Dome security cameras are typically installed on the ceiling and look like a dark, or even black, half circle. Dome security cameras are a great choice because they are non-intrusive, as they are safely tucked out of way overhead. These cameras are also sleek and attractive, and they do not take away from the appearance of your home or business at all.

Pan/tilt/zoom cameras are a bit more expensive than some other types of indoor security cameras, but they can be very useful. Pan/tilt/zoom indoor security cameras can detect motion and will “follow” an individual in order to capture good footage. It is not always necessary to have pan/tilt/zoom cameras in every area of your home or business, but having a few in key locations is never a bad idea.

Hidden security cameras are small and discreet, and they can be hidden in signs, smoke detectors and other discreet places. Hidden security cameras can be a great way to catch someone in the act, as they will have no idea they are being videotaped unless you tell them. However, because of their small size and because of some of the interesting places where hidden security cameras are sometimes hid, they do not always provide the best picture. Hidden security cameras often work best when used in conjunction with other indoor security cameras.

Fake security cameras, or dummy cameras, are designed to look just like a working security camera, although they do not work at all. Fake security cameras should never be substituted for real ones, but a few realistic-looking fake security cameras that are mixed in with your real cameras may help in deterring crime.

Wireless indoor security cameras are a must in many situations, and they are available in several styles. When shopping for indoor security cameras, your options truly are endless. The best course of action is to mix a few different types in order to achieve maximum results.

How Many Indoor Security Cameras Should I Have and Where Should They Be Placed?

Although it is obvious that indoor security cameras are an important part of any residential or commercial security system, it can be difficult to estimate just how many cameras each individual home or business needs. Several factors must be taken into consideration when determining the amount of security cameras required in each individual setting.

A home in a safe neighborhood certainly does not require indoor security cameras in every room, and some people would feel that monitoring the activity of each room of the house is a breach of privacy for other family members. In most family homes, placing an indoor security camera near each door that leads outside is sufficient, although some may feel more comfortable if each window on the lower level of the home can be viewed in security footage.

Families who are also using their indoor security cameras as nanny cams will obviously need to install more cameras. In this situation, it would be advised to install indoor security cameras in each room where the babysitter or nanny and children will frequent, including the nursery, each child’s bedroom and common areas, such as the living room and kitchen. If it makes a family with small children feel more comfortable, it is OK to install indoor security cameras in each room in the house, except for the restrooms. Once it is established that your babysitter or nanny is responsible and honest, you can slowly turn the cameras off in some of the less common areas of the house; if the cameras are still in place, the nanny or babysitter will never know that she isn’t on camera, but the privacy of other family members is then preserved.

In a business setting, far more surveillance is necessary than in a residential setting. Indoor security cameras should be placed near every doorway. Ample surveillance of the front counter or cash register area is a necessity. Test your indoor security cameras and make sure that you can get a good view of the cash register and of anyone standing around it, from all angles; if you can not clearly see the entire area on your monitor or TV screen, it is important to add more cameras. Ample surveillance of each private office, storage room and any area where money or valuable items are kept is also important.

In a retail setting, it is imperative to have enough indoor security cameras installed so that you can accurately and clearly monitor the entire store, just from your monitor or TV screen. In order to prevent shoplifting, it is important that each aisle of the store is properly monitored. Although you shouldn’t and can’t monitor individual dressing rooms or bathrooms, it is important to have ample surveillance at the entrances and exits of these areas, as they are the two most common areas where potential shoplifters hide their goods. Any suspicious behavior from a customer going in or coming out of a restroom or dressing room should be addressed, as many customers are notorious for putting extra clothing on underneath their street clothes or smuggling items into large purses, backpacks and even diaper bags. Make sure that every unpaid item that goes into your dressing room comes back out to prevent loss of profit.

Once you have installed ample indoor security cameras to accurately and clearly monitor your home or business, you are well on your way to having a safe and secure building. Remember that other security measures should always be taken seriously as well, such as outdoor security cameras and alarm systems, in order to keep your family and yourself or your employees and your customers as safe as possible.

For further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.


What Is Frames Per Second?

Written By:
Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

A definition of frames-per-second (FPS)

What Is Frames Per SecondFPS is a term that describes the processing speed of a series of still image frames. More specifically, for example, 15 FPS means that a processor can record a series of 15 still image frames in one second so that when the frames are played back for a viewer, in one second of time, the viewer sees all 15 frames in the sequence in which they were recorded, giving it the appearance of motion.

The theory behind FPS is what gave birth to the motion picture industry, and it is still the basis of video technology. Instead of using a mountain of simple static photos, which is no way to see a movie, even if they could be produced, a motion picture camera captures thousands of still photos at a very fast speed, recording them sequentially on tape so they can be developed into a reel of film and projected onto a screen for viewing. This is a general description of analog technology. It is really still pictures simulating motion by rapid viewing.
FPS in digital terms

As the usefulness of the video medium advanced, so did the technology used in processing the still image frames.

Instead of recording motion onto film for processing, computer chips were employed that could “write” the images to a storage device, like a computer hard drive.

The images are written to storage by a process referred to as “digitizing.” The image, captured by the camera, is replicated by converting the analog picture from the camera into digital format that produces bits of data. A still image, such as one taken by a digital photo camera, is converted into a digital file that stands independently from other still images.

In video, the same principle is applied, except there is the additional step of tying together multiple images, paralleling the reel of film in earlier technology. This process of digitizing is done by software, and by “stitching” together the still images in proper sequence, a single data file is stored as a video file. The video file, when played, simulates motion.

In FPS terms, the number of individual frames that can be written to disk in one second, properly processed in the computer chip, with the software, provides a basis for comparison among processors. The faster the processing is, the better is the simulation of real-time motion.

For comparison, a processor that can digitize and record at 30 FPS, as opposed to 15 FPS, is twice as fast.
Unrelated to FPS, though worth mentioning, is that advanced software allows the viewer to see still frames, to slow the motion down, to zoom in on a portion of the image as well as to use changes from one image to another to provide a trigger for other actions to take place.

Referred to as “motion detection,” this is a tool used for the startup of other systems, such as turning on emergency security lights or notifying persons who are responsible for security in an area. This is not a function of FPS, though it helps illustrate the outstanding versatility and usefulness of digital technology.

How many FPS are enough?

How many FPS are enough?The frames-per-second requirements vary with the intent of the application. Using the example above, if motion is used as a trigger to turn on emergency lights, or to send a text message to a security officer, the FPS is almost irrelevant. Even if the processor can only convert at a rate of 7.5 FPS, it is plenty fast enough to do the job required of it.

However, in a critical industrial application, such as manufacturing, the faster FPS rates can be helpful in determining the origins of a breakdown in production equipment.

For example, a critical process on a production line may be one in which a mechanical part must align perfectly with another mechanical part, and the two are to be fused together as one. A misalignment of the parts can cause a faulty product, and in many cases, the misalignment can be bad enough that it causes a shutdown of the production line.

A video camera that is trained on the critical operation, in such a case, can send images to the processor at a rate that is faster than the human eye can see. These images are processed as a video into a single file. If the recording chip is capable of processing at very fast FPS rates, then using the software to slow down the viewing may show the point in the fusing process where the breakdown is occurring, allowing an adjustment to be made to the machine to fix the problem and to get the production going again.

The faster the FPS is, the more information the processor can give to the one doing the analysis. It does not hurt to have too much information, but it can hurt to have too little.

A discussion of “real-time” FPS

Setting aside the arguments among video gamers about what the human eye is capable of seeing, in the video surveillance industry, 30 FPS is considered real-time, meaning that watching the video at normal speed looks virtually the same as it does when viewing the scene with the naked eye.

In a case where a building security officer needs video to watch a parking lot and record suspicious events, 30 FPS is indistinguishable from live viewing. At half of real-time, 15 FPS, watching a car in a parking lot, or watching a person walking up to a car, perhaps to break into it, will present only very slight choppiness in the playback of the video. It is barely noticeable. The FPS rate of 15 is still very usable in terms of seeing what happens in the parking lot.

For someone who wants to install security cameras on the outside of his home, a rate of 7.5 FPS is still highly suitable for seeing what is happening. The playback will appear a little choppy, but it can still provide valuable footage for analysis.

Real-time may seem to be the best avenue for most all applications, but in terms of necessity, many buyers would be happy with the results of a system which produces less than real-time FPS.

FPS rating of a digital video recorder (DVR)

The technical data of a DVR is listed with its specifications, usually found in the literature that accompanies the equipment, or on the website from which the unit is bought.

In the DVR specifications, an FPS rating may show 120 FPS, or 480 FPS, and so on. If 30 FPS is real-time, do numbers this high mean that the DVR has too much processing speed to be practical? After all, does the high speed not come with a higher price that may not be necessary to spend?

The DVR specification needs some explanation. It is a question of simple math. If the DVR is a 4-channel recorder, the FPS rate should be divided by four. If the DVR has a rating of 120 FPS, and it is a 4-channel DVR, then all four channels can be recorded at 30 FPS, or real-time (120/4 cameras=30 FPS per camera feed).

On the other hand, if an 8-channel DVR has the same rating of 120 FPS, the maximum FPS that can be recorded on this specific machine, when all eight channels are feeding the DVR equally, is 15 FPS (120/8 cameras=15 FPS). However, unless the specification states that the maximum FPS per channel is 15, using only six cameras, instead of the maximum of eight for this DVR, the unit would allow a recording rate of 20 FPS per channel (120/6 cameras=20 FPS).

What is the downside of higher FPS ratings?

What Is Frames Per SecondThe downside of the higher FPS ratings is really only a matter of how much storage capacity a person wants in his archive.

Since 30 FPS represents twice as many still frames being processed per second than a DVR with a 15 FPS rating, the amount of storage needed for the video is also doubled. This can be a big difference in space and costs with larger systems of 32 or 64 cameras.

The formula is further complicated by how much time needs to be archived, pending a review or investigation. In a business that operates around-the-clock, when theft or intrusion would be noticed quickly, a seven-day archiving capability is often enough. Even though the 30 FPS DVR requires twice as much storage as a 15 FPS unit for the same amount of archived time, the difference in required capacity may be irrelevant to the buyer.

Many operations require more archiving capability, sometimes as much as 90 days worth. When this is the need, buyers will want to pay special attention to compression technologies and hard drive costs that can boost the price of the unit, without getting much in return, if the footage can be reviewed in less time than the 90 days standard that was originally set.

One way of getting around the storage issue is to set each camera according to the actual need of its particular placement. A camera that puts “eyes” on a sensitive storage area, like a pharmaceutical cabinet in a hospital, would not require a 30 FPS rate. Movements in the camera’s view would be simple human movements, like arms and legs moving, or a head turning.

These movements are easily captured on a much lower FPS rating than 30. A 7.5 FPS would be sufficient in cases such as these, thus cutting down the amount of required storage for those particular cameras to only 25% of that which would be required by a 30 FPS setting. Only those applications that require the recording of exceptionally fast motion would need to be set to 30 FPS or higher.



Managing Your Security System

Written By:
Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Managing Your Security SystemOnce your digital video security and surveillance system is installed it’s now time to for managing your security system.  This is the point where all of the cameras are mounted in place, the power supply is mounted and the cameras are connected to it and the cameras are connected to the DVR and are ready to go.

First you need to check each camera to make sure it is aimed in the direction you want.  The camera’s field of view is very important and some things need to be taken into consideration when managing your security system’s cameras.

If you have a camera with an excellent Wide Dynamic Range the background may not be as big of a concern as a camera without one.   For example shooting into an area where the background is extremely bright can cause a white wash-out and the appearance of your actual subject as nothing but a dark blob.  Once again, if the camera has a WDR this will be much less of a factor because the WDR will compensate for the bright background.

Another thing to consider when managing your security system cameras, especially Pan-Tilt-Zoom or PTZ cameras is to make sure there is nothing hindering the movement of the camera as well as any thing blocking the camera’s view after being panned or tilted.

If you have a PTZ camera/DVR that can provide tracking and following of objects, now is a good time to check that out to see how it works.  Any other special needs the cameras may have should be tested as well.  Are they intended to be used at night?  If so you will need to check them in the evening to see how the field of view and infrared range work for you.

For those cameras that may be battery operated, don’t forget to install fresh batteries (fully charged if they are rechargeable).  Make sure camera that are powered by a power distribution panel or transformer are plugged in properly and are ready to go.

If you  have any cameras that are mounted high up in the air or in places that make it difficult to access, instead of using trial and error to set them up you may want to consider Security Camera King’s 2.5 inch LCD Service Monitor with wrist strap Product# VX-WLCDM.  Unless you like climbing up and down a latter for the majority of a weekend you’ll find that this is quite a convenient time saver and will worth the money.  And speaking of monitors, now is the time to check out your connections to them (it) to make sure that all cables are connected and the monitors are mounted and turned on.

Now that all the preliminary work is done it’s time to manage your security system from the perspective of the DVR.  Managing your security system from the DVR means testing each camera and setting any individual preferences for each camera.  This is important because if you take the time to do things correctly here, you shouldn’t have to mess with anything again in the future.

Think carefully about why each camera was installed, where it was installed, and how important it is for a close shot or a narrow one etc.  This will help you on how to decide to set the camera up within the DVR’s programming.  Some cameras may require they work 24 hours a day 7 days a week while other cameras in your system may only need to record when they detect motion in their field of view.

Managing your security system also includes determining a regular schedule for you to check to see if it is time to backup (should you choose to do regular consecutive backups) so you won’t forget in the future.

We highly recommend that you visit our Video Vault where we have provided you with free, instructional videos on managing your security system, specifically dealing with the DVR.  Here you’ll find apropos instructional videos such as “Video Management Software,”  “How to Playback Footage at the DVR,” and “How to Enable Audio from the DVR” and many, many more.

To access these free training and informational videos simply click on “Video Vault” at the top of the page and you will be taken to the Video Vault where you can search and play a variety of different videos.

If you have any specific questions pertaining to managing your security system contact one of our security experts either by Live Chat or telephone.   We love to help!



Coax Surge Protection

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Although the cable used for digital video security systems does not carry a high voltage charge, coax surge protection is still required to protect your system from lightening and even overzealous power outages, and power surges.  If a surge makes its way to the camera or to the DVR your system could be destroyed.

While power outages and other non-lightening power surges are highly irregular for digital video security camera systems, coax surge protection is needed much more often, especially if you have outdoor cameras that could be a target for a random lightening bolt hit.

There are basically two types of cable that are used for digital camera security systems (there are more but these have got to be the most popular), RG-59 coaxial cable and for the newer technology, PoE (Power over the Ethernet).  Both of these are subject to power surges so you can see that there is more than just coax surge protection to think about.

RG-59 coaxial cable normally uses BNC type connectors.  RG-59 coaxial cable consists of a center conductor (usually pure copper) with a type of dielectric plastic around it.  Around the dielectric plastic is a braided shield type wire, and lastly the outer plenum or PVC jacket to protect the cable from normal wear and tear.  With all of this dielectric insulation (“dielectric” basically means non-electrical conducting), the coax cable is able to conduct the radio frequency without much interference coming from within the cable or outside the cable.

However, if the voltage and amperage is high enough, dielectric breakdown could possibly occur.  Dielectric break down is when the material between the metal core and shield takes on such an enormous energy surge like a lightening hit, that the dielectric material conducts electricity anyway.  In addition to the material that normally doesn’t pass a charge now conducting, the surge can go either or both ways on the outside cable, frying your camera at one end and your DVR at the other.

Telephones, cable television, and many other electric services have a box outside or inside the house with a ground wire attached.   The ground wire runs through a wall to the outside where a ground rod (a solid copper rod about 6 feet in length) has been placed (driven with a hammer) directly into the ground.  If the home does not have this grounding scheme it should have one similar to it such as a ground box or other device.  Even a cold water pipe makes an acceptable ground.

At any rate, the grounded connection is the objective of any surge suppressor.  The surge suppressor creates a path for the lightening to go that has little resistance (electricity follows the path of least resistance) safely keeping the lightening from damaging the equipment.

There are two different types of coax surge protection; the gas tube and solid-state.  Both types of technologies conduct electricity once a device-rated voltage is found across its terminals and immediately create a low-resistance path to ground.  Remember that electricity follows the path of least resistance so this low resistance path discharges the excess electricity to ground and at the same time reducing the potential voltage spike to near zero volts.  This is the course of the solid-state surge suppressor.

The gas tube has ionizable gas that is used to achieve the same sort of action as solid-state thus, achieving similar protection.

Security Camera King suggests that, especially if the cable runs outside, you use their coax surge protection (Product# SP-01) at each cable end.  The surge protector comes with the BNC ends for hooking it up to the cable and ground wire that can be connected directly to the ground wire in an electrical outlet or to the screw that holds the faceplate on the outlet.

If you would like to see the coax surge protector look under “Security Equipment>Security Camera Accessories>Security Camera Surge Protection.”  Here is the exact Web site location:

If you still have questions about coax surge protection, contact one of our security experts via on-line “Live Chat” or via telephone at 866-573-8878 Monday through Friday from 9AM to 6PM EST.


Free iPhone App for Viewing your Security Cams

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Installing the DVR cell phone viewing app is easy!

Available for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Windows Mobile and Symbian based phones. Just follow these easy steps to view your DVR using your cell phone.

This app is available free of charge in the iPhone App Store on your phone. If you have any other type of device, the application is available for download on the following links:

Android Phones and Devices

Symbian based Nokia Phones

Windows Mobile Phones and Devices

This application allows you to view your security cameras on your cell phone that are connected to your Elite Mini, Elite, or Ultimate DVR. You can even control any PTZ camera that is connected to the DVR as well. There has never been a better way to view your security cameras on the go.

Just follow these simple steps to get started today!

iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad:

  1. Open the App Store on your iPhone.
  2. Search for the app called TechproSS.
  3. Click on it and then click Install.
  4. A new icon titled TechproSS should have appeared on your phone.
  5. Click the new icon.
  6. Click on the small picture of a gear in the app.
  7. Enter your DVR’s information in the settings screen.
  8. After entering this info, click BACK
  9. Click the PLAY symbol at the bottom left of the app.

That’s it. You should be seeing your cameras if you enered the correct settings.

For a complete manual CLICK HERE.

Android Based Phones and Devices:

  1. Download the app from HERE.
  2. Browse to the downloaded file.
  3. Unzip the file you downloaded
  4. Copy the DMSS.apk file to your sd card.
  5. Using Linda File Manager navigate through your sd card and find the DMSS.apk file
  6. Click on the file and you should be given an option to “Install via Package Manager”
  7. If this is your first time installing it will give you a prompt stating that you need to change a setting to allow downloads from unknown sources. follow the prompts and click on the box to allow you to install from unknown sources.
  8. Click BACK to continue the install of the app.
  9. A new icon titled DMSS should have appeared on your phone.
  10. Click the new icon.
  11. Click on the small picture of a gear in the app.
  12. Enter your DVR’s information in the settings screen.
  13. After entering this info, click BACK
  14. Click the PLAY symbol at the bottom left of the app.

That’s it. You should be seeing your cameras if you enered the correct settings.

For a complete manual CLICK HERE.

Symbian OS Based Nokia Phones

  1. Download the application from the link above or from HERE.
  2. Unzip the file and copy the Symbian_DVR_Viewer.sis file to your phone using the phone’s included software.
  3. Run the software on your phone and follow the prompts to install it.
  4. A new application titled DMSS should appear on your phone.
  5. Click to run the DMSS application.
  6. Input your DVR’s IP address and login information.
  7. Click “Login” at the bottom of the screen.
  8. A list of available cameras should be displayed.
  9. Click on the camera you wish to view.

That’s it. You should be seeing your cameras if you enered the correct settings.

For a complete manual CLICK HERE.

Windows Mobile Phones and Devices

The Windows Mobile DVR Viewer is built into the DVR and can be installed by following the steps below.

  1. Open the Internet Explorer on the device.
  2. Browse to http://IP_OF_YOUR_DVR/
  3. You will be asked where you would like to install the software.
  4. Choose either Device, or Storage Card.
  5. You will be notified that the software installation was successful.
  6. A new application titled DMSS should appear on your device.
  7. Input your DVR’s IP address and login information.
  8. Click “Login” at the bottom of the screen.
  9. Click the Camera button at the bottom of the screen.
  10. Double-click the camera you wish to view.

That’s it. You should be seeing your cameras if you enered the correct settings.

For a complete manual CLICK HERE.