Posts Tagged ‘ camera system’

Five Things to Consider for When Selecting a CCTV Camera System Component, Package, and Company

Written By:
Friday, January 10th, 2014

Five Things to Consider for When Selecting a Camera System Component, Package, and Company

When shopping for a security camera system, its very easy to fall into any of the traps set by good marketing and advertising. You have to navigate through oodles of jargon and flat out lies in order to even start your decision. Here’s a few ways to tell whether or not you’re getting a good system from a reputable company (and no. Just because a company is “big” doesn’t make it either a good system, or the makers/marketers any more reputable).

1) Tech Support. Quite possibly the biggest factor. It doesn’t matter how amazing the picture is, or the quality, or anything else. If the manufacturing company doesn’t offer accessible support, you’re eventually going to be very unhappy. All things technical eventually, if not immediately have an issue. You want to make certain that you can actually reach someone in the event of an issue. Make sure there is more than one method as well. You want options like email, forums, phone lines, and online resources. Perhaps even go as far as give it a test run. Pretend you’ve had an issue before you’ve even bought something. What are you going to do? Can you find email contacts? Are there frequently asked questions sections in their resources? Can you get through to tech support? Does anyone answer the phone numbers provided? If you have a problem at any point, you want to be able to get it resolved. Support contact is imperative.

2) Warranty. Actually, not just if it has one either. Warranties are only as good as their usefulness. Some warranties don’t actually cover anything. Also, some are flat unclaimable due to the fact that there is no one to contact if or when the system has an issue. If a company has two different warranties for two different products, there is most likely a reason for that. There are obviously differences between tiers of products. You really want a two to three year warranty if you can find one. Some companies offer five, six, seven, and rarely more years of coverage. Again, this could be because they stand behind their product, or it could be because they have no intention on being around when it comes to pay the piper. Be leary of excessive warranties. One or two years is the standard. Low voltage electronics are not designed to last this long due to the fact that they are typically out of date technically in under three years. Essentially; you’re most likely going to want to replace them in two to three years anyway.

3) Value. Bang for the buck. No one likes the feeling they get when they buy a system and find out next week it went on sale, got discontinued or closed out, or is comparable (if not exactly the same) as another system for less money. Contact the company selling the system and find out these things. Also find out what is actually inside the machine. There aren’t a lot of chip and processor companies out there. The likelihood that you can find the exact same components on the market in another housing is very very good. Don’t base your entire decision on this, but use it as a “tiebreaker”. Companies do not usually support products their competition have sold, even if they are exactly the same. Just because you got a great deal doesn’t guarantee your long term happiness. What I find to work (often) is simply ask the company you like more to meet/match the price. They most likely are already familiar with the competitor. They may not match it all the way, or be happy about doing it. But they will most likely give you a price that will at least satisfy your pocket.

4) Future-proof. This actually goes more for the infrastructure involved with your system components. Often people are concerned about how long their components will last, and not at all about the cables and connectors that are involved. You really must consider this element as critical. As technology gets phased out, it becomes scarce. IDE hard drives are an excellent example of this. This was the standard for years, and within a single year they pretty much disappeared to the successor (PCI). Now its nearly impossible to find them. This too is somewhat true of the cables involved. You may think “big deal, cables are cheap”. However, your time isn’t. Even worse if you need to pay someone else to do the work. Being able to use your cables for future systems is probably going to save you a bundle later. Try to choose a cable type that can be used for something other than cameras (like Cat 5 or Cat 6). This will increase the likelihood of you getting future usage from them.

5) Knowledge. This is another common sense factor that often gets overlooked. The market is full of importers and warehouses. Yes, you can most likely get a deal from them. However don’t forget to consider the amount you know about security camera systems. A discount computer is fine, due to the fact that you’ve most likely owned several dozen and are also most likely well-trained on the operating systems they work in. But have you spent the same amount of time working on camera systems? Choosing a company that knows its products can save you massive amounts of headache in the long run. Checking their website may give you some insight as to whether or not they know what they are selling. However, too often material on websites gets stolen, reworked and reworded, and then re-posted again. You really need to contact the company. Use several methods. Call them. Email them. Fax them. Use the methods you prefer. Do a little discovery to see what other contact and information forms they may have. A running forum perhaps? An active and updated online database? A video database? A YouTube Channel? All of these things can and will help you acquire knowledge quickly and efficiently when you need it.

Clearly the quality, capability, and performance of the equipment you choose is important. But also is being able to learn how to use it, getting it repaired or replaced, and upgraded. In today’s market, there are so many good (and bad) alternatives that you really need to consider the place you purchase from as much (if not more) than the equipment itself. After all, you may save 50% on your purchase. But what good does it do you if you can’t use it at all?


4 Camera System

Written By:
Monday, November 14th, 2011

A 4 camera security system is the perfect solution if you need security or surveillance monitoring in a small perimeter or area.  Electronic technological improvements have not only resulted in high quality equipment designed for this purpose, but have made the cameras capable of providing images in total darkness by using infrared radiation (IR) all at an economical price.

4 camera IR security systems normally consist of four cameras, a processor/capture card/CODEC application, a monitor and a digital video recorder or DVR.  The cameras send their video in the form of electronic data to a processor or capture card that interprets the data and creates a digital file that can be read and/or saved for future use.  The CODEC application reads the digital video file that is created and applies COmpression/DECompression (hence the name CODEC) to make the file much smaller and therefore easier to handle and store while maintaining high quality characteristics of the images or video.  The file is then available for live or real-time viewing on a monitor.  At the same time the file is normally saved on a DVR for future use.  The DVR is much like the hard drive on a personal computer.

There are several types of cameras available; however IR cameras are specially designed for “seeing” in total darkness.   Digital video cameras produce images by using a special electronic light sensor called a Charged Coupled Device (CCD) or a Complimentary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor or CMOS.  CCDs are particularly useful for infrared applications because of the sensitivity of the electronic chip.

Modern technological advances in design of CCDs have yielded a sensor that is extremely sensitive to light.  This means that most CCDs can produce high quality video in very low light conditions such as the available light on a moonlit night.  However, a 4 camera IR security system needs to go one step further; it needs to be able to produce high quality video in total darkness environments.  Fortunately, most CCDs are inherently sensitive to IR light radiation.  Therefore the CCD makes an excellent choice as an image sensor for IR cameras.

The cameras in a 4 camera IR security system can produce high quality color video when there is some available visible light.  Under infrared conditions, the camera produces a monochromatic or black and white video image.  These cameras have IR Light Emitting Diodes or LEDs that surround the camera lens.  The LEDs emit IR light that is invisible to the human eye but is visible to the CCD.  These LEDs act as invisible spot lights or flood lights for the CCD, illuminating the target area images with IR light.  Generally, the more IR LEDs surrounding the lens, the greater the range and field of view for the IR video.

There are many useful applications for a 4 camera IR security system.  These systems provide excellent night time security coverage for outdoor building and property perimeters.  In addition to perimeter coverage, IR cameras can be placed so that they can monitor areas that are normally not well lit in the evenings.  They have both commercial and residential applications for this purpose.

Indoors, 4 camera IR security systems can be used to provide security and surveillance monitoring for rooms that are not illuminated.  Stores, offices, and businesses can all make use of IR security systems to provide the utmost security without the expense of leaving several building lights on.  Residentially, nurseries or baby’s rooms can be monitored in the evening without disturbing the infant with unnecessary light.  Rooms inside homes can be monitored for security purposes without the need for lights.  Potential intruders can be monitored without their knowledge since the IR illumination used by the camera is invisible to the human eye.

Recent technology also allows 4 camera IR security systems to be networked using Internet Protocol (IP).   This means that the system can be connected to the internet so that monitoring and recording can be accomplished anywhere there is internet access.  In addition, this also means that via this network 24/7 monitoring can easily be provided by monitoring service companies.

Innovative technology can now provide you with a 4 camera IR security system that can be used for in nearly any environment for any application at affordable prices.  The versatility of these systems not only provides for wide applications but for easy accessibility for monitoring from remote locations.  What’s more, 4 camera IR security systems require no additional requirements than standard camera security systems.


Wireless CCTV Camera System

Written By:
Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

A wireless Closed Circuit TeleVision or wireless CCTV camera system is one of the most popular systems used for security and surveillance applications today. Although there are many variations of a typical wireless CCTV camera system, the general set-up for a security/surveillance application of this type involves the use of wireless Closed Circuit Television or CCTV cameras and a digital hard drive used to record the pictures or video sent to it by the CCTV cameras.

The key components of a Wireless CCTV camera system include wireless CCTV cameras with antennas, a high speed digital hard drive, a wireless single or multi receiver, and a digital video recorder.  Each of these components serves a specific function to provide a total package wireless CCTV camera system.  Let’s take a closer look at each component.

The wireless camera comes in many varieties.  There are dome cameras, box cameras, bullet cameras, PTZ or pan tilt and zoom cameras, and even explosion proof cameras.  Wireless security cameras may capture still pictures and/or motion video and may provide the images in black and white or in color.  Some cameras also come equipped with a microphone for capturing sound.  In addition to these functions, wireless security cameras normally have an on-board transmitter that operates in the 2.4 GHz or 5.8 GHz bands.  The broadcast range for these wireless cameras is usually somewhere between 200 and 700 feet depending upon environmental conditions.

The receiver is basically like a radio receiver or in-home wireless telephone receiver base.  It receives the wireless signal transmitted from each camera and sends that signal to the DVR.  Generally, receivers have more than one “channel”; that is, they can receive signals from more than one camera at a time.  A receiver that can handle input from four different security cameras at one time is usually referred to as a four channel receiver.

After the camera’s signal is received, it is normally processed in some way before it reaches the DVR.  The processing circuitry is normally found on an electronic “board” that is included with the DVR.  This board may have one to several different file compression/decompression or CODECs wired into its circuitry.  The purpose of using a CODEC is to minimize the size of the file to be stored on the DVR without sacrificing too much quality.

Digital video is basically digital photographs taken at a rapid rate (normally up to 30 frames per second or fps).  However, if you consider the digital size of a file for one photograph, you can only imagine the total size for thousands used to create a video.  For example, a typical digital photograph may create a file 1.5 megabytes (MB) in size.  One hour of video would be 30 photographs per second, times 60 seconds, times 60 minutes or 162,000 MB or 162 Gigabytes (GB) of information!  A 250 GB hard drive would be filled in only two hours.  However, CODEC boards and programs reduce the file sizes drastically allowing for several hours to days of recording without filling up the hard drive.

Most DVR wireless security systems also include a monitor to view the cameras’ output in real time as well as to view the playback of recorded video.  The monitor may be a small wireless unit itself or can be a larger LCD type monitor used with most computer systems.

There are many benefits to using a wireless CCTV camera system.  Technological advances have made the components relatively inexpensive so that these systems can not only be used by businesses but can be used by consumers to provide security surveillance for the home.  Wireless systems have the added benefit of placing the cameras in strategic places that are unlikely to be seen by potential criminals and vandals.  In addition, DVR wireless security systems do not require signal transmission cables from the camera to the DVR, making installation much simpler and neater as well.

If you would like more information on wireless CCTV camera systems or are considering the purchase of a wireless CCTV camera system, please contact one of our security experts today.  They can be reached by on-line “Live Chat” or by telephone as 866-573-8878 Monday through Friday from 9AM to 6PM EST.


Store Surveillance Cameras

Written By:
Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

It’s almost impossible to believe that a retailer, especially one with a large store, doesn’t have store surveillance cameras.  No matter what type of business, store surveillance cameras can help you maintain loss prevention while at the same time preventing the need for an elaborate and possibly costly security department.

If designed and used properly, store surveillance cameras, or rather a store surveillance system can provide more that just loss prevention; in addition to protecting the stores assets, it can help protect store employees and provide documentation for the store in the event of a potentially costly insurance claim (like slips, trips, and falls).

Obviously, there are several benefits in having a good store surveillance camera system.  Let’s take a look at some of these benefits.

One of the biggest advantages is merchandise loss prevention.  Store surveillance cameras not only help prevent loss but can be a big factor in documenting and establishing proof of a potential shoplifting theft.  Most shoplifters will obviously deny the fact that they were stealing merchandise.  But, when a digital video security and surveillance system has the entire episode recorded this documentation can prove invaluable both to police and in court.

However, just the presence of store surveillance cameras can reduce the incidences of crime, especially shoplifting.   If the retail facility is quite large in square footage, fake cameras can be used to extend the coverage the “real” store surveillance cameras provide.

Another advantage of store surveillance cameras is that they not only help manage loss prevention, but when the store is closed the system keeps on working to protect it from after hours vandalism and theft.  Cameras can be monitored twenty four hours a day either on site inside the building or remotely at just about any location including professional monitoring security stations.  For example, should someone attempt a break-in while the store is closed a professional monitoring company can call the local authorities and the police could arrive before the burglars can get there hands on any merchandise.

Speaking of theft, not only can store surveillance cameras help prevent store theft from customers, but it can also prevent theft from employees.  Employee theft is something mot managers hate to think about but the fact of the matter is it still occurs.  If inventory checks don’t match up with register receipt data there’s a good chance the theft is originating from within the company.  A well designed system will be able to document this and provide evidence to the fact.

The retail business, like many other businesses, must be vigilant when it comes to marketing.   Commercials, sales, and special events are all good marketing tools, but the layout of the store also has a big impact on sales.   A digital video security system can even provide help in determining how to set-up the store.  After watching several hours of recorded video, store managers can get a “feel” for what items should be placed near the cash registers for example.

Another benefit of using store surveillance cameras is in monitoring employee/customer relationships.  Customer service is an important an integral part of retail marketing and one employee has the potential for destroying thousands of dollars of potential sales if customer service standards are not followed.

Finally, thanks to today’s modern technology, the monitoring station doesn’t even need to be anywhere near the store.  Better yet, if there is more than one store, they can all be monitored in one place at the same time taking advantage of IP (Internet Protocol) ready cameras and Digital Video Recorders or DVRs.  (Actually when systems use the Internet to network together, the DVR is called a Network Video Recorder or NVR.)

To take this one step further, any manager or owner can “tap in” to the store’s cameras using a smartphone from anywhere in the world they have 3G or 4G mobile service.   That means that while the store may be located in Texas, if the manager has a meeting in Oregon, he/she can see each camera and in most cases even control the camera (Pan-Tilt-Zoom or PTZ cameras for example) with their smartphone.

If you are interested in a store surveillance camera system for your store, please contact us today and one of our security experts will be glad to help you determine what you need with a needs analysis and will also assist you in designing your own system. They are extremely friendly and helpful and are here to help you.


Night Infrared Camera System

Written By:
Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

A night infrared camera system can help you see what others can’t.  Not only can it help you to see, but those being watched cannot detect the “light” that is used to “illuminate” the scene that they are in.  What’s more is that an infrared camera system can give you the high resolution quality of daytime video recording and also the high resolution of nighttime video recording, without requiring much of a greater cost.  To find out more about this type of system, read on.

There are three components to a typical digital video security and surveillance system; the camera(s), the Digital Video Recorder (DVR), and the monitor(s).  It is neither the DVR nor the monitor that makes night infrared camera systems possible, it’s the camera.  So let’s discuss a little about how a typical digital video camera works, including those that are night infrared cameras.

First, the camera works by using reflective light and transferring it into electrical energy that can be used to create an electronic video image.  The light in the camera’s field of vision penetrates the camera’s lenses.   The lenses function is to focus the entire field of vision onto a 1/4 to 1/2 inch size square sensor.

There are two different types of sensors used in night infrared camera systems.  Although they both change the light image into measurable electrical impulses, each goes about doing so in a slightly different manner.  Nonetheless, the end product of the either sensor is an electrical impulse that can be used to “reconstruct” the image.  The sensors that are used for this purpose are either the Charged Coupled Device or CCD or the Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor or CMOS.

Both the CCD and CMOS send their minute impulses to a couple of on-board Integrated Circuit (IC) chips.  One called a Digital Signal Processor or DSP is constructed specifically for the purpose of managing the camera’s output and making sure that the video image created is of the best quality possible.  The other IC chip is called an analog-to-digital converter which takes the sensor’s electrical information which until now has been in analog form and converts it into a digital or binary format.

One advantageous characteristic of both the CCD and the CMOS sensors is that while these sensors can “detect” visible light and create a small electrical impulse out of it, they can also “detect” invisible light, specifically infrared light in the near infrared spectrum that is invisible to the human eye, and create a small electrical impulse from it as well.  In fact, these sensors can detect near infrared light inherently and really require no other assistance to help detect it.

However, depending on the construction of the sensor and the type of camera, they may need some additional light provided in order to make the infrared signature “bright enough” at a longer distance in order to create a highly detailed video image.  This additional light is near infrared light provided by infrared Light Emitting Diodes or LEDs.  Most night infrared camera system cameras have an array of these LEDs position in a circle right around the lens.  This ensures that the LED light will be directed in the same field of vision that the camera’s lens is.

Each night time infrared camera has a rating of the distance at which it can produce an infrared image.  The distance is usually limited to the number and type of LEDs used, so when purchasing a night infrared camera system, be certain to check the range of the camera to make sure it meets your requirements.

If the camera doesn’t have the range you need you can always try using an Infrared Illuminator.  Infrared Illuminators are basically nothing more than a group of infrared LEDs.  However, most illuminators emit strong invisible infrared “light” up to 300 feet or more, drastically extending the range of your camera.

One last note about night infrared camera systems; since these systems are working in infrared mode their video image will be displayed as monochromatic or black and white.  Only the visible light spectrum can display color and that is why the infrared mode is not in color.

If you have any additional questions about a night infrared camera system, please contact one of our security experts either by on-line “Live Chat” or by telephone at 866-573-8878.