Posts Tagged ‘ CCTV’

Baby Security Monitor

Written By:
Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

One way to give yourself peace of mind in regard to your newborn child is to get a baby security monitor.  Of course, a baby security monitor isn’t restricted for use with just babies, but may be used with young children at varying ages and even adults that are sick and are not ambulatory.

There are several types of baby security monitors that are available.  Basically, most baby security monitors are exactly that; a system that monitors, but doesn’t record.  In other words baby monitors usually don’t have Digital Video Recorders or DVRs because the primary function of the system is to show the cameras field of view in real-time (live).

Another common characteristic for baby security monitors is to utilize the camera’s ability to capture infrared illumination as well.  This allows highly detailed resolution real time video to be produced of the baby without disturbing the infant at all.  This is possible because the human eye cannot see the infrared illumination that is used to “light up” the field of view.

This would be a good time to take a closer look at how a digital video camera actually works to understand how it can be used for a baby monitor.  A baby security monitor camera works by converting light that is reflected off images in its field of view into electronic video images.

It does this by using a lens (fixed or varifocal) to focus the field of view onto a sensor chip that ranges in size from about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch square.  There are bigger sized sensor chips available but generally there are two sizes that seem to be the most common size used in digital video security cameras today, the 1/4″ and 1/3″ square size.

These sensor chips produce a small, measurable electric charge when light strikes their surface.  There are two different sensor chips that are used for this purpose, each producing the same electronic data needed to create the video image but created in different ways unique to that sensor chip.  Only one of the two sensor chips is needed for any one camera.  They are called the Charged Coupled Device or CCD and the Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor or CMOS.

Not only can the CCD and the CMOS sense visible light but they are inherently capable of sensing infrared illumination in the near infrared spectrum.  Since this “light” is infrared, there is no color to it per se, so the images produced may be described as either black and white or monochromatic.

To enhance the infrared mode of video capture for the baby security monitor, the cameras usually contain on-board InfraRed producing Light Emitting Diodes or IR LEDs.  These LEDs are normally configured in an array that surrounds the camera lens as to ensure they are aimed in the correct location.  Once again, the human eye cannot detect this “illumination” but the camera sensors can.  Therefore, a baby security monitor can remain on all night long and never disturb a sleeping infant, yet produce a detailed, crystal clear image continuously.

If you currently own a digital video security system you can use one of your channels to create your baby monitor without the need to purchase a whole new system.  Make sure the camera you are going to use for the baby monitor has on-board IR LEDs to “light up” the infant’s area.  Next, depending on your specific system, you can run a video transmission cable from the camera to the DVR or directly to a spot monitor placed in the location which is most acceptable for you.

Another way to monitor your baby or child’s room is to use a baby monitor system specifically designed for that purpose.  Security Camera King offers a wireless baby security monitor system (Product# HC-BBMNT-GC) with the camera and microphone ingeniously hidden within a stuffed toy dog.  Although this system does not include infrared mode monitoring, it does include a wireless, handheld audio and video monitor that can be carried about the house (the monitor has a 300 foot range).

For suggestions on additional types of cameras and baby security monitor systems that would best fit your specific needs, contact one of our security experts either by on-line “Live Chat” or by telephoning 866-573-8878 Monday through Friday from 9AM to 6PM EST.


Camera Video Monitor

Written By:
Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

A camera video monitor is used to view either the field of vision being captured by one camera or by a series of cameras in a digital video security system. Digital video camera monitors have made great strides in technological improvements in the last several years producing a higher quality, lighter, and more adaptive piece of digital video security system equipment.

It’s important to understand a little about the history of camera video monitors in security camera systems and how they used to work compared to how they work today. Let’s take a closer look at a camera video monitor.

First, we should identify the three main components of a video security system. That includes one to several video cameras, a video recorder, and at least one camera video monitor. Note that the word “digital” did not appear in the previous two sentences because we are referring to the older analog video security camera systems.

The older analog video camera systems consisted of analog video cameras which were basically miniature version of cameras used in an average television studio. However, since television cameras “broadcasted” their signal to the general public, security video cameras were often (and still maybe today) referred to as Closed Circuit Television or CCTV. The circuit is closed because the security system camera sends its signal to the video recorder and monitor, a closed circuit, rather than broadcasting it for unrestricted access.

The recorders used in these older analog systems were usually analog video tape recorders such as a VHS or BETA recorder and the monitors were basically miniature televisions. In contrast we use digital video security cameras, Digital Video Recorders or DVRs and high resolution camera video monitors with LCD, Plasma, or LED displays today.

The older “tube” type television camera video monitor and the analog video camera, worked with video in terms of “lines of resolution.” Without getting overly technical, the quality of these displays was much lower than today’s typical Plasma, LCD, or LED camera video monitor since the tube projected the image in alternating “lines.” Today the image is made up of pixels, extremely small dots or squares that can provide a much greater (or finer) resolution, and therefore a much higher quality display image.

Often times, older analog cameras would require an individual camera video monitor for each camera. Today however, depending on the size and resolution of the display, all of the cameras within a system can be displayed on one monitor. In fact, the digital video security systems used today do not require a camera video monitor to operate. A monitor is used to set the system up initially, but may be removed after the initial settings have been made. Yet, the monitor is still the component with the highest use since it is used to view live or recorded video in one way or another.

Of the three types of camera video monitors used today, the LCD is the most prevalent. Since video security systems have become digital, they have gained access to many of the technological improvements of personal computers. Therefore, monitors that are currently used for personal computing may also be used for digital video security systems with one provision; the monitor must have the capability to display using the output connectors for the system.

Personal computer monitors typically have VGA (Video Graphics Array), DVI (Digital Video Interface), or HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) connectors for video input. Security digital video cameras however still utilize RG-59 coaxial cable with a BNC (Bayonet Neill-Concelman) connector. Most computer display monitors do not have BNC inputs; most security camera video monitors DO have BNC inputs.

This is important because if you choose to place a monitor on a single or specific camera, chances are it will need a BNC input connector. While most DVRs have BNC connectors for the camera inputs, they usually have several different output types to the monitor (VGA, DVI, and HDMI for example). When you purchase a camera video monitor for your security system, just make sure the outputs of the cameras and/or DVR matches the input connections of the monitor.

Security Camera King offers a wide variety of camera video monitors available for purchase. What’s more is that we also have BNC to VGA Monitor Converters available which allows you to view your video security camera with a BNC connector on a VGA monitor. In addition we also have monitor mounts available. For more information, talk to one of our security experts.


CCTV Digital Video Recorder

Written By:
Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

A closed circuit television or CCTV digital video recorder can provide the security and/or surveillance you need for your home, office, business, or industrial setting. For residential applications, a CCTV digital video recorder can protect your home and give you the peace of mind even when you are away of knowing that things are secure. For commercial applications, nothing provides cost effective security and surveillance as well as documentation than a CCTV digital video recorder.

What exactly is a CCTV digital video recorder? A CCTV digital video recorder is any device that can save and store digital video data, usually in the form of a digital video file that can be retrieved, copied, and played back through a monitor at some later time.

Security and surveillance type cameras first got the name Closed Circuit Television or CCTV to differentiate them from television cameras. The original security and surveillance type video camera was basically just a smaller version of the video camera television studios used to record television shows such as variety shows, sitcoms, dramas, and news reports. Television cameras were attached to transmitters that broadcast the signal over vast areas so that anyone with a television (in essence a receiver and monitor) could monitor the signal.

CCTV was used in reference to video cameras that were each connected to a video recorder. Each camera has a video transmission cable, usually a coaxial type RG-59 cable, which runs from the camera to the recording unit and monitor. The only way to receive the camera’s signal was to be in a closed circuit with it via the video transmission cable. Since these cameras didn’t broadcast their video signals publicly, they were called Closed Circuit Television or CCTV.

Today, CCTV is used a little more loosely, too mean a designated system of cameras, receivers, and recorders not intended for public broadcasting. For example, individual digital video cameras today can transmit their video signals via radio signals to receivers or Digital Video Recorders or DVRs. Although it may be possible for someone to intercept the signal, it is not intended for public broadcasting and in effect, is a closed circuit type of television.

In the security camera industry, a CCTV digital video recorder is usually thought of as one of three integral components in a digital video security system. The other two are the digital video camera(s) and an LCD monitor. For residential or commercial standalone digital video CCTV systems, the DVR is basically the equivalent of a personal computer hard disk drive connected to a high specialized type of computer processor called a Digital Signal Processor or DSP.

On these units, the CCTV digital video recorder unit is still connected to each individual camera in the system; however, as mentioned earlier they may now be connected by a specific radio signal transmission. The DSP interprets the digital data sent to it by each digital video camera and then creates a digital video file. Unprocessed digital video files can become extremely large in a very short period of recording time, so the DSP usually applies some sort of COmpression/DECompression or CODEC utility. This CODEC utility processed the digital data in such a way as to greatly reduce the size of the file while still maintaining high video quality.

Standalone CCTV digital video recorders do not require any additional equipment (such as a computer) for processing or storing the video, hence the name “standalone.” The actual DVR is the same sort of device used for a personal computer’s hard disk drive. As a result, the benefits of advanced computer technology and storage features have been passed on from the computer industry to the security camera industry in regard to the DVR.

These standalone CCTV DVRs today normally have storage capacities that range from 250 gigabytes to over 1 Terabyte. This coupled with modern CODEC utilities this translates to longer periods between overwrites when a disk becomes full and even greater capacity to store multiple cameras at once.

In addition to magnetic disk drives, CCTV digital video recorders may be in other formats as well. Although the hard disk drive is probably the fastest, cost-effective method for storing standalone system digital video, small portable units are becoming popular as well. These units may use any of the portable memory card media (such as Compact Flash, SD, etc.) or even Flash Thumb drives as the storage media of choice.


CCTV Camera Multiplexers

Written By:
Friday, July 23rd, 2010

A CCTV camera multiplexer is an electronic unit that is able to combine the video transmission signals from more than one camera into one single channel or transmission. These units are often used where processors, VCRs, Digital Video Recorders or DVRs, and monitors can only handle one input. The multiplexer, also known as a Mux, in essence reduces the multiple camera feeds by creating one output that combines all of the inputs to the multiplexer.

The multiplexer was originally designed to facilitate multiple analog video signals into one output signal for analog recorders. In other words, multiple analog CCTV camera signals were difficult to record simultaneously on an analog signal recorder such as a Video Cassette Recorder or VCR. The CCTV camera multiplexers provided an essential function of combining multiple analog video signals into one output. So instead of using four VCRs to record four different cameras, one VCR could be used.

Although CCTV Camera multiplexers were originally designed to accommodate the difficulty of recording or viewing multiple analog cameras on one source, they are not limited to analog camera use alone. Depending on the design of your system, multiplexers may be needed for use with digital video cameras and/or analog cameras.

CCTV camera multiplexers are available with a variety of multiple inputs and many different features as well. Each camera input to the multiplexer is usually called a “channel.” The most common CCTV camera multiplexers have four, eight, nine, or sixteen channel inputs. Most multiplexers connect to CCTV camera transmission cable using BNC connectors and are designed to use one output which is normally connected to a VCR.

Multiplexers may be either simplex or duplex in function. A simplex multiplexer can only handle the camera inputs, combine them in to one viewable output, and send that output to a device such as a monitor or VCR. A full duplex CCTV camera multiplexer has the same capability of the simplex multiplexer, however it not only allows recording from all the available camera inputs but can display the VCR tape simultaneously.

The majority of CCTV camera multiplexers provide the output display signal in full color. There are a few that are available in black and white only and most color multiplexers provide the option of displaying black and white.

If you are considering the purchase of a CCTV camera multiplexer, be sure to check the display resolution to ensure it meets your requirements. Video display resolutions vary widely between multiplexer units. Video displays of 2CIF (704 x
240) or NTSC 865 x 525 are fairly common.
Additional features may be found on individual CCTV camera multiplexers depending on the manufacturer, type, and other factors. Some of those features may include motion detection, timer and programmable switching, user defined and password protected camera masks.

CCTV camera multiplexers that include motion detection can be a big plus. Since the recording is often being done by a VCR, either additional tapes must be added when the current tape is filled, or a loop-able tape is used and when it reaches the end of the tape, it re-records over the beginning. If the multiplexer has motion detection, it often can be used to turn on and off the recording function of the VCR. If full time recording is not necessary (such as an empty parking lot) and recording is only necessary following a motion event (such as a car parking in the parking lot), this can save tremendous amount of VCR tape space.

Many multiplexers also come with timer and programmable switching. This function allows you to set recording times and cameras on and off. If your system only needs to record in the evening for example, you can program this on the multiplexer. In addition, programmable switching allows you to select what cameras you want recorded.

Password protected camera masks are another useful feature. Since your system contains more than one camera, there may be camera views that you prefer to be restricted to only certain individuals. You can create a camera mask to cover the other camera views so that only the cameras you choose are displayed.

CCTV camera multiplexers can be a useful accessory for any video monitoring and security system, especially older analog type camera systems. Multiplexers come in four, eight, nine, and sixteen input types with a variety of features to suit almost any need. Check with your digital security expert today to see what a multiplexer can do for your system.


CCTV Camera Remotely Monitored

Written By:
Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Innovative technological improvements have made it easier than ever to make your CCTV camera remotely monitored. There are basically two types of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras, analog and digital; and both can be installed for remote monitoring.

But before we describe how to remotely monitor your CCTV cameras, let’s back up a bit and talk about the system itself so that we are familiar with just exactly what is involved.

An older (by just a few years ago) typical CCTV system consisted of one or more analog video cameras. These cameras were like miniature versions of the cameras used to record television programs. Of course the quality was not as good as a full size television camera, and each camera transmitted its analog video signal through a cable that ran from each camera to the monitor and video recorder unit. Hence, instead of the video signal being broadcasted by air waves for general public viewing, the signal was sent through a “closed circuit.” This is how the term Closed Circuit Television or CCTV got its origin.

Each camera could be connected to a monitor, but the monitor would need to be within the vicinity (within cabling distance) of the camera. Unless special and expensive equipment was utilized a CCTV camera remotely monitored was not commonplace.

Contemporary video surveillance cameras are no longer analog. These cameras are digital video cameras that capture video and send it in digital format. Digital video cameras work by using one of two different sensors, each performing the same basic function; changing light focused on the sensor into an electronic image format. The sensor that is used is either a Charged Coupled Device or CCD or a Complimentary Metal Oxide Semiconductor or CMOS.

These systems send their video signals to a processing unit which is analogous to a highly specialized computer. The unit interprets the electronic data sent to it by the camera and creates a digital video file. Digital video files can be viewed on most personal computers and many DVD and other media players. The digital video file may be viewed live on a monitor and/or stored on a Digital Video Recorder or DVR.

Today’s newer systems may be designed with digital video cameras that are IP ready. IP is an acronym for “Internet Protocol.” IP cameras have built-in circuitry that allows the camera to be connected directly to the internet. Once the camera is connected to the internet, the camera can be monitored remotely anywhere in the world where internet access is available.

IP cameras may come with their own software that includes a monitoring program, but they are often designed to work with a standard internet browser (such as Internet Explorer). Users can monitor their cameras using a standard personal computer that has internet access. This is incredibly convenient for individuals that travel frequently and would like to monitor their homes remotely and for sending video surveillance images to security monitoring companies that provide 24/7 monitoring of the cameras.

So it’s relatively easy to have a digital CCTV camera remotely monitored. However, older analog CCTV video cameras can also be remotely monitored. Since the video signal from these cameras is analog, a device must be used to convert the analog video into digital video. This is normally done using a capture board.

A capture board is a hard wired circuit board that is usually part of the processing unit. It converts the analog signal into a digital video signal. Once the video footage has been converted into a digital file, it too can be remotely monitored. Whereas the newer cameras have IP technology and their own built in server, the analog camera at this point still needs to get the signal on a network or the internet.

Analog CCTV cameras that are remotely monitored use digital video servers to transfer the file from the capture board or processing unit to the internet. These servers are IP ready just like the newer cameras. Most servers can handle more than one camera input at a time. Once the server puts the original analog video (now in digital format) on the internet, it too can be remotely monitored from anywhere in the world where the internet is accessible.

So whether you have an analog or digital system, you can have a CCTV camera remotely monitored. Remote monitoring makes a security and surveillance system incredibly versatile and the systems are easy to install and are reasonably priced as well.