Posts Tagged ‘ CCTV’



Surveillance Camera CCTV

Written By:
Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Today’s surveillance camera CCTV systems have made “leaps and bounds” in technological improvements compared to the systems from just 10 to 15 years ago.  Not only that, but the camera’s prices have steadily decreased with the increase in technology.  All of this has lead to video surveillance cameras becoming a “household word” for family protection and safety as well as business protection and workplace documentation.

Original surveillance camera CCTVs were based on analog signals.  These systems and components of the systems were often referred to as CCTV or Closed Circuit TeleVision.  CCTV was so named because although it closely resembled a typical television studio system, there was one major important difference.

Studio television cameras’ video signals were boosted by the broadcast station and sent via radio frequency via a large antenna.  Once the signal left the broadcast antenna, anyone with a receiver could pick up the signal.  Video surveillance cameras however, sent their signal along a cable, directly to a specific monitor and recording device.  In this respect, the system was a “Closed Circuit TeleVision” system.  In fact, any system used for monitoring, surveillance, or security in this manner was referred to as a CCTV system.

Today, video surveillance cameras still operate on a CCTV based system, but to be accurate, we must redefine CCTV to make it somewhat looser in application.  Although modern digital video surveillance cameras also transmit their video signals via a cable to a Digital Video Recorder or DVR and one or more monitors, they also employ additional methods for transmitting their signals that must be taken into consideration of the definition of CCTV as well.

These cameras may also transmit their video data wirelessly via an on-board camera transmitter and antenna.  These cameras use modern day wireless technology often used in land-line based telephones such as 2.4 or 5.8 GHz technology or 900Mhz technology for broadcasting their signal.  These systems are designed to transmit their signal to a nearby receiver, which is usually plugged in by cable, to a DVR and/or monitor.

Another method that is employed today is the use of the Internet as a vehicle for networking and transmitting.  Video surveillance camera CCTV and their DVRs have the capability for connecting to the Internet.  When they do possess this feature they are often referred to as Internet Protocol or IP ready, because they deliver their transmission using IP format technology.

Although it is true that individuals other than who the video images are intended for can gain access surreptitiously, the intent of these wireless broadcasts and Internet transmissions are directed to a limited number of very specific viewers.  Thus, although our definition for CCTV as now become a bit broader in scope, it is easy to see why even today, these units are often called surveillance camera CCTV systems.

While we are on the subject of CCTV versus new video surveillance cameras, it would be prudent to mention that there is some carry over from the “analog days” of CCTV to the current “digital era” which can make the comparison of components or the selection of a system somewhat confusing.  This primarily involves the use of reference to the detail or resolution of the video image created by the camera and displayed by the monitor.

Electronic video images may show a varying degree of detail.  That is evidenced by the contrast between standard television broadcasts and those called High Definition (HD).  Television was originally displayed on a Cathode Ray Tube or CRT (also called the “picture tube”).  The CRT reproduced the image on its screen by shooting an electron beam horizontally at the rate of about 60 times per second.  To a large degree, the number of horizontal lines determined how detailed the video appeared.  In this situation, the more lines, the smaller the lines, the greater the detail of the picture.

Today, however, most televisions are like computer monitors; they are Liquid Crystal Displays (LCD), plasma, or Light Emitting Diode (LED) displays.  These monitors display tiny dots called pixels instead of horizontal lines; therefore, they can display a much higher detail picture.  Yet, many video surveillance cameras still specify their picture quality in terms of the older, horizontal line method.  It’s important to know that the lower end of resolution or detail is from about 300 up to 650 TVL (TeleVision Lines).  Video surveillance cameras CCTV with 650 TVL displays can produce very high definition video images.

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CCTV Surveillance Software

Written By:
Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Closed Circuit TeleVision or CCTV surveillance software covers a broad topic of digital programs used to operate digital video security and surveillance systems.  While there are plenty of different types of system hardware (cameras, Digital Video Recorders or DVRs, monitors, etc.) most of these components would be useless without CCTV surveillance software.

CCTV surveillance software has many functions depending on the intended function for the software as indicated by the hardware it serves, the features that it provides, and the requirements that may need to be met based on the application.

CCTV surveillance software is responsible for the communication between the DVR and the camera, and even in this example there is really two different types of software that are needed.  The first type is used and controlled by the DVR to process, compile, and condense the digital information that makes up the video image information coming to it by the digital video camera.

There is a second type of CCTV surveillance software that can be involved between the camera and the DVR.  This type has very little to do with the video image data, it is used to control the camera and its functions.  A good example of this is object tracking or following software on a DVR used with a Pan-Tilt-Zoom or PTZ camera.  The software contains the programming that is used to determine what to follow and what commands to send to the PTZ camera to insure it does follow the object.

All of Security Camera King’s featured DVRs come with their own Web server technology so that the DVR can be accessed via the Internet.  This technology may be in the form of hard wiring (Integrated Circuit chips) but is generally another type of CCTV surveillance software.

As a result of CCTV surveillance becoming digital, it has been able to share its components and operation with the personal computer industry.  In other words, the digital video security industry has been able to benefit tremendously by the technological advancements of the modern day digital world, namely the personal computer industry.

When technology yields a faster computer processor, so too is there a newer, faster DVR.  When the computer industry develops a larger hard disk drive, so too is there a larger storage capacity DVR.  When the Integrated Circuit or IC chip becomes smaller and performs more tasks, CCTV surveillance cameras become smaller and so on.  The same premise applies to CCTV surveillance software.  This has resulted in remarkable changes in the video security and surveillance industry

Yet, still there is another application for CCTV surveillance software.  There are many security systems on the market that are designed to work with your personal computer.  There is usually a PCI card that you install in your computer.   This card becomes the interface for the DVR.  It may or may not contain a hard drive for storing video as well as digital instructions for the computer to communicate properly with the PCI card and ultimately with the cameras.  This card will normally require some sort of CCTV surveillance software in order to run properly.

Today’s technology advances in the cellular phone or smartphone industry has also had its effect on the digital video surveillance industry. Once Security Camera King’s digital video systems are installed and hooked up to the Internet, you can use a 3G or 4G smartphone to access your system. This includes controlling the cameras and watching them live as the monitor the area. However, before you can do this on a smart phone, the phone needs to have an “application” or “app” installed to make it able to communicate properly with the security system. The app is actually a smaller form of CCTV surveillance software.

If you have any additional questions about CTV surveillance software or need assistance with software and systems purchased from Security Camera King, please feel free to contact one of our security experts for assistance.  They can be reached on-line via “Live Chat” or by telephone at 866-573-8878 Monday through Friday from 9AM to 6PM EST.

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CCTV Video Server

Written By:
Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

There are many ways to use the Internet these days to enhance your digital video security system and one such method may be to use a CCTV video server.  While the Digital Video Recorder or DVR is the center of the powerhouse for a digital video security and surveillance system, the CCTV video server could be considered its cousin, the major difference between the two being the CCTV video server is designed to work specifically with the Internet.

A typical digital video security and surveillance system works in the following manner:

  1. The digital cameras capture the video image and send it via a video transmission cable (for distinction here the cable is usually RG59) to the DVR (or a spot monitor)
  2. The DVR processes the video data; it compresses it using a CODEC (COmpression/DECompression) utility that reduces the size of the file but maintains high levels of quality in the video image.
  3. The DVR records the video to its Hard Disk Drive or HDD and also displays the image on a monitor.

In the above example, the system is usually self-contained in a specific geographical area because the cameras must be cabled to the DVR.  There are wireless cameras and other equipment but for the most part, these systems are still located in one specific location.

CCTV video servers are used as an adjunct to the older analog systems.  A typical analog video security and surveillance system with a CCTV video server works in the following manner:

  1. The analog (or digital) cameras capture the video image and send it via a video transmission cable (RG59) to the CCTV video server.  Note that a video server normally works with analog systems but may work with digital systems as well.
  2. The CCTV video server processes the video data; it compresses it using a CODEC.  Often, the CCTV video server will use more than one CODEC.  For example the server may save the cameras’ video images to the HDD using MJPEG technology, but for video that may be watched over the Internet, H.264 may be used to “stream” the video to its destination.
  3. The CCTV normally doesn’t use a monitor except for setup.  Usually its video feeds are processed (using H.264 for example) and are sent out over the Internet where they may be downloaded and viewed on any compatible computer.

As you can see, the biggest difference between a DVR and a video server is that the images remain local to the DVR while CCTV video servers digitize the analog signal and make it accessible via efficient streaming over the Internet.  There are advantages and disadvantages to the CCTV video server experience.  We’ll a mention a few of each in the following paragraphs.

(As a side note, Security Camera King has all but eliminated the need for a CCTV video server with its newest DVRs as each one contains its own Web server technology.  By going through the DVR oe can access every camera in the system over the internet.)

Probably the one single greatest benefit of all of a CCTV video server is the ability to view analog video over the Internet.  For analog systems, specifically cameras, this is not possible without a video server.

Another huge benefit of the CCTV video server is that the unit is able to save the video image to its HDD or send it along to a DVR to record to its HDD, and broadcast it in a streaming fashion over the Internet simultaneously.  This may not sound very impressive since Security Camera King’s feature digital systems can easily do all of this and more. But it is a convenient way of utilizing older analog cameras using the Internet.

The down side to using a CCTV video server and analog cameras is that if the Internet goes down, you will not be able to access your system remotely.  Also, a slow connection will yield a painstakingly slow monitoring experience.

One last thing; don’t confuse CCTV video servers with Network Video Recorders (NVRs).  NVRs do not work with analog cameras; they are designed for use with IP (Internet Protocol) ready cameras.  NVRs are basically the IP ready camera’s equivalent of the DVR while CCTV video servers simply get the camera’s video IP ready and broadcasts it over the internet.

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CCTV Multiplexer

Written By:
Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

A CCTV multiplexer or Closed Circuit TeleVision Multiplexer allows more than on camera to be connected to the unit but only one output at a time is allowed through the unit.  Most Digital Video Recorder or DVR units have this function built right in to the DVR.  Another way to describe a multiplexer is by its function which is to combine various input signals and generate only one output signal.  You can almost think of a CCTV Multiplexer as being similar to a computer router.

For digital video security and surveillance systems, the multiplexer is what allows the display of 8 cameras simultaneously.  Eight video transmission cables from eight individual cameras connect to the multiplexer.   The multiplexer then takes the 8 individual camera inputs and combines them into one.  This how you are able to view 8 digital video security and surveillance system cameras on one monitor.

A CCTV multiplexer works by allocating bandwidth; this highly refined process insures that the transmission medium is used efficiently.  There are actually four different methods of multiplexing:

* Space division;

* Frequency division;

* Time division; and,

* Address multiplexing.

Generally speaking, digital transmission uses time division multiplexing and analog transmissions use frequency division.

In applications like cable TV each channel the user visits is broadcast on the input cable at a different frequency.  But with a CCTV application however, since the cameras are all on a closed circuit, all use the same frequency.  With each camera broadcasting at the same frequency there would be no doubt of the signals getting jumbled up, interference, and cross talk.  Literally, about the only way to handle that situation would be for every camera input to have its own monitor.  In other words, a 16 camera system would require 16 separate monitors.  CCTV multiplexers were designed to put as many cameras as possible on one monitor and reduce the user’s cost by relieving the need for the same number of monitors as there are cameras.

Multiplexers are available in a variety of sizes.  Since the DVR often contains the multiplexer, the multiplexer can be custom designed within the DVR unit itself via the manufacturer of the DVR.  However separate, external multiplexers are still available and used today in about three different configurations based on the number of cameras (channels) that are being used.  Common sizes for stand alone multiplexer units are 4, 8, 16 and 32 channels (camera inputs).

Setting up a multiplexer is rather easy and doesn’t require much prior knowledge of digital video security systems.  Some multiplexers do have a few different features that you will need to activate if you want to use them.  These may include the ability to view one channel at a time or all or multiple channels at the same time.  Some units may also have a “dwell” setting.  Dwelling is the term applied to multiplexers that describes the ability to display a particular camera for a certain period of time before showing the next cameras.  This process is repeated cyclically as the multiplexer moves through each individual camera one at a time.  This is also known as “dwell time.”

Some CCTV multiplexers not only can dwell, but some also come with a hand held remote control that allows the user to stop or move-on a particular camera in the system.  Setting the multiplexer up for use with these features is usually accomplished with On Screen Displays or OSD that make the set even quicker and easier.

In the past, CCTV multiplexing was not an option but was a definite requirement if you wanted to see more cameras than just one on a monitor.  Today, with LCD and LED monitors multiple camera viewing is very easy.  Now the only question is how many cameras do you want to view at once?  Of course this is dependent on your DVR which ultimately means, dependent on the multiplexer built into your DVR.

Be sure to check the specifications of the DVR or CCTV multiplexer to make sure that everything is compatible before making your purchase.  If you have any additional questions on multiplexers, please contact one of our security experts via on-line “Live Chat” or by telephone at 866-573-8878 Monday through Friday from 9AM to 6PM EST.

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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.

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