Posts Tagged ‘ digital video security cameras ’

Surveillance Camera Microphones

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Capturing video footage with your digital video camera system is great, but there may be times when audio is also needed.  In this case you will more than likely want to have some good surveillance camera microphones.

Many of Security Camera King’s digital video security cameras come with an on-board surveillance camera microphone to record audio.  Some of the more frequent applications of audio are using the camera at entrances and exits as a door guard, gate keeper, or other special applications.

Two-way audio using the Internet or a network allows you to hear what is being said or done and react by being able to talk back where the subjects can hear you through the camera’s on-board speaker.

Not all units have surveillance camera microphones for this purpose.  However, Security Camera King does sell powered microphones specifically for this purpose.  Our product# MIC is rugged yet produces studio quality sound and the microphone can be mounted almost anywhere. It has both the power plug receptacle and the BNC plug-in for the audio cable.  The microphone is sturdy and small so as not to be obtrusive when it is installed along with a digital video camera.

WARNING:  There are state laws concerning the recording of conversations without all those participating in the conversation being aware of the recording.  Check with your own state laws to make sure you are complying with state, federal, and/or local laws if you are covertly recording conversations and video images as well.  Oddly enough, there doesn’t seem to be too many restrictions on video capture, but there are plenty that deal with audio recording.

For many states where a surveillance camera microphone (with audio) is used, a simple notice or sign posted in the area of the camera is sufficient enough. (For example, “These premises are protected by digital video cameras with audio.  Both video and audio is being recorded.)   Other states may have more elaborate requirements to be compliant.

Quite often you may wish to have a security camera audio hookup on one particular camera in your system:  A baby monitor.  Having audio for a baby monitor increases the ability to keep a safe watch on a child.  It can alert you immediately if anything is wrong.

External microphones like product# MIC above are normally connected to the Digital Video Recorder or DVR by two wires with a BNC connector on the end.   The standard power plug accepts from 6 to 12 VDC.  Again, check the specifications of your camera as the camera may already have an on-board microphone/speaker.

Sometimes it’s more advantageous to have a separate surveillance camera microphone even if one comes on-board with the camera.   Chances are that if you are covertly recording video, you won’t want the camera mounted somewhere that will make it easily seen.  The same situation for the microphone applies, however the camera may be mounted in such a remote or unusual place that you will want a separate surveillance camera microphone mounted closer to the origination of the sound.  This could mean that the camera could be in one wall of the room and the microphone is installed somewhere quite distant from the camera such as the opposing wall or on the ceiling.

If you are installing a new system or replacing an older DVR with a newer DVR and it is one of Security Camera King’s featured DVRs the DVR will be able to accept audio input and audio output.  Even our entry level 4 Channel Elite-Mini Economy DVR has to Audio In ports and one Audio Out.  However, other DVRS may not include the ability to support audio so it is best to check the specifications sheet for that DVR before purchasing.

If you have any additional questions concerning surveillance camera microphone or security cameras or DVRs with audio, please contact any one of our security experts either via on-line “Live Chat” or by telephone at 866-573-8878 Monday through Friday from 9AM to 6 PM EST.


TVL Camera

Friday, July 1st, 2011

Digital video security cameras come in all shapes and sizes and with different degrees of resolution, often using the phrase “TVL Camera” such as a 550 TVL Camera. What does TVL mean and how does it relate to digital video security cameras?  We’ll answer that question and more in the following article.

First, It will make things much easier to understand if you know a little security camera industry history. Full security camera systems have been around for several years now, however not until relatively recently have the systems been based on binary (digital) data instead of its older analog data.

In the old days, (a few years back), security cameras were in a closed loop with an analog recorder, such as the older VHS or Betamax video recorders. Recorded security footage was either recorded on a looping video tape, so that when the tape reached its end it would start at the beginning recording new material over the previously recorded older data. Another method was to monitor the Video Recorder closely (and constantly) and eject the current tape when full and insert another blank tape (probably the least favorable of any of the methods).

The point here being that video security systems have been around for a long time, doing most all of its work based on an analog system and not a digital system. When Personal Computers became poplar and started creating all sorts of devices that could be digital instead of analog, the security video industry certainly wasn’t the last to be affected. Today, nearly all video security systems that are sold are DIGITAL video systems.

As the “digital age” came upon us, the security camera industry started assimilating advanced technology and digital based devices with just one problem. Sometimes the industry adopted the new digital nomenclature yet other times they would maintain the old analog nomenclature. So, TVL camera is actually a carryover from the analog days.

A TVL camera is referring to the detail it can display in different formats. It represents the horizontal lines of resolution that the camera is capable of displaying. Older CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) monitors and televisions created a picture by flashing a moving beam across the screen, usually about 60 times per second. TVL represented how many times the CRT would draw a horizontal line. The greater the number the more detail on the picture.

TVL camera carried over from the analog days and is still used today. However, today’s cameras are digital and produce their images by creating tiny dots that are circular or square called pixels. This is how the Digital Video Recorder or DVR displays its images. However, there is still some confusion, because the specifications for the DVR refer to the size of the image being recorded, not the detail. To make matters more confusing, they use a mixture of different terms.  For example:

  • – D1 is the same as 720 x 480 pixels
  • – CIF is the same as 360 x 240 pixels
  • – 4CIF is 704 x 480 pixels

And these are usually the terms referenced in regard to what size image the DVR will display from a given camera; once again this is not detail but how big of a display it can create. However, TVL can be applied to these because TVL is the resolution or detail in each of the above examples. This means that a D1 camera/DVR combination should be able to display up to a size of 720 x 480 pixels with a 520 TVL camera. However, if the TVL camera produces a resolution higher than what the DVR can support, the detail resolution information is lost or in other words just not used.

For example, if a DVR displays the image in CIF format, using a 540 TVL camera is basically overkill because CIF format can only support about 280 TVL, the rest is wasted. Be certain to consider these picture sizes and resolutions when designing your system because you’ll want everything to match up.

If you would like more help with this subject try going to Security Camera King’s page and read the articles posted there or you may contact one of our security experts either on-line (Live Chat) or via telephone at 866-573-8878 Monday through Friday from 9AM to 6 PM EST.


CCTV Housings

Monday, February 21st, 2011

Digital video security cameras may need CCTV housings, especially if they will be placed outdoors or in a potentially violent or hazardous environment. Though some cameras are made with protective Closed Circuit Television or CCTV housings, other may require that you install your camera in one before mounting.

Security Camera King offers a wide selection of outdoor cameras and CCTV housings. Normally when a digital video camera is marketed as an “outdoor” camera, it comes from the manufacturer with its own protective housing for use outdoors. However, some outdoor cameras still require CCTV housings under certain conditions.

You may have noticed that certain CCTV housings or outdoor cameras are accompanied by an IP rating that usually looks something like this: IP56. This is actually a rating based on a standard created by the International Electrotechnical Commission or EIC. This rating was designed to provide consumers and manufacturers with a more precise yet standardized method of describing the protection that is offered to an electronic device, in this case of course, the digital video security camera.

The IP rating or sometimes called the IP code stands for International Protection Rating or Ingress Protection Rating. Some times the rating may include a letter after the two digits, but that is seldom seen in reference to CCTV housings or cameras and is really irrelevant for these applications. The two digits following the “IP” however, do have a meaning. Let’s take a closer look.

The first digit of the IP rating represents the degree of protection offered against solid material. This digit’s range is from 0 to 6, with 0 indicating no protection whatsoever and 6 meaning the CCTV housing is absolutely dust tight. For a sense of the rating, a 2 means protection against ingress of objects greater than 12.5 mm such as fingers or other objects.

The second digit of the IP rating represents the degree of protection offered against liquid material. The digit range in this category is from 0 to 8, again with 0 indicating no protection whatsoever from liquids. A rating of 8 however, indicates that the CCTV housing can with stand immersion in water beyond 1 meter in depth. Once again for a sense of the rating, a 4 means protection against splashing water against the housing from any direction shall have no harmful effect on the camera. A good IP rating for a CCTV housing is at least IP55.

Dome and Bullet type digital video security cameras are the most likely models to be manufactured with their own “built-in” or perhaps more accurately, “built-on” CCTV housings. Likewise, these cameras are also most likely to be marketed as “outdoor” or “indoor/outdoor” use cameras.

Security Camera King carries many different types of indoor/outdoor dome cameras including those whose CCTV housings are classified as “vandal proof.” Outdoor dome cameras are often installed in vulnerable locations; that is, since they are the most visible component of a digital video system they are usually installed in areas of high risk (if the system’s layout is designed correctly). These cameras come with a strong metal housing, no visible screws (that could otherwise be maliciously undone), and very strong Lexan domes.

Most of our bullet-shaped cameras come with their own CCTV housings and are marketed as indoor/outdoor types. Bullet cameras are typically used outdoors in areas of low-risk vandalism because the cameras can maliciously be repositioned rather easily.

Box cameras are very popular cameras; however they usually offer no weatherproofing CCTV housings or mounting hardware. If these cameras are purchased with the intent to use them outdoors, you’ll want to purchase you’ll want to purchase our Metal CCTV Security Camera Outdoor Housing with Mount (product # OUTDOOR_HOUSING).

However, if your box camera will be used outdoors in extremely cold climates, you’ll risk fog and condensation forming inside the housing and on the camera lens. In this particular case, you may want to consider purchasing Security Camera King’s Outdoor Camera Housing with Heater and Blower (product# OUTDOOR-HEATED-HOUSING) for just a few dollars more.

Finally, we should mention that we also offer a very large variety of explosion proof CCTV housings and mounting brackets. Explosion proof housings prevent any volatile and potentially flammable vapors from coming in contact with the camera’s electrical components which could cause the gas to ignite. These housings are also made of hardened stainless steel that is able to withstand severe weather conditions. These are excellent for use in any area where extreme security measures are required.


Camera Video Monitor

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.


Smoke Alarm Security Camera

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Need to keep an eye on someone or something without them knowing? Try using a smoke alarm security camera, a hidden camera device that may or may not be wireless that can capture high quality digital video images. Security Camera King has two basic types available which are the “down view” smoke detector and the “down view” carbon monoxide detector.


Computer, electronic, and digital video camera technology has improved dramatically in the past view years, all benefiting the digital video security camera domain. Because of this, digital video security cameras can be built to be incredibly small and still offer high quality digital video capturing. Ultimately, this allows the camera to be concealed or disguised as another common place device, undetected by most individuals. There are times when covert monitoring is necessary and this camera is an excellent choice for such an application.

Both detector type hidden cameras mentioned above contain a high quality digital video camera and are designed to capture digital video images in the “down view.” The “down view” means the cameras are normally mounted on the ceiling or a surface directly above the target area for recording, with the camera pointed directly down ward.

The smoke alarm security camera and the carbon monoxide security camera can be purchased in black and white recording or color recording models. In addition, both the smoke alarm security camera and the carbon monoxide security camera transmit their video transmission data wirelessly using 2.5 GHz technology. The color model for each detector also comes with a free receiver.

Many people have asked Security Camera King’s security experts how the smoke alarm security camera (or carbon monoxide security camera) work. In the following paragraphs will provide a description of these cameras and how they actually function.

A digital video camera security system consists of one to many cameras, a Digital Video Recorder or DVR, and an optional monitor. The digital video camera captures video images and sends them to the DVR unit for processing. The camera and DVR unit’s Digital Signal Processor (DSP) creates a digital video file that can be viewed on a monitor and/or stored on the DVR for later use.

Our smoke alarm security cameras are component cameras for this type of system. In other words, they are a fully functioning high quality digital video camera; they are not a standalone system with their own recording device. They must be connected to a DVR to record their video.

Our cameras utilize a 1/4 inch CCD sensor with a 3.7 mm wide angle lens. Digital cameras use sensors to convert light images into electrical energy that can be measured and ultimately used to create digital video images. There are two type of sensors; both produce the same result but go about doing it in a slightly different way. The Charged Coupled Device or CCD is utilized in our smoke alarm security cameras. Another type of sensor, called a Complimentary Metal Oxide Semiconductor or CMOS can also be used in digital video cameras.

Electronic technological advancements have yielded smaller sensors over time so that currently most digital cameras use sensor chips of 1/4″ or 1/3″ up to 1 inch in size. This incredibly small sensor coupled with the small 3.7 mm wide angle lens contributes to the ability to disguise or hide cameras in other objects for covert recording. This is further enhanced by micro Integrated Circuit (IC) chip technology.

Contained within the smoke alarm security camera are all of the makings of the camera, an analog to digital processor, and a radio transmitter to send the signal wirelessly to a corresponding receiver. There are many types of radio signal technology that are used for digital video security cameras and our cameras use the 2.4 GHz technology. This is the same strong, nearly interference-free technology used in land line based wireless telephones.

All you need to do to install the camera is mount the smoke alarm security camera and plug it in to any standard wall socket using standard AC power. To complete the setup, the receiver is normally placed near the DVR unit and a coaxial cable or other type of wire is used to transfer the received video data to the DVR.

If you would like to purchase a smoke alarm security alarm or need more information, please contact one of Security Camera Kings security experts today.