Posts Tagged ‘ DSP’



Home Security Camera for PC

Written By:
Monday, December 27th, 2010

A home security camera for PC can provide you with security can or surveillance monitoring at a fraction of the cost of an entire home digital video security system. In this article we’ll take a closer look at using a home security camera for PC and some of the advantages and disadvantages of this method versus a standalone system.

Before we begin lets briefly review a typical home standalone digital video security system. An average system will have two or three components: 1) A camera or multiple cameras; 2) A Digital Video Recorder (DVR); and, 3) An optional monitor (A monitor is needed to set up the system, but is not required for further operation of the system unless real-time (live) viewing is desired. However, a full time system monitor is highly convenient and advisable.)

Each camera will require a power supply wire from a power source and a video transmission cable (unless it is a wireless camera) that is run from the camera to the DVR. The DVR contains a Digital Signal Processor (DSP) that is much like a PC processor, except that the DSP is designed specifically for security system video applications. The DVR also contains a hard disk drive which stores the digital video files and may have an optional DVD or CD writer for creating copies of video files (for archiving, providing to police, insurance companies, etc.)

A home security camera for PC uses a Personal Computer (PC) to perform the tasks normally associated with the DVR, DSP, and monitor of a standalone system. This type of camera usually connects to your PC in the same manner that the camera would connect to a standalone DVR. In order to connect and thereby communicate with your computer, the camera needs an intermediary device, something that can provide a connection to the PC and the camera, can conduct the PC to perform video security system functions.

This is normally done by using a PCI card that is plugged into an available PCI slot on the PC. The PCI card can not only connect the camera(s) to the PC, but it may contain other circuitry and devices that processes the digital video file, compresses the size of the digital file, stores the file, and controls optional functions on the camera such as Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ).

Normally, a home security camera for PC uses the PC’s hard drive to store the file in the same manner that the DVR would store the file and the computer’s monitor to view the camera live or to review stored digital video files. The PC’s processor is also used, depending on the system, to process the video data. If the PC’s processor is not used to process the video data and is done by the PCI card, then at a bare minimum, the PC’s processor is used to control and coordinate the functions of the PCI card and other hardware.

Advantages
The main advantages to using a home security camera for PC versus a standalone digital video security camera system is a much cheaper cost. A home security camera for PC is usually considerably less expensive than a standalone system. The computer and PCI card take the place of a DVR and monitor which can greatly reduce the cost compared to a standalone system.

Disadvantages
There can be several disadvantages to using a home security camera for PC depending on your perspective. The following is a list of some of the more substantial disadvantages:
• A PC is required. If you have an existing PC it may be used, otherwise you will need to acquire one. This could result in a higher expense than using a standalone system.
• A PC is required. This is not a typo. There is a “double down-side” that could apply. If you use your existing PC for your home security system, the system may demand many of your computer’s resources. This could result in slower computer performance, lack of hard disk drive capacity because of stored video files, etc.
• Possible compatibility issues. The PCI card must be compatible with your computer and the operating software system you are currently using. Otherwise, major changes to your PC may be required.

Each user application is different, so it is up to you to decide if the disadvantages of using a home security camera for PC outweigh the cost savings of a standalone system. For more information, contact one of Security Camera Kings security experts today.

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Night Time Outdoor Security Camera Kits

Written By:
Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

If you have property that you need to protect or monitor during low or no light conditions consider purchasing night time outdoor security camera kits. These kits can provide you with all the equipment you need to effectively monitor and protect your property, without the need for expensive outdoor lighting. Thanks to modern technological improvements, these kits are reasonably priced as well.

So what do night time outdoor security kits contain? Kits may vary based on manufacturers or vendors, but most kits contain at least two major components of a digital video security camera system: 1) Very low light or no light outdoor security cameras; and, 2) A Digital Video Recorder (DVR) with a Digital Signal Processor (DSP). Since monitor applications differ, and many systems may be able to use an existing computer monitor for your security camera system, monitors are usually sold separately from the kit.

Security Camera King offers a variety of digital video security camera kits including night time outdoor security camera kits. However, in addition to the digital video cameras and a DVR, Security Camera King’s security kits come complete with either plug and play camera cables or bulk cable, and either a multiple channel space saving power supply or a multiple channel power distribution box.

A night time outdoor security camera kit is a highly specialized type of digital video security camera system. These systems contain cameras that are designed for outdoor use and can record video in very low-light or no-light conditions. Let’s take a look at these cameras.

First, there are two basic types of digital video security cameras, indoor and outdoor. Indoor models are designed to operate under the protection of a building or cover of some type. They are not designed to operate when exposed to weather or the elements, such as rain, snow, hail, ice, etc.

Outdoor cameras are designed to operate in outdoor settings, exposed to and offering protection to the camera from, weather and the elements. The cameras are normally enclosed by a protective covering. Outdoor cameras are often rated with an International Electrotechnical Commission (EIC) code or rating that indicates the degree of protection that is provided to the camera. The rating is called an IP code or IP rating.

An IP code consists of the letters “IP” followed by two digits. The first digit indicates the size of the object that the camera is protected from ranging from 0 (meaning no protection) to 6 (meaning dust tight). Numbers from 1 – 5 indicate different sizes ranging from >50 mm to particles the size of dust. The second digit indicates the degree of protection against liquids ranging from 0 (meaning no protection) to 8 (meaning protection from immersion beyond 1 m in depth). For example, a very good IP rating is IP66 which means the camera housing is dust tight and offers protection against powerful water jets from any direction.

Night time outdoor security camera kits normally include digital video cameras that are specifically made for low-light (also called low “lux”) or no-light (infrared) use. “Lux” is a measurement term used to measure the intensity of light. For example, the light available in full daylight, but not directly in the sun ranges from 10,000 to 25,000 lux. In contrast, the visible available light of a moonless clear night sky is approximately 0.002 lux. Low-light or low-lux cameras can record video in lighting conditions as low as 0.002 lux, depending on the quality of the camera.

No-light cameras are usually called night vision infrared cameras. These cameras are designed to record high-quality video using near infrared illumination. The cameras sensor chip can detect near infrared spectrum radiation just like visible light; however, this illumination is invisible to the human eye.

Infrared cameras usually have an array of infrared Light Emitting Diodes or LEDs that surround the camera lens or are placed next to it so that their infrared illumination is focused on the same field of view as the camera. There are also LED “Illuminators,” separate arrays of just LEDs that can provide illumination for the camera also. Generally, the more LEDs the longer the range of the camera, so when purchasing these cameras be sure they have the night time range that you require.

Night time outdoor security camera kits have come a long way with the technological advances in computer and electronic components. Security Camera King offers several different night time outdoor security camera kits. Check out our products under “Security Camera Systems.”

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Security System Devices

Written By:
Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

There are many security system devices. For the sake of this discussion, we’ll categorize security system devices into two separate groups, digital video security camera systems and non-video security camera systems. In the following article we’ll discuss what some of these devices are for both categories.

Our two arbitrary security system devices categories have both benefited by advanced electronic circuit and computer technologies. Improvements in these technologies have directly or indirectly influenced security system devices such that these devices more efficient and cheaper, and in some cases, has made owning a device possible when it wasn’t possible to do so in the past.

Digital Video Security System Devices

Digital video security systems generally consist of three basic components. While it’s true that there may be additional devices based on the user’s choice, nearly every system will contain or use each of these three components: They are 1) digital video cameras; 2) Digital Video Recorders or DVRs; and, 3) Monitors.

Digital video cameras can be further categorized into two types themselves, based on where they are used. Indoor cameras are used in situations where they are not exposed to weather and other outside elements. Outdoor cameras are enclosed in a protective case so they can withstand exposure to weather and the elements.

Both indoor and outdoor cameras have many features that allow them to be used as highly specialized security system devices. How they do this is outside the scope of this article, however we will list some of these devices according to the features that seem to qualify them as different types of security system devices:
• Wireless Cameras;
• Very light sensitive low-Lux day/night vision cameras;
• Night vision infrared cameras;
• Pan-Tilt-Zoom or PTZ cameras;
• Camera that record video and audio;
• Internet Protocol or IP ready cameras that can use the internet as a vehicle for networking; and
• Cameras with motion detector switching.

DVRs contain a Digital Signal Processor or DSP that reads the camera data and uses it to create a digital video file. This file is viewed on the monitor and or stored for later used on the DVR. Typically, the number of video inputs the DVR can handle at one time (also called “channels”) dictates the number of cameras in a one DVR unit system. If we consider different types of DVRs as security system devices, here is a list of some of the more common:
• Four, eight, and sixteen channel DVRs;
• DVR cards that use a personal computer as a DVR unit;
• Wireless DVRs;
• Internet Protocol (IP) ready DVRs; and,
• Miniature DVRs that use miniature storage media such as SD cards or thumb drives.

Monitors are used to view live video or recorded video. Most monitors today are color LCD monitors, just like the ones used for personal computing. Security system monitors may differ from typical computer monitors in the way they connect to the DVR or security camera. These DVRs may have additional connection types that may not be typical of computer monitors (such as BNC connectors).

Non-digital Video Security System Devices

The other category of security system devices is the non-digital video security system devices. For our discussion, this generally means security alarms. Most security alarm systems contain two major components, the sensors and the master control center/dialer.

The sensors are used as type of switch to monitor a particular state of an object such as being open, closed, or in motion. When the sensor has detected the desired trigger, it either closes a circuit with the master control panel or sends a wireless signal to the master control panel to notify it of the change. If we consider different alarm sensors as different security system devices then we can provide the following partial list:
• Door and window sensors;
• Temperature sensors;
• Humidity sensors;
• Poll sensors (detect the presence of someone or something);
• Motion detectors;
• Smoke and fire detectors;
• CO (carbon monoxide) and other chemical sensors;
• Light sensors; and,
• Sound sensors.

Master control panels coordinate the sensors and the alarms, including autodialing telephone numbers and playing a message to the receiving party, if equipped.

This is just a small example of the many security system devices that are available at Security Camera King. Check out our on-line catalogue of items if you are interested in purchasing any security system devices.

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Surveillance Spy Cameras

Written By:
Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

If you need to keep an eye on someone without them getting an eye on you try using surveillance spy cameras. Actually, these cameras not only allow you to keep an eye on someone but also something like a pet, a house, a boat or some other type of property.

What exactly is a surveillance spy camera? Typically, a surveillance spy camera is a special type of digital video security and surveillance camera.

A digital video security camera usually has one of three different shapes. Box cameras look like rectangular box shapes and are typically mounted on walls, posts, and other areas. Bullet cameras resemble box cameras but have rounded ends, hence the name “bullet.” Dome cameras are normally flush mounted on a ceiling or wall and have a small protective bubble or dome that covers the camera. The presence of these cameras is somewhat obvious and their usually is no attempt to hide or disguise them.

Surveillance spy cameras on the other hand are digital video cameras that are much smaller, so small in fact that they are often hidden or disguised as other objects. They may contain their own Digital Video Recorder or DVR and power supply and be an entire standalone system, or they may require an external power supply and be incorporated into an entire digital video security system that has both hidden and visible cameras, a standalone DVR with a Digital Signal Processor or DSP, and a monitor.

How can surveillance spy cameras be so small? Let’s look at how a full-size digital video security camera works then will look take a look at a surveillance spy camera. Digital video cameras have three main components within the camera; the lens, a sensor chip, and the electronic circuitry used to operate the sensor chip and convert its information into digital data (a series of 1s and 0s).

The lens is a highly machined mechanically functioning glass (or plastic) that focuses the cameras field of view onto the sensor chip. Generally, the higher quality and type of lens, the higher quality of the video produced. Lenses determine how far, how wide, and how detailed the target area will appear.

There are two types of sensor chips, a Charged Coupled Device or CCD and a Complimentary Metal Oxide Semiconductor or CMOS. These two chips work a little differently but accomplish the same objective, transferring light energy into electrical energy. These chips are usually square or at least rectangular in shape and usually range from 1/4 inch to 1 inch in size.

Electronic circuitry is used to interpret the chip, read its information, and convert it from an analog signal into digital data. The electronic circuitry may also provide other functions such as audio recording and movement of different camera parts.

Surveillance spy cameras contain the same components but the components are designed to be very, very small while still performing the needed task. For example, most of these cameras are extremely small. Their lens is not a full size variable lens but is a very small wide angle lens instead. This eliminates the need for a large lens attachment.

Secondly, surveillance spy cameras usually use one of two sizes for their CCDs or CMOSs, 1/4 inch or 1/3 inch. The incredibly small sizes of these sensor chips allows them to be used (hidden or disguised) in very small objects such as ink pens (see Security Camera King’s product # HC-PEN for example) or wristwatches (see our product # HC-Watch).

Finally, with the latest improvements in Integrated Circuit (IC) chip technology, incredibly complex circuits can be made in circuit chips that are only 1/4 inch in size also. For example, the electronic circuitry needed to activate and read the sensor, convert the information into digital data, and transmit it wirelessly to a corresponding receiver can be fit with a IC chip less than an inch in size.

In addition, surveillance spy cameras can also have their own miniature DVR in the form of a small memory chip. As computer memory technology advances, these chips become smaller yet hold more data. The data on the memory chip can be downloaded to a personal computer using a USB cord.

Security Camera King has a very wide assortment of surveillance spy cameras available for purchase. These cameras come in all sizes and types (view the products individually on-line by clicking on the left hand side of the page “Security Cameras” then “Hidden Security Cameras” or “Wireless Hidden Cameras” or “Hidden Camera Systems.”

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Security Cameras Monitoring Systems

Written By:
Friday, October 22nd, 2010

Some of the most popular items used for protection and surveillance today are security cameras monitoring systems. These systems take advantage of the latest and greatest in both electronic and computer technology making them incredibly powerful and versatile to use. In addition to deterring burglary and/or vandalism, security cameras monitoring systems offer you the peace of mind of knowing that your business, residence, or loved ones are okay.

Most security cameras monitoring systems are component systems; that is, parts of the system may differ in function (i.e. one camera may have Pan-Tilt-Zoom or PTZ and another may not) or may be made by different manufacturers (i.e. the cameras may be produced by one manufacturer while the DVR is produced by another). Regardless of the differences between components, all of the separate parts can work together to create a functional and effective security camera monitoring system.

Security cameras monitoring systems work in the following manner. The digital video camera “captures” a light image and transfers it into an electrical image. This electrical based image is sent in the form of electronic data to the DVR or Digital Video Recorder. The DVR normally contains a special type of computer processor known as a Digital Signal Processor or DSP. The DSP compiles the data from the video camera and creates a digital video file of the data which can e stored on the DVR or viewed in real time (live) on a monitor.

The DSP normally uses a COmpression/DECompression or CODEC utility to make the digital video file smaller without sacrificing quality. This is necessary because digital video files are comprised of thousands of digital photographs. In fact, they are digital photographs, but they are taken at a high rate of speed, usually around 30 photographs or Frames Per Second or 30 FPS.

This means that for every one second of video, the file will contain the equivalent of data for 30 individual digital photographs. As you can see, the file can get very large in a hurry so a CODEC is a vital and necessary tool.

The security cameras monitoring system may also include a CD/DVD writer, SD card writer, or accommodate a USB thumb drive for archiving files or for providing copies of files on a portable media to police, insurance agencies, etc.

There are a variety of optional features available for digital video security cameras however it may be easier to differentiate between cameras if they are categorized first, based on two of these features. The first criteria to use for categorizing the cameras can be the shape of the camera itself. There are three basic shapes or types:
• Box shaped cameras;
• Bullet shaped cameras; and,
• Dome cameras.

Box shaped cameras look just like the name implies; they are rectangular shaped to resemble a small box. These cameras may be mounted on walls, ceilings, and other structures. Bullet shaped cameras are elongated and rounded in shape on the ends to resemble a bullet-type structure. They may also be mounted on walls, ceilings and other structures. Finally, dome shaped cameras are usually flush mounted on ceilings with a rounded dome protrusion just big enough to allow for the camera lens.

The second criteria for categorizing digital video security cameras is whether they are designed for indoor use, outdoor use, or both. Indoor use only cameras cannot be used outdoors because they may be damaged by exposure to dust, water, and other debris. Outdoor security cameras monitoring systems or indoor/outdoor cameras are enclosed in a protective case that allows the camera to function properly but prevents entry (ingress) of dust, water and other matter.

Many outdoor cameras will be certified according to the protection the enclosure provides using a International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standard called an Ingress Protection code or IP rating. This code consists of two digits; the first digit represents protection from dust and the second digit represents protection from liquids. The first digit of the rating ranges from 0 to 6 and the second digit ranges from 0 to 8, the higher number indicating a greater rate of protection. An IP65 rating for example, means the enclosure is dust tight and provides protection from water projected by a nozzle against the enclosure from any direction.

There are many other option features available on the components of security cameras monitoring systems. If you are interested in additional information, check our knowledge base or security articles or contact one of our security experts today.

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