Posts Tagged ‘ personal computers’



CCTV Camera Systems

Written By:
Thursday, March 17th, 2011

These days there are more Closed Circuit TeleVision or CCTV camera systems than applications for their uses.  If you are interested in such a system, it will serve you well to do some research before venturing out to make your fist purchase.  At Security Camera King, we encourage you to shop around, because we know that we offer the highest quality systems and the best possible prices.  After you’ve looked at other offers, we’re sure you’ll come back to us to make your final purchase.

You may be asking what is meant by the term “CCTV Camera System.”  A CCTV camera system is simply a digital video camera system that normally includes a Digital Video Recorder and a display monitor.  Today’s systems are entirely digital and the systems are component systems, meaning that when putting together your system, you can choose different pieces of the system that have different functions to tailor fit the system to your needs.

First a little history.  Closed Circuit Television or CCTV got its name way back in the days of analog transmissions.  A typical video security system was referred to as a Closed Circuit system because the cameras did not broadcast their signals to the open public.  These cameras were basically smaller versions of the cameras used in television studios.  However, television studio broadcasts were amplified and distributed to the open public (i.e. anyone that had a receiver or television).

CCTV on the other hand, consisted of a circuit of one or more cameras, each connected to a video recorder by means of a video transmission cable.  Analog CCTV camera systems recorded their video on magnetic tape, usually VHS or Beta format.   The used tape had to be ejected and a new one put in place every few hours or a “loop” tape was used.  When a loop tape reached the end of the tape, it simply continued over again on the beginning of the tape, re-recording over the original.

Today, CCTV camera systems are digital.  Instead of sending their video transmissions in analog type signals, they are sent in binary or digital form, usually in the form of bits or bytes, the same sort of digital segments used by personal computers.  The camera data is compiled into a digital video file which can either be stored on a hard drive disk or other storage media and/or viewed on a digital monitor.

Since the data is digital, many of the individual electronic components of a modern CCTV camera system are the same things used in personal computing.  For example, the computer Hard Disk Drive or HDD is the major constituent of the DVR storage.  A computer processor, much like the Central Processing Unit or CPU of a personal computer compiles the digital video files, controls and coordinates camera activity as well as playback and other DVR functions.

Since the original video security systems were analog and were called CCTV camera systems, there may be some confusion or crossover that exists today when describing digital video systems.  For example, analog CCTV cameras displayed their video on older CRT (cathode ray tube) type television monitors.  The CRT monitor displays a picture by rapidly projecting horizontal lines across the screen; the more horizontal lines per fixed vertical area, the greater the detail or resolution of the video.

Digital video is not displayed in horizontal lines, but as a series of horizontal and vertical dots called pixels.  These pixels may be circular or square in shape.  Generally speaking, the more pixels in a video for a fixed area, the greater the detail of the video because the dots are much smaller.  This allows for finer detail in the image.

So where’s the confusion?  Today you may still see CCTV camera systems that describe their clarity or detail or resolution of the camera in terms of Televsion Lines or TVL.  Yet other cameras may describe their resolution in terms of pixels.  For more information on determining the equivalencies of resolution for these systems see the articles in our knowledge base.

Since most of our monitors that are manufactured today are no longer CRT type but are more commonly LCD (liquid Crystal Display) or LED (Light Emitting Diode), it would see logical that over time, the TVL descriptor will eventually lose out to the more familiar digital “pixel” resolution (for example 720 X 340 pixels), but for the time being, it is well enough that you are aware that the difference exists.

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CCTV Video Software

Written By:
Friday, February 11th, 2011

There are many types of Closed Circuit Television or CCTV video software. Although the term “CCTV video software” doesn’t actually refer to any specific type of digital video security and surveillance software, we’ll take a look at a few of different examples and see what they can do.

For the purpose of our discussion here, we’ll try to classify CCTV video software into two different categories. The first will include software that enables personal computers and accompanying peripheral devices (such as web cams) to act as a digital video security systems. The second category will include software that is used for different functions on digital video security systems, (such as track or follow).

Since video security and surveillance systems have become totally digital, there is a lot of crossover with the computer world. The digital video security community has been able to reap the benefits of the exponentially increasing technology improvements in the computer world, and can even adapt personal computers to act as digital video security systems using the right components and Closed Circuit Television or CCTV video software.

While using a personal computer is enticing, there are certain limitations that still exist if this is done. Generally, digital video processing is one of the most taxing tasks for computer processors to perform because of the incredibly large amounts of data involved with creating high-quality digital video files. Therefore, the Central Processing Unit or CPU of a personal computer can slow down tremendously while trying to operate digital video security camera functions and perform other routine computer tasks. Nevertheless, there are CCTV video software programs that will adapt a personal computer and one or more webcams to act as digital security video systems.

A more popular method of using CCTV video software on a personal computer is the use of a PCI card and actual cameras designed for digital video security systems. This method allows the use of typical digital video security cameras with a personal computer, but reducing the processing load on the computer’s CPU drastically so as (hopefully) not to affect its performance considerably.

The PCI card often contains the Integrated Chip (IC) technology that provides for a Digital Signal Processor or DSP that pre-processes the data sent by the digital video cameras. Many PCI systems also contain a storage disk on the PCI card to alleviate the need for using the personal computer’s hard disk drive. For these systems, CCTV video software provides for the drivers needed for the PCI card and other peripheral devices and instead of handing the CPU all of the work, it utilizes it more to coordinate the work between the computer and the PCI card.

Another facet of CCTV video software design and also one of the most recent includes software that allows digital video cameras and entire digital video systems to use the Internet as a vehicle for networking and accessing. The devices that are used specifically for this purpose in digital video security systems are usually referred to as IP ready or Internet Protocol ready devices.

Although the CCTV video software that makes IP devices possible may not necessarily be installed on a personal computer per se, it does often accompany the device, either in the form of built in programming, circuitry or as Internet browser “add-on.” As for IP ready cameras, the CCTV video software provides web server technology so that the camera may connect directly to the Internet. Using a personal computer with a Web browser and an “Ad-on” program, an individual can monitor, control, and record the camera’s video images to a personal computer by using the Internet as the vehicle for networking.

The second category of CCTV video software is programming that is used to control the camera, DVR, and other devices. This software usually resides on the DVR unit and works with the units DSP to control and coordinate the individual devices. For example, Pan-Tilt-Zoom or PTZ cameras can move horizontally, vertically, and enlarge views. The mechanical movements for these cameras are usually controlled by software that resides on the DVR unit.

Not only can PTZ cameras make those mechanical movements and manipulations remotely using software, but they can also be done automatically using special CCTV Video Software. Furthermore, the software can be used to detect objects moving, and direct the PTZ functions of the camera to track or follow the object’s movements.

It would appear that the potential for CCTV video software is limitless, especially now that we live in the digital age.

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