Posts Tagged ‘ surveillance system ’

PTZ-TOOL Programming Module

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

The PTZ-TOOL programming module makes programming PTZ cameras a cinch.  Security Camera King offers this for sale for customers because there are many people that have more than 1 PTZ (Pan-Tilt-Zoom) camera in their system.  In fact, this tool is only required if you use more than 1 PTZ camera in your system, but it can be used to control a standalone PTZ camera as well.

PTZ cameras make for a powerful addition to a digital video security system.  Often times, these cameras can take the place of two or more stationary cameras making them very cost effective as well.  These cameras usually come with factory pre-settings and it may be useful to “tweak” them a bit; that’s where the PTZ-TOOL programming module comes in.

Before we talk about the PTZ-TOOL programming module itself, let’s take a look at what makes up a digital video system and exactly what a PTZ camera can do in that system.

A basic digital video security and surveillance system normally consists of three components; one or more digital video cameras, a Digital Video Recorder or DVR, and one or more monitors (a monitor is needed for the initial setup of the system, but once the system is up and running a monitor is actually an optional choice).

The cameras’ primary function is to “capture” video images created by light that reflects off objects in the cameras’ field of view.  The lens focuses this light onto a small sensor that ranges in size from 1/4″ up to about 1/2″ square.  When light strikes its individual units (pixels for example) the sensor produces an electrical impulse that can be measured.  These electrical impulses are used to create a video image that can be displayed on an electronic monitor and/or compiled into a file that can be stored on the DVR’s hard disk drive.

There are many different ways to increase or decrease the field of view for the camera.  One way is to use a varifocal lens.  These lenses however are often only manually operated and can only enlarge or reduce the field of view.  Another way to increase security coverage is to use more than one camera in such a manner that their fields of view overlap just a little.

The third way to increase coverage is to use a PTZ camera. A PTZ camera can normally pan 360 degrees or a full circle and have a vertical movement of at least 180 degrees.  In other words, picture an object that looks like a sphere cut in-half.  Now imagine the camera lens in that half-sphere; generally this is the area that the camera lens can move/rotate through in order to capture video images.

PTZ cameras have become very popular, due to their extreme versatility and advanced electronically controlled features.  However, there are so many different features and functions that it may seem somewhat overwhelming to the do-it-yourselfer.  The PTZ-TOOL Programming Module helps to make the task of changing PTZ settings easy.


The PTZ-TOOL Programming Module is designed for use with Security Camera King’s PTZ-LX550L3X Pan/Tilt/Zoom Camera and our PT-LX540 Pan/Tilt Camera.  If you use more than one PTZ-LX550L3X or PT-LX540 Pan/Tilt Camera you will need the PTZ-TOOL programming module.  One of the reasons that this tool is required when using more than one PTZ or PT camera is so the address of the camera can be changed from the setting of “1.”

The DVR has virtual “ports” that are assigned to the cameras to keep them separate for the DVR’s sake.  These virtual ports or addresses can range from 0-255.  Programming the camera to a different address allows the DVR or other device to control that camera only.  It’s the equivalent of a first name when talking about someone in a particular family.  If you used the surname only, no one would know who you were talking to; mother, father or siblings.  However, when you use a first name, then the individual knows exactly who you are talking to (addressing).

With the Programming Module for PTZ-LX550L3X and PT-LX540, you can assign different addresses (first names) to the cameras so that the DVR can keep track of them.

If you have any additional questions about the Programming Module for PTZ-LX550L3X and PT-LX540 contact one of our security experts today either by on-line “Live Chat” or by telephone at 1-866-573-8878  Monday through Friday from 9AM to 6PM EST.


CCTV Surveillance

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Thanks to modern technology, CCTV Surveillance has advanced leaps and bounds over the past several years. Not only have systems advanced but prices have dropped considerably making a home digital video security and surveillance system not just something for the “rich and famous.”

CCTV surveillance or Closed Circuit TeleVision surveillance today inherited its name from many decades ago.  The first CCTV surveillance systems were based on analog and not digital video transmission.  In fact the phrase “Closed Circuit Television” was created in reference to actual television cameras.

Television cameras were originally an analog device; that is their signal was sent as an analog signal.  The analog cameras used for live News, Sporting Events, and other “broadcasts” sent their video signal to the studio for processing.  Here the signal was fine tuned; edited if need be, amplified and sent via large antennas to the open public.  Anyone with a receiver (television set) and an antenna could see and hear the video image and audio sound.

Close Circuit Television used the same type of cameras as the cameras used by television broadcast stations, with one exception.  Instead of broadcasting the signal via an antenna to the open public, CCTV surveillance sent its signal through an individual cable that was connected to a specific video recorder and or monitor.  In this manner, the circuit was not available to just anyone.  It was a “closed circuit” that was dedicated to a particular source; hence the name “Closed Circuit Television” or CCTV.

Although CCTV surveillance originally described television only transmitted through a cable, its meaning is used loosely in that regard today.  CCTV today is not necessarily confined to a video image sent over a cable, but may be wireless as well.  However, even though the video images maybe sent using radio frequency signals, they are still directed for use by a specific or finite group of individuals and not the general public.

As a result of CCTV surveillance becoming digital, it has been able to “piggyback” if you will, on 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 Digital Video Recorder or 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.  This has resulted in remarkable changes in the video security and surveillance industry.

For example, only those who could afford the older, expensive analog equipment could have a home CCTV surveillance system.  Typically, such a system could only be afforded by the incredibly wealthy or commercial businesses that in essence, had to have them, regardless of the cost (banks, retailers, and industrial applications for example).

Now however, digital video CCTV surveillance systems are economically priced and systems are available that fit just about any budget.  For example, Security Camera King sells its Elite Mini complete package system including cameras, cables, power supply, etc. for only $499.  Compared to today’s average prices, that’s not much of an expense at all.

In addition to reasonable pricing, digital video CCTV surveillance systems have also become incredibly easy to install.  So easy in fact, that a professional installer is not required.  A complete home security system can easily be installed as a do-it-yourself project in one weekend or less.

There are other benefits as well.  A contemporary CCTV surveillance system is no longer a proprietary packaged system.  In other words, these systems are component systems such that cameras, monitors, and DVRs can be used from different manufacturers and with different special functions to “tailor fit” the system to your specific security and surveillance needs.

And the benefits keep coming.  Since CCTV surveillance has become digital that means that transmissions can now be sent via the Internet.  All of Security Camera Kings DVRs have this as a basic feature.  Therefore a security system in Florida can be monitored and controlled by a Internet connected computer or smartphone anywhere in the world there is Internet access.

So, as you can see CCTV surveillance has encountered quite an evolution in less than a century of life.  Only imagination can determine what may be yet to come.


Security Camera DVR

Monday, March 7th, 2011

The central controller as well as the storage for a digital video security system is the security camera DVR or Digital Video Recorder.  The DVR coordinates and controls the actions of the system as well as provides a central location for quick access of the recorded digital video files.  In this article, we will talk about the functions of the DVR and how it works.

A typical digital video security and surveillance system consists of up to three types of components; the digital video camera, the security camera DVR, and the system or spot camera monitor.  The camera’s main function is to capture light images and convert them into electronic images that can be sent to the DVR to be compiled, stored, and viewed.  The monitor’s function is to provide the display mechanism for viewing the electronic video.

But it is the security camera DVR that is responsible for tying all this together.  The DVR is basically a specialized computer with its video processing services on steroids.   The DVR has a central processor much like a personal computer, however the DVRs processor is specifically designed to deal with the data that is used to make video images, control cameras, store files, and display the images.

Most cameras have a special Integrated Circuit or IC chip called a Digital Signal Processor or DSP that is used to convert the electronic impulses sent by the sensor chip into video data.  However, the DVR also has its own dedicated DSP and central processing unit to handle the tasks needed to produce security video images.

First, the DVR must be able to accept multiple video data streams or bits simultaneously.  For example, most digital video security systems have more than one camera.  The DVR must be able to handle the video information being sent by as many cameras as it is designed for.  Think of the complexity involved when a personal computer uses a Webcam.  Many personal computers, until recently, didn’t have the computing resources to do anything else when the Webcam was in operation.  Now imagine using 4, 8, 16 or even 32 cameras at one time!

Further, the DVR doesn’t just receive the video data, but it must do something with it as well.  In fact, it must compile it, compress it, decompress it (for viewing) and store it all in just a few milliseconds.  It’s no wonder then, why a DVR is far superior to processing digital security video than say, a typical personal computer.

A security camera DVR creates a digital video file out of the data sent to it by the digital video camera.  The data that is created for just one camera is enormous.  For example, a digital video is actually in a simpler form, a series of digital photographs all stitched together.  When these photographs are played in front of the human eye at a fast enough rate, they fool the human eye and brain into thinking it is seeing fluid, motion video.

Typically, a security camera DVR produces high quality video at a rate of 30 frames per second or 30 fps.  That is 30 digital photographs taken within the time span of 1 second.  The information that is processed by the DVR at this rate just for one camera in one hour is 30 fps x 60 seconds x 60 minutes or 108,000 times the size of one digital photograph; if the DVR is a 16 channel DVR that jumps to 1,728,000 times.

The security camera DVR uses a utility called a CODEC which stands for COmpression/DECompression to shrink the digital file to a fraction of its original size while maintaining a minimal loss of quality.  This makes the file easier for the DVR to handle and requires less storage space to hold.  All of Security Camera King’s featured DVRs use the latest, most efficient CODEC known as H.264.

Once the file is compressed it is then made available by the DVR for viewing (live) or storing on the hard drive for future use.  Not until you consider all of the activity that is involved in creating digital video files for security systems can you really appreciate the high speed, intensive work performed by the security camera DVR.

In addition, the security camera DVR also acts as a fine tuner, relay station for other inputs, audio processor, and networking server.  The more channels a DVR processes the more expensive the unit because of the hardware and technology that is required to handle the job.


Camera Security System Features

Monday, August 9th, 2010

If you are looking for a digital video security and surveillance system, you should be aware of the more common camera security system features. Recent advances in digital video camera technology, digital video processing technology, and digital video storage capacities have provided an abundance of useful features and options.

Today’s camera security system features allow the user to have a complete standalone system, a system that can work using a personal computer to replace some of the components of the system (usually resulting in a less expensive system), or a system that can be remotely viewed and controlled via the internet. In addition, most contemporary security camera systems are component systems; that is, the individual parts of the system can be mixed and matched without regard to type or manufacturer with relative ease so the user can create a custom designed system to suit their needs.

Today a typical digital video camera security system features one to several cameras, a processor/Digital Video Recorder or DVR, and a monitor. Let’s examine the camera security system features by looking at the two main components; digital video cameras and processor/DVRs.

Digital Video Cameras
These cameras have a variety of options or features including:

  • • Specifically made for indoor or outdoor use
  • • Wireless technology, eliminating the need for a video transmission cable
  • • Powered by rechargeable batteries (this feature combined with wireless transmission technology makes these cameras truly wireless)
  • • Light Sensitive Day/Night vision that can produce high quality video images in very low light conditions
  • • Night vision infrared that can produce high quality black and white video images in total darkness
  • • Audio recording
  • • Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ) functions-combined with software or circuit programming these cameras can “track” or “follow” objects
  • • Motion activated-these cameras do not begin capturing images until a motion detector senses movement
  • • IP (Internet Protocol) Ready-these cameras have their own built in server and can be networked using the internet
  • • Hidden or Disguised Covert Cameras-these cameras are so small they can be easily hidden in other objects or the cameras are built already embedded or disguised within other objects

The processor/DVR handles several tasks and is the “brain” of the system. The processor handles the digital video signals sent by the cameras and uses a COmpression/DECompression or CODEC utility to make the digital video files easier to handle. It may also handle other functions like motion detection or PTZ controls. Finally, the DVR is equivalent to a personal computer’s hard disk drive. It stores the digital video files for archiving or later use.

One of the main features of this unit is the number of channels or cameras it can handle at once. Most units offer 4, 8, or 16 channel capability.

Camera security system features for the processors used today offer a variety of different CODEC utilities. There are many other choices for CODEC utilities including H.264, MPG1 to MPG4, MOV, and DIV to name a few.

The DVR’s main feature is its storage capacity. Currently DVRs can be purchased that have storage capacities ranging from Gigabytes to Terabytes. As computer hard drive technology increases, storage capacity seems to increase and price usually decreases.

The processor/DVR unit is much like the case of a desktop computer. In addition to the features already mentioned these units may have additional bays or slots to add additional PCI cards or hardware. Common optional features of this type include CD/DVD writers or Flash Card writers that can copy the digital video files from the DVR to more portable media. This is useful for providing the video to police, insurance agencies, etc. or simply for archiving.

Another camera security system feature for the processor/DVR is a computer PCI card that works as a processor/DVR or utilizes a typical personal computer as the processor/DVR. This feature is great for residences because it normally reduces the cost of the system considerably.

As you can see, there are many different camera security system features existing today. This should give you a good working knowledge of the most common features that are available for your use and that will allow you to design your own custom component system.


Quality Outdoor Security Cameras

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

There’s nothing like a security and surveillance system with quality outdoor security cameras. A good quality camera is rugged and well protected from the elements, yet sensitive enough in function to produce a video image with only the slightest amount of light. Quality outdoor security cameras need to be maintenance free as well, since these cameras are often mounted high atop poles, buildings or other difficult to reach locations.

Outdoor security cameras are built with a protective case or enclosure that protects the camera from various types of debris and other matter. This is necessary because these cameras are often mounted in open locations that expose them to heavy winds, rain, snow, and dirt and dust. High quality outdoor security cameras are normally rated according to the protection the camera is afforded by the covering using an International Electrical code standard. The standard provides criteria for a rating called an Ingress Protection code or rating.

The ingress protection code is designated by the letters IP followed by two digits. The first digit corresponds to dry matter objects; the larger the number the smaller the matter that is prevented from entering the camera. The second digit corresponds to liquid. Quality outdoor security cameras should be IP rated and their rating should be at least an IP66 or IP67. Both ratings’ first digit (the numeral “6”) indicates that the camera is dust tight; no dust can enter the camera. An outdoor camera with an IP66 rating can also withstand powerful jets of water from any direction. An outdoor camera with an IP67 rating can also withstand being submerged in water up to one meter in depth.

When purchasing quality outdoor security cameras another key component to consider is the image sensing chip. Not all chips are made alike so it is important that your camera uses a quality manufacturer’s sensor chip. There are two different types of sensor chips. Both are electrical circuits that contain material that is sensitive to light. When the lens focuses the light image on the chip, the chip is able to convert the light energy into electrical energy which can then create a digital picture.

The two types of sensor chips are called either a Charged Coupled Device or CCD or a Complimentary Metal Oxide Semiconductor. Each of these sensors works a little differently but both still produce the same result; a digital video image. Not only should you look for sensor chips built by quality manufacturers but the size of the chip can be important too. CCDs and CMOSs normally range in size from about ¼ inch to up to 1 inch or more. Generally the larger the size of the chip the larger the size of the video produced and the greater the resolution or clarity.

Probably one of the most popular quality sensor chips used in many quality outdoor security cameras is the Sony 1/3 inch Super HAD II CCD. This is not the only quality sensor ship available of course, but it is very popular. This chip produces video resolution of at least 420 TV lines and is capable of producing video with up to 600 TV lines of resolution. This chip is also used in night vision infrared cameras as well.

Another characteristic to look for in quality outdoor security cameras is called the signal to noise ratio. It is normally written in the cameras specifications as “S/N.” The higher this number is, the clearer the picture produced by the camera. A good quality camera will have a minimum S/N ratio of 48dB, although there are cameras that have rations as high as 60 dB or higher.

High quality outdoor security cameras should also be accompanied with good quality service and support. Look for camera vendors that offer free technical support for installation and setup of your cameras. In addition, vendors should service the products that they sell.

Finally, quality outdoor security cameras should be rugged enough to last for years once they are mounted and installed and really should require no maintenance. However, look for cameras that have good, comprehensive warranties. A good warranty for an outdoor digital video camera will cover a period of at least 1 year but better warranties will offer 3 years of coverage.

Remember when shopping for your quality outdoor security camera that there are several characteristics of the cameras to look for and the cameras should come with service and support. A good quality outdoor security camera will provide you with years of satisfying service.