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CCTV / Video Surveillance Overview

The key components of every Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) system are: single or multiple cameras, recording device and a monitor. Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) systems are broadly divided into two known types, namely: wired CCTV systems and wireless CCTV systems. Wired CCTV systems bind all three key components of a CCTV system with cables while a wireless CCTV system comprises of a wireless camera that need not be connected to the recording device and monitor. Both of these systems have distinct advantages and disadvantages associated as different types of technology are employed to provide security and reliable monitoring

Wireless CCTV systems

Wireless CCTV systems are increasingly becoming a popular choice among CCTV buyers on account of the ease of installing such a system, lack of cabling requirements and assured mobility.

The key advantages are:

A wireless camera can be moved to other locations requiring observation while it is difficult to move a wired camera.
Best suited for locations requiring temporary observation or in a temporary location.
Wireless camera can be hidden to detect theft or pilferage
Wireless recording and monitoring device need not be in the same line of sight allowing observation of any place from another remote location.
Wireless systems are cost effective, re-deployable and portable.
Disadvantages of wireless CCTV systems:

Wireless systems require a dedicated frequency to transmit signals from the camera to the receiving and recording station.
Frequencies may be subject to various interruptions by use of electric motored products, air conditioning, fluorescent lighting or cordless telephones which affect the picture quality.
Wireless camera may not provide the best picture quality as such systems are susceptible to picture distortion while wired cameras provide relatively better picture quality.
Wireless CCTV cameras may need electric power which implies a wire runs through the camera though the video connection is wireless.
Wireless systems require wireless technology-specific expertise to diagnose and fix break downs in the system.

Wired CCTV Systems

Wired CCTV systems connect the camera to the recording device and monitor with the help of standard coaxial cables or Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) cables or fibre optic cables.

The key advantages of wired CCTV systems are:

Provides the best picture quality with zero interference
The camera can be located hundreds of meters away from the recording or monitoring equipment.
All sensors can be run from a single power supply.
Disadvantages are:

Cabling and installing can be costly and tedious task, requiring help from experts
Observation is fixed to a specific area and the camera cannot be easily moved to another location. Overall, wireless cameras are relatively more expensive than traditional wired cameras. Wireless CCTV systems are a preferred choice in specific locations devoid of easy cabling facilities and for individuals requiring an easy-to-install solution. The wired CCTV system is a preferred choice when good picture quality and economy considerations gain precedence.

Types of CCTV Cameras

Fixed CCTV cameras point in a single direction, which makes them perfect for monitoring very specific areas of interest. They're also preferred for applications where it's beneficial to install cameras in clearly visible locations. For this reason, fixed cameras are quite effective not only for capturing footage of suspicious activity, but also for deterring criminals and vandals from carrying out their acts in the first place. The direction of the camera is set during installation. Many cameras also accept interchangeable lenses and housings, so you have the flexibility to meet a wide variety of surveillance needs. PTZ: PTZ cameras are ideal for wide-area surveillance. They give operators the ability to remotely control pan, tilt, and zoom functions to follow activity and to zoom in for detailed monitoring. This is an area where analog CCTV cameras fall behind their IP camera counterparts. With IP cameras, the pan/tilt/zoom functions are controlled manually or automatically and delivered over a single network cable, while analog cameras require additional wiring to perform similar functionality.

What to consider before buying a CCTV System

CCTV security systems are constantly evolving. Being well-informed about their developments can only help you to make the right choice as to which is the best for you. To purchase an appropriate CCTV system that justifies the expense and meets adequate security requirements, it is important to list the needs and expectations that a CCTV system must fulfil. This helps ensure your security concerns are taken care of by the CCTV system to be installed while also taking care of your budget considerations. Evaluating the needs and expectations helps define the type, size and kind of video surveillance system that is required to render expected levels of safety and security. Some common questions that help identify CCTV needs are: ? Why do you need a CCTV system? Will the system be used for surveillance, to deter and detect thefts, aid identification or round the clock observation of certain areas or processes? ? Which area needs vigilance? Define the place, process, traffic: eg. Entrance, employees, customers, cash register etc. ? Where is the object of security concern located: indoor or outdoor, far or near? ? What are the prevailing lighting conditions at such locations? ? How to capture, view, record and store images for observation and reference? The answers to such questions give a fair idea of the type of CCTV system that can be beneficial to expected security requirements. It also helps a vendor suggest/provide an appropriate solution among the wide variety of CCTV systems available currently.
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