Closed Circuit Television Cameras (CCTV) systems are an important weapon in the modern fight against crime and are the future for preventing crime. As CCTV security cameras become more sophisticated, more crimes will be prevented and more offenders will be caught. CCTV systems are commonly used to monitor offices, shopping malls, schools, universities, banks, inner city problem crime areas as well as government facilities and private establishments. As CCTV technology has become more affordable and easier to use, more and more people are installing cameras in their homes and businesses. CCTV deters theft and vandalism and provides constant surveillance 24 hours a day, every day.
There are many types of CCTV systems on the market. The traditional analog systems consist of a recording device, e.g. VCR, a monitor and if one or more cameras are needed, linked together with a multiplexer. The multiplexer is used to allow the switching between each camera. Nowadays, new cameras are IP based and are networked together so that any camera’s images can be viewed from anywhere on the network and digital storage is used to record the images.
IP based cameras are still a little expensive for most home use and there is a risk the camera itself could be stolen. Home users on a budget could opt for CCTV system for as little as $40. These systems often use a SCART lead to plug directly into you VCR or television.
Consider the following to help you decide on buying a CCTV system:
Decide what you want to monitor. Do you just want to see faces, all of the person, goods or commodities, whole crowds of people?
CCTV systems have to be installed so what is your budget for this? Consider a wireless installation to save money. Do you need interior or exterior cameras? How many cameras do you need, 1, 2, 5 or 10?
Black and white or color? For low lighting conditions consider a black and white CCTV camera and color should really be used inside with good lighting conditions.
There are two types of camera: CMOS and CCD which is the image sensor within the camera. CCD cameras produce a clearer sharper picture but are more expensive than CMOS.
One very important specification is a cameras capability to work in low lighting conditions. Light levels are measured in LUX and the lower the number the less light it will take to reproduce a clear image.
If you need sharp, quality images, go for a higher resolution camera. Entry level cameras have a resolution of 330 lines whereas high resolution camera will produce around 400 lines.
Consider your image storage. DVT (digital video recorder) are the best option and are relatively inexpensive. They record onto a hard disk.
Finally, select a monitor that is compatible with the resolution of your CCTV camera system.