Though most of our attention these days is focused on the transition to IP video technology, it's important to note that analog CCTV security cameras can still be highly effective for many surveillance applications, especially those on a budget. With traditional CCTV security cameras, the video signal is processed and transmitted in analog format for local viewing from one central monitoring location. But that doesn't mean you can't use analog cameras in an IP-based surveillance environment. Using IP video encoders and other equipment such as digital video recorders and hybrid DVRs makes it possible to leverage your existing analog cameras while migrating into the world of digital surveillance.
In its truest form, a CCTV camera is an analog video camera that transmits signals via coaxial cable to a single central location for monitoring, recording, and video analysis. While the recent trend is a push towards IP network cameras, CCTV cameras are still widely used, and offer a cost-effective answer to many common surveillance scenarios.
CCTV technology has been around since the 1940's, and became a major player in the security industry around 1970. The technology is tried and true, and there are CCTV security camera models for virtually any surveillance application. The two main categories of CCTV cameras are fixed cameras and pan/tilt/zoom models which can rotate horizontally and vertically to cover more area.
There's a lot that goes into a typical CCTV video surveillance system. While the cameras get most of the attention in the beginning, you also have other concerns, such as viewing, recording, and archiving the video footage, and the equipment required for carrying out those tasks. Here's a look at the basic components of a typical CCTV system.
Security cameras are the starting point for most CCTV video surveillance systems. There are endless possibilities when choosing CCTV cameras and lenses – everything from fixed models designed for monitoring very specific locations, to day/night cameras, and powerful PTZ domes for patrolling large areas.
In a traditional CCTV security camera setup, operators view footage from a central location on a monitor very much like a TV, but with higher lines of resolution for better picture quality. Monitors can be dedicated (meaning they display video from a single camera), or call-up (meaning operators can access multiple cameras at the same time).
With an analog system, coaxial cable is required for transmitting video footage from the CCTV security cameras. This is one of the drawbacks of analog CCTV video surveillance, as the cable can be expensive and difficult to install, especially for larger camera networks, and those were cameras must be positioned in difficult locations.
Most modern CCTV video surveillance systems incorporate DVRs (digital video recorders) which enable operators to reap some of the benefits of a network-based surveillance setup. DVRs convert the analog footage to digital, which helps to extend storage capacity, makes it much easier to search archived footage.
These days, there's a lot to think about when putting together a video surveillance system. And the first question on most people's minds is “Do I go with traditional analog cameras, or IP network cameras?” There are pros and cons to both choices. Let's focus our attention on analog CCTV surveillance cameras.
Fixed security 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.
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