Stating the obvious but what does CCTV mean ? Simply Closed Circuit Tele-Vision.
Having said that what most of understand by CCTV is much wider than CCTV would imply. Early CCTV surveillance systems were just as you’d expect – some type of camera linked to a television screen or monitor. These early systems may not even have included the ability to record what was happening – just simply capture a picture in one location and display the contents on a screen elsewhere.
How things have changed! Clearly commercial CCTV surveillance systems have been more advanced than this for many years but now we have the ability to install and utilise sophisticated CCTV surveillance systems in our homes and offices with considerably reduced cost and increased facilities.
It is still possible and sometimes a simple requirement just to have a camera linked to a monitor elsewhere – i.e. the simple entry ‘phone system. There is no recording requirement – you just wish to know who is at your front door – so you have a camera and a monitor. Today however, most systems can be linked – via a computer system – to provide low cost systems with a wealth of additional facilities.
Some of the facilities offered by using a computer system are:-
0 – Cameras can be linked to a computer network using low cost ‘cat-5’ cabling or can utilise wireless technology.
0 – If you chose to provide each camera on your network with an ‘IP address’ then you can potentially access ‘what the camera sees’ from any computer with access to the web. This means that you could (you don’t have to) access the camera or cameras) in your home from your office or from a friends home etc.
0 – With the recent advent of large and cheap disks (250mb to 1tb disks are now available and mean you no longer need an array of disks or complicated tape backup) you can now record many hours of footage at a relatively low cost.
0 – Digital cameras have again made huge breakthroughs in terms of price and features. You can now purchase low cost cameras (colour or black and white) – for internal or external use.
0 – Infrared cameras also provide you with additional features if you wish.
Understanding the basics will quickly enable you to design or specify what you require from you own system. Again stating the obvious – you now need to establish what is the purpose of your system?
If you are looking for a home surveillance cctv system then your requirements would be different than that of an office based system or a commercial system for monitoring traffic for example.
Home security is perhaps the most obvious requirement but again individual requirements may require the monitoring of a large garden, driveway, garage or similar external points or just the interior. An apartment or flat may have few access points but equally you do want them closely monitored.