CCTV Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the importance of Security Cameras?

Security cameras are video camera used to monitor an area and record people's activities. In today’s age of crime, the need for surveillance or security cameras increased. Given that these Security Cameras track and record every movement, they provide an ideal solution not just to identify the perpetrators of a crime, but also act as a deterrent for any potential incident in offices, educational and health institutions and even residences. Further, these cameras can be easily configured based on customer needs.

What is CCTV?

Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) is a localized television system, with its pickup and display range limited to its installation domain. It is used primarily for the purpose of security and surveillance. It involves the use of a limited number of cameras, setup up strategically at locations identified for surveillance. Monitors installed at convenient locations are designed to receive signal directly from the video cameras.

Is zoom-in feature available in the security camera?

The zoom-in feature is mostly available with Pan, Tilt and Zoom camera types, and this feature can be tapped via the use of an optional joystick controller. Cameras with motorized zoom lens are also available, and the zoom-in feature is therefore available in these cameras as well.

How does a HD security camera provide such good images?

The resolution of IP CCTV cameras vary from 1.3 to 10 megapixels, in sharp contrast to analog security cameras, which only provide 0.4 megapixel resolution size. And this explains precisely why footage from the CCTV captures provide images that are far superior in quality for facial recognition, monitoring, object identification, etc. Higher resolution not just means better picture quality – it also provides for excellent picture quality and image recognition in cases where the images are zoomed or enlarged. This again, is in complete contrary to lower resolution images from analog cameras, where enlarged pictures will simply pixilate.

What steps are involved in the installation of a Wired Security Camera?

When dealing with wired systems, it is required to connect the camera to the display/recording device such as the TV monitor, DVR, etc. via a RCA cable. A coax cable can also be used. Though dependent on the model that is ordered, in most cases, the camera has three cables with RCA connectors attached to it. These include the DC power cable, and one each for audio and video respectively. The audio and video connectors are to be plugged into the RCA audio-in and video-in jacks, located at the reverse side of the TV / DVR. The power cable is to be connected to the power supply, which, in turn, is to be connected to an AC power source in the absence of the latter, the camera may be powered with a 12V battery. To extend the battery life, the camera may be attached to a high capacity Sealed Lead Acid battery, which is rechargeable.

What is meant by Security Camera Resolution?

The depth of clarity that can be attained, when capturing any picture, is determined by what is known as the ‘resolution’ of the camera. Resolution is measured in pixels, and the more pixels a camera has, the greater its picture quality, and loss in clarity declines when such images are zoomed.

Should I buy a color security camera or a B/W security camera?

This depends on lighting conditions. If lighting conditions are poor, a B/W camera is recommended. A color camera in such a case will not serve the desired purpose. Color camera produces quality images only if the light condition is good.

What is LUX?

LUX, the illumination factor, is a standardized unit used to gauge a camera’s sensitivity to light. It measures as 1/10 of a foot candle. A lower LUX measure implies less light will be required to produce a clear image. A camera having a LUX value of 1 means it can see images at dusk; a LUX value of 0.5 provides the ability to see images clearly in dim corridors; LUX value of 2 is sufficient to capture images indoor under a 40W fluorescent lamp. In infrared lighting, the camera can work with 0 LUX (total darkness).

How does the wireless security camera work?

The design of wireless camera systems, consisting of a camera, a transmitter and a receiver, is such that the connectivity between the camera and its display unit is facilitated via a transmitter and a receiver. These systems are crafted in a manner so as to enable the transmitter to propel audio and video signals anywhere from between 100 feet to many miles away, depending on the transmitter model. This signal is picked up by the wireless receiver, which, in turn, is plugged to the input jacks of a TV, or monitor, DVR, or even a computer. Live recording is completely possible. The audio feature is not included in most wireless camera models found in the market. Further, in likely all models of a VCR, DVR, TV or monitor, an RCA video input, together with an audio input, located towards the rear of the unit, can be found.

Should I buy a Wired Security Camera or a Wireless Security Camera?

Advantages of a wireless camera, like that of any wireless device, is that of ease of installation, especially so in areas where wiring is a challenge. Secondly, being wireless immediately renders the unit mobile, and it easily relocated, and as often as is necessary. Another important aspect of a wireless unit is that is can be hidden when capturing images, and this comes of great use when the situation so demands it.

Disadvantages include a disturbance in the streaming, by obstructions in the capture path or other strong radio frequencies in the locale. In such cases, a wired camera proves to be more stable. Secondly, in wireless cameras, the transmission range is limited, which is not the case in the wired model.

To overcome the issues involved in the wired model, one can procure wireless models which operate with a less commonly used frequency band, to thereby minimize the scope of interference. Also, is makes sense to buy a model having a higher transmission power, which then helps cover a larger transmission distance. Further, employing the use of high gain antennas for transmitting and receiving will improve the signal transmission strength considerably. Also, placing the antennas at a higher altitude will help them communicate ‘directly’ and thus ensure better communication.

What is the Difference between Outdoor Security Cameras and Indoor Security Cameras?

Outdoor and indoor cameras tend to be similar in terms of shape, size, and style. The main difference is that outdoor surveillance cameras are weather-proof. As such, they will work without being affected by snow, sand, dust, moisture, rain, and any other adverse weather elements.

What is the Difference between Infrared and Night Vision Security Cameras?

Most people tend to confuse between a night vision and an infrared camera. Whereas the night vision surveillance cameras are designed to use heat emitted by any object to help capture images and make the object visible, the infrared camera has a small light it emits to focus on specific objects for recording the images.

Infrared security cameras use infrared LED lighting to capture images. They are effective because infrared can penetrate through smoke, dust, and fog. When the lighting is adequate, an infrared camera will take color pictures. When it’s dark, the camera will adjust automatically and switch to recording images in black and white through its infrared mode.

Night vision cameras, on the other hand, use image enhancement and thermal technology to take images even in total darkness. The intensity range and spectral range of these cameras is sufficient enough to make them “SEE” in the dark.

What is the Difference between Bullet and Dome Security Cameras?

In the following section, you’ll learn the difference between the bullet and the dome camera. Basically, the bullet camera is typically easy to install. It comes with a mounting bracket and handle, which will be attached to the wall. After installation, you can move the bullet camera to cover the areas you wish to secure.

Dome cameras, however, have a complex mounting procedure. Although you can do the installation on your own, it would be better to hire a professional to do it on your behalf.

In terms of outdoor use, you should keep in mind that both the dome and the bullet camera are great for use outdoor and indoor. If you are looking to use yourself outside, get waterproof casing for the surveillance system.

For an indoor security system, first consider whether it matches the décor you’ve used. Dome cameras are sleek without being intrusive. They are also beautiful and fit well with most décor options. This makes them ideal for indoor use.

The bullet camera, on the other hand, is better for use outside. Most are designed to be weatherproof and can be used for a variety of purposes – be it a large backyard or a parking lot.

Bullet cameras are also visible, meaning people will see them when they walk by. As such, they discourage vandalism and thievery. However, they can get damaged if the burglars are determined to invade. Dome cameras are hard to see. This makes them ideal if you don’t want people to know they are being watched.

Most dome and bullet surveillance cameras come with infrared LEDs, allowing them to create light even when it’s dark. The night vision cameras in the market also vary from long night vision distance to short night vision distance. This is determined by the type and number of LEDs used.

To choose between the bullet and the dome camera, first consider your needs – and ask whether it is for use indoors or outdoors. Then, find one that will suit these needs best.

What is the Difference between cloud storage and local storage?

Mainly, there are two types of video storage that you can choose from — cloud and local — and they are different. By selecting between cloud and local storage, it can to narrow down to one option faster. Apart from that, you can set precedence for your broader smart home and security system preferences down the road.

Local storage

Just as the name implies, this kind of video storage saves footage and clips locally. All the compatible cameras come with microSD card slots capable of handling up to 128GB cards. Occasionally, a microSD card is packaged together with the camera, but sometimes you have to buy separately.

Either way, they work like these. Stick the card in the camera microSD slot, set your options in the related iOS or Android mobile app to store videos. Under preferences, you can either choose continuous recording (this option records everything's around the clock) or event-based recording (this option is usually triggered by sound or motion to start recording)

When your microSD card is full, you can choose to overwrite the old footage thus continue recording or stop recording so that you can manually manage the footage. Most of the times, you can view the stored clips in the application although you can remove the card and use a card adapter or reader to save the recorded videos into your computer.

The option is preferred by those people who worry about privacy, as storing video locally ensures the management is done locally. Another good thing about storing the videos locally is the fact that the videos become readily available without incurring extra monthly fees for storage.

Cloud storage

For those not interested in purchasing microSD cards and their associated accessories like card readers and adapters, there is still a way for them to store their recordings. Cloud storage offers a better alternative that is more reliable and superior as the footage is storage in redundant servers. The cloud video storage uses the same technology that the mobile phones use to back up their data in the cloud. The smart home industry has enabled this type of storage to grow in popularity. Sleek mobile apps and Wi-Fi enabled cameras entice many people making them not to bother with privacy concerns associated with cloud storage. When using cloud storage, all your footage, either continuous or event-based, is sent off via the internet to remote servers.

What is DVR?

A DVR is a Digital Video Recorder, which is an electronic device that can record videos in digital formats to various storage devices such as disk drives, SD memory cards, USB flash drives, SSD or other local or networked mass storage devices. In many cases, these recording devise are plugged into personal computers and used as DVRs.

What is the recording duration?

The archival length of a recording device such as a DVR depends on a number of factors, primary among which happen to be the capacity of its storage device – for example, the hard disk capacity. That apart, the precision and resolution of the camera, it’s frame rate, the mode of the record setting – such as always, or only when there is movement, etc.

What happens in case of power loss?

When connected to an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) source, a DVR works seamlessly, completely oblivious to power outages or erratic fluctuations that may hamper the recording flow or the life of the device. When power is interrupted, most DVRs are designed to automatically continue recording once the supply resumes.

Can the Security cameras be viewed remotely?

Most DVRs allow for remote viewing, which is enabled through the internet. The images can be viewed through the Internet Explorer browser or via the DVRs proprietary software interface. The speed of the image transmission and the picture quality depends on both, the quality and speed of the internet link, as well as on the DVRs compression type.

Can audio be recorded as well?

Though most of the DVRs are equipped with an audio option, in most cases, there is a certain mismatch between the number of audio versus video channels. Also, the majority of analog cameras do not come fitted with an inbuilt audio feature, and it is therefore required to invest separately in microphones, to attain the desired goal.

Do camera systems cost a bomb?

Not so. A reasonably good home security system can be procured for as little as $75. However, this depends on the features that are desired of the system. For color video, infrared and motion sensing technology, wireless cameras as well as internet access, the price can be expected to be much higher. The good thing about these systems is that one can customize their choice based on their requirements, and this helps keep the buy within the customer’s budget.

Should one buy a pre-made security camera system or purchase separate items?

This depends on what is required to be installed. Majority of the purchases entail the purchase of a complete security system, and this, by far, turns out to be the best buy, both, in terms of ease andaffordability. On the other hand, purchasing a simple model, and then adding on, based on requirements on the go, is another good recommendation for a buy.