Though most of our attention these days is focused on the transition to IP video technology, it’s important to note that analogue CCTV solutions can still be highly effective for many surveillance applications, especially those on a budget. With traditional CCTV, the video signal is processed and transmitted in analogue format for local viewing from one central monitoring location. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use analogue 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 analogue cameras while migrating into the world of digital surveillance.
In its truest form, a CCTV (or closed-circuit television) camera is an analogue 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 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.
PROS AND CONS OF ANALOG SURVEILLANCE
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 analogue cameras, or IP network cameras?” There are pros and cons to both choices. Let’s focus our attention on analogue CCTV cameras.
Pros of analogue CCTV
Lower initial cost – In most cases, analogue cameras cost less up front than IP network cameras.
Wide-spread compatibility – Mixing and matching camera models and surveillance equipment form different manufacturers is easy with an analogue CCTV setup.
Lower initial cost – Analogue cameras tend to handle low-light situations better than IP cameras on average, though IP camera technology is improving in this regard.
Cons of analogue CCTV
Expensive cabling – For large-scale surveillance applications, analogue cameras require complicated cabling schemes that can be quite expensive and also challenging to install.
Limited features – Many of the advanced features now available with IP cameras (for instance: megapixel resolution, digital zoom, and video analytics), aren’t available in analogue CCTV models.
IP CCTV SYSTEMS
IP video technology provides flexible, scalable, and cost-effective surveillance solutions suitable for a wide range of industries and applications. With an IP-based video surveillance setup, users can monitor and record video remotely using an IP network as the system’s backbone. IP video installations can be deployed in any environment, and offer many benefits previously unavailable with analogue CCTV systems.
Network Camera Considerations
A network camera is essentially a camera and computer in one. These cameras capture and transmit video across an IP network, which allows for both local and remote viewing and video management. IP cameras connect to your existing IP network just like any other network device. The advantages of network cameras over analogue equipment include remote monitoring, digital storage, cost-effective installation, flexibility, and scalability should you need to install additional cameras down the road. IP cameras are available in countless makes and models offering limitless surveillance possibilities. Choosing the right network camera setup depends on the specific needs of your surveillance application.
Video Surveillance Management
The network camera is only one piece of the IP surveillance puzzle. Because network cameras transmit data digitally over an IP network, new worlds are opened up in terms of video management. Users can access their cameras from anywhere using a standard web browser, and are provided with advanced tools for monitoring and recording with IP video management software.
Surveillance System Considerations
There are a number of factors to consider when setting up an IP-based surveillance system. Network cameras transmit data over your existing IP network, so optimizing bandwidth is important. You’ll also need to think about storage: How long will footage are archived? What type of image quality do you require? Will recording be continuous or triggered by motion? Other key considerations include network security and system scalability. Putting thought into these areas before you set up your system will help to ensure that you have the right equipment and the proper game plan to fulfill your surveillance requirements.
COMPONENTS OF A CCTV SYSTEM
There’s a lot that goes into a successful CCTV installation. 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 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 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 analogue system, coaxial cable is required for transmitting video footage from the cameras. This is one of the drawbacks of analogue CCTV, 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 systems incorporate DVRs (digital video recorders) which enable operators to reap some of the benefits of a network-based surveillance setup. DVRs convert the analogue footage to digital, which helps to extend storage capacity, makes it much easier to search archived footage, and also allows users to stream video over a network for remote viewing from multiple locations.