A CCTV System or a Security Camera System are one and the same thing. CCTV means Closed Circuit Television, but since the development of digital Security Camera Systems the phrase CCTV does not reflect what can be achieved now.
A Security Camera System can do all that an alarm system can do but with eyes (cameras). One of the first of many advantages of the security CCTV industry going digital was the ability of a camera to detect motion without a separate PIR. The second benefit was the ability to record digitally to a hard drive, the same as in a computer.
This development meant VHS tape systems would become obsolete. Now, if there has been an incident, and you want to review on your digital Security Camera System, you do not need to run through hours of a VHS tape to find the incident.
A digital system records each incident (motion detected by a camera) as a separate file and logs each file in date and time order. Theoretically if there has been, no incidents, then the system will not have recorded any motion detections. So a quick look at where the files are recorded should show nothing to view.
Unlike a VHS tape which would have recorded for 4 to 8 hours of a cameras view whether there was any detected movement or not. Digital Security Camera Systems (CCTV) were a great advance for the security and monitoring industry as they could reduce the time spent on viewing hours of recordings.
There are basically two types of digital Security Camera Systems available today. PC based surveillance systems and Digital Video Recorders (DVR), which both come as 4, 8, 12, 16 channels (camera inputs). PC based surveillance systems can now have up to 32 channels (camera inputs).
Although these systems are digital, cameras are analogue. It is a bit like the signal we receive for our TV’s, it is analogue but is converted by the TV to digital. Very soon facial recognition that TV signal will be digital and we must have suitable receivers to handle the new digital signal.
In the same way as TV, Security Camera Systems (CCTV) are now digital but the signal from each camera is analogue. But now that is also changing to a digital signal by way of IP (Internet Protocol) cameras. Although these new IP cameras look similar to analogue cameras the images it sees are processed digitally and transmitted back to the PC based surveillance system or DVR digitally over computer network cable (CAT5/6).
Although CCTV moved into the digital age at the beginning of 2000 it was only the digital video recorders (DVR) that you can call digital. The cameras were and still are mainly analogue. But that is slowly changing with the development of Internet Protocol (IP) cameras. These are truly digital and in some cases are computers in their own right.
Most people’s perception of CCTV is a large retail outlet with a CCTV control room with a security man sitting in front of banks of camera images. Many companies today rely on these CCTV systems to help combat the theft of their stock and protection of their staff. Also most councils and government departments operate CCTV surveillance systems in the fight against crime.
Now the cost of digital Security Camera Systems has come down dramatically due to technological developments and a growing market almost every home owner and business can afford a Security Camera System if they feel they have a need to protect their family, property, business, staff, stock, equipment, etc.