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The Basics of CCTV

Posted by William Finn on 12/21/2016 to CCTV
The Basics of CCTV

If you're looking into security for your home or business, first of all: congratulations on making the right choice. Today especially, it's absolutely essential to do whatever you can to protect your assets from criminals. Fortunately, technology is on your side.


By now, in the year 2016, we are all familiar with Closed Circuit Television (CCTV), usually colloquially referred to as "security cameras." Cameras are ubiquitous in shopping locations of all kinds, from grocery stores to banks, as well as homes especially in high-risk areas. Unfortunately, "high-risk areas" can be anywhere. People associate the term with crime-ridden inner cities, but in truth, you cannot rely on your perception of your neighborhood as "safe" to protect yourself and your property. A robbery can happen anywhere, anytime. Some criminals even target "safe" areas, relying on the fact that residents consider themselves safe and are likely unprepared.


Now that you have decided to take the valuable step of looking into CCTV, this article will start you out with what you need to know.




You have many options when it comes to cameras, and it's important to understand them. First, evaluate where you plan to install your cameras, whether you plan on daytime or nighttime use or both, and whether or not someone will be available to watch the live feeds and directly control the cameras. Your choices when purchasing should depend on these factors as well as other more technical details such as camera resolution, recording speed, and how long you plan to keep the footage.



High-resolution cameras will record a better picture. This can become very important for recognizing details like a person's face or a vehicle license plate number. However, the higher the resolution and frame rate, the more hard disk space taken up by the footage. Even though hard drive storage can be expensive, it's recommended to use HD cameras due to the superior detail they provide.


Night and day

Some cameras are equipped with infrared lighting that is undetectable to the human eye. This allows the camera to invisibly illuminate the area and record in darkness, producing a black-and-white video without alerting of its presence. Other cameras do not use infrared and simply lower their required light levels for recording. If you want to reliably record at night, infrared is recommended.


Indoor and outdoor

Any camera can be used indoors, but not all are able to survive the elements outside. Every camera has specifications as to locations in which it can be safely and effectively installed. It is possible to purchase outdoor casings for some indoor cameras.


Note that an indoor infrared camera cannot record through a window, as the infrared illumination will reflect against the glass and the camera will be blinded by the glare.


Camera housing

Box camerasbullet cameras, and dome cameras are available and each has its advantages. Box cameras resemble a "traditional" security camera and are good if you want to deter intruders by having a visible and active camera. You can also buy accessories such as replacement lenses and outdoor housings. Bullet cameras are sealed within a sleek, self-contained cylinder which is weatherproof and hard to spot, so they are the best choice for outdoor usage or situations in which you need discreet surveillance. Dome cameras are the round cameras we are used to seeing on store ceilings. They offer a visible security presence that deters thieves and also comes in outdoor variants.


Recording and watching


Cameras won't do much alone— you need a means of recording and watching the video feed. Some cameras are able to connect to an existing computer network and allow you to watch from your PC or mobile device. Others require dedicated recording equipment. Keep in mind that high-quality video takes up much more disk space and you will need to deal with storing your footage.


DiscountSecurityStore offers a selection of recorders and monitors that should suit your needs.




Of course, this is a lot of information to take in and you may still need further guidance.  You can find further resources online or by contacting us. If you just want a quick solution, the fastest way to get started is to purchase one of our bundled systems. These include everything you need to get started.