It is arguable that crime has been sophisticated in recent times. The rise of white-collar crime, coupled with armed robbery and kidnappings has had a toll on families and business organizations.

Due to this the issues of security for homes and business has once again, become an important matter because threats to safety can happen when you least expect.

If you are planning to upgrade or improve your security at home and at the office, I bet you have given some consideration on CCTV.

It won’t be surprising because video surveillance using security cameras is one of the potent ways of safeguarding your home and office.

Do you want to know all about CCTV? 

Stick around, because I am spilling the beans on everything I know about CCTV.  I will set you up with all the information you will need to familiarize yourself with CCTV cameras.

I believe it will help you make better decisions should you want to purchase one.

Let get started!

What does CCTV stand for?

CCTV stands for Closed-Circuit Television. It falls under inventions that were created to support the military before it was later commercialized in 1949.

Walter Bruch invented the first CCTV in 1942 during World War 2 in Germany.  At the time the purpose was to monitor the V-2 rockets

What is CCTV?

CCTV is a video system in which specifically placed cameras record video images and transmit these to a monitor, with only a small number of people being able to access it.

The video cameras transmit the footage back to a set number of monitors. Television in CCTV is the video camera which acts as the telecommunication medium which transmits moving images to the surveillance monitors.

What is CCTV used for?

CCTV systems are primarily used for security, monitoring and surveillance purposes. In terms of security, CCTV can be used to monitor both public and private property. For monitoring and surveillance purposes, CCTV can be used to investigate or prevent crime.

Why you need CCTV

There are many benefits when it comes to CCTV, my personal favourite are its abilities to :

  • Deter crime
  • Used as evidence, and therefore acts as a force of law enforcement
  • Monitor employees, and encourage greater work productivity
  • Lower costs by preventing burglary
  • It can be used for the safety of others; e.g helping track lost people, monitoring workers operating in dangerous conditions.

How do CCTV systems work?

A CCTV is made up of a camera, lens, monitor and recorder. The camera picks up the images, which are then transmitted to a recording device and then a monitor.

What are the types of CCTV cameras?

Types of CCTV

Dome CCTV Camera Dome cameras get their name from the plastic dome housing that the camera is enclosed in. They are most often seen in shops and office buildings. Its is dark tinted making it hard to see where the camera is pointing.

Dome security cameras are very tough and some models come with a high-impact durable housing that will withstand heavy blows, making them ideal for locations with high-potential vandalism.

Bullet CCTV– Bullet cameras are shaped like cylinders and get their name from the fact that they resemble bullet cartridges. Bullet cameras are mostly for outdoors. The bullet cameras come with weatherproof housings.

Most bullet cameras have a fixed 4mm lens. A 4mm camera lens lets you see facial features out to approximately 35 feet. A 4mm lens provides about 70° viewing angle, which is the widest angle you can have without suffering picture distortion.

Infrared CCTV- Infrared cameras, also called night-vision cameras, uses an infrared light source near the camera lens to illuminate the area with infrared light, which people cannot see. This allows the infrared camera to see in conditions with no light at all, such as inside dark offices at night. With just a slight amount of normal light, an infrared camera can take a picture that looks as good as that in the daytime. Most infrared cameras take pictures in black-and-white.

One problem that infrared security cameras can experience when placed in outdoor housings is a light reflection from the front glass cover of the housing. By placing the camera lens flush with the housing, this problem can be minimized.

IP CCTVIP cameras, also called network cameras, internet cameras, ethernet cameras or web cameras, are digital cameras designed to connect to an Ethernet network or to the Internet. Modern IP cameras do not even need to connect to a computer first, many have built-in Web servers that allow one to view what the camera sees simply by typing the camera IP address into their Web browser. So extra software is not needed to view images from an IP camera, you simply assign a camera an IP address with the utility included with the camera.

PTZ – This security camera unique feature is the motorized mount that allows the camera to be moved remotely up-down and side-by-side. In addition, the camera has a motorized zoom lens that can be moved in or out.

Wireless CCTV– Wireless security camera system consists of a wireless transmitter and receiver antennas and allows IP security cameras to transmit a wireless signal using a 5.8 GHz signal up to 8 miles.

These systems are used in situations where cable dredging is not practical or is cost-prohibitive.

High-Definition (HD) CCTV- HD security cameras, also known as HD CCTV cameras and HD over Coax cameras, are capable of capturing high definition video surveillance footage up to 1080p resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels).

This page contains two types of HD of coax cable type security cameras: AHD and TVI. I usually recommend both camera types and we have surveillance DVRs that work with AHD, TVI and analogue CCTV cameras.

Thermal Heat detection CCTV-  thermal heat detection CCTV goes a step further by providing an early warning response to hot spots that are detected. This is important for all types of warehouses but in particular for those that contain contents that that are prone to spontaneous combustion, or highly flammable.


Factors to Consider while buying CCTV Camera:

Emergency detection and notification

When looking for a CCTV camera, you have to make some considerations. Most of these factors involve the components and specifications of the camera. Here are some of the considerations you have to make:

i. Lens

Lens are the eyes of your CCTV system. Its quality affects what the camera captures. All the images that will be stored on the DVR are captured in the lens.

It determines the distance that the camera will be able to capture the image clearly.

Having a camera with a better lens is better than having a camera with higher output-resolution as the lens determine the input and output.

Some CCTV cameras include digital zooming while other features optical zoom. Optical zoom is the best choice as the digital zooming seems to degrade the image.

ii. Sensor

Various CCTV models come with sensors with different capabilities. Consider the sensor type and sensor specifications of the CCTV camera.

The main type of sensors used in CCTV includes Complementary metal-oxide semiconductors a.k.a CMOS and charge-coupled devices a.k.a CCD. CMOS is affordable and demands less power as compared to CCD.

However, CCD is more sensitive and produces clearer images than CMOS, which can be very important for cameras when it comes to identifications. In fact, CMOS-based require more signal processing to achieve clear images.

The size of the sensor is also another critical factor, as the larger the sensor, and the better quality of image it can produce.

Most CCTV cameras come in two sizes; ¼ inch and 1/3 inch. ¼ inch measure 3.2 mm by 2.4 mm while 1/3 inch measures 4.8 millimetres by 3.6 mm.

The larger sensor covers twice the surface area as compared to the smaller one. The Large sensor can gather more light and give DSP more data to process.

iii. Output Resolution

Output resolution determines the number of TV resolution that the camera can produce.

Camera resolution can range anywhere between 0 and 700 Television lines (TVL) with most cameras having between 38TVL and 54TVL.

 A camera with a resolution above 420 TLV is good. However, remember that output depends on the input and if the sensors and lens cannot match the output resolution, then the extra resolution will be wasted.


Seek the services of an expert when installing CCTV

In Ghana, CCTV installations are usually done by unauthorized individuals vying as technicians. These individuals do not know the ins and outs of CCTV and even when they do since they are not certified the likelihood of them messing with your project is high.

Another interesting issue of using uncertified individuals for CCTV  installation is the high possibility of a crime being committed. A recent survey conducted in Nigeria suggested that some unprofessional technicians had access to homes they had done installations for and sold passwords and other confidential information to armed robbers.

It is for this reason that I always advise individuals to buy their CCTV from certified companies who are recognized by the ministry of interior. These companies have certified technicians. Recognized security services providers also have processes in place to ensure safety and deter such incidence.


CCTV Storage
Cloud or DVR?

How you store your data is as important as having a CCTV. The need for data storage keeps growing as the thirst for new mega-pixel and sensor is ever-high.

There are new arrivals of powerful systems every now and then. For instance, high definition [HD] video was the deal but today 4k and 8k and beyond are the new kids on the block.

You may require storage capacities for hours, days, weeks, months, half-year and yearly recordings depending on your needs and security goals. A hard drive of  500gigabytes and above is ideal for starters.

You have two options, either to store your CCTV data on the cloud or use the DVR. Both offer unique features. With the DVR (Digital Video Recorder) system, the data your cameras collected is stored on a hard disk. The capacity of the drive depends on your needs but a minimum of 500 gigabytes should be enough for starters.

The cloud system allows you to store your data in the cloud via the internet. Storage capacity in the cloud also depends on your needs. There is the third option which I call the hybrid which is ideal, where you have both DVR and Cloud integrated.

Proactive Vs Reactive CCTV?

Proactive or Reactive

There are two types of video surveillance systems namely proactive and reactive systems.

Proactive systems require constant monitoring of the cameras. The main benefit of this system is that it alerts you as soon as an incident occurs. In most cases, the system alerts you or your team via Email or SMS or an alarm in advance to an incident, before it occurs.

If you or the person-in-charge fails to notice or act in time, then the system turns essentially reactive and the recorded video will be used only for evidence.

Reactive systems do not rely on live monitoring but have high camera coverage and video storage retention. When an incident occurs, the video surveillance footage may be reviewed shortly after or a few weeks later. Also one must make sure that the data written onto the system is not getting over-written.

In general, a reactive system relies purely on its recordings for information; however, it cannot prevent incidents from taking place as a proactive system may do.

In recent time due to the usage of video analytics, many systems are starting to utilize remote video monitoring features. Essentially, the system is proactive either 24/7 or during a certain schedule.

If you find yourself at a remote location, you will be notified of suspicious activity and can then respond to the event. This helps in cutting down the need for live monitoring staff and related expenses by over 50 per cent.

Your Turn

There you have it, a walk through the world of CCTV. CCTV is ideal for monitoring and investigation of incidence. Are you looking to buy a CCTV? Which of the mentions types will you go for and why?