February 20, 2018


CCTV is the acronym for Closed-Circuit Television, but it is also known as a video surveillance system. Over recent years, CCTV has become a popular security method for both home and small business owners as the costs continue to decrease and the range of easy to use features grows. Here’s a bit of a summary of what CCTV is, how it’s developed and how it works.

CCTV systems use video cameras to transmit a video signal to a specific place and generally to a limited set of monitors. The main parts of a system include the cameras, which obviously need to be placed in a good location for surveillance, the observation of the camera’s input somewhere and also the storage of the video footage for later uses.

It differs from broadcast television in that the signal is not openly transmitted, though it may employ point to point (P2P), point to multipoint, or mesh wireless links. The term CCTV is often applied to those used for surveillance in banks, casinos, airports, military installations, and convenience stores, with the phrase now commonly in use for a lot of systems that have the main components as listed above.

The initial development of CCTV goes back many decades. As is the case with a lot of the technology used in modern security systems, such as night-vision, CCTV initially had military uses. You have to go back to Germany in the early 1940’s where the first CCTV system was created to allow for the viewing of V2 missiles being launched.

It was the initial development of reel-to-reel media that enabled the recording of surveillance footage. However, due to the fact that it is a time consuming, expensive and unreliable process, video surveillance was not widespread. As VCR technology became available in the 1970s, it became easier to record things, and use of video surveillance became more common. DVR systems, which recording footage in a digital format, then become the standard technology used for CCTV type systems, particularly in a home setting.

Recently CCTV, and particularly DVR technology, has been overtaken through a shift toward internet-based products and systems, and other technological developments.

Different types of CCTV systems
CCTV systems can be classified according to the application in which the unit will be used or the type of security cameras.

Bullet: A bullet CCTV camera is a wall-mount or ceiling-mounted unit that is typically designed for indoor use, but as this design also lends itself to creating thin, sleek and highly waterproof casings, they are also often used for outdoor monitoring. Now-a-days, bullet cameras come with infra-red night vision and high definition capabilities which give great viewing day and night.

Dome: A dome cameras get their name from the dome-shaped housing in which they sit. Typical applications are retail, where the camera is designed to be unobtrusive, but visible. Dome cameras are known to have easy installation procedure, show vandal-proof feature. Not only that, some of the dome cameras has IR illuminators, which enable the cameras to capture video images in low lighting conditions

Covert/Desktop/Board Cameras: These tiny cameras are well suited for desktop use for Skype and other low-resolution teleconference applications.

Infrared/Night Vision: These night-vision cameras have the ability to see images in pitch black conditions using IR LEDs. In some cases they are for mobile applications. Many cameras now build in infra-red night vision.

Outdoor: The key to outdoor cameras is the housing itself, which must be impenetrable to moisture, insects, dust and other elements.

Day/Night: Day/night cameras are primarily used in outdoor applications where the security camera is positioned for an outdoor parking lot. In many cases, units are dubbed as having a wide dynamic range to function in glare, direct sunlight, reflections and strong backlight 24/7.

Varifocal: A camera with a varifocal lens allows the operator to zoom in or out while still maintaining focus on the image.

Network/IP: These cameras, both hardwired and wireless, transmit images over the Internet, often compressing the bandwidth so as not to overwhelm a network. People prefer IP cameras (Internet based security system) over analog cameras since they are easier to install.

PTZ/Speed Domes: Pan/tilt/zoom cameras give the surveillance operator the ability to move the camera left or right (pan); up and down (tilt); and zoom the lens closer or farther. They are widely used to cover a wide area with only one camera, or to avoid poor light conditions.

High-Definition Cameras: Ultra high-definition cameras are often relegated to niche markets, such as casinos. In the past, these cameras were tube-based analog cameras, but today’s digital technology enabled the cameras to transmit their images using HD cctv.

C-mount camera: C-mount cameras come with detachable lenses, and thus allow users to change the lens to fit different applications. With C-mount cameras, it is possible to use special lenses, which can cover distances beyond 40ft.

How CCTV works
CCTV (Closed Circuit TV) uses one or more video cameras to transmit video and sometimes audio images to a monitor, set of monitors, or video recorder.

There are two main types of connections for CCTV cameras: a fixed cable and a wireless connection. Fixed cable connection means that the camera is physically connected to the monitor or recording device via a cable. On the other hand, most wireless CCTV cameras use the 2.4 Gigahertz frequencies to transmit their video images to a monitor or DVR (digital video recorder). A wireless connection allows greater freedom to place CCTV cameras almost anywhere.

The two main ways to record video images that CCTV cameras capture are also the basic principles of working traditional CCTV; analog tape and digital video recorders. Most analog video recorders use VCR tapes or standard VCRs to record the images or special security time-lapse VCRs to record images for a longer period of time.

The two types of DVRs (Digital Video Recorders) are either stand alone devices or hard drives that are connected to a computer system. DVRs work similar to VCRs, but the images they capture from the CCTV camera is digital. CCTV systems that use newer technology no record images off-site to the ‘Cloud’ so that it is stored away from potential danger. Some systems use a combination of local and cloud storage for surveillance footage.

Benefits of CCTV
CCTV in your home:
It’s true that CCTV can’t perfectly prevent all kinds of crimes or dangers, yet it is widely used among people because it provides a greater sense of safety. Plus it’s a great way to get the full picture, should anything unusual have happened. It’s incredible how many burglars have been caught because they were captured on a CCTV system.

In a domestic setting, CCTV monitors the surroundings of your home 24/7 even when no one’s inside. Since CCTV shoots footage of your place every single second, it can help keep unwelcome intruders from recklessly breaking into the house and helps protect the people and possessions inside.

A 2009 analysis by Northeastern University and the University of Cambridge, “Public Area CCTV and Crime Prevention: An Updated Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis,” found that surveillance systems were most effective in parking lots, where their use resulted in a 51% decrease in crime.

This study proves that CCTVs can be deterrents from robberies because burglars usually opt for houses they think are easier to get in to without being caught.

CCTV in business places:
CCTV is commonly used by businesses in a number of different ways. It’s used to monitor and protect workplaces, keep an eye on customers, watch over stock or even make sure that employees are acting appropriately.

Every action in front each camera is recorded by a CCTV system, and this helps to track of exactly what has been happening. Cameras are often placed in areas where financial transactions are made, such as correcting or cancelling a sale, withdrawing money or altering personal information, as this provides a useful check and balance.

Other activities that an employer may want to monitor include the scanning of goods, selection of goods, introduction of price and quantity; input and output of operators in the system when entering passwords; deleting operations and modifying existing documents; implementation of certain operations, such as financial statements or operations with cash; moving goods, revaluation scrapping and counting; control in the kitchen of fast food restaurants; change of settings, reports and other official functions etc.

Downside of CCTV systems (costs, difficulty to install if cables etc)
Although CCTV cameras do work as the surveillance system, having CCTVs functional 24/7 can be a double-edged sword. This may cause the loss of privacy of family members and houseguests and some people can feel uncomfortable when they’re aware that their moves are being recorded on a camera.

In addition, CCTV installations, setups, and equipment are usually expensive. Thus, it is difficult for ordinary citizens to spend the cost and effort to install CCTV at home.

Lastly, CCTV cameras can be a little bulky and interfere with your home decorations. And some CCTV systems can be easily interfered with which may defeat the purpoase of having a system as footage is lost.

Some of the other common problems with many traditional CCTV systems include:

They only record video footage and allow it to be viewed live. Often they aren’t capable of triggering live alerts that notify a person that something usual is happening. And let’s face it, in a home environment, you don’t want to be watching footage constantly or having someone else watch your live footage all the time!
Some systems still rely on cable connections for data, meaning difficult, time consuming and sometimes ugly installs.
Many systems only store the footage locally on a recording device. If this is in your home, the same location where your cameras are, then the possibility is high of a person also removing the storage device.
Monitoring fees for CCTV systems are costly.
How CleverLoop also operates as a CCTV system
Just like a CCTV system records footage and allows someone to live view their cameras or watch recordings, CleverLoop’s continuous storage features and app live view function perform the same duty. Many people, in both homes and businesses, are using CleverLoop as a CCTV system, but are loving the extras that it offers!

Simply by plugging an external hard drive into the back of a CleverLoop Base Station, users gain the ability to record continuous footage from each of their cameras. And depending on the size of hard drive and number of cameras, this can be months’ worth of footage. Plus the system auto deletes the oldest footage as it goes, so the memory is never full.

So in a home setting, you could continuously record the footage from an indoor camera in your garage while at the same time soring continuous video using an outdoor HD wireless security cameras at your front gate. And with the system supporting 4 cameras, you can cover the front, back and two sides of your home or office!

5 Reasons why CleverLoop is so much more than a CCTV or a DVR system
CleverLoop can be used as a CCTV or Digital Video Recording (DVR) system, but if you’re wanting more, here’s 5 reasons why CleverLoop will deliver it compared to a standard CCTV system!

1. You don’t need a creepy guy in a room full of monitors!

Typically, CCTV systems need someone to be monitoring them 24/7, especially if you are wanting to take instant action when something unusual is taking place. You control CleverLoop and the instant video alerts it sends to your phone about unusual activity.

2. Sorts cats from crooks, and trees from trouble.

If there shouldn’t be anybody around your yard or home during the day, or in your workplace at night, CleverLoop will let you know if there is, and record it. Plus, it’s smart enough not to worry you with things like trees swaying in the breeze or pets running by.

3. Attends class every day AND actually learns.

Old tech CCTV and DVR systems are kind of like those students that turned up to class but never really leaned much. With just a little bit of input, CleverLoop actually learns about your environment and gets smarter and smarter.

4. Stores important footage offsite, for free!

Most CCTV and DVR systems either store continuous surveillance footage on a local hard drive or charge a well-sized monthly fee to send every frame of footage to the cloud. CleverLoop lets you store continuous footage locally, but also backs up the important video clips to the cloud, for free.

5. Knows when to turn on and turn off

If you leave home for the day, the system can auto-arm for the day by using the GPS location of your phone. Return home, not problem, the system disarms itself. Schedules can also be used to set an arm / disarm routine.

Further Reading:



How CCTV Works

by CleverLoop Team
May 11, 2016