Choosing a Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) Camera is often confusing for most people. This is because CCTV products on the market have wide range of brands, types, price, technology, and quality. Furthermore, a lack of standardization in the industry also makes prospective buyers difficult to compare products from one manufacturer to another. This article is written as a guide for new buyers to choose a suitable CCTV Cameras that fit their requirements. This article explains how to differentiate a CCTV product based on its most important attributes.
The most important attributes in a Security Camera are type of output, location of placement, minimum illumination, control mechanism, and video resolution. Buyers should consider the attributes to distinguish a CCTV and select the one that meet their requirements.
The output of Security Camera is the video signal sent by the device to a display monitor. A CCTV sends either Analog or Digital Output Signal.
- Analog CCTV transmits a continuous stream of video over Coaxial Cable. Majority of existing installations today are still using Analog Technology although Digital Technology is getting more acceptances in the market.
- Digital CCTV transmits discrete streaming video over Twisted Pair Cable. Digital CCTV cameras are generally equipped with an Internet Protocol (IP) Address. Therefore, it is also often known as IP Camera or Network Camera. By having an IP Address, the camera can be integrated easily with existing network infrastructure.
Based on the location of placement, CCTV can be divided into indoor and outdoor device.
- Indoor Device is placed inside the building. The most common indoor cameras are Dome (Ceiling) Camera and Standard Box Camera.
- Outdoor Device is placed outside the building and exposed to outdoor weather. Most of Outdoor CCTV is equipped with a casing to protect the it against rain, dust, and extreme temperatures. The most common type of outdoor camera is Bullet CCTV. This type of camera has a waterproof casing and usually equipped with Infra-Red Led. Besides Bullet CCTV, the standard box camera with additional housing is also often used as the outdoor camera.
CCTV Cameras need a minimum illumination to capture the video properly. The sensitivity must fit the illumination level in the room where the CCTV is located. The minimum illumination required by a camera is defined as minimum LUX. CCTV can be differentiated into two groups based on their minimum LUX, which are Day Surveillance and Day-Night Surveillance.
- Day Surveillance Camera is used to monitor room that has sufficient illumination (above 0.5 LUX)
- Day-Night Surveillance camera is used to monitor room that has low illumination (below 0.5 LUX)
A control mechanism on the CCTV camera allows the user to adjust the camera’s angle and focus. Based on the control mechanism, a CCTV Camera can be divided into motorized and fixed device.
- Motorized Device has built-in motor to control the angle of view and focus remotely. It includes several types of cameras such as zoom camera and speed-dome camera
- Fixed Device has fixed angle and focus that must be set manually during installation.
Another important factor when choosing a CCTV camera is video resolution. Video resolution is declared as Number of Television Lines (TVL). CCTV with bigger number of TVL has higher video resolution. A higher resolution CCTV will produce sharper image. However, a high-resolution camera also requires high-resolution monitor to be able to display captured images. Based on the video resolution, CCTV cameras can be divided into three types:
- High Resolution CCTV has over 480 TVL resolution
- Standard Resolution CCTV has a resolution of 380-480 TVL
- Low Resolution CCTV has 380 TVL resolution under
In order to work properly, the CCTV Camera must have a proper design and technology. The design and technology must ensure the functionality of camera in various conditions where it is located. The attributes described above are the most essential attributes for the camera to capture and to send out the video. CCTV buyer can employ the attributes as guidance to understand the classification of the products and find the right one.