Elements of a Video Surveillance System

Daisy Ratnasari

The video surveillance system can be used for both home and in commercial establishments. Also known as Closed Circuit TV (CCTV), it can monitor movement of people as well as pathways and areas with weak security in homes or establishments. This is to prevent burglaries and break-ins.

A video surveillance system is made up of the following:

Monitors: These are used to display video information captured by strategically-placed cameras around the secured house/property. Monitors used in video surveillance systems have better video resolution than the standard television receivers. The resolution of a black-and-white CCTV monitor has a range of 700-1,000 lines while the colored CCTV monitors have a resolution of 350-400 lines.

Cameras: These are placed at strategic locations to monitor the movement of unknown or suspicious persons.   Information captured from cameras is transmitted to the monitors.

Coaxial Cabling: This allows transmission of video information captured by the cameras to the monitors.

Switchers: They are used to link two or more cameras to a single monitor. Advanced switchers have provisions that allow it to control cameras that when an alarm is set off, it targets and locks that particular camera

The camera is the most important component in any video surveillance system and a lot of thinking and considerations should be made prior to purchasing such a system. Questions that one should ask and look into when buying cameras are:

  1. How many cameras are needed to effectively monitor the exteriors and interiors of my home?
  2. Is having both audio and visual inputs necessary?
  3. Should the cameras capture colored or black-and-white images?
  4. Should the cameras be hard-wired or should they be wireless?

Choosing the locations of where the cameras will be installed are equally important. The following factors should be kept in mind before installing a camera:

  • The farther the camera is placed, the more of the area it can capture. However, the clarity of the image will be less sharp
  • There should be no blind spots which are usually caused by trees, boundaries, poles etc.
  • The camera should be installed in a high enough location that it cannot be easily accessed and tampered with

There are various options when selecting a home video surveillance system. There are systems that can connect the cameras a PC or to a TV & VCR. One can go for a wired or a wireless camera. Home-owners may also opt for hidden or spy cameras.

The user may also decide to install the video surveillance system himself or hire a Video Surveillance and Monitoring Service to perform this task for them.

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