The Anatomy Of Indoor CCTV Cameras – What You Should Know Before You Buy
We’ve seen them in public places. We’ve probably casually waved a hi to them as well. We also know they are necessary to maintain law and order and peace of mind in an environment. But have we ever wondered how CCTV cameras work? What are their technical aspects and components?
Well, in recent years, indoor CCTV cameras have undergone a massive overhaul to become completely different from their predecessors. They are not only sleek and elegant in their design but have shredded a few key technical aspects that have been a limitation to their functionality. For the uninitiated, we had posted an extensive write up on the evolution of CCTV cameras. You can check that out, too.
Today, we will be exploring the key components of CCTV cameras of today.
Ready? Let’s get started.
The Components Of Indoor CCTV Cameras
1. The Camera
No points for guessing here but the camera is the fundamental part of a CCTV solution. This is what you install in an environment and this is the primary device that captures and streams real-time footage. Though this is a single unit, there are several variants you could find. For comprehension purposes, let’s classify these variants based on several factors:
2. Form factor
This denotes the shape, size and build of your CCTV camera. It determines which camera would be ideal in what environment, influences its wear and tear, involves other technical aspects like cabling and more. There are several form factors that we are already familiar with such as dome cameras, bullet cameras, POE cameras and more.
This is one of the key components and factors that determines the video clarity of your CCTV camera. There are cameras that start from 720p and go all the way upto 4k and even 8k through 1080p. The higher the resolution, the clearer and more detailed the output.
4. Lens Type
Lens is the element that is responsible for capturing objects. There are different types of lenses in the CCTV camera spectrum, serving a multitude of functions and purposes. You have wide-angle lenses that feature a larger field of view, fish-eye lenses, PTZ lenses and more.
5. Video Recorders
Like you know, the role of a CCTV surveillance system is to not just stream real-time footage for surveillance but record footage for investigative purposes as well. So far, we’ve just seen one single component in a CCTV solution ecosystem – the camera. It’s just the eye that sees and observes things.
But where does the heart of a CCTV solution lie? It’s in the video recorder. What the camera sees, the video recorder records and stores for a set period of time until new footage automatically deletes the existing one.
Conventional video recording technology involved analog video recorders with tapes and bulk instruments. These offered limitations in terms of storage space and the chances of distortion and noise in video footage. However, recent developments have paved the way for more sophisticated and seamless recording technologies such as DVRs and NVRs.
Let’s understand them both.
- DVR: It is abbreviated as Digital Video Recording and it replaces analog systems to record footage. Meaning, it uses digital storage devices such as hard drives or flash drives to record and store content. Modern solutions also integrate with cloud solutions to replace hard drives for storage purposes. This offers users the liberty to literally have unlimited storage for their recordings based on subscription plans. Besides, since it is digital, it is easier to store massive volumes of footage and ensure there is no distortion or tampering of video footage in any way.
- NVR: NVR stands for Network Video Recording and it is a dedicated device used to record footage from IP security cameras. Since it connects to the internet, it can be controlled remotely by users. This is more like a successor to DVRs.
Cables have been an integral part of CCTV solutions for long. If you look at conventional models and systems, cables and wires dominated the space, bringing in limitations and inconvenience in terms of installation and maintenance.
Besides, the presence of cables also alerted intruders and thieves, who would easily go on to disconnect them and ensure they left no piece of evidence during their act. To solve those problems, modern CCTV solutions are mostly wireless. Meaning, they have a cable only for power supply. Their operations and functionalities do not depend on cables for transmission of footage to a storage solution.
They connect to the internet and wirelessly transmit data. With that said, the power supply cable is still present in the ecosystem and is inevitable to boot the camera and keep it up and running.
Also, recent developments in IoT and embedded systems are enabling manufacturers to build CCTV cameras with embedded batteries with significant life to eliminate wiring concerns as well. These are used in remote areas and hostile environments, where scheduled or everyday maintenance is almost impossible.
7. The Output Medium
While CCTV cameras are electronic devices, there is always a pair of human eyes at the other end of the setup, carefully watching and observing footage or environment in real time. But through what medium is the question.
Over the years, the primary output device was a monitor. This was a large screen that allowed users to either switch between multiple cameras or allowed them to view input from every camera through split screens.
Today, however, technology has advanced. Thanks to the integration of the internet and wireless technology, footage from CCTV cameras can be accessed from any portable device or a computer through apps or web browsers. Users can have a real-time view of their assets and properties and even get notified through messages or alarms in case of emergencies or motion detection.
So, these were the 4 inevitable components of a CCTV surveillance system. We firmly believe that these components will continue to be part of the ecosystem regardless of further innovations (at least for the next decade).
And if you have a better understanding of cameras and ultimately your requirements, get in touch with us now.