HOME > Help & Info

Surveillance System Buyer's Guide

Introduction

Monoprice offers a line of professional quality surveillance system components suitable for home or business use. With several different types of cameras and digital video recorders available, choosing the right components for your application can prove to be difficult. This buyer's guide will provide information and technical specifications for Monoprice surveillance products to help you select the proper components for your application. When implementing a surveillance system the most important part of the process is the planning phase. While performing the installation of any surveillance system it's extremely important to have a detailed plan and to have all of the necessary materials available to ensure a smooth and timely installation and configuration process.

Basic components

The basic components to a video surveillance system are: cameras, cabling (power, video), power adapters or a power distribution block, a video recorder (DVR), and monitors.

Types of cameras and applications

Monoprice currently has several different types of security cameras available to suit the requirements of different applications. Before purchasing a camera, you should consider all of the options that are necessary for your application. Is the camera going to be used indoors only, or will it be exposed to outdoor weather elements? Is the camera primarily going to be used for daytime monitoring, or should it have advanced night vision features? Will the camera only need to view objects up close, or will it need to be focused far away from the mounting point? The following is a list of the camera options that Monoprice currently carries, their basic features, and the applications that they are suitable for.

WiFi IP Camera:

The newest additions to Monoprice's stable of security cameras are the WiFi IP Cameras. Rather than using dedicated video cable runs, the WiFi IP Cameras transmit their video signals wireless into your local area network. A simple software package allows you to view, and optionally record, the captured video to a micro SD card on the camera or to a Network Attached Storage (NAS) system. iPhone® and Android® mobile apps allow you to monitor and control the WiFi IP Cams from anywhere. Best of all they are true plug-and-play devices. There is no physical or software configuration required. Just plug them into your wired LAN, install the software on your PC and/or phone, and your new security camera is up and running. Included in this group of cameras is the Video Server, which can give any standard security camera the same WiFi, plug-and-play, and monitor-over-the-internet capabilities used by the WiFi IP Cameras. The true plug-and-play nature of these cameras, plus their flexibility and ease of use from anywhere in the world, make these cameras an ideal security solution for any type of user, whether they are a computer or security system novice or professional.

Brick/Box Camera

Brick/box type cameras are only approved for indoor use. This type of camera is great for multiple types of indoor applications due to the fact that it has a removable and replaceable lens. The cameras do not come packaged with a lens, so the lens will need to be purchased separately by the customer. The maximum resolution is determined by the internal image processor and will be noted in the product description and specifications. The focal length, zoom, viewing radius, and night vision capabilities are determined by the lens, so please consider these options when choosing a lens for your specific application. This type of camera is most commonly found inside of businesses and is attractive to business owners because of its versatility and affordability. It is also good for home users who want a basic and affordable indoor surveillance system.

IR Bullet Camera

IR bullet cameras are approved for indoor or outdoor use and feature a weather resistant housing as well as a hood to help reduce solar glare. They are great for both daytime and nighttime applications due to the infrared (IR) LEDs which turn on automatically during low light situations. The more LEDs that a camera is equipped with, the better the night vision capabilities. The maximum resolution is determined by the internal image processor and it will be listed in the product description and specifications. They can be purchased with either a fixed lens which has a set focal length and viewing radius, or with a vari-focal lens which allows the user to adjust the focal length and viewing radius based on the distance of the desired viewing point. IR bullet cameras are great for indoor business applications such as retail, manufacturing, or warehousing, and are also great for outdoor business applications such as manufacturing or warehousing where the exterior of the building needs to be closely monitored. They are also perfect for home users who want a camera that's durable yet still cost effective.

Indoor Dome Camera

Indoor dome cameras are only approved for indoor use. They are good for applications where the camera will be mounted on the ceiling and set to monitor a specific area. The maximum resolution is determined by the internal image processor and it will be listed in the product description and specifications. They can be purchased with or without infrared (IR) LEDs depending on whether they're needed for a daytime or nighttime application, or both. The more LEDs that the camera is equipped with, the better the night vision capabilities. They can be purchased with either a fixed lens which has a set focal length and viewing radius, or with a vari-focal lens which allows the user to adjust the focal length and viewing radius based on the distance of the desired viewing point. The cameras also feature an internal axis bracket which allows the lens to be pointed at the desired viewing point and locked into that viewing position. Because of the sleek and elegant visually appealing design, this type of cameras is great for business users such as restaurants, retail stores, or any business where the cameras will be visible. Home users can also benefit from this type of camera due to its design and affordability for the basic models.

Vandal Resistant Dome Camera

Vandal resistant dome cameras are approved for indoor or outdoor use. They feature a rugged, durable, thick metal casing that's weatherproof and can withstand even the harshest of elements. Vandal resistant cameras are specifically designed for use in areas where the camera will be vulnerable to an attack of vandalism. They are frequently used in schools, public facilities, transportation hubs such as subways or bus stations, and various other places where the camera will be left exposed to potential vandals. Internally the cameras are nearly identical to their indoor dome counterparts. The maximum resolution is determined by the internal image processor and it will be listed in the product description and specifications. They can be purchased with or without infrared (IR) LEDs depending on whether they're needed for a daytime or nighttime application, or both. The more LEDs that the camera is equipped with, the better the night vision capabilities. They can be purchased with either a fixed lens which has a set focal length and viewing radius, or with a vari-focal lens which allows the user to adjust the focal length and viewing radius based on the distance of the desired viewing point. The cameras also feature an internal axis bracket which allows the lens to be pointed at the desired viewing point and locked into that viewing position.

Mini Vandal Resistant Dome Camera

Mini vandal resistant dome cameras are approved for indoor or outdoor use. Like their close relatives, the vandal resistant dome cameras, they feature a rugged, durable, thick metal casing that's weatherproof and can withstand the harshest of elements. However, they are much more compact than the standard vandal resistant dome models which make them more versatile due to the ability to be discretely installed. Monoprice currently carries two models of the mini vandal, a surface mount model that's made to be installed on an exterior mounting surface such as a ceiling or canopy, and a flush mount model that's made to be installed inside of a cutout in the mounting surface. The mini vandal is so compact and discrete that it's difficult to detect, especially in low light situations. Vandals may not even know that the cameras are watching, and if they are detected the vandal resistant design makes them difficult to disable. Due to the small size the features are limited to a fixed lens and no IR LEDs, making their long distance viewing and night vision capabilities limited, but they are still a good option for customers who want a discrete yet functional and durable indoor/outdoor camera.

UTP Cameras

UTP cameras are available in various models such as box type or IR bullet style. Their specifications and abilities are identical to those specific models of cameras except for the fact that they also have the ability to transmit video over two strands (one pair) of wire inside of unshielded twisted pair Ethernet cabling. They feature a standard BNC video output but also have two bare wire leads for video transmission that are marked negative and positive. Those bare wire leads can be coupled to two strands (one pair) of wire inside of a single Ethernet cable and then run back to a UTP receiver unit which converts the video signal to a BNC output for connection to the digital video recorder (DVR). By using inexpensive Ethernet cabling in lieu of coaxial BNC cabling as a video transmission medium, customers are able to save money and build a more cost effective surveillance system.

Cabling

All of the video cameras that Monoprice currently carry output video through a BNC connection which requires 75ohm coaxial cabling for video transmission. Monoprice stocks high quality 75 ohm coaxial cabling with BNC connectors suitable for this application in the following category:

http://www.monoprice.com/products/subdepartment.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10203&cs_id=1020307

If you've chosen to install UTP security cameras and use Ethernet cabling for video transmission, Monoprice stocks high quality Cat5e bulk cabling that is suitable for this application in the following category:

http://www.monoprice.com/products/subdepartment.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10233

In the future Monoprice will also be stocking power cabling as well as power and video over Ethernet baluns that will be compatible with all of our security cameras.

Power adapters or power distribution blocks

Monoprice brand security cameras require either a DC12V or AC24V power supply which is not included with any of our cameras. The DC12V only models feature a round 2.1mm power connector that's compatible with most DC12V 2.1mm security camera power adapters currently available on the market. The AC24V only and dual voltage DC12V/AC24V models feature two bare wire leads for power that will need to be coupled to the bare wire leads of a DC12V or AC24V power adapter. If you're configuring a security system with multiple cameras spread out over a large area, a central power distribution box can be used instead of using a separate power adapter for each camera. Power distribution boxes can be obtained in sizes from 4 channels up to 256 channels. The smaller distribution boxes can usually be plugged into to a standard AC power outlet and don't require any hard wiring to an existing electrical system. The larger distribution boxes generally require hard wiring into an existing electrical circuit or the creation of a new electrical circuit at the breaker box. From the distribution box to the cameras a standard security camera two lead power cabling would be used. The two lead power cabling from the distribution box would couple directly to the bare wire leads of the AC24V or dual voltage DC12V/AC24V models while on the DC12V only models a 2.1mm pigtail connector would be used to connect the two lead power cabling to the camera's power connector.

Monoprice currently offers power adapters and power distribution boxes for our cameras.

http://www.monoprice.com/products/subdepartment.asp?c_id=110&cp_id=11009

Monoprice currently stocks a line of professional quality digital video recorders that are suitable for either home or business use. The digital video recorders are available in 4, 8, and 16 channel models and are available with or without an internal DVD-RW pre-installed. All Monoprice DVRs feature a user friendly Linux based mouse driven graphical user interface (GUI) which makes them easy to learn and configure, even for a user who has limited technical knowledge and experience. By using the latest video encoding format, H.264, they are able to effectively encode and store high resolution video while using only a small amount of storage space (up to 50% less space than the previous Mpeg4 video format). The DVR can be accessed remotely by using either the included client viewer software or through any computer that uses the Internet Explorer web browser. Backup of stored recordings is simple and convenient through the use of the internal DVD-RW (on equipped models), a USB flash drive or USB external hard drive. Since all of Monoprice's DVRs feature the same internal operating system, selecting the proper one for your application is as easy as counting the number of cameras in your configuration and deciding whether or not you want a pre-installed DVD-RW for backups.

Example: If you have 8 cameras in your configuration and you need the ability to back up data to a disc storage medium, you'd want to choose product ID 6660 which is an 8 channel model with an internal DVD-RW pre-installed.

Monitors

Monoprice DVRs feature several monitor outputs which can all be independently configured. There is a standard VGA output that can be hooked up to any standard computer monitor or display with a VGA input. The VGA output is used for performing configuration through the graphical user interface and can also be used to monitor your surveillance system cameras. There is an s-video output that can be hooked up to a standard television or display with an s-video input. The s-video output is used for monitoring of the surveillance system cameras. There is also a composite BNC video output which can be connected to the BNC input on a surveillance system monitor, or a BNC to RCA adapter can be used to connect this port to the composite (yellow RCA) input on a standard television for monitoring of the surveillance system cameras. The SPOT video output of the DVR is a BNC output that is hooked up to a surveillance system monitor which, in a business situation, is usually placed in a security office or at a security guard's desk for constant monitoring of the surveillance system cameras. The 16 channel DVR models also have a BNC output for each of the 16 inputs so that 16 different security monitors can be used to display each channel independently.

Monoprice currently carries the following professional BNC monitor:

http://www.monoprice.com/products/subdepartment.asp?c_id=110&cp_id=11013

Additional components

The additional components Monoprice currently offers for surveillance systems are: Camera Housing and Mounts, Camera Lenses, Connectors, and Dummy Cameras.

Camera Housing and Mounts

Security camera housings are available in various types and for various uses. Security Camera housings or mounts are of two main styles Dome enclosures and the more present Box style. Dome Enclosures and Standard housings are manufactured for numerous applications including indoors and outdoor weatherproof type of scenarios. Monoprice carries housings, housing brackets, camera mounts and mounting adapters here:

http://www.monoprice.com/products/subdepartment.asp?c_id=110&cp_id=11004

Lenses

Monoprice currently offers both fixed and vari-focal lenses for our brick style cameras.

http://www.monoprice.com/products/subdepartment.asp?c_id=110&cp_id=11005

Fixed Iris Lenses

Fixed IR corrected lenses employ specialized optical elements to help eliminate focus shift if you are using in conjunction with "True" Day & Night cameras. This means sharper images and better video quality, making this lens versatile for multiple setups.

Vari-focal Lenses

A vari-focal lens is a camera lens in which the focus is not fixed, it can be manually or automatically adjusted.

Camera Connectors

Monoprice currently has a selection of camera connectors and adapters four surveillance systems. This includes baluns and common video adapters, which can all be found here:

http://www.monoprice.com/products/subdepartment.asp?c_id=110&cp_id=11011

Dummy Cameras

Monoprice has recently added Dummy Cameras to our line of surveillance system products. Dummy Security Cameras can be used to augment your existing security system by creating the impression that you have more camera coverage than is actually installed. They can also be used to temporarily replace faulty cameras in case spares are not available while repairs are being performed. Monoprice offers both Dome and Brick style Dummy Cameras here:

http://www.monoprice.com/products/subdepartment.asp?c_id=110&cp_id=11016

Conclusion

Now that you have your cameras, cabling, power sources, digital video recorder (DVR), and monitors picked out and planned, you're ready to begin building your surveillance system. Keep in mind that even a small basic surveillance system can easily turn into a lengthy project and there may be hurdles along the way. As long as you have a solid plan and have done your research before beginning the project everything should turn out just fine and you'll soon be enjoying the benefits and added security of your new surveillance system! If you have any questions or need guidance along the way, please feel free to contact Monoprice technical support via LiveChat at any time and our friendly support staff will be glad to assist you.

Common Surveillance System Terminology and Acronyms

Commonly used terms and acronyms in regards to surveillance systems and devices.

Term Definition
AC Adapter Also called a power supply. All CCTV devices needs power of some sort. Each device has its own power requirements (usually 12 volts with minimum amperage). The power coming out of the wall (in the US) is 110 to 120 AC. The adaptor converts the AC power to DC power and will adjust it to specified amperage. The power supply should be included with each item - you usually don't have to buy these separately.
Alarm Input An input connection to a security VCR or DVR that triggers the unit to start recording if the alarm is triggered.
Analog There are two main ways of doing things electronically, analog or digital. An analog signal can be represented as a series of sine waves. The term originated because the modulation of the carrier wave is analogous to the fluctuations of the human voice or other sound that is being transmitted.
Analog System Most cameras used in cctv applications are analog. Security VCRs, switchers, multiplexors and quads also are analog devices. Any cctv system that consists of analog devices are considered analog systems. Compare to 'digital systems'.
Angle of View For security cameras, this refers to the angular range in degrees that you can focus the camera on without distorting the image. When focusing close up, you can generally see a wide angle of view. If the focus is distant, the angle of view is smaller or narrower.
Aperture The opening of a lens which controls the amount of light let into the camera. The size of the aperture is controlled by the iris adjustment and measured by an f-number. The higher the f number the less light is permitted to pass into the camera. For example, a f1.2 lens will allow more light to reach the sensor and produce a brighter image than an f2.0 lens.
Audio Most cameras capture 'video' only (what you can see) - some come with audio too (sound). You can add a microphone to a security system to capture audio if needed. To record the sound, your recording device needs to support audio (must have at least one audio input).
Auto Electronic Shutter (AES) The ability of the camera to compensate for moderate light changes in indoor applications without the use of auto iris lenses.
Auto Gain Control (AGC) An electronic circuit used by which the gain of a signal is automatically adjusted as a function of its input or other specified parameter.
Auto Iris Control A lens in which the aperture automatically opens or closes to maintain proper light levels on the faceplate of the camera pickup device.
Auto White Balance (AWB) A feature on color cameras that constantly monitors the light and adjusts its color to maintain white areas.
Back Light Compensation (BLC) A feature on newer CCD cameras which electronically compensates for high background lighting to give detail which would normally be silhouetted.
Bullet Camera A type of camera with a bullet like shape. Can be used inside or out. Some come with infrared lighting.
C/CS-Mount Camera C-Mount and cs-mount cameras are designed to accommodate custom lenses. The lenses can be removed and replaced. Both c-mount and cs-mount cameras have a thread with a 1 inch diameter and 32 threads per inch. The difference between them is that c-mount cameras have a distance from the lens mounting surface to the camera sensor of 0.69 inches whereas the cs-mount distance is 0.492 inches. It is possible to put a c-mount lens on a cs-mount camera by using a CS adaptor ring. But you cannot put a cs-mount lens on a c-mount camera.
Cable The wiring used to connect electronic devices. Cables transmit different kinds of signals such as video, power, data, and audio signals. Refer to plug and play cable and RG59 Siamese cable for more information.
Camera Sensor Also known as "camera pickup device", "image sensor", or "CCD". These are all names for the CCD sensor in the camera that actually senses or captures the image.
CCD Stands for "charge-coupled device". First invented in the 1970s, this technology uses a shift register combined with photodiodes to create the modern day imaging device. Used in cameras, scanners, fax machines, etc. The size of the CCD chip is normally 1/4", 1/3" or 1/2". As a rule of thumb, the larger the size, the higher the quality of the image produced and the higher the price. However some of the higher density 1/4" and 1/3" CCD chips can now produce as good an image as many of the 1/3" or 1/2" chips.
CCTV Closed-circuit television.
CMOS As with CCD, it is common to find security cameras with CMOS or Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor image sensors. A major benefit of using CMOS vs CCD image sensors is that many of the image processing functions of the camera can be built into the CMOS chip itself. This allows for more compact circuitry and smaller camera size. In theory, a security camera could consist of a lens and one CMOS image sensor. This is due to the capability of including all image processing circuitry on the CMOS chip. However, in most applications, manufacturers that utilize CMOS also add other image processing components.
Compression Refers to taking an incoming signal or image, which can be analog or digital, and compressing the data so it can be stored or transmitted faster and using less resources. There are many different algorithms and techniques that are used to compress data.
Covert A covert application refers to a situation where you don't want the person to know that they are being watched or recorded. Also known as 'hidden' cameras.
Day/Night Camera "Day/Night Cameras" are regular cameras with an especially sensitive CCD chip that allows a good image to be captured in very low ambient lighting (regular lighting - not infrared). Do not confuse these cameras with "Night Vision" cameras which is another name for infrared cameras.
Digital There are two main ways of doing things electronically, analog or digital. The digital method is to consider a circuit either on or off. A digital voltage or signal refers to the discrete nature of digital voltage potentials in digital circuits. TTL (Bipolar Transistor-Transistor Logic) defines 0.0 Volts as a logic 0 or low, and 5.0 Volts as a logic 1 or high; These are single values for clarity - there are actually ranges of voltage potentials around 0.0V and 5.0V which are recognized as low and high logic levels, respectively.
Digital Noise Reduction (DNR) A feature of some of the more advanced surveillance cameras is DNR or Digital Noise Reduction. The security camera uses a DSP or Digital Signal Processor along with an algorithm to detect the noise in the video and digitally remove it. This smooth’s out the video and make motion detection more accurate.
Digital Signal Processor (DSP) After the image sensor in the camera collects the image and converts it to an electrical signal, the DSP or Digital Signal Processor takes over. The DSP not only converts the electrical signal to a digital image, but it also performs any image manipulation that the camera is designed to perform. For example, the DSP would perform any AWB functions or WDR functions.
Digital System CCTV systems are just lately coming into the digital age. Most security cameras are still analog. There are some digital cameras available but they are extremely expensive. Where digital technology is really making ground in CCTV is with digital video recorders (or DVRs). Any CCTV system that includes a DVR is considered a digital system.
Digital Video Recorder (DVR) A digital video recorder is basically a computer that converts the incoming (analog) signal from the cameras to digital, and compresses it, and stores it. The DVR replaces the function of a multiplexor (or quad or switcher) and a security VCR. There are many advantages of digital video recorders over their analog counterparts.
Dome Camera A type of camera with a dome like shape. Usually used inside only. Some come with infrared lighting and some are designed to be tamper-proof.
Duplex A duplex device can transmit data into and out of the electronic device at the same time. For example, a full duplex modem can send and receive data at the same time.
Duplex DVR A duplex DVR is a DVR that can record and view/playback at the same time. Compare to a triplex DVR or a pentaplex DVR.
Field of View The Field of View or FOV of a camera lens is measured in degrees. As the focal length of a lens is increased, the field of view decreases and vice versa. It is important when choosing a lens for your security cameras that you keep in mind that when a "zoom" lens is used, that the field of view will be very narrow. In contrast, when you want a wide angle lens in order to capture as much of an angle as possible, the focal length will be very short.
Fixed Lens The most basic type of surveillance camera lens is the Fixed Lens. This lens has a "Fixed" focal length, so the field of view is predetermined. These types of security camera lenses typically come in 2.5, 4, 6, 8, and 12 mm focal lengths.
Focal Length The focal length of a security camera lens can be described simply as the distance from the primary magnifying lens to the image sensor. Imagine you are looking through a magnifying glass. As you move the lens away from your eye, the images gets bigger. The same thing happens inside a security camera lens. a lens that has a long focal length is farther away from the image sensor than a lens with a short focal length. Conversely, a surveillance camera lens with a longer focal length will have a more narrow FOV or Field of View than a lens with a shorter focal length.
Frames Per Second (FPS) In digital video applications, refers to the number of video images that can be captured, displayed, or recorded in a second. Also referred to as the 'frame rate' or 'refresh rate'.
Housing Special covering or container to protect a camera from extreme temperatures or weather conditions.
ICR Cut Filter In a True Day/Night Surveillance Camera, this is the filter that is used to "cut" out any infrared light in a scene. Infrared light scatters easily and can cause discoloration and/or distortion in the surveillance camera footage. Normal Day/Night Security Cameras do not use a Cut Filter. Instead, they use software to digitally remove infrared interference from the image.
Infrared The region of the electromagnetic spectrum bounded by the long-wavelength extreme of the visible spectrum (approximately 0.7 m) and the shortest microwaves (approximately 0.1 mm).
Infrared Camera Infrared cameras (aka night vision cameras) have special infrared lights installed around the perimeter of the camera lens. This provides special light that the camera uses to capture a good picture even in total darkness.
Iris The iris (on some lenses) controls how much light is let into the camera lens.
jpeg (or jpg) Pronounced "jay-peg" and stands for "Joint Photographic Experts Group" who designed the standard. This is a standard way of compressing images which works particularly well for photographic images (as opposed to graphic art).
Lens The lens of the camera determines the angle of view and the focus of the captured image. There are many different lens options.
Low Light Refers to very dim lighting, even 'normal' darkness. Complete darkness is 0 lux. Infrared cameras work well in very low light conditions.
Lux Refers to the amount of light required for a camera to capture a good image. Infrared cameras have very low lux.
Micro Camera Very small cameras designed to work in covert applications where you don't want people to know that the camera is there. Also called 'hidden cameras'.
Monitor Security monitors are used to display the images from your cameras (or captured on your recording device). There are two basic kinds used today in CCTV applications. Analog or composite video monitors are used to display images in analog systems. They are just like a TV screen without the TV receiver. These are the monitors we have for sale on our site. Digital or VGA monitors (just like on your computer) are used with digital devices like the Digital Video Recorders. We don't include the monitor with our digital video recorders because you can pick one up more affordably at your local computer store (and not have to pay the shipping cost for such a heavy item).
Motion Detection Refers to the feature in some VCRs and DVRs to only record video if something in the image moves or changes. Therefore you don't have to look through hours of taped video looking for something to happen. It also saves a lot of space on the tape or hard drive.
Mounting Bracket Various different kinds of mounting brackets are used to install cameras to the wall or ceiling.
mpeg (or mpg) Pronounced "em-peg" and stands for "Motion Picture Experts Group" who designed the standard. This is a standard way of compressing audio and video files. (It's also the technology behind the now world-famous MP3 music files.)
Multiplexor A device that can accept a number of camera inputs and almost simultaneously display them on a single monitor and/or record them. Multixplexers can also be used to transmit multiple cameras over the same transmission medium.
OSD Many modern cameras use an OSD or On-Screen Display in order to access any functions that the camera may have built in. Almost all PTZ Surveillance Cameras, WDR Security Cameras, True Day/Night Security Cameras will have functionality that can only be accessed via the OSD. The OSD can be accessed via the RS485 connection if available, or by pressing buttons on the camera itself. Once activated, the OSD will be displayed on a monitor attached to the camera and allows the user to access the functions of the camera.
Outdoor Camera Outdoor cameras come in special weatherproof housings that allow them to stand up well in tough weather and temperature conditions.
Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ) Cameras PTZ cameras allow you to adjust the position ('pan' is side-to-side, 'tilt' is up-and-down) and focus ('zoom') of the camera using a remote controller. Due to this added functionality, these cameras tend to cost much more than non-PTZ cameras.
Pin-Hole Camera Pin-hole cameras have a very small lens that can see through a small hole. These types of cameras are used in covert applications. A disadvantage of pin-hole cameras is that they require more lighting than normal cameras to capture a good clear picture.
Plug and Play Cable A cable that makes wiring cameras easy. Each camera needs to have a power wire and video wire (and sometimes an audio wire too), plus the connectors at the end of the wire to plug it in. The plug and play cables have all three wires built into one cable with the connectors already attached. The only disadvantage of plug and play cable is that the signal tends to degrade if run distances. For DVRs - plug and play cables can be run reliably up to 100 ft. For analog systems - plug and play cable can be run up to 400 ft. If you need to run longer distances then you need to use the RG59 Siamese cable.
Power Supply Also called an AC adaptor. All cctv devices needs power of some sort. Each device has its own power requirements (usually 12 volts with minimum amperage). The power coming out of the wall (in the US) is 110 to 120 AC. The power supply converts the AC power to DC power and will adjust it to specified amperage. The power supply should be included with each item - you don't have to buy these separately.
Quad An analog device used to display 4 cameras simultaneously on a single monitor.
Real-Time Recording In digital video applications, 30 frames per second per camera (see above) looks just like real-time. There is no hesitation or jerkiness in the video.
Remote Surveillance The ability to view your cameras from a remote location. Information is transmitted via phone line or internet.
Resolution Refers to how much detail can be captured on a camera or displayed on a monitor. Cameras typically capture about 380 horizontal lines of resolution. High resolution cameras may capture 450 lines of resolution or more. The higher the resolution, the more detail that can be captured in a picture. The monitors and recording devices can generally handle at least as much resolution as the cameras can capture.
RG59 Siamese Cable This type of cable combines the power wire with the video wire. You have to add your own connectors to each end of the cable. Use this type of cable when you need to run distances longer than 100 ft with a digital system, or more than 400 ft. with an analog system (see the plug and play cable above). The RG59 Siamese cable can be run reliably up to 1000 ft.
S/N Ration Signal to noise ratio; this number represents how much signal noise the camera can tolerate and still provide a good picture. The higher the number the better.
Smart Search This is a feature of our digital video recorders that allows you to search for changes in a particular area of an image over time. For example, if a wallet was stolen off of a table, you could go to a point on the video where the wallet is there, draw a virtual box around that area, then search the video recording for changes to that particular area. This would allow you to locate the exact point on the video where the wallet was removed.
Super HAD Super HAD provides 2 times of better sensitivity and 6 dB better smear rejection ratio than the formal traditional type of CCD. Two micro lenses on top of each photo diode are able to collect more photon from incoming light than the old CCD made by SONY and any other maker.
Switch A switch will take multiple camera inputs and will show them on the monitor one at a time. Unlike a quad it will not display them all at once, instead it sequences through them showing one camera at a time. It will also allow you to select a particular camera to view.
Time-Lapse VCR A VCR that can be set to slow down its recording rate in order to extend the length of time that can be recorded on a standard tape up to as much as 960 hours. This is possible by recording one frame at time at set time intervals. Most units have an alarm input signal so it can be automatically switched to real time mode in case of an alarm.
Transformer A device used to transfer electric energy from one circuit to another, especially a pair of multiply wound, inductively coupled wire coils that affect such a transfer with a change in voltage, current, phase, or other electric characteristic.
Triplex or Triplex DVR A triplex DVR is a DVR that can record, view/playback, and network (view remotely) at the same time. Keep in mind that manufacturers may use this term differently so check for details on the product. Compare to a duplex DVR or a pentaplex DVR.
TVL TV Lines refers to how much detail can be captured on a camera or displayed on a monitor. Cameras typically capture about 380 horizontal lines of resolution. High resolution cameras may capture 450 lines of resolution or more. The higher the resolution, the more detail that can be captured in a picture. The monitors and recording devices can generally handle at least as much resolution as the cameras can capture.
Vari-Focal Lens A camera lens in which the focus is not fixed, it can be manually or automatically adjusted.
VCR Videocassette recorder; an electronic device for recording and playing back video images and sound on a videocassette.
Video Capture Card Computer cards that you can install on the motherboard of your own computer to create your own video recording computer. Due to compatibility issues with this type of device, we do not sell these separately.
Video Gain An increase in video signal power by an amplifier, expressed as the ratio of output to input. Also called amplification.
Video Input A connection in a video controller or recording device that you can plug a camera into. The more video inputs (also called camera inputs) available on a device the more cameras you can connect to it.
Watch Dog Timer Circuit Protection If problems are detected in the DVR computer the system will automatically reboot to correct the problem.
Waterproof A device that can be immersed in water and still function properly.
Weatherproof A device that is weatherproof can be installed outside and stand up to harsh weather conditions and temperatures. However, it does not mean that it is waterproof.
Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) Cameras with wide dynamic range (WDR) technology can provide clearer images under extreme back light circumstances. This can be a problem when there are both bright and dark areas in the field of view at the same time. This is a common problem in applications where there are windows and doors that let in excessive light during parts of the day.
Wireless Camera Wireless cameras allow the transmission of video and audio data to be transmitted to the receiver without having to run wires (using radio waves).