What is CCTV and IP CCTV?

A Beginners Guide To CCTV

CCTV stands for closed-circuit television and is usually known as video surveillance. The name ‘closed circuit’ refers to how the broadcasts are transmitted to a limited or closed number of monitors, unlike regular broadcast television transmitted to the public.

CCTV cameras can be wired, meaning they use a cable for transmission or wireless. Internet protocol (IP) CCTV cameras are also called network cameras, and they use networks like the internet instead of wires to connect and communicate.

Initially developed by German scientist Walter Bruch to monitor V2 rocket launches, CCTV technology is now more accessible than ever for security purposes in commercial and domestic properties.

If you’re looking to improve the security system of your premises or business, CCTV cameras are a must. Read on to learn more about CCTV, how it works, types of CCTV, their advantages, and examples of CCTV.

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How Does CCTV Work?

A CCTV system comprises all the components and aspects that make up the system, including:

  • Cameras. These can be analogue or digital, with a lens equipped with an image sensor.
  • A recorder. It can be a standard video tape recorder for analogue systems, a digital video recorder (DVR), or a network video recorder (NVR) for digital systems.
  • One or more monitors to which the video is transmitted.
  • Cable or wiring.
  • Access control and general system management.

The CCTV camera takes a constant series of images which are transmitted by cable or wirelessly to the recording device, and then to the display monitor, enabling you to view the series of images as video footage.

Recorders can use analytical software and other intelligent technologies to scan the data and send automated alerts to people or other systems and devices. The management system or software can also record, store, and analyse video feeds using functionalities like face recognition, motion detection, or counting.

Types of CCTV Systems:

You can find many CCTV systems with various cameras, lenses, lighting conditions, shapes, and feature options to suit different circumstances. CCTV systems can be classified as either:


Analogue CCTV systems transmit images and pictures using analogue technology before being recorded on digital tapes. They’re a simple CCTV system that utilises Bayonet Neill-Concelman (BNC) connectors on coaxial cables to transmit continuous video signals.

The picture quality of analogue cameras or video systems is very low, but they’re cheap and effective.

The images require a video capture card, and you can store them on a tape recorder or PC hard disc to view at a later time. You cannot access live footage most of the time, making it unsuitable for real-time monitoring of properties in a remote location.


Digital CCTV is a multi-channel video surveillance system that adopts advanced compression technology to give you higher resolution video and image quality.
The main difference between analogue and digital systems is that digital CCTV systems digitise signals at the camera level.

These systems are personal computer-based and don’t require a video capture card since the video images are stored directly on a computer hard drive.

You can connect many digital video cameras to the same network in a digital CCTV system and view them through a single monitor. It supports a wide range of cameras, meaning you’re not limited to the type of camera you install.

A simple upgrade is all you need to support a digital system if you already have an analogue system installed on your property.

Network or IP CCTV

Internet protocol (IP) CCTV systems turn images and audio into data before transmitting them over a network or internet connection. These systems utilise a video server to stream footage over the internet, making it easily accessible from anywhere.

Many benefits are offered by IP cameras, including more straightforward installation, zoom capabilities, cloud-based surveillance storage, and remote access. They also feature artificial intelligence or video analytics to analyse video footage and flag events in the camera’s field of vision.

The picture quality on IP CCTV is excellent, and you’re assured of great images even in a broader field of view.

Other market options, like IP CCTV systems, are more flexible and integrate better with tech opportunities.

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Types Of CCTV Cameras

You can find different types of CCTV cameras on the market. Some of the most famous types of cameras available include:

Read: Dome vs. Bullet Security Cameras

Dome CCTV Cameras

Dome CCTV cameras get their name from the dome-shaped casing the camera sits in. The dome casing makes it difficult to see which direction the camera is pointing, creating an air of uncertainty for potential vandals or thieves approaching from different directions. The casings are usually vandal-resistant to help protect against destruction.

They’re cost-effective and easy to install by surface mounting on walls or ceilings, making them an excellent choice for office and school settings.

Bullet CCTV Cameras

Bullet CCTV security cameras are characterised by their thin cylindrical shape. They can observe long distances and are commonly placed outdoors. They feature protective casings resistant to water, dust, and dirt to shield the camera and lens against the elements.

Bullet cameras can offer higher resolution images depending on camera complexity and can even include night vision functionalities. The iconic design is highly visible, sending a message to passers-by that your premises are under surveillance and deterring criminal activity.

Pan, Tilt, and Zoom (PTZ) Cameras

With PTZ cameras, you have complete control over what is recorded. The camera lens can pan left and right, tilt up and down, or zoom in and out with the touch of a button. Thanks to their range, they’re often used for broad area surveillance in public areas like public transport, city centres, or retail stores.

PTZ cameras are light and small and suitable for the surveillance of public places. They suit applications where a security team or operator exists because the camera’s movement can be controlled manually.

Fluid control and speedy camera direction changes ensure security can record incidents as they unfold. Further, knowing someone controls the camera and is ready to take action when needed further deters intruders.

Night Vision/Infrared CCTV Cameras

Night vision or infrared CCTV cameras operate in extremely dark conditions. Infrared LEDs line the camera to ensure images remain visible even in the dark. Infrared cameras are usually more expensive but suitable if night recording is vital to the security of your business.

They’re often used for round-the-clock surveillance in busy areas that function 24/7 and have varying light conditions. Infrared cameras have thermal imaging, ensuring visual barriers do not inhibit them.

High-Definition (HD) CCTV Cameras

HD cameras offer an unrivalled picture quality that guarantees high-quality images. They’re ideal for environments where video evidence is vital and have traditionally been reserved for high-risk environments like casinos and banks.

Regular businesses can take advantage of high-quality image resolution as the technology becomes more widespread and affordable.

High definition is now standard among many CCTV providers, and you can even get 4K and 8K resolution depending on your budget. They capture images in perfect clarity, and you don’t have to worry about subjects appearing grainy or distorted in recordings.

The Advantages of CCTV Cameras

Avoiding Internal And External Theft

The fact that more than a quarter of all businesses go under due to employee theft means business owners must protect their business from inside and outside factors. Outside factors can include thieves, burglars, or irritants like neighbours. A CCTV surveillance system can ensure you don’t have any blind spots, watch over your employees and prevent employee theft or property damage before it ever happens.

Prevent Crime

Security cameras are the perfect deterrent against criminal threats. Burglars are less likely to break into a place where they might get captured on camera. The use of video cameras is encouraged for small businesses, which are considered easy targets by criminals.

Evidence Collection

While CCTV cameras deter most criminals, others will take the chance and get caught on camera. CCTV footage can be an excellent tool to help law enforcement gather evidence and extract leads. It can show you exactly what happened and help place locations, times, and suspects. CCTV footage can serve as solid evidence and help solve crimes by giving insight into criminal techniques.

Surveillance of Private or Sensitive Areas

You can have specific places or areas in your home or business with private or sensitive information you don’t want everyone accessing, for example, trade secrets or home banks. Video surveillance systems can discourage people from entering such locations and protect your secrets and personal data.

Staff Security

Keeping your employees safe is just as important as securing your assets. CCTV cameras allow you to monitor what is happening on your premises and the activities of your employees and visitors. The use of CCTV can encourage good behaviour and help avoid any complications caused by employee violence or intruders.

Decision Making

CCTV cameras can provide insight into various issues in your business, including how customers are treated in your absence and your employees’ work ethic. You can watch your business remotely or view recorded footage to identify asset and performance metrics and take the necessary steps to improve services. It’s also useful in settling domestic disputes at home when there are disagreements within your family.

Curb Sexual Harassment And False Liability

Most sexual harassment acts occur when perpetrators think no one is watching. Video cameras can act as an eye in the sky and deter would-be offenders before committing any sexual harassment act. It gives your female employees a sense of security and safety.

Surveillance cameras can also help prevent false lawsuits. CCTV footage can prove what happened to the police and help you avoid such claims. You can monitor actions and words during an event and provide an accurate account or correct answer to law enforcement agencies when asked what happened.

Having lifetime surveillance footage can ensure it lasts longer instead of having it destroyed after a few months and losing your evidence.


Peace of Mind

Whether at home or on your business premises, having a CCTV camera ensures you can monitor and ensure the security and safety of your family and employees. You can eliminate the worry or concern of not knowing what is happening when you’re not on-site or when business is closed.

Reduced Insurance Premiums

Most insurance companies reduce insurance premiums for businesses with CCTV cameras. They recognise that installing CCTV cameras increases the security of your business, making it a lower security risk and reducing the cost of insurance premiums.


What is DVR?

Digital video recorders (DVRs) are electronic devices that provide a way to record video surveillance footage for convenient playback. With modern DVRs, you can directly stream high-definition footage, and they can easily connect to laptops and PCs.


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