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CCTV Facts

High definition CCTV cameras are fast becoming the standard in new CCTV installations. Market reports suggest that by 2016 more than 45% of CCTV cameras will support the new digital formats as opposed to the previous PAL or NTSC analogue video standard equivalents. Many of these installations will support the new 1080 HDTV format, bringing CCTV in line with consumer HDTV definitions.

For new installations the transmission medium is likely to be IP based, driven simply by the weight of numbers of IP cameras and range of compatible IT equipment such as switches, network video recorders network cabling infra-structure.

With the push for greater clarity and resolution there is however a growing fragmentation of standards which is holding the market back.

The PAL (and American NTSC) analogue video standards signal supports 1volt Peak to Peak, with a defined line standard and standardised connection impedance of a 75ohm. You can pretty well guarantee, provided basic rules have been observed that you will get a compatible video signal at the end of your video cable to plug into your digital recorder, which at least ensures the basic recording function will work.

However the move away from analogue video standard towards higher definition digital video leaves a market free for all with differing line standards and compression techniques muddying the compatibility waters.

For the end user it is now much harder to future proof a CCTV system because compatibility is much more manufacturer centric.

Multi-vendor software and emerging standards such as ONVIF seek to address this problem, but have a long way to go before general acceptance is established. In addition the pull towards standardisation tends to leave behind some of the more innovative camera features such as retail, heat maps or on board SD card recording, only available via the manufacturer’s specific software.

Essentially the more intelligence that is put into the cameras head, the less likelihood that multi-vendor software or software standards will support these features. Hence CCTV systems which make use of intelligent cameras tend to be vendor specific (ie based on a single manufacturer) rather than multi-vendor, dictating that the end user is tied into one specific camera manufacturer both for now and for future expansion.

Aside from IP based digital CCTV is yet another emerging standard for uncompressed high definition digital video transmission across coaxial cable. The advantage of this technology is that your existing cabling infra-structure can be retained such that you simply replace your cameras and recorder to upgrade from PAL to HDTV definition.

If replacement of cabling is a major cost in your CCTV upgrade plans, then this can be a very attractive path. Situations with high costs for civil works involving road excavation or underground railways are classic examples where this technology can be effectively utilised to upgrade to high definition. However the typical cable run for HD over coax is limited to 100metres and cable quality of the existing installation is also a factor, so again the path is not straightforward.

An often overlooked component for any CCTV system is lighting for night viewing. The advent of the LED has made a huge impact on the CCTV system’s ability to see in the dark. All-in-one cameras with built-in infra-red LED’s have greatly improved night time performance, particularly for low cost systems. Also intelligent lighting with variable beam width have helped to avoid light pooling to give a well distributed light source helping to ensure a good picture across the entire field of view at night.

All in all, new opportunities bring new choices and with it new pitfalls. More than ever it is the job of the installer to listen to the customer’s requirements and put forward an honest proposal for the best system to meet their needs. If you would like to learn more about any of these topics we would be happy to discuss your requirements.

Please visit our contact page for more details and to arrange for a free quotation.



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