What Are CCTV Cameras (Unlimited Guide)

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If you’re a beginner you may ask “What are CCTV Cameras?“ and why these types of surveillance cameras are important to have.

Well, Back in 1942 in Germany during the second world war when Walter Bruch invented the CCTV ( closed-circuit television camera ) to observe and run the test for V-2 rockets.

After 7 years and In 1949 when CCTV systems were used for commercial purposes. 

The first closed-circuit television system used in the U.S and called Vericon, Siemens installed the first CCTV system.

Nowadays, CCTV is used in many applications, as for 2016 reports there are 350 million surveillance cameras around the world. Most of these cameras are in Asia, North America, and Europe.

In 2018, China according to reports has a huge Surveillance network video recorder of over 170 million CCTV cameras.

In addition, this number is expected to reach 400 million cameras installed in the next 3 years.

Most CCTV cameras are used in surveillance camera systems for home security, office to monitor everything around, as it offers a high level of protection, sometimes it’s used in industry to watch and control the machining process.


What Are CCTV Cameras? And How CCTV Technology Cameras Work?

What Are CCTV Cameras and How it Work

To know what are CCTV cameras there is more than one definition. It may be called an Analog camera or Television camera.

But in general, CCTV stands for a closed-circuit television camera, it’s an Analog security camera used for surveillance technology systems. The CCTV cam transmits signals in a closed circuit between one camera to one device. Or in other cases, One camera to multi-device may be wired Like a Bullet camera or wireless like IP security cameras.

The purpose of CCTV in surveillance is to watch and monitor things and to know how it works. 

Actually, there is more than one device used in this process. 

The first step is: the camera captures light and then converts the light into the video signal by using CCD ( Charge Coupled Device ) which is a small device that converts light into an electrical signal to transmit to the recorder. The second step is: the signal is processed inside the CCTV camera and converts electrical signal to video signal. The video signal can easily record or display instantly on the screen.

Earlier, CCTV used Video Tape Recorder to record analog signals as pictures, to operate videotape recorder continuously it must run slow speed. Plus the quality of the recorded video isn’t high.

Now, most CCTV cameras available in the market use a DVR (digital video recorder) to store data, recording videos as it has a built-in hard drive.

The DVR is embedded devices designed for CCTV cameras and require less maintenance.

Also, it’s easy to set up and this makes CCTV Long-range uses especially if you look for the best cams to use in Business.

CCTV Security Cameras have many types with many features, it may be wire or wireless, suitable for indoors or outdoors activity.

Now: Let’s see 

What Are the difference between Network & Analog CCTV cameras 

Both Network and Analog CCTV cameras are widespread and used by a large number of homeowners.

The differences between the 2 cameras are few such as the devices used in the system and the type of wires and cables connected between the devices.

Network CCTV Cameras System pros and cons 

The CCTV cameras especially in the network system have a bundle of features that anyone loves to have, features existing in Network systems such as Live View, High resolution, capability to zoom in and out on videos, and more.

A network system must have a router device to allow you to enjoy the system advantages. Here are a couple of pros and cons for the Network CCTV System:


  1. They are easily accessible through the network, which means you can monitor your property remotely.
  2. You can automate your monitoring process.
  3. The cable costs are saved, as no cables are required.


  1. Being connected to the network makes them accessible by hackers.
  2. More costly.
  3. Need some experience and learning to work with.

Analog CCTV System pros and cons 

CCTV Cameras in analog systems are amazing also, it’s considered the best before using network systems.

In the past, CCTV analog cameras had limited features and resolution, but now everything changes each day. Here are some pros and cons of Analog CCTV system cameras:


  1. Very simple with an easier installation process.
  2. Better vendor support
  3. Lower price tag.


  1. Lower video quality.
  2. More cable with more costs.
  3. Data encryption isn’t supported properly.

What Are The Types Of CCTV Security Cameras?

Well, there is a wide variety of CCTV products in the market, but you don’t know how to choose the right one?. or what’s the difference between CCTV cameras?.

The most popular types of security cameras available in the market are used for protection and surveillance, so you want to know each type of CCTV security camera.

1- Dome CCTV Security Camera

Dome security camera shape
Dome CCTV Security Camera

The First type of CCTV camera is Dome Camera, Dome camera is the most common camera, it’s suitable for Indoors & outdoor activity.

The Dome CCTV camera has a strong and perfect design that makes it too difficult to know which side the camera is facing.

This puts Dome cameras between the best cameras for security and surveillance systems.

2- Bullet CCTV Security Camera

Bullet CCTV Cameras are designed for outdoor security and surveillance systems.

Bullet security camera shape
Bullet CCTV Security Camera

With the cylindrical and long shape, the camera does a great job in long-distance viewing, you can zoom in and out and it supports high-quality image resolution.

These types of CCTV cameras can easily mount on walls. and installed with protective cases to make cameras shielded against dirt, rain, and dust, plus come fitted with fixed or vertical lenses.

3- C-Mount CCTV Security Camera

C-Mount CCTV Security Camera shape
C-Mount CCTV Security Camera

The standard type of CCTV camera lenses can cover a distance between 35-40 ft. But what if you want to cover a longer distance than 40 ft?, C-mount camera type you can change the lens to cover the distance you need.

C-mount CCTV security camera can be used for indoor protection, as it comes with a large size that makes the camera noticeable.

Another benefit of C-mount is it can support changes in technology.

4- Night/Day CCTV Security Camera

Don’t worry about the camera and how it will record video at night.

This type of camera can work and capture clear video in dark with no need for illuminators.

A CCTV camera is the most suitable one for outdoor surveillance systems, as it can work in both environments Normal and poorly lit environments with no need for light.

Plus, The Night/Day camera has infrared capability and can record video and capture images in both mode color or black & white.

5-  PTZ – CCTV Security Camera

PTZ security CCTV cameras are suitable for a live surveillance system, as it has a high-quality resolution for image and video, but what does PTZ means?

Pan-Tilt-Zoom CCTV Security Camera
PTZ – CCTV Security Camera

PTZ refer to the features of the camera Panning, Tilting, and Zoom:

Panning: you can control the camera to move right or left.

Tilting: to control the camera to direct up or down.

Zoom: the lens is controllable to zoom closer or farther.

6- Hidden CCTV Security Camera

CCTV cameras have a Hidden security camera, it’s suitable for indoor applications as it can mount in any place, also has a small size to be noticeable.

The discreet CCTV camera has many benefits, You can capture perfect surveillance footage of criminals or theft.

As it is hidden and small the camera is less likely to be damaged and used for a spy.

7- Infrared CCTV Security Camera

Infrared cameras, thermal image cameras are the best choice for the surveillance system in the important building.

Places like airports, nuclear power stations, and seaports have Infrared cameras for surveillance.

As the camera can capture high-quality images and send fast signals in the dark, it uses small LEDs that surround the lens.

Also, this type of camera covers a long distance of up to 300 meters.

Plus, the camera radiation is strong enough to pass visual barriers and wide areas.

8- IP CCTV Security Camera

An IP camera is a type of CCTV camera that uses the network to share captured images.

The camera uses a network to share data, it’s also easy to access the CCTV Camera via the same network.

Network cameras are cost-effective; there’s no more wired need to connect the cameras.

In addition, you can access your camera and see what happens through your mobile device.

wireless cameras offer less damage in home design, as it doesn’t use wire in connection. Some IP cameras use Audio in security cameras to enable an Amazing 2-way audio feature to hear and speak from the camera.

9- High-Resolution CCTV Security Camera

High-resolution cameras or high-definition cameras are the best choices for high-risk places, like Banks, football stadiums, and casinos.

As it captures a high-quality image of persons in these places.

Also, You can zoom in to see the details of captured images without losing focus.

Most companies that seek high security and maximum safety select High Definition cameras.

Note: After finishing what are CCTV cameras? and CCTV camera types?. You must know the features of the CCTV camera.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of CCTV Cameras?  

Well, CCTV cameras are one of the best surveillance devices to use in your home if you compare them to other security devices such as doorbell cameras or smart locks.

Not only that, the other devices require professionals to install and fix if there is any problem happening to your home security system.

For CCTV cameras, Here are both advantages and disadvantages

CCTV Advantages

  1. Low cost: they are relatively inexpensive compared to most surveillance systems 
  1. Remote monitoring: the ability to monitor CCTV cameras remotely from a central station allows for more flexibility when designing surveillance 
  1. Mobile monitoring: it is possible to mount these security devices on vehicles, such as buses or cars, and be able to monitor them from within the vehicle. 
  1. Safer Environment: Security cameras reduce crime prevalence dramatically. Criminals get afraid of getting caught and search for easier places to break in.

CCTV Disadvantages

  1. Vulnerable to Hack: CCTV Cameras can be hacked and manipulated, which can be a huge privacy invasion and a danger to your property.
  1. Mounted in specific Places: CCTV Cameras are vulnerable to vandalism and tampering when you install them in the wrong place.
  2. Used for Surveillance Only: Cameras don’t prevent criminals from breaking into your property, they just decrease the number and work as a protective layer.

CCTV Security Cameras Applications and Uses

Technology changes every day to change our life for the better. Also, closed-circuit television security cameras helped us to feel safe.

Monitoring the wrong thing while we’re away and watching live videos for your home, office, and garden.

With more features and different types of cameras, each camera type is suitable for specific applications.

Security systems also differ from one place to another and choosing the right camera type is not easy.

As we mentioned above CCTV or closed-circuit television has many uses, some of these for commercial uses.

Like using CCTV cameras in industry and tracking the movement of machines.

While in surveillance systems it has many uses monitoring the important building.

Also, many police officers now use cameras on their chests to record crimes.

There are many applications and uses for CCTV. Let’s dive in and see more details about closed-circuit tv cameras.

1- Home Security

Managing and monitoring your house nowadays become important matters.

As there’s a lot of crime committed by criminals like stealing your house staff, crashing and damaging your car while parking.

For this thing and more, you should have your home security cameras.

In addition, install Closed-circuit television cameras for the home to monitor your kids, while you’re away from home.

Some cameras have alerts if the camera detects something wrong.

Many times people forget to close the house door or shut off home electricity, even some cameras connected to a smart home system can detect fires. 

With CCTV cameras and home smart systems, you can control with a voice command to close or open what you want.

2- Traffic Monitoring

How many times did you use Google Maps on your mobile phone? A lot, Yes. you may use Maps to know the road you will take or to know if the road is busy or not?.

For this purpose, many closed-circuit TV cameras are used to monitor traffic and read the status of the road. Is it busy or not?

Simply, many private companies have a lot of CCTV cameras installed in the streets.

Companies take the data from CCTV cameras and send them to other companies.

These companies use the data and analyze it and show the actual status of the road at that time.

In addition, the government uses closed-circuit television cameras to detect congestion and notice accidents on roads and highways. The most used type in Traffic monitoring is PTZ.

3- Crime Solving & Prevention

Crime rates have increased in the last few years and detecting the real criminal is too hard and takes much time.

In the night as the dark covers, the sky criminals see it’s the perfect time to do what they are good at.

They depend on no one to see them or they can run away easily.

But as CCTV cameras become more popular and every moment recorded, the criminal finds it too hard to commit a crime.

In addition, CCTV cameras can solve many crimes.

In a city like London, 6 crimes are solved by police each day through footage of CCTV this means 2190 a year.

To solve more problems footage of Citizen CCTV cameras can be used. Also, many countries use closed-circuit television cameras to prevent more crimes.

In Singapore, CCTV cameras help the government detect litterbugs and stop cars that make illegal parking.

4- Public Transportation

The railway station was known as one of the most crowded places.

CCTV cameras are used in railway stations to monitor people and prevent something wrong to happen.

Many terrorists see public transportation as the best place to hide between people.

But, now as CCTV cameras are installed in a wide range with a face recognition system it’s easy to detect criminals.

Also, sometimes in bus stations as known buses are one of the most used public transportation.

closed-circuit television cameras are used to prevent crime for a citizen while they are taking a bus.

5- Sporting Events

Sports are an important activity for your body, but what if you like many sports and want to see your favorite player or team playing.

you buy the ticket and prepare your staff to support your team.

But unfortunately, the security and police declared that the event will be held on another day due to security issues.

For this situation and similar ones, closed-circuit television cameras are used in sports events.

Football stadiums have a large capacity for fans from 10.000 reaches to 90.000 fans for big stadiums.

Also, American football and other sports have a great number of fans, and trying to keep it safe is too hard.

Many security companies use CCTV  cameras to deter niggling and detect unusual actions.

6- Company & Office Monitoring

Managing employees in your company are difficult especially if you have large numbers of employees.

CCTV cameras are used to monitor company workers and track the actions of workers.

In banking and financial transactions, CCTV is used to record every action of workers.

As a data package that holds information for the performed operation, like canceling a sale, correcting sale numbers, and withdrawing money.

In addition, CCTV cameras are used to monitor markets to prevent someone from stealing market goods.

Plus, at the store cameras are used to control goods and prevent workers from stealing, damaging goods.

Also, some companies use closed-circuit television cameras to see and control machines.

Plus, CCTV cameras are used to ensure that the environment is safe for workers to do their jobs.

CCTV Cameras technical Definitions  

To get the best performance of your CCTV cameras you should know at least the electronic pieces used in your monitor cameras.

The component of each camera may differ according to manufacturer specifications and how the cam will be used.

Let’s dive into and see the component

1- Video encoders

A Video Encoder is a device that converts, or encodes, analog video signals to digital video streams. 

This allows users to combine both cheaper prices with modern capabilities. 

The software receives wire connections and converts it to digital signals. These digital signals are then transmitted wirelessly through IP systems. It can also be transmitted through wires.

2- Image sensors 

An image sensor is a component in digital video recorders that converts the light passing through an optical lens into electric signals. 

It converts the light into electronic signals so that it can be processed by the digital camera’s circuitry to produce instant or moving images.

There are different types of image sensors used in digital cameras, including CCD sensors, CMOS sensors, and NMOS sensors. 

Sensors are usually made up of photodiodes that capture photons when they reach the sensor’s surface. 

The photodiode produces a current that has an amplitude proportional to the intensity of the incident light striking its surface. 

The current from each photodiode is read as a voltage from the analog-to-digital converter and stored as a pixel. 

CMOS: CMOS sensors have been around for a long time, but they are finally catching up to CCD devices. 

CMOS cameras typically offer great battery life and cheaper prices than their more expensive counterparts. But they deliver lower quality, sensitivity, and resolution.

CCD: A charge-coupled device (CCD) is a type of integrated circuit that can be etched onto the surface of silicon, similar to how photovoltaic cells work. 

CCDs contain light-sensitive pixels in which charge is generated from photons striking them and getting read by electronics on the other side. 

This forms digital copies for what falls onto it with no loss or distortion like analog images would experience when you view them through an old TV set!

CCD sensors deliver better sensitivity, but cost more and consume more power than other devices.

3- Image scanning

Once the image sensor finishes capturing images, then the image scanning process will start to read and display the data collected from the image sensor. There are 2 scanning techniques of image scanning:

1- Interlaced

Works for both CMOS and CCD. Analog cameras also can use it. 

It is a technique that involves the transmission of odd and even-numbered lines from an image. 

CCTV Cameras with more than 400 lines provide good resolution while 700+ yield high-res images that fool our brain into thinking we’re seeing one complete picture as long as it’s viewed on an interlaced recording Player. 

But if you have a progressive scan monitor, things may look jagged when viewing the same videos because they are made up of frames in rapid succession meaning there isn’t enough time for both eyes to see all info displayed at once.

A simple solution in modern video software is de interlacing the scans before converting them into progressive ones.

2- Progressive

Simply this method produces a full-frame image, it uses sequential exposure on monitors instead of dividing the lines into odd and even ones.

This technique is most popular in CMOS cameras.

4- Recorders

A DVR (Digital Video Recorder) is a type of CCTV camera that captures footage in digital form, using hard drives or other storage devices to store the data. 

These cameras typically have advanced features such as motion detection and high-resolution imaging systems.

It connects to internal and external networks. They encode and process their data before streaming it to the recorder. 

The streaming enables you to monitor it remotely. Clients usually use it with IP cameras, however, all the IP cameras connect to the same network.

CCTV Display Unit 

The screen connected to the DVR to view the camera footage is called the Display unit. 

Display units developed over the years from a simple monochrome screen to as high as HD screens. Today you can use HDMI or VGA cables to connect your system to the Display screen.

The display units also include smartphones that can be used to view the footage of IP cameras.

CCTV Security Footage Storage Options 

Video footage needs to be stored somewhere. A CCTV video security system with a built-in DVR will record footage to a hard drive or an SD card. 

The type of storage medium that you choose is going to depend on your individual needs and budget constraints.

A popular option to save space is to get a security camera with motion detection features. You can also free up the space regularly. 

If you have the budget, consider joining a cloud storage company for larger spaces and more recordings.

Resources: Wikipedia

Marvin H. Tarrance

Marvin H. Tarrance

Marvin Is an Electric and Electronic Engineer passionate about content writing and marketing. In the past, He was installed a large number of CCTV security cameras, and IP cams also. For now, He is the Head of the Content Team which is responsible for writing informative and detailed posts for Safebudgets.Com