Closed Circuit Television


Closed Circuit Television

Closed Circuit Television, also known by the acronym CCTV, is a private or closed video system where viewing of the video is restricted to a specific group of individuals. Systems can range in size from being within a single building, to a complex of buildings, to large campuses and city centers, and can even span across a continent. Such monitoring of areas and/or activities may be used for security, safety, industrial, or private purposes. The visual images created by a CCTV system may be viewed while an event is happening or recorded for ‘after-the-fact’ review either on-site or off-site. Review is done via the use of VHS videotapes, CD, DVD, and/or other such tape or computer based mediums. Such reviews of prerecorded visual information may also be done ‘remotely’ through the use of telephone lines, fiber optics, microwave, the internet, and/or a host of other such transmission methods according to the design and complexity of the CCTV system.

CCTV is a visual surveillance technology designed for monitoring a variety of environments and activities all at the same time. CCTV systems typically involve a dedicated communications link between cameras in the field and monitors at one or more control centers. Systems can be made up of technically mature analog cameras and image storage devices, or newly developed digital cameras and image storage devices, or a mix of the two technologies.

CCTV systems may provide real-time, time-lapse, event, or digitally recorded surveillance information to help in detecting, responding to, investigating and providing evidence for security, safety and related incidents. A CCTV system may also be used to prevent security breaches by allowing security personnel to monitor access control systems at entry points to secure areas.

A CCTV system usually involves a linked system of cameras able to be viewed and operated from a series of control rooms and/or a central point of operation. Cameras come in many configurations, but can be classified under two general categories; stationary and moving. Stationary cameras are pointed at a specific scene of interest, such as a hallway, and broadcast that one scene to the control site 100% of the time. Stationary cameras can be adjusted to compensate for the specific lighting conditions of that scene. Stationary cameras can be fully exposed, or contained within a large variety of enclosures designed to meet the specific requirements of that site, such as discreteness or vandal resistance.

Moving cameras, commonly called PTZ (for pan, tilt, zoom) allow a system operator to move the camera by remote control to follow an object of interest, such as a person or a car, over a large area of interest. This is typically done by use of a joystick in the control center that provides side to side (pan), up and down (tilt) and zoom control. PTZ devices can also be programmed to move in user-defined PTZ sequences to provide general surveillance of areas of interest. PTZ devices can be further programmed to automatically move to areas of interest, such as when a door or gate opens, or when motion is detected. Because the camera can be aimed at scenes with different lighting conditions, these cameras typically have many automated adjustments, such as auto focus and auto iris to keep the image optimized for accurate viewing.

Some systems may involve sophisticated technologies or electronic interfaces such as; night vision or low light cameras for operations at night; computer-assisted operation; interfacing with electronic alarm systems; interfacing with electronic access control systems; and much more. For example, a camera that is integrated with a motion detection system would enable alerted security staff to remotely investigate potential security incidents from a central control center as the event is happening. Other sophisticated CCTV systems incorporate technologies that make possible features such as the multiple recording of many cameras, in different locations. CCTV is also sometimes used to capture images for a facial recognition biometric system.

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