April 2022

CCTV systems are great for providing extra security measures to capture or deter criminal behavior from your home or business. They are known for aiding in crime prevention, securing evidence to hand to the police in the unfortunate event of your property being targeted, and providing general peace of mind that your property is as guarded as possible against crime. As experts in commercial and domestic security, here we explain how CCTV systems work.

What is CCTV?

CCTV stands for Closed Circuit Television. The video cameras used in CCTV systems are strategically placed around desired areas of monitoring. The footage captured by those cameras is typically transmitted to the receiving device to be viewed on a display monitor or mobile device in real time or at a later date.

A CCTV system typically refers to everything involved in the set up of the system. This includes the cameras, any wiring, monitors and video footage storage such as hard drives.

Some CCTV systems have the ability to notify you when there is activity or movement on particular cameras at a chosen time. This is particularly useful during the night, when businesses are closed, or people are sleeping at home. 

How does CCTV work?

The cameras included in CCTV systems consistently capture and transmit videos from the area they are installed in, and this footage is then transmitted to the recording device either by cable or wirelessly. From here, the footage can be viewed on the chosen monitor and on a remote device such as a laptop, tablet or mobile phone.

There are three main types of CCTV systems: wired, wireless and stand-alone.

Wired CCTV systems

Wired CCTV systems generally take more time to set up because they rely on transmitting any footage captured through a wire to display monitors. This means that every camera installed on a property will need to have a wire connected in order for it to work. Being set up and connected through a wired system means that the footage should always be transmitted back to the recorder, uninterrupted as long as the system has power.

Wireless CCTV systems

Wireless CCTV systems rely on being connected to the property’s Wi-Fi in order to transmit any footage to a cloud-based server. From this server, the footage can either be viewed in real-time, or stored for viewing at a later point. These are typically still powered by mains power.

Stand-alone CCTV systems

The biggest difference between wireless and stand-alone CCTV systems is that wireless CCTV systems still rely on the use of cables to provide power, whereas stand-alone systems are powered by batteries. Due to their limited power supply, stand-alone cameras conserve their power by only recording when they detect a signal. They can also be set to record only when they detect motion.

What is CCTV used for?

The biggest use for CCTV is to prevent or detect criminal activity that is taking place in the area. Generally speaking, it is common for criminals or vandals to target properties that do not have CCTV systems installed as there is less chance of them being caught.

What should CCTV view and how long can I store that information?

It’s important to be aware of what you are legally allowed to record and how long you can keep hold of that footage. Typically speaking, a domestic CCTV system should never be viewing someone else’s property or public spaces (for example: neighbouring gardens or public streets). Areas that should not be viewed should be digitally masked off. If your camera is covering an area adjacent to a public space, such as a driveway leading to a public road, no more than 10% of the field of view should be off that public space.

The amount of data that the system stores can depend on the storage space available, number of cameras and if the cameras are recording continuously or just when motion is detected. Systems typically fill the space and then overwrite the most historical data. Footage should never be stored for more than 28 days unless the owner of the footage has a legitimate reason for doing so. For more information, please visit the Information Commissioner’s Office here for guidance on the use of domestic CCTV and commercial CCTV systems.

At Lynx Fire and Security, we have over 30 years’ experience in the industry providing domestic and commercial CCTV systems. Our expert engineers have the product knowledge and experience necessary to quickly resolve any issues our customers may have. Get in touch with us today to discuss your CCTV needs.

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