Security cameras might be a challenging subject for newbies, so having a handy guide of the Video Recorder and CCTV Cameras terminology is the best way to understand and get familiar with all the features that you might find among the different Camera Systems while shopping around.
If you were asking your self what CCTV means? It stands for Close-Circuit Television. It is a system that can transmit video streaming from cameras directly connected to a central video recorder device, DVR or NVR.
In commercial terms you will hear about Surveillance System, Home Camera System or Security Camera System all referring to Closed Circuit Television System.
CCTV DVR Meaning and other recorder related terms
DVR stands for Digital Video Recorder. Most of the time any CCTV video recorder is called DVR, but only the recorders with analog camera inputs are DVRs.
The easiest way to differentiate a DVR from an NVR is by seeing the back of it, the DVR comes with round input connectors, NVRs comes with ethernet computer type ports
DVR stands for Network Video Recorder, this type of CCTV recorders work with IP technology in each of it's camera ports, which means that they require IP cameras to work with them.
NVRs can come with only one network port to connect to the net, or with multiple ports, generally POE, to connect the IP cameras
Is the capability of your DVR to store video.
Calculating the recording time of a Surveillance system is not easy neither accurate as the recording length in days of every DVR or NVR can vary depending on the number of connected cameras, the resolution of the cameras, the video compression of the recorder, the recording schedule and the recording resolution of the DVR.
The storage in days of a DVR in use can be found going to Play-back and counting the number of colored days in the searching calendar when available.
CCTV Footage refers to the Video Files recorded by the Surveillance System, more exactly by the DVR or NVR in it's internal Hard Drive or othe external storage device.
The footage is also the file that you have available after saving a recorded event in the DVR.
The DVR will be recording only when the cameras sense motion. This feature has to be pre-configured, and the cameras have to feature this option as well.
When configured property you can save a lot of storage space, and time when searching for events. DVRs can be pre-configured with a recording schedule to combine continuous mode recording and motion recording.
Motion detection can be limited to sense a few areas of the camera's view by accessing the grid adjustment in the DVR when available.
The H264 Codec is a Video compression standard used make video files smaller and efficient. Most DVRs manufactured from 2010 and above use this feature to expand the recording space in the available internal Hard Drive.
Saves video storage space, but is a basic video compression technology, superseded by h.264+ and h.265
The Camera senses motion, or the NVR or DVR senses a pre-set alarm, it sends a notifications to the app or software where you see the cameras.
Push notifications from a doorbell camera with PIR are reliable when sensing activity, while motion notifications can sense a shadow, a bug, or a light change, and can become annoying if not properly set.
Normally requires configuration on the DVR, NVR, and the software watching the cameras.
Two way audio
When the DVR or Security Camera has an optional microphone and speaker output. The included monitoring software establishes communication to access the cameras on one end and an audio speaker at the DVR's end allowing two talk.
Not a very popular in professional surveillance systems. This feature is mostly found in stand-alone user market cameras.
This feature allows the recorder to compress the High-Quality Video for viewing remotely. This significantly reduces the Network traffic while preserving the image access at very high refresh rates across, even at the slowest network connections.
Not often shown in the boxes of the products but present in most DVRs.
POE is an acronym used for Power Over Ethernet, if you find this term in your system, POE refers to the NVR or Network Video Recorder that comes with ethernet ports in the back that not only connect the cameras to get the video signal coming in, but also to provide POWER out to the Camera.
If your System shows POE information, you are automatically talking about IP cameras, and NVR. which are not compatible with analog camera systems.
Security Camera Related terms.
This is a list of the common terms shown in CCTV camera packages.
A term related to the DVR and the Cameras APP. It is the option to see your cameras from a software while you are away, or not directly connected to the DVR. The remote viewing feature works through an IP Network connection either local or remote.
To get the remote viewing feature of a camera, a configuration is required and has to be done on the phone, often in the DVR and the Router depending on the network and camera system.
CCTV Phone App
A software to watch the live view of a Security Camera System while connected to the network. It works for a local network and through the Internet.
Each camera system works with it's own specific App. If you want to configure your existing DVR or Cameras you have to know in advance the compatible app to have a successful configuration.
It is the feature of the cameras to sense motion in the active video zone that the camera is covering. Motion detection is used to synchronize with the DVR or NVR allowing the recorder to save files only when motion is sensed in the camera.
It is also used to program the recording schedule of the CCTV Recorder which can be combined between motion detection and continuos mode.
PIR stands for Passive Infrared Sensor, which is a motion sensor that detects human or animal activity. They were found exclusively in alarm systems but lately integrated to some models of home security cameras.
Cameras with PIR sensor are very acurate sensing motion human motion, the most common outdoor wireless cameras with PIR are Doorbell cameras.
CVI stands for COMPOSITE VIDEO INTERFACE, also know as HD-CVI, it is a security camera technology that features High Definition Images over coaxial cables.
Not only IP Cameras handle High Definition, CVI is one of the available alternative for HD Cameras.
CVI stands for TRANSPORT VIDEO INTERFACE, also know as HD-TVI, It is one more alternative of High Definition cameras working over coaxial cable systems.
Not only IP Cameras handle High Definition, TVI was released to the market in 2014 and still present in 2021.
IP Stands for Internet Protocol. IP Cameras work with the internet protocol and they have to be connected to an NVR to record the vide feed. IP Cameras work with ethernet cable, and they are all High Definition.
IP Cameras a higher in price compared to analog, but they are extremely modular and easier to install, depending on the layout of the installation they might need a higher level of knowledge to configure.
This cameras feature low lux image sensors that allow them to have a clearer vision at night, moving objects can also be easier to identify with no blurring effects.
Thanks to the sensitive sensor technology they are perfect for very dark locations and to see color images at night.
A Pan Tilt Zoom Camera that can be controlled by the DVR, a Joystick or from the Phone’s app. They can work with a specific wiring and DVR input ( RS232 ), or through the existing coaxial video cable.
The Pan Tilt and Zoom Cameras are great for zooming and they turn 360 degrees giving you endless possibilities of coverage.
They are perfect to be controlled by a watch guard or to do self patrolling, but not to replace a fixed camera location.
Night Vision Infrared
The night vision feature of a security camera in present when it has infrared LEDs in it. Night Vision is not the same for every camera, it has to be taken in count by the coverage distance in feet or meters.
When choosing a camera with Night Vision, think about the area that you want to cover at night and see if the IR distance is enough to cover it.
It is a dust and water protection rate. Cameras with IP66 Protection can be installed outdoor and they will resist dust, and water from rain or similar water showers.
IP66 cameras won't be protected or resist water ingress from a commercial pressure cleaner
A dust and water protection rate. Cameras with IP67 Protection can resist temporary water immersion from 5 to 30 inches.
IP67 cameras are a good solution for near by the sea or marine locations, or near by sea.
Siamese cable is the most popular type of wire to run analog security cameras. The Siamese name is given to it as it comes bonded with an additional cable on the side (Red wire & Black wire), used to connect the 12Volts power that feeds the cameras.
The technical name of Siamese cable is RG59.
Make sure to get 90% to 95% Cooper braid and shielded cable have optimal connectivity results.