A security camera is simply a small video camera that is used to watch a particular area of a home or business. Using a security camera can have many benefits. One benefit is a security camera can create a strong deterrent to crime. Would be criminals might think twice about doing something bad when they know the home or business has a security camera installed. Another benefit of a security camera is it allows the user to watch the area in the field of view of the security camera from inside the home or business and even another location through the Internet. Security cameras can be used to watch family pets, a baby playing or napping, care givers, someone needing continuous medical attention, store customers to protect against theft, slip and fall hazards, etc.

The basic types of security cameras:

1. Black and White. This camera only captures images in black and white and the type, although still in use today, is fading from existence.

2. Color. A color camera is good in that it allows the user to better identify images in the camera’s field of view. However, in order for color to work well color cameras require there be alot of back ground light. As back ground light fades to darkness the color camera picture will become progressively more grainy until no distinct images can be viewed.

3. Day / Night. A day night camera works as a color camera during well lighted times and automatically switches, essentially, to a Black & White camera during low or no light conditions. In low and no light conditions the Day / Night camera will automatically turn on inferred illuminators which project light invisible to the human eye but viewable to the camera. The image then appears much like that of night vision googles we see on the news or other television programs.

4. Pan/Tilt/Zoom. A Pan Tilt Zoom camera, otherwise known as PTZ, is not fix mounted like most cameras. This camera is mounted and contains small electrical motors which allows the camera user to pan the camera left or right, tilt the camera’s view up and down, and zoom the motorized camera lens in and out. This type of camera is beginning to become more available in the consumer market as technology shrinks but, a word of caution. Zoom has two definitions. The first is true zoom, much like binoculars use special lens to let you see objects far away, a motorized lens give you true zoom. Digital zoom however is different however because it simply enlarges the pixels of a digital picture so the image blurs as you zoom in much like when you enlarge a digital photo on your computer.

The Camera Power Supply

Naturally all cameras, regardless of the type, need power. The question of how much power a camera needs and how it gets its power is an important topic. Not all sources of power work the same. Power can come from an electrical receptacle, a multicamera power supply, battery & solar, and Power over Ethernet injectors. Regardless of where and how the power comes to the camera, without it the camera simply won’t work and cameras, although they typically don’t consume alot of power they consume much more then standard household batteries will supply. So, a battery powered camera by natural has limited functionality unless it has a continuous charge source such as solar. Therefore, all cameras, hardwire and wireless need a wired power source. Usually when you purchase a camera a power source is supplied, its the finished look of the installation that becomes a question. If you dont mind seeing a wire leading up a wall from a receptacle to a camera then you’ll be ok with any power supply that’s included with a camera.

Security Camera - Complete SystemThe Monitor

Another important component of the camera system is the television monitor. Simply put the television monitor allows you to view the images that are being recorded for being viewed by the camera. Generally speaking there are three types of camera system monitors.

There is the traditional cathode ray to monitor. The problem with this type of monitor has been that the image over time becomes burned into the screen.

The second type of monitor is equivalent to that of a computer monitor. Earlier we talked about a digital video recorder and how that is a simple computer: therefore, a computer monitor hooked to a digital video recorder functions as the monitor for the camera system.

The last type of computer monitor can be a basic television such as a flat panel TV. Digital video recorders have different types of outputs on the back of the recorder itself that allow for the connection of the monitor. Types of connections are as such: S-Video, RCA, BNC. As well, a digital video recorder can be connected to the TV in the same fashion as just listed in viewed.

PC Computer / Laptop

Security Camera Viewing Software

The camera systems of today can often be viewed from a PC or laptop. Generally, when you purchase a system you’ll want to make sure that each piece of the equipment you are buying is compatible with how you want to view the camera system. In other words, just because you buy a camera that does not mean you will be able to view it from your computer. Somehow the camera will have to interface with the computer.

Such an interface can be: directly connecting the camera to the PC, although this can be a little tricky without all the correct connections, software etc.

Another interface option is through a in home computer network. In other words, if your camera is a network capable camera and you have a working network in your home you could potentially use this as a interface option

Another interface option still is through a Digital Video Recorder which is network capable as well.

Smart Phone Viewing option

Security Cameras viewable on Smart PhoneWith the advent of the digital video recorder and the integration of the digital video recorder into your Internet Service at your home, certain systems allow you to view your camera system anywhere in the world from your smart phone. This has a lot of advantages. For some for some two income houses, when the children arrive home from school, parents can automatically receive the image on their smart phone that lets another child has arrived home safe.

If the parents are out on a date together and they’ve hired a sitter, the camera allows them to check on the situation occasionally. These features can give people peace of mind when away from home. As well, families who have infants, or a caregiver for the infant, a camera can be placed to view the infant allowing to check on the infant status anytime from the smart phone or on any PC connected to the Internet which is allowed to have access.

Other uses of smart phone capability can be to check on your pet if you have a pet that staying home for brief. Or if you have a sick pet. The great thing about the advent of smart phones and camera system is that, generally, whatever you can image you can usually accomplish with this technology.

The Video Recorder (DVR)

Security Camera Digital Video Recorder - DVR

The camera system DVR (Digital Video Recorder) is currently used to record images captured by security cameras. The DVR is the replacement to the VCR. The DVR has a few distinctions from the VCR in that:

1) The DVR has multiple camera inputs which allow the DVR to record each connected camera’s captured image at the full resolution of the camera. VCR typically had one input which came from a device which combined multiple cameras

2) The DVR uses an internal harddrive to store the camera images and this harddrive caan be used repeatedily without a loss of image quality. The VCR used video tapes that become worn with time and, over time, the image recording quality decreased significantly.

3) The DVR typically has builtin software that allow for image tracking and fast event location. A user can set up programming parameters in the software that allow events to be quickly located and viewed. The VCR had no such capability

4) Often times a DVR can be connected to a computer network and the internet for viewing in other locations. The VCR had no such capability.