An Introduction to CCTV Systems

CCTV otherwise known as closed circuit television is a type of system in which signals are monitored privately instead of being distributed publicly. It is a system that is mainly used for security and surveillance purposes. CCTV systems rely heavily on how cameras are placed. The cameras need to be placed strategically so as to be able to collect information which is then relayed to video recorders or monitors over private cables. The information collected on these systems can only be seen by the authorized individuals and that is why they are referred to a closed circuits.

In the past, CCTV systems made use of black and white monitors that had very low resolutions but these days, there has been advancement in technology and the monitors can now display in high colour resolutions. The modern systems give the user the ability to track and zoom in on an image. There is also the talk CCTV that enables the user to speak to other people that are within the same range of the CCTV speakers.

Below are some of the uses of CCTV Systems

  • Keeping the security of a given perimeter from medium to high level areas
  • Monitoring of traffic
  • Checking the way in which prisoners and patients who may pose a risk behave.
  • Keeping an eye out on areas that pose a risk to human beings. Some of these areas include those that are highly radioactive or environments with toxic material.
  • Maintaining security in buildings and on the ground.
  • Providing an ocular record especially in instances where proper access and security controls are paramount. The areas that may require such records include banks, casinos and airports.

For any CCTV system the initial Point of commencement is the camera as it is the one that forms the images that are then transmitted to the monitor. The picture that is transmitted to the control position is then reproduced on the monitor. The monitor is more or less the same as a television the only difference is that it does not have a tuning circuit.

CCTV camera systems have become increasingly popular in law-enforcement. They are now being used to observe traffic, watch areas that are perceived to have a high rate of criminal activities and checking on electronic ticketing. Though these systems have a number of advantages, their use has also raised concerns in the levels of privacy that an individual is entitled to. These concerns have been raised mostly in Europe and the UK.

The most basic CCTV system is the one directly connected to the monitor using a coaxial cable. In such a system, the power for the camera is normally provided by the monitor. This type of connection is referred to as a line powered camera. The first version of this system was known as the Pye Observation System. This is the system that popularized the CCTV system. The Pye Observation System was a simple and cheap system that you could install yourself.


This article has served as an introduction to some of the important elements of the CCTV systems. In the recent past, sophisticated systems have been developed that are able to carry out multiple recordings, take pictures in real time, interchange over hundreds of cameras from a number of control panels onto monitors, print instant full colour pictures and the manual replacement of controls by the touch of a button.