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  Home >> User Guide >> Information & Help

Digital Video Recorders

How do I configure my DVR for local network access?

Following is the basic outline for local network configuration.
  • Connect DVR to router with Ethernet (cat5) cable.
  • Access Network Setup menu.
  • Verify/change settings according to LAN address rules. Run ipconfig on a local computer from a command prompt to determine rules (e.g., 192.168.1.x, 10.1.1.x etc.)
    • Type = STATIC
    • Media Port = 9000
    • Web Port = 80
    • IP Address = The first three sets of numbers must match the LAN address rules displayed from the ipconfig command. The last set of numbers can be set to any number typically between 2 and 254, provided it is within the range allowed by your router. We often recommend 140. example
    • Subnet Mask = Determined from ipconfig command, but almost always is which is also the factory default setting.
    • Gateway = The local address of the router. Equal to Default Gateway address from ipconfig command.
    • DNS (a.k.a. DNS1 or Primary DNS) = Enter the local address of the router again. Do not enter the DNS address provided by your ISP.
  • Click Apply.
  • Click OK upon being notified of successful save.
  • Click Exit.
  • Press the Menu button to escape out of the Main Menu.
  • The DVR should restart automatically. Wait until it has finished initializing.
  • Test local access from Netviewer or Internet Explorer.

When trying to connect remotely to my DVR, I receive the error: "Connect Failed!(2) Reason: (-3) no stream timeout". How do I fix this?

The two most common underlying causes are as follows:

  • The DVR is not configured correctly on the local area network.
  • The DVR is configured correctly on the local area network, but the streaming video port is blocked.
  • If a computer on the local area network cannot connect to the DVR from, verify that the DVR network settings are configured correctly.
  • If a local connection can be established, confirm the port forwarding rules on the router

I can get connected to my DVR over the Network, but all I see is a Black Screen. What can be causing this?

If you are getting a black screen when connected to the DVR over the local network or remote locations, there could be a couple of things wrong.
  • First, double check your firewall and make sure it's not blocking the video stream port for the DVR. Any easy way to fix this (if you use Windows Firewall) is to use an exception. Create a custom setting for the port in the exception list and that can fix this issue.
  • Another thing to check is to make sure that your Video Card Drivers are installed correctly. Because video streams use DirectX, it's important to use updated drivers and compatible video cards. To check this, click Start-> Right-click on My Computer and choose Properties, click on the Hardware Tab and then click Device Manager. In here click the Plus + sign next to Display Adapters. If this says "Standard Driver Display Adapter" then that can be causing you problems also. Try finding the Drivers of the Brand and Model of the Video Card.
  • Make sure to update DirectX. If you do not have DirectX 9.0c installed, try upgrading to that and it will install the updated ActiveX controls and can also fix this issue.

The DVR is locked up. Why can't I get into the Menu when my DVR is recording?

First you will need to press Stop, and then press Menu to change settings.

When I turn on my DVR it says "No Hard Drive is Detected." What do I do now?

Sometimes during shipment connections can become loose. Turn your DVR off. Using a Philips screwdriver, remove the cover of the DVR. Next, locate the Hard Drive (Flat, silver looking box with red cables coming out of it) and check the connections from the Hard Drive to the Circuit Board. Carefully unplug them and plug them back in to make sure they have a good connection (most of the time in comes off near the Hard Drive).

How long can my DVR record?

Our DVRs use advanced compression methods such as H.264 and MPEG4 to compress the videos that they record. Using smart recording technologies such as scheduling and motion detection can further extend the recording length of the included hard drive.

For continuous recording time, a DVR with 500GB can record at 30fps for roughly 2 days straight, and a 1TB drive for 4 days.

How do I hook my DVR up to a TV/Monitor?

Steps for How to Re-Focus a Vandalproof Camera

I cannot get any video from any of my cameras.

Make sure that your pigtails are wired into your power supply box correctly. The wire with the white stripe or white writing connects to the red or positive terminal.


The focus on my camera is going out, how to I refocus it?

Most of the cameras we carry have a locking screw on the focus adjust area of the lens. Take apart the camera carefully and near the lens there should be a set screw. Loosen the screw and adjust the focus of the lens by turning the lens left and right. Once you get the focus right, tighten the screw back down.

Why is my camera showing all white when it's in night vision mode?

The LED light is reflecting off the dome of your camera and blinding your lens.To correct this problem, please remove the dome/lens cover and pull the little foam gasket around the lens out until it is flush with the inside of the dome/lens cover.This will block the IR lighting from reflecting back into the lens and blinding it.

DVR Network Setup

Model: 9004 & 9008

Here you will be able to find exactly what you need to set up your DVR on your network.

The Local Network setup has to be done first before you can set it up remotely.

You want to make sure that the computer you are on is also where the Digital Video Recorder is going to be (on the same network/internet connection).

Step 1: Finding the right settings

To find your specific settings for your network system and how to tell your DVR is communicating with your router, follow these steps:

  • Click on the Windows Start button and click Run

    • In the Run dialog box, type the letters CMD and press the Enter button

    • Once the command prompt pops up you should see a blinking cursor, type ipconfig and press Enter

Step 2: Write down the Settings

  • So what does this tell you? This example shows you that your IP is This is the number that represents the computer you are currently on (Do not us this same address for the DVR).
  • It also shows you that your Subnet Mask is: You should not have to worry about this, but make sure that it is the same in the Network Settings of the DVR.
  • Lastly, you will see the Default Gateway. Write down this number, in this example it is: (If yours looks different, don't worry about it, just write down the number it shows you).

The Default Gateway is your Router. This connects to your service providers Modem, which connects you to the Internet. This number is very important as you will use it for 2 places in the Network Setup settings in the DVR.

To get to the Network Setup settings. Press Menu on your remote or DVR front panel and go down to Network.

Here is an example of a Network Setup:

 After you have the correct settings, select Apply.

It should show you that it is successful:

Go ahead and Exit now.

You should see this:

After you hit OK it will Restart.

Step 3: Verifying The DVR is Communicating to the Router

Let your DVR restart until you see the camera screens for the next steps.

Now your DVR should be communicating with your router. To verify that it is, follow the next steps.

Go back into the Command Prompt and type: Ping and press Enter on your keyboard.

If you do not get replys back and it says "Request Timed Out," double check your settings. (Start over at the top of the Steps).

Step 4: Connect to the DVR via Internet Explorer

  • Open Internet Explorer by going to Start, Programs, Internet Explorer.

  • Now that Internet Explorer is running, go to Tools, Internet Options (Either at the top of top right side of the menu bar)

  • For Internet Explorer 7 and above:

  • Select the Security Tab

  • Custom Level Button

  • Scroll down to ActiveX Controls and Plugins

Under ActveX Controls and Plugins do the Following:

  • If they are already enabled or prompted - leave them alone.
  • If there is only an option between enable and disable - Choose Enable
  • If there are options between enable, disable, and prompt - Choose Prompt

Step 5: Connecting to the DVR

In the Address Bar in Internet Explorer type in:

When you get the ActiveX Install Box poppup, choose Install.

Next you should see this:


Remote Network Setup

Remote Network Setup:

The Local Network setup has to be done first before you can set it up remotely. 

This Section is for those that are able to connect to the DVR Locally, but now need to find out how to connect Remotely.  Please follow these exact steps and you should not have a problem.

The sample router is a Linksys, you may have a different router. 

Words of Caution:  In some cases we have people that use 2 Routers on their network.  Most reasons for this is that they need a wireless router for wireless access.  The other reason is that the Internet Service Providers Modem is also a Router.  When you connect 2 Routers, you will always have problems Port Forwarding the correct ports.  If you think you have everything set up correctly and it doesn't work, please contact us and let us know that there might be a second router issue. 

 A few things that you need to find out about your Internet Connection:

  • Do you have a Static IP or Dynamic IP?  To find this out, contact your Internet Service Provider and they should be able to tell you.
  • If you have a Dynamic IP, you will need to set up an Account on  That way when your IP changes, you can connect to the same Hostname (ex: everytime you connect.  It other words, it makes your Dynamic IP a static host address.  This is very important if you want to connect to your DVR remotely.
  • Find out what equipment you are using from the Internet Service Provider.  If it is a modem, then you should be fine just configuring your router that's connected to it.  Make sure to get the username and passwords for any router you may have.  If you can not log in to the router, you will not be able to complete this setup.  You may have to contact your Internet Service Provider for this information. 

Step 1:  Port Forwarding

Only make these changes to the Router that your Digital Video Recorder is connected to. 

What is Port Forwarding?  Port Forwarding is used to transfer information from your router directly to your computer or DVR through Ports.  What is a Port?  Ports are openings through your computer that allow data in you computer/DVR.  The World Wide Web for example uses Port 80.  Anytime you go to a website, that goes over that specific port.  The reason we need to forward certain ports for your DVR is so that you can View your cameras over the Web (internet). 

Ok, so you can connect locally and see your cameras, you're halfway done now. What we have to do now is to connect to you router, configure it, and you will be able to see your cameras on the Internet.  To do this, connect to your Default Gateway (Router) in Internet Explorer.  If you don't know how to find this, go back to Network Setup and follow Step #1.

You should then see a login box appear to connect to the Router:

After you log in, click on Applications and Gaming (For Linksys Routers Only)

The picture below is only for DVR Models H9004 and H9008.

  • Port Forwarding for Port 80 (If your ISP blocks this port, make sure to change it to 8080 or something else, on the DVR and the Router).
  • These DVR Models also need port 9000 open for the video stream.

 After you insert the correct Port Forwarding information, click on Save Settings.  Once it saves continue to the next step.

Step 2: What is my IP?

To find out what IP you have from your Internet Service Provider, go to the following website:

When you go to this site it will tell you what you IP is, here is an example (This is just an example, yours will be unique):

The IP address that you see in your browser is what you will most likely connect to from over the internet (Not the Example Above).  If you have a Static IP then you should be done with your DVR Network Installation.  Try to connect to the IP that you have and see if that works for you.  If it does not, check all of your settings and try again.  If you continue to have problems, please contact us.

If however you have a Dynamic IP, you will need to go to and set up a free hosting account.


Knowlege of Security system

Introduction to the Different Technologies

This guide is designed to educate you on basic system design and application. It is intended to help you make the right choices when designing a video surveillance system that will meet your expectations.

The first step is to understand the different technologies, their operations and benefits. The technology is cutting-edge "Digital". Your goals and what you want to accomplish will dictate which technology is right for you.

There are 2 types of surveillance technologies to consider. They are:

There are a few acronyms which you may or may not know. Just for the record, here are the ones that matter.

  • CCTV: Closed Circuit Television
  • DVR: Digital Video Recorder
  • BNC: Fitting used to connect coax cable to cameras and equipment.
  • RCA: Fitting used to connect coax cable to cameras, equipment and power supply.

PC Based Digital Video Systems

A PC based DVR is comprised of a computer, video capture cards and custom written software. These systems are considered to be the best bang for the buck. They are easier to use and more flexible than Hardware DVRs. These units are available as kits which you install on your PC or as complete factory built recorders. Some factory models can be expanded as your needs grow.

PC based DVRs are available in 8, 16 & 32 channel configurations:

PC based DVRs are programmed and operated with a keyboard and mouse. The video is recorded to the computer's hard drive in a compressed format. This compression allows a huge amount of video to be stored. On average, a four camera system recording continuously should record at least 30 days of video for all 4 cameras on one single 80G hard drive. To double the recording days simply add another 80G hard drive.

These systems are designed so they do not require any scheduled action to maintain the video recordings. They record video to the hard drive until a certain amount of disk space is left. Then the system will delete the oldest clips and record the new video. This provides a continuous 30+ days of recordings at anytime.

The video is played back on the computer monitor or is saved to a floppy or burned to a CD. Some systems such as the ZMODO system save the video so it can be played back on any PC with Windows Media Player (a real nice feature). You can also print or save a jpeg image of any specific video frame. These systems allow you to view and playback any combination of cameras without interrupting the systems recording process.

ZMODO Pro is the most powerful, yet easy to use software on the market. Unlike hardware based DVRs, the software is flexible, easy to understand and simple to operate. Using our automatic searching options, playback is a breeze; saving you huge amounts of time compared to the various hardware DVRs on the market.

Cable & Maximum Distance:

CCTV video coax cable is used to transmit the video from the camera to the front end. The maximum distance the cameras can be from the front end is a function of the cable rather than the camera itself. Using RG59 coax, you can extend the camera out to 600'. Using RG6 coax cable, you can extend it to 1000'.


Any professional grade camera that uses RCA or BNC connectors will work with these systems. Please see the "Cameras" section for detail on the various cameras available.

PC Based Digital Video Recorder Overview:
  • High Resolution Recording (640x480)
  • Easy to use and flexible
  • Save time on playing back video
  • Store large amounts of video or recording days
  • Little or no maintenance
  • Easy network integration
  • The system runs on a PC with the Windows Operating System, users must have average computer skills

Hardware Based Digital Video Systems

A Hardware based DVR is built specifically for video recording. These units are built from the ground up to perform one specific function, record video. While they do operate some software internally, the video processing is hardware based. It is this hardware which provides the live viewing and high resolution recording.

Hardware DVR's are available in two different versions. The older style looks much like a VCR but has a hard drive built into it to record the video. A TV or CCTV analog monitor is used to view the video. Their programming is much like a VCR and can be quite confusing. The basic rule with this type of unit is, the more features they have the harder they are to operate. Most are programmed with a hand held remote much like a regular VCR. They do provide high resolution digital recordings which match the quality of a PC based DVR.

Old Hardware Based DVR System

  • 640x480 High Res Recording
  • Live Video Viewing
  • Remote Access via Internet
  • Motion Recording
  • Automatic Schedules
  • PTZ Control
  • Alarm Monitoring
  • Email Paging
  • Password Protection

A newer version of hardware based DVR is quite innovative. A high quality PC monitor is equipped with the DVR hardware and a hard drive built right into the back of the monitor. The cameras, internet and other connections are located on the side of the monitor. This design saves space, reduces cost and completely eliminated the need for a PC or old style DVR case. These units are programmed and operated with the buttons on the front of the monitor or with a hand held remote. While they are considered easier to operate than the old style hardware DVR they do have some pros and cons. The technology right now only supports a maximum of 4 camera inputs and 1 audio input for recording, and if the monitor goes out the entire system may have to be replaced

Hardware Based DVR Trend – Monitor & DVR Combined

  • 640x480 High Res Recording
  • Live Video Viewing
  • Remote Access via Internet
  • Motion Recording
  • Automatic Schedules
  • Multiple Audio Recording
  • Password Protection
  • Saves Space
  • Cost Effective
  • Optional Wall Mounting

Hardware Based Digital Video Recorder Overview:
  • High resolution digital video recordings (640x480)
  • Live Camera Viewing, No delay
  • Programs with handheld remote, much like a VCR.
  • Little or no maintenance
  • Save Space
  • Harder to program and operate than PC based DVRs.
  • Non-expandable

Different Types of the Cameras

Camera Technologies

Indoor Cameras:

Indoor cameras come in all types, sizes and styles. The most popular is the smoked mini dome camera. The dome camera can be mounted on the ceiling or wall and adjusted to view any angle. Although the dome is designed to protect the camera inside, they are not weatherproof and should not be installed where they are exposed to moisture or extreme temperatures.

Camera Technologies

Outdoor Cameras:

The only difference between indoor and outdoor cameras is that the outdoor cameras are in an environmentally protected housing. Some housing has heaters and blowers to keep the temperature inside within the operating parameters of the camera. Others such as the mini outdoor bullet cameras generate their own heat for operation. All outdoor cameras discussed in this guide are designed to operate in -5F to 120F temperature.

Day/Night or Night Vision:

Affordable night vision cameras are the latest innovation to the video surveillance industry. There are many types and styles to choose from but they all have one thing in common, infrared LED's. Small LED's that transmit out infrared light surround the cameras lens. The LED's cast out light the camera can see but the human eye cannot. The distance a camera can see in the dark is based on how many LED's the camera has. As a rule a camera with 10-20 LED's can see 20 feet in complete darkness. Some cameras such as the one below can see up to 70' in complete darkness. Notice the LED's surrounding the camera lens.

These cameras provide high quality color pictures during the day and when the light levels drop past a minimum level, they automatically switch to night vision or black and white pictures in complete darkness. When the light levels increase the camera automatically changes back to color video. These cameras are very reliable and flexible and should be considered when designing your system.

High Resolution Cameras:

Security cameras come with higher resolution Sony chips. These cameras feature 480 to 540 lines of high resolution for applications where you require the crispest picture possible. They are available for indoor, outdoor, night vision, and harsh environment use.

Hidden Cameras:

Because cameras are so small now they can be hidden in almost anything. It's common to see cameras in pictures, clocks, radios, smoke detectors, motion detectors, books, ties and anything else we can dream up. The cameras are the same cameras used with standard indoor cameras. The only difference is the housings used.

Pan Tilt Zoom Cameras:

PTZ cameras, as they are called, are considered "top of the line" in security cameras. They can pan 360 degrees, tilt 90 degrees, and optically zoom in as much as 27 times. They are controlled and programmed with either a desk top joy stick control or through the software of a PC based DVR. They come in both indoor and outdoor versions, can be wall or ceiling mounted, and can be equipped with color Day/Night cameras or night vision.

The cameras can be programmed to automatically run preprogrammed tours, automatically panning, tilting and zooming to predetermined locations. They can also be programmed to pan, tilt and zoom to a specific view if motion is detected or a pre-defined alarm occurs. A user can override the automatic operation and control the cameras as needed. Up to 16 PTZ cameras can be installed on most DVR systems (as long as the DVR supports 16 cameras). The cameras are controlled with a two wire communication wire which loops from one camera to another. Each camera has dip switches which are used to set its address. The comm. wire can have a maximum distance of 3000 feet. In addition to the communication wire each camera also required a video cable to transmit the video signal back to the front end.

On DVR's the communication cable terminates on a PTZ Netcom control board installed in the DVR. This control board interfaces the software and mouse commands with the cameras. On time lapse and other systems the cameras are controlled with a desk top joy stick control. One down side to the joy stick control is it does not provide the ability to control the cameras remotely.

Wireless Cameras:

We have been very careful about recommending and supporting wireless products. In the past wireless security cameras have been notoriously unreliable and seldom meet the expectations of the consumer. However, with the development of wireless networks and IP technology, new products have emerged which do provide a level of performance acceptable for small and mid-sized video surveillance applications. This new technology uses a Digital "Spread Spectrum" technology which provides reliable wireless video transmission up to 300 feet and secures the video signal so it can not be viewed by others outside the building or home.

The following chart details the main differences between the old wireless technology (2.4 Ghz - Analog) and the new technology (2.4 Ghz - Digital):

IP Network Cameras:

Free yourself from long video wires and enjoy the convenience of wireless technology with the IP cameras. These cameras can connect to your wireless router and record straight to your computer's hard drive. The advanced, built-in chip enables features such as recording triggered by motion detection, email alerts, and remote access from popular web browsers. IP configuration is easy with the included software.

Customizing Your Own Kit

Once you have your cameras and system chosen, you have two options to purchase. You can purchase each part of the system individually i.e.: recorder, cameras, power supplies, wire. Or you can customize a prepackaged kit to meet your needs. We offer several different kits based on all two technologies (PC Based & Hardware Based). Based on the cameras you have chosen you can now customize the kit which best meets your needs with the cameras you want. This approach will save you about 5% compared to buying the parts individually. The kits include everything you need including easy to follow installation guides.

Wiring and Powering Cameras

Video Cable & Maximum Distance

All of the systems use video coax cable to transmit the video from the camera to the recorder. The maximum distance the cameras can be from the recorder is a function of the cable rather than the camera itself. Using RG59 coax cable you can extend the camera out to 600 feet. Using RG6 coax cable you can run up to 1,000 feet. Cable is available in 500' boxes or pre-made cables 25', 50', 65', 99', 130', 165' lengths.

For Pre-made Cables:

BNC fittings are used to connect the cable to both the camera and the recorder, or monitor. You simply push the fitting on the video port and turn it, it couldn't be easier.

RCA fittings are used to connect the cable to both the camera and the power supply. You simply plug-in it to the power supply. Cameras can be powered in two ways. You can power each camera with its own plug in power supply, or you can wire multiple cameras back to a multi-camera power source. Both options plug into a regular 110V electrical outlet and then step the power down to 12V DC to feed to the camera.

Plug in power supplies are usually located within 6-10 feet of the camera. The multi-camera power supplies are installed in a closet or somewhere out of the way and then a two conductor power wire is pulled to each camera. When designing a surveillance system you may want to use a combination of plug in and multi-camera power supplies. This will depend on where your power outlets are located and how easily you can pull a wire from a multi-camera power supply to each camera. Multi-camera power supplies have one fused, dedicated power output for each camera. This design provides excellent protection from power spikes and surges.

Possible Tools Needed:

Making a BNC Fitting

  • Strip away all of the cable and shielding so you have 1/2" of the center conductor exposed.

2. Then strip away the black covering so you have 1/4" of the shielding exposed. Do not allow any of the copper shielding to touch the center conductor

3. Insert the cable into the fitting and gently find the hole for the center conductor before you press the fitting on the wire. Now just twist the fitting on the wire while firmly pressing down until the fitting has been firmly twisted onto the cable

CCTV Buyers Guide

Buying a CCTV system is by no means an easy task, the vast array of products available nowadays could confuse anyone so we have tried our best to put together a guide to help you make an informed decision about what system should fulfil your requirements.

Before we go through how to choose a complete CCTV System, some people may only want to connect a camera to a TV/Monitor to view and record via a video recorder.

This is simple to do, when you have selected the camera you want pick the option with the correct length 'Plug & Play' cable. Make a note of the 'connector' type, this is usually BNC, then check your TV connections. They will probably be phono or scart. Then you will need to buy a BNC to Phono connector, and if necessary a scart connection. And your done, you simply plug these connections into the end of your cable, and into your TV. Place the camera where you want and record images on to your video recorder, keeping in mind that it can only record for as long as there is space on the video tape.

CCTV Buyers Guide

We start by splitting this guide into the four sections below, if you can learn to understand these separate sections then you will have a good idea of what products will be suitable for your situation. Please bare in mind this guide is focused around products that we offer, for example there are multiplexers, switchers and VCR's - however we don't supply these products as a Digital Video Recorder replaces each one, so they do not feature in this guide.

There is a large selection of Digital Video Recorders on our website alone, we understand trying to buy the right one is not simple, and differs for each situation. So we have put together some information about the features available so that you can try to make a more educated decision. Simply look through the features listed above, and try to see what is important for you, keeping in mind the purpose of your CCTV system. Once you have decided what features are important to you why not see what Digital Video Recorders fit your requirements with our Digital Video Recorder product finder.

Digital Video Recorder Basics...

Some common features are covered below, this section is for those with no knowledge about a CCTV set up. The Digital Video Recorder is the "brain" of a CCTV system, it takes the images from the cameras and stores them on to a hard disk drive. You can then look at the images recorded on the hard drive, and review what the cameras have been viewing by connecting a monitor (or other form of display unit) to the DVR. You can forward & rewind through the images in much the same way you may have done so with a typical Video recorder. On many you can search for specific dates & times to quickly find the footage you want to view.

Once you have your images recorded on the hard drive, from time to time there may be an incident which you will be required to give to the police as evidence, you will then need to back up the data they require from the hard drive on to another storage device.

Digital Video Recorders are available as Standalone units or PC based units. Choosing which one is for you is a personal preference, but I'll take this opportunity to point out a couple of things.  Although many PC based digital video recorders offer lots of added features & familiar use, standalone digital video recorders are purpose built for the job and are considered more reliable and therefore less likely to fail. With PC based units we would strongly recommend the pc is used as a security device only and not used as a standard pc with surveillance, this should reduce the risk of failures.

Also if you are "PC savvy" and decide to buy a Digital video recorder PC Card and install it into your PC yourself, please check that you will not void your PC warranty before you do.

Last but not least, and this goes for all Digital Video Recorders, where possible try to use a purpose built hard drive. By this we mean that some people, to save costs, use a normal PC hard drive in a digital video recorder. Unfortunately this usually ends up with the hard drive failing simply because a pc hard drive is not designed to be constantly "working" twenty four hours a day - seven days a week. At JMC we only offer digital video recorders from manufacturers who use purpose built hard drives, but as not all of our digital video recorders are offered with a hard drive pre-installed for you please bare this in mind. Also please check the compatibility of the hard drive with your digital video recorder, as some may require IDE drives, others SATA, some may work better with Seagate, others Maxtor. Where available we have stated this information in the product information.

Ok, now hopefully you have a better idea about what a digital video recorder is, and its purpose, now I would advise you refer to the features listed below to learn more about what a digital video recorder is capable of and then use the digital video recorder product finder or browse through our site to find one that fits your situation.

Number of Channels:

Have a good look around your premises and decide how many cameras you are going to need, you should take your time with this and make sure you have all the angles covered. Failure to do so will leave 'blind spots'. And if people can see your cameras, it stands to reason, they can see your blind spots.

"To limit expenses you can consider planting dummy cameras in areas you think are less sensitive"

Digital Video Recorders come in several sizes, most commonly :

  • 4 Channels
  • 8 Channels
  • 16 Channels

But once you have decided how many cameras you need, you can then start looking at appropriate Digital Video Recorders. For example if you only need to use 2 cameras, there are not many 2 channel Digital Video Recorders on the market, so you will probably need to buy a 4 channel Digital Video Recorder. But buying more channels than you actually require, isnt a bad thing, as many people find they want to add cameras in the future that they didnt initially think about.

Frame Rate:

The recording frame rate is measured in frames per second (fps) (sometimes referred to as Images per second (ips)). 25 frames per second per channel is considered 'real-time', this means a 4 channel system would need to record at 100fps to record real-time on all 4 channels.

"The thing to keep in mind here is the fact the more images being recorded per second, means the hard drive within the Digital Video Recorder is having to store more information every second. So it will reach capacity quicker and start to rewrite itself"

You will see that many 'budget' Digital Video Recorders do not offer real-time and the Digital Video Recorders that do often allow the frame rate to be manually adjusted to your choice. Just because a Digital Video Recorder is capable of real-time recording does not make it compulsory. There is, in most cases, no law requiring a certain frame rate for images to be used as evidence. As it is the quality of each image that is important. So you need to use the frame rate depending on what you need to see being recorded.

For example, if you were using your CCTV system in a shop and a camera was trying to record the faces of people as they entered your shop. These people might only be in view of that particular camera for a single second, so it would be wise to make sure you got several images in that second, so you had a good chance of a recognisable image. 6-12 fps would be suitable.

Then, in the same shop you may have a camera in a corner looking down at an overall picture of the entrance and shopping area, this camera might only require a few images per second, as this would be enough for you to see what these people did while in your shop. As they are not going to enter your shop, walk around, and leave all within the space of 1 second. 3 fps would be suitable.

Motion Detection:

Almost every Digital Video Recorder on the market comes with motion detection built in nowadays, this can be a very important feature that can considerably extend the recording capacity of your Digital Video Recorder.

It works on a fairly simple principle, the cameras that are connected to the digital video recorder are constantly sending images to the dvr. The dvr reads these images as thousands of pixels, and it simply waits for the sequence of pixels to be different from the previous image. Once it notices a change in pixels, it begins to record.

Some DVRs have different levels of motion "sensitivity" levels, this simply works by changing the number of pixels that need to be different from the previous image. For example, a digital video recorder on motion sensitivity level 1 may require 100 pixels to be different, but on level 5 it may require 1000 pixels to change.

The higher end Digital Video Recorders also allow 'Masking' which is a handy feature within motion detection, basically it allows you to mask certain areas of the screen where you do not want motion to be detected. Useful to mask objects like trees that may move in the wind and cause a Digital Video Recorder to start recording for no reason.

On some Digital Video Recorders you can also set the 'sensitivity' level of the motion detection, this again helps you reduce the amount of motion that is detectable, but in this case it does it on motion speed. slow moving objects will not be detected.

Recording Times:

There are many variables that will adjust the recording times of any Digital Video Recorder, this is why any 'recording time tables' on this website, or anywhere else for that matter, are only an approximate guide.

Some of these variables are listed here:

  • Hard Drive Size
  • Frame rate
  • Compression format
  • Motion detection settings
  • Actual scene (image recorded)
Data Backup:
Common forms of back-up include

Back Up Type


Connecting to Video recorder This is mainly only for 'budget' Digital Video Recorders and involves connecting the Digital Video Recorder to a video recorder and recording the information on to tape.
USB to PC link Quite common, and simple to do, simply connect the Digital Video Recorder to a PC via cable and copy information to PC Hard drive, from there you can write on to disk, pen stick etc.
USB Pen Stick Quite common, and simple to do, amount of storage depends on USB pen stick used.
CD Rewriter (built in or external) Simple to do, some Digital Video Recorders would also require you to load software on to any device that you wanted to then watch the CD on. You should keep this in mind if giving CDs to police as with this software they would not be able to view the CD. Also bare in mind CDs are limited to 750 Megabytes.
DVD Rewriter (built in or external) simple to do, some Digital Video Recorders would also require you to load software on to any device that you wanted to then watch the DVD on. You should keep this in mind if giving DVDs to police as with this software they would not be able to view the DVD. 4.7Gigabyte of space available.
Networked You can copy data from your Digital Video Recorder on to any PC while viewing it over the internet

Common forms of back-up include

Back Up Type


Please check individual Digital Video Recorders to see what forms of backing up they offer.

Remote Viewing

Last but by no means least, when choosing your Digital Video Recorder, bare in mind if you want the option of viewing it over the internet from another location. If you do make sure you choose a Digital Video Recorder with Networking (often referred to as remote viewing).

"Most Digital Video Recorders that offer networking come with software that needs to be installed on the PC that you wish to view your Digital Video Recorder over. If you are on holiday and want to check from a public PC installing software may be impossible, so if you think this is the case try finding a Digital Video Recorder with a built in web server so you can view it directly from any browser"

DVR Compression

There are several different types of compression formats, and its not easy for anyone, including installers, to decide which one is more suitable for there requirements. So for now we will try to educate you on what compression actually is, and then let you know a little about the different types of compressions used by the manufacturers of the Digital Video Recorders we offer.

So what is compression?

If you consider a digital camera with a Gigabyte of storage capacity can only hold a few hundred images (photos), CCTV systems may need to store up to 25 images every second for every camera. Unless we decrease the size of these image files the amount of storage capacity required for CCTV systems would be huge, and unpractical.

Compression is basically the process of reducing the file size of images to reduce storage space required

A guide to CCTV Cameras

There is a large selection of CCTV Cameras on our website, it can be very confusing trying to figure out what cctv cameras will be most suitable. So we have put together some information about the features available, so that you can try to make a more educated decision. Simply look through the features listed below, and try to see what is important for you, keeping in mind the purpose of your CCTV system. Once you have decided what features are important to you why not see what cctv cameras fit your requirements with our cctv camera product finder.

CCTV Camera Basics...

For those who know little or nothing about what a cctv camera is, or what it does.

Cctv Cameras are the "eyes" of a cctv system, you place them inside and outside buildings to enable you to see and also record (via a digital video recorder) what the camera is looking at.

Unfortunately that's where it stops being easy, we cant emphasise enough how you need to educate yourself as much as possible about what cctv cameras are capable of and then look seriously as to what you want to use a camera for and what you need that camera to do. By this we mean there are literally thousands of cameras available nowadays, but this is because there are so many different situations where a camera is required that there isn't just one camera for all jobs. So please do take time to learn as much as you can from the features at the top of this page before you make a purchase.

So how do you go about choosing a camera, well you have to start with basics....

First where is the camera going? indoors or outdoors? If outdoors use the weatherproof guide to choose what kind of an IP rating your camera requires.

Once you know this, go to the area where you want to install the camera and look at what you want the camera to see. how far is the scene you want to capture from the camera? how big is it? think about this and use our lens calculator to make sure you know what lens size you need to be able to see the scene you want at the distance it is away.

Consider, will you need to be able to see in dark conditions? or only during the day time? If its needs to see in low light conditions, how dark does it get? is there a street lamp near by? or is there a security light on the premises? go back at night time and see how dark it actually is, then use the Lux guide to see what kind of "minimum illumination" your camera requires. Keep in mind during the winter it gets dark very early, no  good having a camera that's only useful during the summer.

Is the camera going to be installed in such a place it may be subject to vandalism? if so make sure you use a vandal resistant camera.

Ok, now hopefully you have a better idea about what a cctv camera is and what kind best suits your situation, now I would advise you refer to the features listed below to learn more about what a cctv camera is capable of and then use the cctv camera product finder or browse through our site to find one that fits your situation.

Image Sensor

Most CCTV cameras are now almost exclusively ‘CCD’ sensor type. CCD stands for Charge-Coupled Devices.

These are light-sensitive chips, the sensitive area being split into a large number of individual pixels. An image from a scene is focused through a lens onto the chip surface and charge is built up in each pixel proportional to the intensity of the light falling on it. Hence an electrical representation of the optical image is formed.

These image sensors come in several sizes, but for CCTV the main ones are:

  • 1/2"
  • 1/3"
  • 1/4"

The most common of the above is the 1/3" CCD, which is suitable for over 90% of CCTV applications. The main point to bare in mind if buying a lens separately from the camera, is to make sure the CCD and lens are compatible.

"To keep things simple, stick to the same size. if 1/3" CCD, then choose a lens with 1/3" image format. Never Use a smaller CCD than the Lens Image format!"

The other image sensor type is "Cmos", this is rarely used in good quality CCTV cameras, however some IP cameras still use it. Also bare in mind it is widely accepted that SONY produce the best quality CCD image sensors, so we recommend you choose a camera with a SONY chip.

TV Resolution:

The resolution of a camera is measured in 'TVL'.

The term TVL or “TV lines” has been around since the invention of analogue television. Its purpose was to provide a measure with which the usable resolution performance of a TV system could be assessed. TVL is in general terms a horizontal measurement of how fine a detail from a scene can be resolved on a display. This number relates the resolvable fine detail to an equivalent number of equally spaced black and white vertical lines across the width of the viewing screen.

"The higher the TVL the better quality picture the camera will produce"

 "Lux" Level:

Infrared LEDs, aka IRs, are what give a camera the ability to see in low light situations. This ability is measured as the "Lux" Level, below are some approximate lux levels to help give you an idea of how good a cameras night vision is.

Lux Guide:

  • 0.00005 lux = Starlight
  • 0.0001 lux = Moonless overcast night sky
  • 0.001 lux = Moonless clear night sky
  • 0.01 lux = Quarter Moon
  • 0.25 lux = Full Moon on a clear night
  • 1 lux = Moonlight at high altitude at tropical latitudes
  • 3 lux = Dark limit of civil twilight under a clear sky
  • 32000 lux = Sunlight on an average day (min.)
  • 100000 lux = Sunlight on an average day (max.)
IP Rate:

Weather proof is measured using an IP Rating, if a camera doesn't state an IP rating you can consider it is for internal use only.

IP Ratings Guide

The IP classification system designates the degree of protection provided by an enclosure against solid objects or water ingress.

There are always two digits in an IP rating, the first digit refers to the protection against solid objects (dust) and the second digit refers to the protection against water.

Dust Protection (first digit):

  1. Non-protected
  2. Protected against a solid object greater than 50mm, such as a hand.
  3. Protected against a solid object greater than 12.5mm, such as a finger.
  4. Protected against a solid object greater than 2.5mm, such as wire or a tool.
  5. Protected against a solid object greater than 1.0mm, such as wire or thin strips.
  6. Dust-protected. Prevents ingress of dust sufficient to cause harm.
  7. Dust tight. No ingress of dust.

Water Protection (second digit):

  1. Non-protected
  2. Protected against dripping water.
  3. Protected against dripping water when tilted up to 15º.
  4. Protected against spraying water at an angle of up to 60º.
  5. Protected against splashing water from any direction.
  6. Protected against jets of water from any direction.
  7. Protected against heavy seas or powerful jets of water. Prevents ingress sufficient to cause harm.
  8. Protected against the effects of temporary immersion in water.
  9. Protected against the effects of continuous immersion in water.

So for using CCTV cameras outdoors, I would recommend a very minimum IP rating of 55, but preferably 65 and above.

CCTV Glossary

CCTV Glossary

Section A

AC Adaptor

Each CCTV device has its own power requirements (usually 12 volts and an current). The power coming out of the wall (in the UK) is 240 AC. The adaptor converts the AC power to DC power and will adjust it to a specified amperage. The power supply should be included with each item you usually don`t have to buy these separately.


Automatic Gain Control. A circuit for automatically controlling amplifier gain in order to maintain a constant output voltage with a varying input voltage within a predetermined range of inputtooutput variation.

Alarm input

An input connection to a security VCR or DVR that triggers the unit to start recording if the alarm is triggered.


There are two main ways of doing things electronically, analogue or digital. An analogue signal can be represented as a series of sine waves. The term originated because the modulation of the carrier wave is analogous to the fluctuations of the human voice or other sound that is being transmitted.

Angle of view

For security cameras, this refers to the angular range in degrees that you can focus the camera on without distorting the image. When focusing close up, you can generally see a wide angle of view. If the focus is distant, the angle of view is smaller or narrower.


In television optics, it is the effective diameter of the lens that controls the amount of light reaching the photoconductive or photo emitting image pickup sensor.

Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL)

A method for moving data over regular phone lines. An ADSL circuit is much faster than a regular phone connection, and the wires used are the same wires used for regular phone service. ADSL supports data rates of from 1.5 to 9 Mbps when receiving data (known as the downstream rate) and from 16 to 640 Kbps when sending data (known as the upstream rate). ADSL requires a special ADSL modem.

Audio/Video Interleave (AVI)

An AVI file is a sound and motion picture file that conforms to the Microsoft Windows Resource Interchange File Format (RIFF) specification. AVI files require a special player that may be included with your web browser.

Auto Balance

A system for detecting errors in colour balance in white and black areas of the picture and automatically adjusting the white and black levels of both the red and blue signals as needed for correction.

Auto Iris

A lens in which the aperture automatically opens or closes to maintain proper light levels on the faceplate of the camera pickup device.

Automatic Brightness Control

In display devices, the selfacting mechanism which controls brightness of the device as a function of ambient light.

Automatic Gain Control

A process by which gain is automatically adjusted as a function of input or other specified parameter.

Automatic Iris Lens

A lens that automatically adjusts the amount of light reaching the imager.

Automatic Light Control

The process by which the illumination incident upon the face of a pickup device is automatically adjusted as a function of scene brightness.

Automatic White Balance

A feature on colour cameras that constantly monitors the light and adjusts its colour to maintain white areas.

Section B

Back Light Compensation (BLC)

A feature on newer CCD cameras which electronically compensates for high background lighting to give detail.


The bandwidth determines the rate at which video can be sent through a network the greater the bandwidth, the more video that can be sent in a given amount of time. Usually measured in bitspersecond.


The baud rate is how many bits can be sent or received per second.


A bitmap is digital graphic that basically consists of a map of dots. Bitmaps include GIF, JPEG and other file formats.

BNC connector

Is a type of connector used to interconnect two coaxial cables or connect a cable with other CCTV components


The attribute of visual perception in accordance with which an area appear to emit more of less light. (Luminance is the recommended name for the photoelectric quantity which has also been called brightness.)


A general term for different types of highspeed, highbandwidth connections to the Internet, including ADSL and cable.

Section C

Category (CAT) 5 Cable

Cable that is capable of transmitting data at high speeds (100 megabits per second and faster). CAT 5 cable is commonly used for voice and data applications. Usually comes with RJ45 connectors.


Common abbreviation for ClosedCircuit Television.

ChargeCoupled Device

CCTV cameras that are CCD will give sharper, better defined pictures. All professional level cameras will be CCD.

Circuit Switched Data (CSD)

A GSM transmission standard that allows data to be transferred at up to 14.4kbps.


Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor. Similar to a CCD, it also detects light for conversion into a signal. Lesser image clarity than CCD, but more compact in size with lower power usage.

Coaxial Cable

A particular type of cable capable of passing a wide range of frequencies with very low signal loss. Such a cable in its simplest form, consists of a hollow metallic shield with a single wire accurately placed along the center of the shield and isolated from the shield.


Short for compressor/decompressor, a codec is any technology for compressing and decompressing data. Codecs can be implemented in software, hardware, or a combination of both. Examples of Codecs include Wavelet, MPEG4, JPEG.

Composite Video Signal

The combined picture signal, including vertical and horizontal blanking and synchronizing signals.

Compression Technology

This is the Codecs used for compressing and decompressing video data.


The range of light to dark values in a picture or the ratio between the maximum and minimum brightness values.

Section D

Day/Night Cameras

`Day/Night Cameras` are regular cameras with an especially sensitive CCD chip that allows a good image to be captured in very low ambient lighting (regular lighting not infrared).


The fidelity of a television system to the original scene.

Depth of Field

The infocus range of a lens or optical system. It is measured from the distance behind an object to the distance in front of the object when the viewing lens shows the object to be in focus.

Depth of Focus

The range of sensortolens distance for which the image formed by the lens is clearly focused.

DialUp Line

A connection to the internet through a normal telephone line. Speeds of up to 56Kbps can be achieved over a 56K modem.

Digital Video Recorder (DVR)

A digital video recorder is basically a computer that converts the incoming (analogue) signal from the cameras to digital, and compresses it, and stores it. The DVR replaces the function of a multiplexer (or quad or switcher) and a security VCR. There are many advantages of digital video recorders over their analogue counterparts.


The deviation of the received signal waveform from that of the original transmitted waveform.

Distribution Amplifier

A device that provides several isolated outputs from one looping or bridging input, and has a sufficiently high input impedance and inputtooutput isolation to prevent loading of the input source.


The downloading of data from the Internet to the PC. ADSL has both upstream and downstream data rates.


A circuit that permits transmission in both directions. In CCTV, duplex is often used to describe the type of multiplexer that can perform two functions simultaneously: recording in multiplex mode and playback in multiplex mode

Dynamic IP address

The term used to describe how an IP address is dynamically assigned to computers as and when needed. Unlike Static IP addresses, the IP address is temporary e.g. when you connect to your ISP using a dialup connection , you PC or router will be dynamically assigned an IP address whilst you are online. This form of IP addressing is commonly used for consumer ADSL service.

Section E

Section F


One of the two equal but vertically separated parts into which a television frame is divided in an interlaced system of scanning. A period of 1/60 second separates each field start time.

Field of View

The maximum angle of view that can be seen through a lens or optical instrument.


A firewall is a set of related programs, located at a network gateway server, that protects the resources of a private network from users from other networks.

Focal Length

Of a lens, the distance from the focal point to the principal point of the lens.

Focal Plane

A plane (through the focal point) at right angles to the principal point of the lens.

Focal Point

The point at which a lens or mirror will focus parallel incident radiation.


The total area, occupied by the television picture, which is scanned while the picture signal is not blanked.

Frames per Second (fps)

This refers to the number of pictures that can be recorded or displayed per second. A television displays 25fps and is referred to as real time. This should not be confused with fields per second. Two fields per second is equivalent to one frame per second. Recommended frame rates are as follows:
POS Monitoring = 25fps
Retail Surveillance = 16fps
Door/Car Monitoring = 4fps

Section G


An increase in voltage or power, usually expressed in dB.


A piece of hardware that acts between a LAN and the internet. The Gateway address is simply the IP address of the Gateway.

General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)

Part of the GSM standard that delivers wireless packet data services to GSM customers. GPRS can provide packet data speeds of up to 115 kb/s.


A spurious image resulting from an echo.

Gigabyte (GB)

This unit is typically used to measure large data storage or data transfer capacities (by current standards). 1GB = 1024 MB = 1,048,576 KB = 1,073,741,824 bytes.

Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM)

The communication system used by cellular phones in the UK.

Section H

H.264 Compression

It is generated from MPEG4, but more advanced for video compression. It has more complex coding algorithm, lower usage of bandwidth and smaller royal fee than MPEG4. It works well on a very wide variety of applications, networks and systems (e.g., for broadcast, DVD storage, and multimedia telephony systems).

Hard Disk Drive (HDD)

The storage device usually fixed inside of your computer or DVR used to store information.

High Speed Circuit Switched Data (HSCSD)

A GSM transmission standard that allows data to be transferred at up to 28.8kbps

Section I

Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN)

Digital telephony scheme that allows a user to connect to the Internet over standard phone lines at speeds higher than a 56K modem allows. Capable of speeds from 57.6 K to 128 K.

IP (Internet Protocol)

The TCP/IP standard protocol that defines the IP datagram as the unit of information passed across an Internet and provides the basis for connectionless packet delivery service.

IP Address

The numeric address of a computer on the Internet. An IP address is written as a set of four numbers separated by periods (each number can range from 0 to 255). An example of an IP address is

Image Intensifier

A device coupled by fiber optics to a TV image pickup sensor to increase sensitivity. Can be single or multi stage.

Incident Light

The light that falls directly on an object.

Infra Red Camera

Infrared cameras (night vision cameras) have special infrared lights installed around the perimeter of the camera lens. This provides special light that the camera uses to capture a good picture even in total darkness.

Insertion Loss

The signal strength loss when a piece of equipment is inserted into a line.


Extraneous energy which tends to interfere with the reception of the desired signals.


An adjustable aperture built into a camera lens to permit control of the amount of light passing through the lens.

Section J


stands for `Joint Photographic Experts Group` who designed the standard. This is a standard way of compressing images which works particularly well for photographic images (as opposed to graphic art).


JPEG2000 is image coding system and the successor of the JPEG format. Its architecture lends itself to a wide range of uses from portable digital cameras to advanced prepress, medical imaging and other key sectors. Compared to JPEG, JPEG2000 offers higher compression without compromising quality, progressive image reconstruction.

Section K

Section L

LAN (Local Area Network)

A communications system that links computers into a network, usually via a wiring based cabling scheme. LANs connect PCs, workstations and servers together to allow users to communicate and share resources like hard disk storage and printers. Devices linked by a LAN may be on the same floor or within a building or campus. It is userowned and does not run over leased lines, though a LAN may have gateways to the PSTN or other, private, networks.

LED Light Emitting Device

is a type of light source which generates an infrared frequency when stimulated by electricity.


Liquid Crystal Display. Liquid crystal displays (LCDs) offer several advantages over traditional cathoderay tube displays that make them ideal for several applications. LCD's are flat, and they use only a fraction of the power required by CRTs. They are easier to read and more pleasant to work with for long periods of time than most ordinary video monitors. There are several tradeoffs as well, such as limited view angle, brightness, and contrast, not to mention high manufacturing cost.


A transparent optical component consisting of one or more pieces of optical glass with surfaces so curved (usually Spherical), that they serve to converge or diverge the transmitted rays of an object, thus forming a real or virtual image of that object.

Lens Preset Positioning

Follower Pots are installed on lens that allows feedback to the controller information relevant to zoom and focus positioning allowing the controller to quickly adjust to a preselected scene and arrive in focus at the proper focal length automatically.

Lens Speed

Refers to the ability of a lens to transmit light, represented as the ratio of the focal length to the diameter of the lens. A fast lens would be rated f/8. The larger the f number, the slower the lens.


Electromagnetic radiation detectable by the eye, ranging in wavelength from about 400 to 750 nm.

Line Amplifier

An amplifier for audio or video signals that feeds a transmission line; also called program amplifier.

Loop Through

Also called looping. The method of feeding a series of high impedance circuits (such as multiple monitor/displays in parallel) from a pulse or video source with a coax transmission line in such a manner that the line is bridged (with minimum length stubs) and that the last unit properly terminates the line in its characteristic impedance. This minimizes discontinuities or reflections on the transmission line.


A reduction in signal level or strength, usually expressed in dB. Power dissipation serving no useful purpose.


Luminous intensity (photometric brightness) of any surface in a given direction per unit of projected area of the surface as viewed from that direction, measured in footlamberts (fl).


International System (Sl) unit of illumination in which the meter is the unit of length. One lux equals one lumen per square meter. A camera`s light gathering ability. The lower the number, the better the image in low light conditions. A sunny day would be about 100,000 lux a full moon at night would be about 0.1 lux street lighting would be about 1 to 10 lux home/office lighting would be about 100 to 1000 lux.

Section M

Megabits Per Second (MBPS)

A measurement of the transmission speed of data measured in 1,048,576 bits per second.

Motion Joint Photographic Experts Group (MJPEG)

This compression standard generally refers to JPEG images shown at high frame rate, generally 25 frames per second. It gives high quality video images, but the comparatively large file sizes of each individual image does put demands on the transmission bandwidth.

Modem (Modulate/Demodulate)

device for the transmission of data via dialup networking.


The process, or results of the process, whereby some characteristic of one signal is varied in accordance with another signal. The modulated signal is called the carrier. The carrier may be modulated in three fundamental ways: by varying the amplitude, called amplitude modulation; by varying the frequency, called frequency modulation; by varying the phase, called phase modulation.


A unit of equipment that displays on the face of a picture tube the images detected and transmitted by a television camera.


Black and white with all shades of gray.

Monochrome Signal

In monochrome television, a signal wave for controlling the brightness values in the picture. In color television, that part of the signal wave which has major control of the brightness values of the picture, whether displayed in color or in monochrome.

Monochrome Transmission

The transmission of a signal wave which represents the brightness values in the picture, but not the color (chrominance) values.

Motion Picture Experts Group (MPEG)

MPEG is an international standard for video compression. MPEG1 is a lowresolution format currently used on the World Wide Web for short animated files. MPEG2 is a much higher resolution format being developed for digital television and movies. MPEG4 is increasingly being used in CCTV solutions.


MPEG4 is a graphics and video compression algorithm. It is further development of the MPEG2. MPEG4 resolves the picture more effectively and can thus compress sequence quicker and maybe smaller. Now, it is popularly used for Internet transmitting.


A device primarily developed as a means to record multiple cameras simultaneously to a single video tape. They also allow viewing of multiple cameras on a single monitor in various arrangements.

Section N

Night Vision

Cameras that have night vision have the ability to see in low light conditions. To judge how dark it can be for your camera to work, look at the Lux rating on the camera. The lower the lux, the better it will see at night.


The word `noise` originated in audio practice and refers to random spurts of electrical energy or interference. In some cases, it will produce a `saltandpepper` pattern over the televised picture. Heavy noise is sometimes referred to as `snow`.

NonComposite Video

A video signal containing all information except sync.


Abbreviation for National Television Systems Committee. A committee that worked with the FCC in formulating standards for the present day United States color television system.

Section O


The signal level at the output of an amplifier or other device

Section P


The UK's colour television standard. Abbreviation of "Phase Alternative Line"

Pan and Tilt

A device upon which a camera can be mounted that allows movement in both the azimuth (pan) and in the vertical plane (tilt).

Pan/Tilt Preset Positioning

Follower pots are installed on pan/tilt unit to allow feedback to the controller and provides information relevant to horizontal and vertical positioning, allowing the controller to quickly adjust to a preselected scene automatically.

PCI Video Card

A PC card that allows video from analogue cameras to be fed into a computer.


Passive Infrared. Widely used in devices to detect motion. A special lens on the front of the PIR divides the sensor into zones. A individuals body heat radiation is detected as it moves through the sensor zones in front of the PIR


Short for Picture Element. A pixel is the smallest area of a television picture capable of being delineated by an electrical signal passed through the system of part thereof. The number of picture elements (pixels) in a complete picture, and their geometric characteristics of vertical height and horizontal width, provide information on the total amount of detail which the raster can display and on the sharpness of the detail, respectively. Monitor resolution is measured in pixels. CCTV pictures of 640 x 480 pixels (full screen) and 320 x 240 (quad screen) are most common.

Port Redirection

This refers to pointing a port of a modem/router to an IP address where a PC or networked DVR can be found for viewing cameras over the internet.


When data is being transmitted between two or more devices something needs to govern the controls that keep this data intact. A protocol is a formal description of message formats and the rules two computers must follow to exchange those messages.

Proxy Server

A server that acts as an intermediary between a user\'s computer and the computer they want to access. If a user makes a request for a resource from computer \"A,\" this request is directed to the proxy server, which makes the request, gets the response from computer \"A,\" and then forwards the response to the client. Proxy servers are useful for accessing World Wide Web resources from inside a firewall.


Public Switched Telephone Network ­ analogue communications network used for day to day telephony and data transmission

Section Q

Quad Processor

is a device which uses digital video to display pictures from 4 cameras on a single monitor.

Section R


A type of telephone connector. Standard in the US.


A standard network connector, often found at the end of CAT5 cable.

Real time video

is a picture with 25 frames per sec and therefore looks continuous

Resolution (horizontal)

The amount of resolvable detail in the horizontal direction in a picture. It is usually expressed as the number of distinct vertical lines, alternately black and white, which can be seen in a distance equal to picture height.

Resolution, Limiting

The details that can be distinguished on the television screen. Vertical resolution refers to the number of horizontal black and white lines that can be resolved in the picture height. Horizontal resolution refers to the black and white lines resolved in a dimension equal to the vertical height and may be limited by the video amplifier bandwidth.

Resolution (vertical)

The amount of resolvable detail in the vertical direction in a picture. It is usually expressed as the number of distinct horizontal lines, alternately black and white, which can theoretically be seen in a picture.

Retained Image

Also called image burn. A change produced in or on the target which remains for a large number of frames after the removal of a previously stationary light image and which yields a spurious electrical signal corresponding to that light image.


is a measure of picture definition and clarity and is represented by number of lines. Greater the number of lines, higher the resolution.


is a type of coaxial cable used for transmission of video signals up to 230m. It is the most popular cable used in CCTV.

RF (Radio Frequency)

A frequency at which coherent electromagnetic radiation of energy is useful for communication purposes. Also, the entire range of such frequencies.


A loss of vertical synchronization which causes the picture to move up or down on a receiver or monitor.


The role of a router can be described as a bridge between two or more networks. The function of the router is to look at the destination addresses of the packets passing through it, and thereafter decide which route to send these packets on.


A standard for serial transmission of data between two devices. This defines the pin and plug in terms of size, shape and number of pins.

Section S


In color, the degree to which a colour is diluted with white light or is pure. The vividness of a color, described by such terms as bright, deep, pastel, pale, etc. Saturation is directly related to the amplitude of the chrominance signal.


The process of moving the electron beam of a pickup tube or a picture tube across the target or screen area of a tube. Sensitivity In television, a factor expressing the incident illumination upon a specified scene required to produce a specified picture signal at the output terminals of a television camera.


Standard European 20 pin connector used for carrying both video and audio signals in domestic TV appliances, now utilised on some CCTV equipment

Serial Port

Also known as a communications port or COM port. The serial port is a location for sending and receiving serial data transmissions. These ports are known by the names COM1, COM2, COM3, and COM4.


Ability to control the integration (of light) time to the sensor to less than 1/60 second; eg. stop motion of moving traffic.

SignaltoNoise Ratio

The ratio between useful television signal and disturbing noise or snow.


Heavy random noise.


A transient of short duration, comprising part of a pulse, during which the amplitude considerably exceeds the average amplitude of the pulse.

Static IP address

An IP address which is the same every time you log on to the Internet. The alternative to a dynamic IP address. Often standard for business broadband but not for domestic broadband.

Subnet Mask

A numeric designation, with the same format as an IP address, which determines how much of an IP address is used to partition a network using TCP/IP into smaller entities called subnets.

Section T

Test Pattern

A chart especially prepared for checking overall performance of a television system. It contains various combinations of lines and geometric shapes. The camera is focused on the chart, and the pattern is viewed at the monitor for fidelity.

Time/date generator

is a device which generates time and a date superimposes it on the video signal.

Time Lapse VCR

A video recorder, most often in the VHS format,that can slow down the recording process and create a time lapse between recorded frames. This increases the amount of recording time on an individual tape. Unlike a standard VCR which has a maximum recoding time of 8 hours, time lapse recorders can record from 2 to 960 hours on a standard VHS tape. Recording speeds available on some Time Lapse VCR

Transmission Control Protocol/ Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)

The protocols, or conventions, that computers use to communicate over the Internet.

TV Line Resolution

the number of distinct horizontal lines, alternately black and white, which can theoretically be seen in a picture. Allows a buyer to judge the quality of any camera. Low resolution is between 300 and 380, medium resolution is between 400 and 480, high resolution is 480 plus

Section U

Universal Serial Bus (USB)

A standard port that enables you to easily connect external devices (such as digital cameras, scanners, and mice) to a PC.


The uploading of data from your PC to the Internet. ADSL has both upstream and downstream data rates.

Section V

Varifocal lens

is a type of manual zoom lens with a small zoom ratio (ranging between 4mm to 12mm depending on brand). It is used when the focal length of the lens needs to be fine tuned to meet the requirements of the actual scene

VCR Activator

A unit, when used with a PIR camera, will automatically instruct your domestic video to record. After motion has stopped, the VCR Activator will stop your video recording.

Vertical Resolution (TVL)

The number of horizontal lines that can be seen in the reproduced image of a television pattern.

Video Amplifier

A wideband amplifier used for passing picture signals.

Video Band

The frequency band width utilized to transmit a composite video signal.

Video Capture Card

Computer cards that you can install on the motherboard of your own computer to create your own video recording computer.

Video Graphics Array (VGA)

The display standard for PC monitors. VGA outputs are compatible with PC monitors.

Video Motion Detection (VMD)

A method for detecting motion in a video image by checking to see if the pixels in the video image have changed.

Video Signal (NonComposite)

The picture signal. A signal containing visual information and horizontal and vertical blanking (see also Composite Video Signal) but not sync.

Video Server

A video server compresses video signal from analogue cameras to allow them to be viewed over a network such as a LAN or the internet.

Section W


A mathematical codec useful in image compression. In the Internet, wavelet has been used to compress images to a greater extent than is generally possible with other methods such as JPEG or MPEG.

Web Server

A DVR or Software system with a builtin web server allows you to view cameras over an internet browser.

Wireless Camera

Wireless cameras allow the transmission of video and audio data to be transmitted to the receiver without having to run wires (using radio waves). Wireless cameras often have an option to power the camera via mains in which case there will be a lead from camera to power point

Wired camera

A camera that transmits its signal via cable back to the recording/control device. Some wired cameras use composite cable (taking both the video and power signal) whilst some have separate power and video cables.

Section X

Section Y

Y Signal

A signal transmitted in colour television containing brightness information. This signal produces a black and white picture on a standard monochrome receiver. In a colour picture it supplies fine detail and brightness information.

Section Z


To enlarge or reduce, on a continuously variable basis, the size of a televised image primarily by varying lens focal length.

Zoom Lens

An optical system of continuously variable focal length, the focal plane remaining in a fixed position.


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