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Guide to Closed Circuit TV (CCTV)

So would you like to play "Spot the CCTV Camera?". Eagle eyed visitors may recognise the profusion of street furniture, surrounding a single heritage dome camera keeping watch over part  of Londons' prestigious Oxford Street shopping area.

They say a picture is worth
a thousand words ....

Computer Displays

As the CCTV and Computer industries continue to rush headlong into a marriage of inconvenience, the longterm growth in ‘Network’ and PC based surveillance seems assured. Whether this is necessarily a good thing, Doktor Jon has some reservations.

That aside, you cannot stand in the way of progress, assuming of course that’s entirely what it is, but with the increasing dependence on digital systems, hard disc based recording, and visual monitoring using a PC as an acceptable display platform, this does tend to raise far more questions than it presently answers.

Video capture cards have been around for many years now, so it’s never been a problem to lift images from either a camera or video recorder source, and display them on a suitable PC. Now with the advent of webcams, and more recently, network enabled CCTV cameras and camera servers, the industry is likely to experience a fairly major change over the next couple of years. In practice, any PC or Mac computer is capable of displaying video captured images, but it is important to maximise resolution.

Whereas CCTV equipment resolutions are generally described in terms of Horizontal lines, computer resolutions can be taken as industry standard VGA, SVGA, EGA, XGA and any other permutation showing the number of pixels being reproduced.

The bottom line is, will the equipment successfully, securely and consistently reproduce the quality of images necessary to achieve a particular level of performance.

There is absolutely no doubt that computers are capable of reproducing stunning quality images, but if the pictures are to be relayed over an intranet, or indeed the internet itself, there is a practical limitation on data transfer speeds (bandwidth), and even using an industry standard compression technique (such as M-JPEG, MPEG 4 or H.264) this will undoubtedly have an effect on the eventual picture.

At the end of the day, you pays yer money, and takes yer choice.

How to get the best from a monitor >>

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