Selecting a Home Security Surveillance System – Part Two

September 3, 2008 by Garrett Smith

Protect Your Family and Home With Video Surveillance

In part one of this series, we began by defining what video surveillance is and mentioned two different types of video surveillance technology that can be used with a home security surveillance system. Before getting into the first video surveillance technology, Closed Circuit Television (CCTV), please note that video surveillance is not a one size fits all proposition and in many (if not most) instances there exist multiple solutions. Don’t get “analysis paralysis” when it comes to a home security surveillance system – something is better than nothing.

With that, let roll into part two…

Part Two – Closed Circuit Television (CCTV)

If you have ever crossed paths with a video surveillance system chances are it was a CCTV system. CCTV surveillance systems have been the defacto choice amongst commercial and residential users for tens of years.

Ever seen the movie Panic Room?

The video surveillance system used by Jodie Foster to watch the criminals? A CCTV system.

Ever watched a tour of a prison security room on TV?

Unless the prison is ultra-modern what they are showing you is a (very large and complex) CCTV system.

Since CCTV is a video surveillance technology that has been the standard in the surveillance industry for decades, it should come as no surprise that it is the most widely used and familiar of the two different video surveillance technologies.

Let’s take a closer look at the technology…

What is CCTV?

As the name suggested, a CCTV system is closed in that the surveillance cameras can only be viewed and accessed via on-site monitors.

A CCTV surveillance system uses analog based surveillance cameras to send a video stream to a central digital video recorder (DVR) via coaxial cable (similar to that used by your cable box) which processes the video stream, allowing for viewing through a security monitor and storage onto video tapes. In many cases, the simplest CCTV deployments work by connecting an analog surveillance camera directly to a security monitor in a one to one fashion. More often then not, though, multiple surveillance cameras are controlled and monitored by a single DVR.

For all intent and purpose there are only four major parts of a CCTV system:

Now, you might be thinking, “that’s it?” Well, yes and no.

Yes, this is a basic overview of the technology, but no there will be more to concern yourself with. Depending on the size and shape of your home alongside your particular needs,  there will be some variance as to what you will need to be concerned with if CCTV is the technology you choose to use for your home security surveillance system. Don’t worry though…later on in this series will cover the specifics of selecting a solution in further detail.

Next week we will take a look at IP surveillance and what it is comprised of as a home security surveillance system.


  • Thanks for the info Garrett. I especially appreciate that you point out how every home security camera application varies, depending on the “size and shape of a home” and “particular needs”. I think too many people spend a lot of money doing what they think will get them what they want, only to learn it doesn’t. Surveillance systems vary a lot and all that matters is whether or not it will meet your needs.

  • Hey we created a cool illustration detailing burglary statistics in the United States. I didn’t see a way to email it to you so I hope you don’t mind me leaving it in a comment. I think your readers will like it. Would love help sharing this out.

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