Frequently Asked Questions

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Below are some definitions to common phrases as well as answers to some frequently asked questions. Hopefully, they will answer any questions you may have. If you have any further questions, go to the contact us page and send us a message.

Surveillance Definitions

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Resolution - Refers to how much detail can be captured on a camera or displayed on a monitor. Cameras typically capture about 380 horizontal lines of resolution. High resolution cameras may capture 450 lines of resolution or more. The higher the resolution, the more detail that can be captured in a picture. The monitors and recording devices can generally handle at least as much resolution as the cameras can capture.

IR - Infrared - IR LEDs are used on Day/Night cameras which allow the camera to see in the dark.

LUX - The measurement of low light needed for the camera to view and record properly.

fps - Frames Per Second - the number of still frames (pictures) that give the illusion of motion, which appear in a single second. 30 fps is considered “real time”. You need at least 30 fps for each camera for real time viewing or recording with your cameras.

NTSC - National Television Standards Committee; the analog video representation standard used in the US and South America. Compared to PAL.

PAL - Phase Alternating Line - the analog video representation standard used in Australia, and most of Europe and Asia. Compared to NTSC.
Motion detection - Refers to the feature in some VCRs and DVRs to only record video if something in the image moves or changes. Therefore you don’t have to look through hours of taped video looking for something to happen. It also saves a lot of space on the tape or hard drive.

CODEC - A term referring to any technology used to compress and decompress large files such as audio and video files for efficient data transfer.

H.264 Compression - The latest MPEG4 compression technology, released in 2003. H.264 provides excellent video compression. You get the same quality image as MPEG4 even at the higher resolutions like full screen D1.

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

 

Surveillance Questions

What is a Wireless Security Camera?

Most security cameras require two wires: one for power, and one to transmit the captured video to a display or recording device (TV or DVR, for example). Wireless cameras only require one wire - for power. The video is transmitted wirelessly via transmitter and receiver devices. A wireless camera is really a combination of the camera plus a built-in wireless transmitter to send the video, and a receiver to receive the video, which in turn plugs into the monitor or recorder.

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For what applications should I consider IP?

IP cameras should be considered for large installation sites that already have a high bandwidth network installed - especially if the cameras will be spread out over a wide area. For example; Hospitals, Schools, etc.

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What features should I look for in a CCT V Digital Video Recorder (DVR)?

All DVRs are definitely not made equal! There are several factors that are critical to consider when purchasing a DVR, especially when comparing price. The most important features to look at are the number of cameras supported, frames per second (fps), compression technology, hard drive space, network connection / remote viewing capability, motion detection, scheduling, and ability to save video and audio to a CD or flash drive.

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Using RG 59 Cable vs. Plug and Play Cable?

There are two basic approaches to hooking up security cameras and digital video recorders (DVRs). You can use Plug and Play cable or you can use RG59 Siamese cable. Both cable types combine a cable for the video and a cable for the power. The advantage of plug and play cable is that it is very easy to use. The connectors for power, video and audio are all pre-attached. All you have to decide is what length you need (we offer 25, 50, 100, and 150 ft. models). This cable type is a good choice for homeowners who don’t need a cable run longer than 150 ft. The RG59 Siamese cable is more heavily shielded so it’s more durable and can be run longer distances (up to 1000 ft without a repeater). Its heavier shielding makes it less susceptible to interference. Florescent lighting in particular can interfere with camera signals. The RG59 is purchased in 500 or 1000 ft. rolls and each camera run is cut to the exact length needed. Since you need to cut the cable and attached the connectors, it is a little more involved to install.

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Which type of Security Camera should I use?

A security camera can come in many different styles including dome, bullet, infrared and Hidden. The security camera that will work best for your application will depend on several factors such as whether you will use the security cameras inside or out, during the day, nighttime, or both. Bullet style security cameras are the most popular. They can be used inside or out. These security cameras come in black and white or color and come with all of the required mounting hardware. The security cameras casings are weather resistant and don’t require added external protection. Most security cameras have a fixed 4 mm lens that allows you to see facial features out to about 35 feet and provides a 70° angle of view. Resolution levels for black and white security cameras are about 400 lines, any higher and the benefits are minimal. For color cameras, the higher the resolution the better. Infrared security cameras are also very popular as they allow an image to be seen in little or no lighting conditions. Most infrared security cameras are bullet style and can be used inside or out. The cameras have infrared lighting installed around the outer edge of the lens which allows the security camera to see in no light 25 ft or more depending on the camera model - even further with a little bit of light (like street lighting or an outside light.) Dome security cameras basically provide a different look. Also, if you have any concerns about tampering, check out our Infrared Armor Dome Security Camera. It will withstand a 10 lb sledgehammer blow and can be used inside or out, daytime or nighttime. Hidden cameras are very popular and can be hidden in almost any item. These cameras allow you to have the ability to capture video without anyone knowing. Most hidden cameras cannot be used outside and will need to be used indoors.

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Can I get audio in my hidden camera?

No you cannot. According to United States federal laws, audio should not be used in a surreptitious manner. One example of surreptitious interception is audio in a hidden camera. This includes pinhole board cameras and all covert or hidden cameras. Audio in a hidden camera or board camera is only available to law enforcement agencies, with the exception of body worn cameras. Title 18, Section 2512.

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What is a wired Security camera?

Wired cameras have a video cable that runs from the camera to your recording or viewing device such as a DVR or monitor. Wireless cameras have a built-in transmitter that sends the video signal to a receiver. The receiver connects to your recording or viewing device.

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How many wireless cameras can you have in one location?

You can have up to four wireless cameras in one location. You can view all cameras at once using four receivers or you can use one receiver and switch to each camera. You will only be able to view one camera at a time if you only use one receiver. If you want to install multiple wireless cameras in one location it’s best to order them at the same time so that we can put them on different channels.

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Will a cordless phone interfere with wireless cameras?

Cordless phones that operate on the 2.4 GHz frequency will cause interference with 2.4 GHz cameras. Interference should be minimal and usually occurs if the phone is between the camera and receiver. Wireless Internet, networks and Wi-Fi can cause interference too.

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How far can a wireless hidden camera transmit?

Standard wireless hidden cameras can transmit up to 1000 feet and high-powered wireless hidden cameras can transmit up to 2500 feet.

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Do the receivers work through walls up to two feet thick?

Yes, as long as there isn’t too much metal in the wall.

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How many hours will a DVR record?

The amount of time a DVR will record is based on the size of the DVRs hard drive, the number of cameras recording and the frames per second. Our stand alone DVRs uses 3.4 GB per camera per day. A 4 camera stand alone DVR with a 250 GB hard drive will record for 18 days. An 8 camera stand alone DVR with a 250 GB hard drive will record for 9 days. A 16 camera stand alone DVR with a 500 GB hard drive will record for 9 days.

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What is a Plug and Play connection camera?

It is an RCA Video plug and a power plug on the camera for easy connection to DVR or TV. This is done by running the RCA (Aux) line into the VIDEO IN of the DVR or TV.

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Do the plug and play connections require extra wire to run the signal back to the DVR or TV?

Yes, you need to buy the length of cable you need. We offer the CA-25, CA-50, CA-100 and CA-150.

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What is a varifocal lens?

A varifocal lens is one where the focal length of the lens can be varied. This is a fancy way of saying it is a zoom lens. Most varifocal lenses have, and in almost all circumstances should have, an auto iris feature.

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What is a fixed lens?

A fixed focal length lens cannot zoom. The focus is fixed. A fixed focal length lens usually allows more light to pass through the lens at a given focal length than a varifocal, or zoom lens. This can be important in low light situations.

 

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