Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) involves the use of video cameras to transmit signals to a specific location and a specific set of video monitors. While regular television uses public broadcast signals, CCTV uses private or closed circuit broadcast signals.
Siemens AG installed the first CCTV system in Peenemunde, Germany in 1942. At that time, they were used to observe the launch of V2 rockets. Walter Bruch, noted German Engineer, designed and installed the system.
Today, NASA makes extensive use of Closed Circuit Television to monitor mission launches. During and after a launch, these systems are used to monitor the rocket as it progresses through the atmosphere into space. They visually monitor rocket booster separation and other component functions.
Later on, CCTV systems became more and more common in banks and retail stores to discourage robbery and theft. The camera recordings are often used with great success in criminal cases to help identify alleged perpetrators and suspects.
A CCTV system is comprised of both hardware and software. The software component is called a codec. A codec (coder-decoder), as referenced here, is a computer software program that is capable of encoding and decoding digital data streams or signals.
The latest version of this type codec is called h.264. It is important to remember that if you are considering purchasing a digital recording solution, you should always ensure that it is capable of running h.264 or more advanced codecs.
The most widespread use of CCTV technology today is for the purpose of security surveillance. No doubt you have seen the small black domes in the ceilings or walls at your workplace, in banks, airports, and many other establishments. Other versions of these surveillance cameras also appear on the exterior of buildings and mounted on high-standing poles.
While the recording time of Closed Circuit Television systems is limited by the film length or storage disc capacity, more advanced CCTV systems that use Digital Video Recorders (DVR's) can be programmed to record and broadcast automatically for several months to many years. The only limitation on the amount of recorded footage is the available memory capacity of the system.
Another example of a fast growing segment of CCTV technology is called Internet Protocol Cameras, or IP cameras. These advanced systems allow businesses and homeowners to view camera output through any available Internet connection using a computer or smartphone.
As time goes by, you can expect to see even greater use of Closed Circuit Television systems. One reason for this increased usage is a direct result of the drop in CCTV equipment prices as the technology continues to evolve and mature.
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