FAQ

 

FAQ - Frequently asked questions about HD CCTV

1. DO I REALLY NEED A HD CCTV SECURITY CAMERA SYSTEM? 

That depends if you want to OBSERVE or IDENTIFY

OBSERVE - Any working camera system will let you observe people, objects, vehicles etc, but you wont necessarily get a clear image, perhaps if the person or object is close to the camera then it wouldn’t be a problem to identify them, but if they’re more than a few feet from the camera it can be a problem due to low quality pictures, and this can be a huge issue if you need to positively identify someone, after a burglary for example.  

IDENTIFY - How many times have you seen a fuzzy blurry photo on Crimewatch or in your local paper? poor quality cameras are almost as useless as having no camera at all.   the ONE THING that should be uppermost in your mind why are you buying a video system is IMAGE QUALITY. the one thing that will prove a crime easily, the one thing that removes any doubt of what happened, a fuzzy picture will give you a clue what happened but the proof is in the detail

Here are examples of standard resolution and high definition cameras, this is how they look when showing full screen on a modern TV

CLICK ON THE IMAGES BELOW TO SEE THEM FULL SIZE.

CLICK AGAIN TO SEE THE IMAGES ZOOMED IN - PAY PARTICULAR ATTENTION TO THE DETAILS, NUMBER PLATES AND GENERAL IMAGE SHARPNESS WHEN FULLY ZOOMED IN 

 BEST STANDARD DEFINITION

960H is the highest standard definition CCTV system, still sold by many companies, 960H is 960 x 576 pixels, it is basically widescreen format D1

 1080P HIGH DEFINITION

The image above is a full HD one, 1920 x 1080 Pixels. This is the same resolution as broadcast by the BBC HD channels

 4 MEGAPIXEL HIGH DEFINITION

Here is 4 Megapixel. The pixel size is 2592 x 1520

Here is a small section of the picture above shown zoomed in - CLICK TO ENLARGE

960H 960 x 576 Pixels Standard Definition - 960H

1080P 1920 x 1080 Pixels High Definition - 1080P

4 MEGAPIXEL 2592 x 1520 Pixels Ultra High Definition - 4 Megapixel

2. I am upgrading from an older ccty system, which is best for me? 

AHD - because AHD allows you to use the same coaxial cables as your older system, it is simply a matter of swapping to a HD recorder and HD cameras and the upgrade is complete.

If you have CAT5 cabling already in place you have a choice, you can either fit RJ45 network plugs onto the cables and use IP CCTV, or fit a Balun to the cable and use AHD.

3. WHICH HDCCTV SYSTEM IS BEST -  AHD or HD IP?

Neither are better than the other, they both have their merits and strengths 

 
  AHD  HD- IP
     
RESOLUTION 2 & 5 Megapixel 2-8 Megapixel
DVRS 4- 32 CAMERAS 4-32 CAMERAS
REMOTE VIEWING YES YES
ANALOG COMPATIBLE* YES NO
ONVIF IP COMPATIBLE** YES YES
CABLE LENGTH UP TO 500 M UP TO 130M
SUITABLE CABLE COAX OR CAT5 CAT 5/6
     

 *  AHD Recorders are also compatible with older standard definition and 960H CCTV cameras

** The HD- IP Recorders are compatible with ONVIF compatible cameras. More information on ONVIF can be found HERE

WHICH CAMERA IS BEST - BULLET OR DOME CAMERA?

Neither is better  - they are often the same camera in a different housing, the camera style choice is purely for aesthetic reasons. Some people prefer a camera to be discreet and dome style, others like a bullet style camera.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A FIXED LENS AND A VARIFOCAL LENS CAMERA? 

A fixed lens is pre-focused and its viewing angle is fixed, usually 78 or 92 degrees, a varifocal lens allows the installer to set the viewing angle manually using just a screwdriver, the viewing angle can be set between 23 and 92 degrees.

An example of when a fixed lens camera would be used  would be a small camera mounted above a front door to see any callers, a fixed lens wide angle camera will clearly see anyone near or at the door, as well as giving an overview of the front area of the property

doorcam

 WHY WOULD I WANT TO CHANGE THE VIEWING ANGLE OF A CAMERA?

To make distant objects appear closer, to zoom in

Using the image above, see that little black car in the top left corner, whats the registration number?  Try clicking and zooming into the image, the number plate is too small to read even when zoomed in.

 A varifocal lens lets you set the camera viewing angle from wide (92 degrees) to a narrow view (23 degrees) and anwhere inbetween.

Doing this brings distant objects closer and therefore makes them clearer.

varifocal zoomed

Heres that little black car again, the camera lens is zoomed in. you can now read the number plate, but at the cost of the wide angle view

This is why a varifocal lens is best so you can set the best viewing angle for each location, not too wide and not too narrow

To explain the point further - Football on TV…. love it or loathe it everyone has seen football on TV at some point

football wide

In this first image we can see a lot of the pitch and the players on the pitch in this wide angle camera shot, but the players are tiny and its impossible to make out a face of a player

 rooney

But now looking at this shot of this poor fella hobbling off to oblivion, you can see the camera viewing angle is much narrower, the lens is zoomed in to a significantly smaller area of the football pitch and now its easier to make out the faces & details simply because they people in the shot are much larger.  

This applies to all video cameras no matter their cost, including CCTV cameras - the more area the camera can see, the wider the viewing angle the smaller everything will be on screen, the smaller things are on screen the less detail you will see.   A varifocal lens lets you or the installer set the perfect viewing angle for every camera position, increasing the chances of identification.

CAN I ZOOM IN WITH HD CAMERAS EITHER LIVE AND WHEN PLAYING BACK?

Yes, the DVRs and NVR recorders have digital zoom functions that you can use live and while playing back recordings.

If a clearer, remotely controlled optical zoom is required the best option is to have a camera with motorised zoom lens or a fully motorised PTZ (Pan, Tilt, Zoom) camera, these will do the job very nicely but they are the more expensive option.

WHAT IS THE NIGHT VISION LIKE?

We think its pretty impressive. Have a look at a few night snapshots below taken using our cameras,

Click to enlarge the images

night shot  night 2 night 3 night 4 night 5

HOW DO I CAPTURE NUMBER PLATES?

During the daytime it is not a major problem to read number plates, all you need to do is set up a camera to capture the plate, make the number plate as large as possible on screen and it will capture it, if the camera viewing angle is too wide the number plate will be too small and will not be readable.

Night time number plates is a different story…what happens is the Infra Red light that the camera gives out bounces back off the plastic plate and shows on screen as a white glowing rectangle. This is why on motorways where there are cameras there are lights

There are specialised number plate cameras available but these are costly and more importantly they are only useful for capturing number plates, they acheive the number plate capture by dimming down the whole picture by closing the iris so much that the plate becomes readable, but this darkened picture makes them useless as a general purpose security camera. 

 The best solution for capturing number plates at night is a three point method….light it up, slow it down and zoom it in. Light up the car with a security light, this switches the camera to daytime mode, slow the car down with traffic calming methods to reduce image blur as much as possible and zoom it in, make sure the number plate fills a significant portion of the overall screen, doing all three of these will capture number plates, doing any less than the three things will reduce the chances of capturing plate 100% of the time.

WHAT ABOUT FACIAL RECOGNITION?

HD 1080P or 5 megapixel system is clear enough for facial recognition. 

faces video

HOW LONG WILL THE DVR STORE THE RECORDINGS FOR?

This depends on how many cameras you use and how big the hard drive is. As a rough guide one camera recording constantly for 24 hours a day will use 40GB of hard drive space. The DVR can be programmed to record constantly or only when motion is detected, this saves lots of hard drive space because you are not recordings hours of nothing

CAN I REMOTELY ACCESS THE CCTV SYSTEM?

 

Yes from anywhere in the world via any internet connected device, all of our systems come with free PC and Apple Software and free mobile apps are available for iPhone/iPad and Android smartphones and tablets. 

 

Click on the images below to view our videos showing the remote software in use.

 

The first video shows you how the software works when using the system remotely on Windows and Apple Mac computers. 

 

pc software youtube video 

 

The second video demonstrates the mobile software for iPhone iPad and Android smartphones and tablet computer 

 

xiq mobile