Today’s surveillance cameras are sometimes differentiated by the terms “analog” or “digital”. Technically, all video surveillance cameras are digital. They capture energy in the form of light, and convert it to electrical signals using a component called a “charged couple device” (CCD). Alternatively, some cameras use a similar technology, called a “complementary metal oxide semiconductor” (CMOS), to accomplish this fundamental task. The CMOS or CCD acts a bit like the retina of the human eye, or the film in an old analog camera. It converts light to signals that are then converted into digital information. The real difference between “analog” and “digital” surveillance cameras has to do with the way the data is transmitted. Analog cameras rely on cables to transmit the information to a storage or monitoring device. State-of-the-art IP (or "digital") cameras are basically self-contained broadcast stations; they contain an embedded web server. These cameras are capable of digitally encoding information coming from the camera’s CMOS/CCD, and broadcasting that information across your home or business wireless network. From there it’s easily transmitted over the internet anywhere in the world, instantaneously. This allows you to access the feed from any given camera with your smartphone, tablet computer, or other internet-enabled device, at your convenience. For technical reasons, the best possible, real-time video quality is usually obtained from analog surveillance cameras.
What’s Best For Me?There are numerous options to choose from when it comes to selecting the right digital surveillance cameras for your home or business. In the end, it boils down to your specific needs. If top-of-the-line, state-of-the-art quality is your priority, we certainly have the camera to fit the bill. Some customers may find that a more modest option is sufficient. The choice is yours.
Factors to ConsiderAssuming the need for outdoor surveillance, what sort of weather extremes will the camera be subjected to?
- Cameras intended for harsh climates should be appropriately weather proof.
- A weather-resistant camera may suffice in locations where the camera will be somewhat protected from the elements, as in a protected area on a front porch, for example.
- Some camera housings and styles stand up to would-be vandals better than others.
- IP cameras are handy, but require an existing wireless network.
- Some cameras feature full-color video feed during the day, and then switch on infrared (IR) light sources at night (undetectable to the human eye). This allows the camera to transmit clear black-and-white images, even on the darkest of nights.
- Or do I want the ability to pan, tilt and zoom (PTZ) the camera, for ultimate control and field of vision?
- Static, bullet cameras may be sufficient to cover an entryway, or a cash register. But PTZ cameras offer the ability to “look over there,” and zoom between wide angle and telephoto views.
- Dome cameras blend into the background better. They do not draw as much attention as standard bullet cameras.