Analogue: still going strong

CCTV Handbook 2013 Surveillance

There are many areas of safety that concern us. As home-owners, we feel the need to have a security system, ensuring peace of mind in the safety of our homes. As a business owner, there are shortages that occur, either within a retail environment (at the till point or in store), in a warehouse (where consumable products may go missing), or within a business (where deviant behaviour has a better disguise, but needs to be monitored to protect your assets).

When analogue cameras entered the market a few decades ago, the market was abuzz. The pricing at the time was sky high and the perception of installing CCTV into certain sectors of the market was perceived as a negative. Businesses and home-owners alike steered away from the expensive ‘élite’ option of having closed circuit television. Today it is a different story. In South Africa, the cost of implementing a surveillance system is now relatively small compared to the cost of not having that system in place – a major factor in the decision to install a CCTV system.

Analogue CCTV has become readily available to the public; the pricing of the equipment is substantially lower and more cost-effective than it has ever been. Replacement of a damaged or broken camera has become far easier. Analogue CCTV manufacturers have a vast range of camera specifications, models, sizes and looks, from fixed and varifocal lenses, to box camera sets with interchangeable lens configurations to best suit the solution required.

The manufacturers are still improving their analogue ranges with such concepts as WDR (Wide Dynamic Range) allowing a camera to filter intense back light and enhancing the ability to distinguish features and shapes by scanning the same frame twice and then processing the image pixel by pixel into a single frame, and DIS (Digital Image System) boasting advanced features in terms of image quality, energy-efficiency capability and overall system stability. DIS cameras have become very competitive in the analogue market, and meet many application requirements for cost-effective surveillance systems, with features capable of performing in extremely low illumination areas.

While IP (Internet protocol) cameras have appeared on the market, analogue CCTV cameras have a relatively low cost up front, and are generally compatible with different types of surveillance equipment, offering a higher overall reliability as a time-proven surveillance system. Both IP and analogue cameras employ an analogue image sensor, which is either a charge coupled device (CCD – the digital microchip which produces the picture signal) or a complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS). All analogue cameras employ a CCD sensor, where IP cameras can use either CCD or CMOS sensors.

There are some significant advantages in CCD image quality over CMOS, primarily around how well each sensor type works in low light conditions. Analogue has and does perform exceptionally well at night, and in dark areas. Analogue CCD cameras also manage motion well.

Analogue cameras send analogue signals to a DVR (digital video recorder) or other platform (smartphone, laptop or desktop computer). Most CCTV setups run on a time lapse basis (around twenty-five frames per second (PAL), and thirty frames per second (NTSC). Analogue signals can be recorded on your PC as a digital recording, although the signal needs to be converted via a video capture card in your computer. These digital recordings are often compressed in order to save the footage regularly. Most DVRs act like a network camera, allowing digital broadcasting of the video signal.

The image detail of analogue cameras is measured in TVL (TV Lines). As each picture is made up of horizontal lines, the number of interlaced even and odd lines define the quality and resolution of the picture. Initially, cameras were released at 320 and 340 TVLs.

It is the quality of the analogue cameras which make all the difference. We are moving away from the current entry level 420 and 480 TVLs and making our entry level 600 and 700 TVLs, to encapsulate quality images benefiting people in security conscious environments. CP Plus systems are technically easy to install, and have a very easy to use system, while retaining sophisticated technology, which enables Syntech to offer resellers scalable solutions according to their requirements.

A standard analogue CCTV surveillance system includes the cameras, a monitor, cables and a DVR. CP Plus entry-level DIY kits are also available for the B2B market from Syntech for a retail price of around R5999. These DIY kits include a DVR, four CMOS 600 TVL cameras, 18 metre cabling per camera, a four-way power supply and a 4 channel DVR with a 500 GB hard drive.

For more information contact Michelle Marais, Syntech,

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