How does CCTV Works and Brief History


CCTV stands for Closed-circuit television, or simple video surveillance – as it is more often used. CCTV  system works with video cameras, which transmit signals (pictures, videos) on one or more monitors which are being watched and monitored from a responsible person.

CCTV is mostly used for video surveillance (surveillance cameras) on locations which do require monitoring due to security reasons. The main location where it’s being used are banks, airports, convenience stores, government buildings, traffic, military facilities etc.

CCTV History and First Installations

The history of CCTV begins in Germany, in a military field named Peenemünde and it was installed by the Siemens AG back in the year 1942 and the system was used for observing and monitoring the launch of V-2 rockets. A German man named Walter Bruch was responsible at that time for installation and design of the system. Seven years later, in 1949, the first CCTV system started working in the USA under the name Vericon.

First CCTV System technologies

In the beginnings of video surveillance, the technology was poor and there were no ways to record or to store information captured by video and because of this reason, a non-stop monitoring from watch guards was needed.

As time moved forward, so did also the technology and a “reel to reel” media had developed on which has made it possible to record over CCTV camera system. This new CCTV system needed magnetic tapes for recording and they had to me manually changed when they reached their limit – it was very expensive, it consumed much time and was not so reliable since the operator had to manually thread the tape from the reel through the recorder on a new, empty take-up reel.

Due to all this complications and expensiveness, such surveillance did not make a big progress and was not widespread. The use of CCTV was increasing later on – already in the 1970s, the VCR technology made it possible to easier record, store and erase information.

And a real CCTV “boom” happened in the 1990s when digital multiplexing was developed. This technology made it possible that several cameras can record at one time, afterwards a time lapse was possible and even motion-only recording. Such new developments and new technologies saved a lot of money, time and increased the use of video surveillance.

Today, the CCTV technology has so much been improved that almost every video surveillance goes through internet based systems and uses less memory / storage than ever before.

How is CCTV System being used?

CCTV system is being used in a variety of ways. The most known purpose of video surveillance is crime prevention.

Further on, other purposes of video surveillance are industrial processes were the environment requires the usage of CCTV system, traffic monitoring which enables operators to monitor traffic jams or to see most crowded places etc., transport safety  in trains, subways, trams buses etc. and it’s also being used for home security (which is also part of crime prevention).

CCTV and crime prevention

Let’s say a word about crime prevention – this could be an article for itself, but to make it short, here are some most important facts: the first home security system which has used a CCTV system was invented by Marie Van Brittan Brown in the year 1969 for what she also got a patent.

This is the beginning of modern crime prevention CCTV systems and home protection systems.

It is already known that CCTV systems in public places do have a big influence on decreasing the crime rate which also has been proved during the years in many research articles – CCTV systems decreased crime in parking lots (less cars were stolen or broken into), public transportation (a less number of thieves is operating in buses, trams and subways) and other public settings (traffic, stores etc.).

Thanks to new technologies and new systems, crime is still decreasing since the quality of the videos is getting better.

Privacy on CCTV

There have always been people who find an issue in every new technology, and so it was also with CCTV systems. A part of people started worrying about their privacy when they are captured on a surveillance camera and who had thought that such cameras have a negative impact on their civil rights and liberties.

There have been a lot of writings about this topic and the conclusion in most of them was that it mostly is ethically to record people via CCTV systems in order to prevent crime, injuries or to react quickly in urgent situations.

Is it enough?

Yes. It must be enough since we’re all much safer knowing someone is watching and cares about the situations. Regular people don’t have to worry about privacy. Only criminals and other people who avoid the law should worry about the CCTV systems and new technologies.

CCTV – the growth of technology

As already said, the technology in the time between the beginning of CCTV and today had brought us a lot of new functions, methodologies and types of security systems, surveillance cameras etc.

Today it’s much easier to record and store all information which were captured on cameras. For example, some types of new technologies which are used today are VCA (Video Content Analysis), Facial Recognition Systems etc. Also, there is a lot of new ways of video surveillance, e.g. Closed-circuit digital photography (CCDP), IP cameras, Networking CCTV cameras, Wireless security cameras etc.

CCTV & Storage, Cloud etc.

All those information which is daily collected on CCTV systems needs to be stored somewhere. There is so much data, that it can’t be kept just on the personal computer, CDs, DVDs or even something elder.

Today the most information collected from CCTV systems is kept on servers (on the location where the business is stored in) or in the cloud (servers which are not on the same location as the business).

Keeping data in the cloud can also be a helpful solution – at least you know that nobody will steal your data from your sever.

Here is a simple video which will show you exactly how CCTV Cameras Works