While surveillance cameras in public places, over ATMs or in front of shops and private houses have long been the norm and are hardly perceived as such by most citizens, CCTV systems are slowly but surely establishing themselves within their own four walls for private individuals.
CCTV stands for “Closed Circuit Television” and describes a system in which all elements from the cameras themselves to the recorder are directly connected to one another in order to prevent the recorded data from leaving the internal system and being viewed by unauthorized third parties.
The technology behind conventional CCTV works quite simply. While the camera itself records video and audio signals by the front of the camera catching light rays through a lens, this is captured by a digital chip inside and converted into a sequence of images.
Since the first surveillance cameras in the 1940s, the range of uses have expanded along with the technology behind. Nowadays there is hardly a place that cannot be captured and recorded in high resolution with the help of CCTV, whether by cameras attached to flying objects able to analyze entire cities from above or tiny spy cameras that are barely recognizable with the human eye and due to IP-based technology and intern battery don’t even need to be wired to other devices for recording or power supply. CCTV is everywhere, and chances are high that you, too, have been filmed and identified multiple times in the course of an ordinary day.
Due to the increasing acceptance of mass surveillance as the “new norm”, more and more private individuals are choosing to install surveillance cameras to increase security in their own homes. While CCTV in the entrance area of private houses has almost become the norm in developed countries in order to recognize visitors via video transmission and, if necessary, even to open the door automatically, the use of CCTV in the interior of the house - e.g. in the bedroom or in the home office - not only brings up moral but also technical and legal questions: Which areas of my family's private life can I actually monitor and record 24/7 and where are the limits?
Deterrence or clearing up crimes?
First of all: Burglars and other criminals, who are not deterred by CCTV at the front door of a potential victim, will hardly suddenly abandon their plan and flee as soon as they discover a camera inside the house they just broke into.
However, CCTV footage is enormously helpful in the subsequent investigation of burglaries, for example to identify the perpetrators afterwards and to use the recordings as evidence. Discussions with insurance companies can also be avoided by using CCTV to prove who is actually responsible for property damage and theft and who is not. What is certain is that in-house CCTV ensures the likelihood of clarification and successful legal prosecution dramatically.
Choose your home CCTV wisely!
The benefit of CCTV for your own home security stands or falls with the quality of the recordings, which in turn depends on the quality of the technology chosen and is therefore partly a question of your budget. A surveillance camera that cannot capture all areas of the rooms to be monitored, has no zoom function or saves it on a stationary medium (instead of making the recordings “inviolable” for third parties via IP and wireless function) even increases the mere illusion of security, choosing an outdated system could backfire easily: A modern network video recorder (NVR) can even record IP cameras wirelessly via WiFi (WiFi NVR) while a digital video recorder (DVR) records analog cameras using conventional coaxial cables - which can easily be destroyed by burglars in order to prevent the transmission and avoid the storage of evidence.
What are the disadvantages of CCTV in-house?
The biggest problem with CCTV both in private rooms and in the workplace is the fact that the people being monitored are usually aware of the cameras. Although the constant surveillance undoubtedly serves your safety, it also leads to a distrust on the part of the monitored, which is often perceived as unpleasant, because ultimately every word and every action is potentially recorded and sighted.
Although no license is required to operate CCTV systems at home, the personal rights of recorded individuals must be respected. For example, it is not allowed to monitor an adult in the bedroom or even to monitor one's own children in the toilets or changing rooms, as this would blatantly violate their individual privacy rights. If you do this anyway, you’ll break the law in most western countries and face criminal prosecution and punishment.
So if you are wondering how many cameras you need for your home security, you should always remember that the monitoring of toilets and bedrooms can be omitted from the calculation. Since these rooms are seldom the most interesting rooms for potential intruders and cameras in the outdoor and transit area already provide sufficient video material, three to five cameras are usually enough for the average household to monitor all critical areas.
So which CCTV system is best for your home?
Classic bullet cameras are particularly found outdoors, as they can capture objects that are further away. For indoor areas, however, dome cameras are the first choice, as they can capture smaller distances but a wider angle. It is therefore not without reason that dome cameras are among the most frequently purchased CCTV systems for private households.
In the factory halls of business operations, one can still often find organically grown CCTV setups that combine outdated analog technology with modern digital variants. With hundreds of cameras and spacious areas, this can make sense for cost reasons - for use in private rooms, however, you should refrain from purchasing analog CCTV systems with low resolution such as 700TVL or 960H. The latest HD and especially IP technology has become affordable even for users with a low budget.
That being said, anyone looking to install a CCTV system in their own home faces quite a few options ranging from high end products to less sophisticated but cheaper solutions. While looking for a cost-efficient Home CCTV solution is anything but wrong, one has to remember that a reduction in price might pay out in the short run but long term always leads to a reduction of the overall security level of your system. Depending on the concrete reasons you plan to install CCTV surveillance at home, the few bucks you could save today, you might already regret tomorrow.
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