Cookies and Privacy

Get Up to 4 Free Quotes for Digital Surveillance Systems

video surveillance system
  • Describe your needs and we'll match you with up to 4 CCTV camera suppliers
  • Get free quotes for CCTV systems and installation
  • It's free, easy and there are no obligations to buy

Compare Quotes Now

CCTV Camera Basics

Video Surveillance Systems Buyers' Guide

There are a whole host of terms you might encounter for the first time when talking about CCTV systems with suppliers. Here's a brief explanation of most of them:

CCD (Charge-Coupled Device)

A CCD changes the images viewed by a camera into electronic signals and transmits these through a cable to the monitor. In recent years, the widespread use of CCDs for imaging technology has reduced their price and improved their quality.

Camera Format

One of the specifications of a CCTV camera is in fractions of an inch, usually 1/4in or 1/3in, and represents the size of the image in the camera. A larger format won't necessarily produce a better quality picture but is useful in picking out detail in a badly lit area.

Camera Resolution

A high resolution camera of 450 - 500 TVL (television lines) gives you a more detailed picture but don't buy one without getting a suitable monitor to match. The average resolution of 350 - 400 TVL is fine for most purposes.

When you're making a decision about resolution, don't worry about any specification given in pixels: TVL is a more reliable guide to quality.

Signal to Noise Ratio

If you think of "signal" as image detail and "noise" as static, you want a camera that has a good signal to noise ratio (S/N or SNR) to avoid a grainy picture. The measurement is in decibels (dB) with 30dB delivering a poor quality picture and 60dB a first class image with virtually no static to be seen. 40dB offers you a reasonable picture for general surveillance use.

Light Sensitivity

The lux rating of a camera tells you its sensitivity to light. A camera able to take acceptable pictures in an area with restricted lighting has a lower lux rating such as 0.5.

Black and White or Colour?

If you want to place a CCTV camera in an area where there is poor visibility, black and white may be best. But colour cameras are now more affordable than previously and some have a black and white facility if needed. These cameras are therefore becoming the most popular option, particularly as they show you the colour of a person's clothes or vehicle and thereby make identification so much easier.

About BuyerZone

BuyerZone is the leading online marketplace for business purchasing.

  • 1,000,000+ users
  • 50,000+ monthly requests
  • 8,500+ active suppliers
  • Company founded in 1992
  • UK site launched in January 2008
Buyer's Guide
Related Purchases & Services
Supplier Programme

Do you sell Video Surveillance Systems or other business products or services?

Learn more about our Supplier Programme.