Understanding Security Camera Terminology


When many people first start researching security cameras, they become confused by terminology and are unsure what to look for. Here are a few words commonly used in the CCTV world to help you select your next security camera.

Alarm Input — An input that triggers the camera if the alarm goes off.

Aperture — The opening of a lens, controlled by the iris.

Auto Iris — A lens that automatically detects how much light is entering the camera and adjusts accordingly. This is ideal for outdoor cameras where the lighting conditions fluctuate often.

CCTV — Closed-circuit television; the processes of using analog cameras to send a video signal to a few select monitors.

IP Address — A unique address for computers or networks that allows computers to communicate, locate, and transfer data to each other.

IP Camera — A camera that sends captured images across an IP network, so that you can view and record footage remotely.

Field of View — The maximum range that a camera can capture.

Focal Length — The length between the center of a lens and its focus.

FPS — Frames per second; this refers to how how many video images that can be captured in a second.

IP Waterproof Rating — A standard measurement for how water resistant something is. Each rating is given first by stating IP (ingress protection), and then two numbers. The first number is the solids protection, and the second, the liquids protection. The first number ranges from 0 to 6, and the second from 0 to 8.

JPEG — “Joint Photographic Experts Group;” a standard format to compress images named after the group that created it.

LAN — Local Area Network; a group of computers that share resources in an area such as inside a building. Transfer rates are typically much faster between devices on the same LAN.

Megapixel — A unit of measurement used to measure resolution. 1 megapixel is equal to 1 million pixels. The higher the pixels, the higher the resolution.

Mounting Bracket — A bracket used to secure cameras to the wall or ceiling.

Power Over Ethernet — A feature that allows a device to receive both data and power with LAN cabling, rather than using separate cables for each.

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