Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) describes the use of Video Cameras to monitor property, processes, people or animals, or any other purpose that is mostly for private use at homes and businesses.

CCTV was developed in the early 1940’s for viewing rocket launches. The scientists had to be a safe distance away if and when something went wrong, so they mounted cameras up close and fed the video back to a single location or several locations. They lost a lot of cameras in those early days to rocket malfunctions and explosions.

This “closed-circuit” type of video differs from broadcast television, in that the signals were not openly transmitted or shared.

By the 1950’s, the military and many Industrial plants started using CCTV systems to observe various processes from a central control room, or to view any place that was not safe for a human to be, such as test cells, steel mills, radioactive environments and potentially explosive processes.

It wasn’t long before Stores and Businesses adopted CCTV for use as surveillance systems to monitor problem areas and theft.

Back then CCTV Cameras were used primarily to monitor, and it was common to have each camera hooked up to a separate monitor. In business use, the video was rarely recorded, mostly because the recorders at that time were bulky and expensive, and a separate recorder was required for each camera (Wal-Mart still operated this way until very recently).

CCTV has advanced a lot technologically in the past couple of decades, especially since the advent of Digital Video Recorders (DVR’s), Network Video Recorders (NVR’s), and Hybrid DVR’s that can monitor and record Analog and Digital cameras simultaneously.

Written by: Allen Spears, Chief Engineer, Rugged CCTV, © Copyright 2009

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