Video surveillance systems have become a very popular, useful and important asset in managing most of today’s businesses and providing safety and security for the workplace. They are also a great loss prevention tool saving businesses a lot of money from the theft or litigation. Just several years ago only some businesses and government entities could afford a real, quality video surveillance system. Today, they are so affordable, that most of the businesses can’t even imagine operating without security cameras. Affordability made it also possible for homeowners to protect their property using video and sometimes audio surveillance. We can easily say that today security cameras are everywhere, watching us all the time almost everywhere we go.


Video surveillance system or security camera system is a combination of security or surveillance cameras, depending on their specific purpose, and the video storage or video recording unit. This is the easiest definition, but not always the correct one, as we are entering a new age for surveillance systems. For example with Verkada cameras, there is usually no on-site recording device. Each and every camera works as an independent capturing, processing, recording and storage device. However they all can be linked with one central management software or cloud interface. In either case surveillance system is still a combination of a number of cameras linked to central monitoring device or software.

Traditional surveillance systems have a specific number of cameras, each one directly connected to the video recording device, DVR or VCR. Each camera had its own dedicated cable, often running throughout the entire building, or from one building to the next. Installers would run hundreds and thousands of feet of cable to provide an adequate protection for the entire facility. It was expensive and had its limitations. One of which would be the maximum distance between the camera and the recording device. Those traditional systems are still a great solution for a specific applications. Very common in retail, banking, warehousing, office and professional spaces and residential installations. Anywhere where all the cameras are within one structure and the cameras are within no more than a few hundred feet from the DVR.

Things get a little more complicated when the building is larger or there are more than one building. In the old days, several strategically located recording units could do the job. But today the technology allows us to be much more creative when it comes to system design. Internet Protocol Cameras, or IP cameras are usually the solution. With IP cameras, system designer can utilize already existing local area network including wireless access point and bridges, to incorporate the cameras. Security cameras can be located not only anywhere in the building or a building complex, as long as they have access to the network, but they can also be located virtually anywhere in the world, as long as there is a decent internet connection. With the current network infrastructure, the quality and the bandwidth is sufficient to transfer Ultra HD quality video across the network. IP surveillance systems are also often much more reliable. There is no centralized recording device and instead the video can be store on a local server or several servers and even in the cloud. IP is the present and the future, but there is still some room for traditional surveillance systems.


Video surveillance industry has experienced a boom over the last few years. Not only the cameras and video recorders have become much more affordable, but also after a few decades of stagnation in technology, CCTV systems finally had their break and the technology started advancing at a unprecedented pace. Just a several years ago the video standard was based on an analog signal transmission from each and every camera to the recording unit, often still a VCR with a tape. The picture quality was no different than on a tube TV, a several decades ago. The advancement was limited by the analog transmission technology which had its roots in the middle of the twentieth century. In early 2000’ we started hearing about IP cameras. Those cameras, based on Internet Protocol data transmission seemed to be a breakthrough the industry was waiting for. Unfortunately, the digital video transmission requires a significant amount of bandwidth, and the networks back then could not fully deliver enough of it. The quality of the video was worse then, that from the analog cameras and the refresh rate or framerate was extremely low causing buffering and often a loss of important footage. So yet again, the video surveillance industry had to go back to using coaxial cables and very limited resolution offered by CVBS or RCA standard. We did see an improvement in CCD technology withing the security cameras, but the recording quality of the video did not improve much and honestly there was a very little difference between 420 TVL cameras and 700TVL camera, which back then, was the top of the line.


Unexpected, but long-awaited breakthrough came in the late 2000’ with the implementation of HD-SDI standard. Finally the surveillance cameras were able to fully utilize Full High Definition picture quality with up to 2 Megapixel or 1080p resolution. Video surveillance industry finally went from standard TV resolution to the Full HD. But there was a catch. HD-SDI cameras were expensive and the voideo transmission over coaxial cable was limited to only about 300ft. HD-SDI signal at it's raw format needed a lot of bandwidth and processing power on behalf of the DVR. So the DVRs were also very expensive. Despite all those drawbacks, HD-SDI security cameras became very popular pretty fast. It was fairly easy to utilize the existing wiring infrastructure and upgrade any existing analog system to high definition HD-SDI. More and more vendors started offering HD-SDI solution and it seemed like the HD-SDI technology was there to stay. The big advantage offer the IP technology was that HD-SDI systems could use the same wiring as analog systems and that was also something that the most of CCTV installer were familiar with. All the cameras needed to be wired back to the DVR using coaxial cable for the video and 18/2 for power. In other words, installers could still use standard Siamese CCTV cable which they were very familiar with and had all the tools and knowledge required to run it. The future looked bright for HD-SDI technology, at least for the next few years. But suddenly in early 2010's new video transmission standards had emerged. A-HD, HD-CVI by Dahua and HD-TVI by HikVision. The basics of all those new standards were similar to HD-SDI. Same wiring requirements and same basic system design. There were a few major differences. All the new standards of video transmission were analog. HD-SDI was the only fully digital technology. But as long as the signal quality was good, there was very difficult to tell the difference in the picture quality. Yes, analog means that there could be some distortion and it is the case. With some long runs we can see a little static or some line going through the screen. That's never the case for a fully digital system. But the huge advantage of all the new standards was the fact that the equipment was much cheaper than HD-SDIand in fact often cheaper than the old, standard resolution analog cameras and DVRs. The transmission distance over the coaxial cable was also improved. Depending on the cable quality, those new standards can transmit the HD quality video for up to even 1000ft, which in most case is more than enough. And since the two biggest surveillance manufacturers were behind two of those standards, HD-CVI and HD-TVI took over the market by the storm. Today, HD-TVI and HD-CVI cameras feature the resolution up to 4K Ultra HD standard and are widely used across the industry. They are a little more cost effective option to IP camera systems. There are still a few manufacturers out there offering HD-SDI technology and the new EX-SDI technology including Unix CCTV with Eyemax and Magic line of products, and Clinton Electronics. EX-SDI which offers longer transmission distances and better resolution up to 4MP and a better video compression. But the clear winners in caxial technology are HD-TVI and HD-CVI. Many cameras and DVR are now 4-in-1, meaning that they can work as or with Analog, A-HD, HD-CVI and HD-TVI technologies. There are also some HD-SDI/EX-SDI DVRs that support also all the analog standards.


While the major manufacturers were working and developing their video transmission standards for video surveillance based on coaxial cable infrastructure, the IP security cameras were also gaining the ground as an alternative. Newer networks were offering more and more bandwidth, Network Video Recorders were capable of recording more compressed video streams and the offered higher recording bandwidth. And finally we have reach the point when we can fully utilize IP security cameras without compromising picture quality or frame rate. And the most importantly, the IP cameras and NVR's had become very affordable and not much more expensive than HD Analog alternatives. But the biggest advantage of IP cameras is the fact that they can utilize existing network infrastructure. In other words, if one or a few cameras need to be installed at the very other end of the building than the video recording device, there is no more need to run a dedicated cable to each and every camera. All the cameras can be connected to the closest network switch. This saves a lot on the labor and the cost of the cable and it doesn't compromise the video quality. Any IP camera can be connected to the Network Video Recorder or work as an independent device utilizing often built-in MiniSD card for local video recording. Every IP camera has also its own network server and can be easily accessed from anywhere in the world over the internet. That means that adjusting the camera can now be done through the network instead of from the ladder. IP surveillance systems are also very easily scalable. There is also no limit to the picture resolution those systems can support. We now see IP cameras with the resolution exceeding 12 Megapixel which is 1.5 times better than 4K Ultra HD. Some IP cameras are wireless using WiFi network for video transmission and it actually works. The previous wireless solutions for analog cameras were never good or dependable. With the strong WiFi network, there is no difference in video quality between wired and wireless IP camera. The only drawback to IP camera systems is that installers had to learn basic networking. Good IP camera system is designed utilizing all the advantages of the network environment and that includes utilizing existing network, network optimization (ability to use network switches and wiring standards to build fast, reliable and affordable network), using WiFi transmission (bridges and P2P devices) and PoE standard (using a single ethernet cable for power and data transmission). The biggest advantage of designing the IP security camera system is that we can now utilize network switches and that means that we no longer need to run a dedicated cable from the NVR to each and every camera. There can be tens of cameras connected to just one, strategically located network switch which is connected to the rest of the network with just one ethernet or fiber-optic cable. The newest IP cameras also offer advanced Artificial Intelligence features and integration. The cameras can now tell the difference between a person, vehicle or an animal and react as programmed whether it is triggering a recording, sending a notification to the monitoring station, notifying the owner or utilizing lights or siren or as a deterrence method. Some Pan Tilt Zoom or PTZ cameras can zoom in on the person and follow it. License Plate Recognition or LPR cameras can capture and record license plate numbers and store them in a searchable data base. Cameras can recognize and warn of a suspicious package left or even recognize a suspicious behavior. They can count people coming in, check the body temperature and recognize a person from the database and even tell if a person is wearing a facemask. Those AI features are getting more and more advanced and can really help manage security of any business and even a household. We offer video surveillence products by Uniview, Hikvision, LTS and Verkada. Our knowledge of the industry allows us to work with and service any products from any manufacturer.


Video Surveillance technology came a long way in the last decade. But in order to fully utilize all the features of the modern video surveillance system, the installer needs to poses much more knowledge now than ever before, to design and build a sophisticated and efficient video surveillance system. Whether it is for a residential house or a multi building industrial complex, hiring the right installer and integrator will benefit the client with better security, reliability and functionality from the surveillance system, while saving the customer time and the money not too mention the headache from dealing with inefficient and unreliable security and surveillance. At Venture Security we offer over 30 years of combined experience in designing and deploying residential and commercial surveillance systems. You can see our featured projects right here. We constantly monitor, test and utilize all the latest technologies and solutions, so we can offer the most advanced and the latest in video surveillance. Please, reach out to us for a free and comprehensive consultation and on-site quote for your home or business.


Venture Security offers residential and commercial video surveillance installation in the following areas: Chester County PA, Montgomery County PA, Delaware County PA, Bucks County PA, Berks County PA, Philadelphia Metro Area, Lehigh County and Lehigh Valley, and the entire New Jersey. If your home or business is located within our service area, please reach out and we will be happy to discuss the options for your future video surveillance system, which match your needs and your budget.