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CCTV

Gone are the days when CCTV for the typical home was an expensive luxury, priced out of the reach of the average home owner. Nowadays it is feasible to DIY install your own CCTV system. From a simple small camera at your front door, connected to your TV, so that you can see who is there, (with optional PIR motion detection) to all-singing, all-dancing systems which constantly record and stream the video through your broadband internet connection, notify you by email and/or sms if there is movement at your home, record video and.or still images and upload them by ftp.

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CCTV Systems

These are broken down into 2 basic systems. Analogue & Digital. Analogue systems are simply analogue cameras, which provide video signal from the camera. There are an abundance of cameras of different sizes, types, and of course quality levels. There are colour or black & white, some which are colour in normal light levels, but at low light levels, automatically switch to black & white, and turn on some inbuilt Infra-Red lights so they can see in the dark. There are indoor versions, outdoor versions, even underwater versions !

The Digital cameras are generally IP Cameras, which basically plug into your network (LAN) and provide the video in digital format. If you can't physically wire into your LAN, then don't worry, as you can also get wireless verions. (Note that a wireless IP CCTV camera usually needs to be supplied with power, so it is not truly wireless, but only refers to wireless networking - WiFi.)
W2W.com - UK's cheapest ink and memory For home use, and to keep costs down, you can add a video capture card to your PC, and connect multiple analogue cameras to it. It does mean physical cabling from the camera to the PC, but thats usually not a problem. If it is, then you don't have much choice but to go with the more expensive wireless option

Once you get the video captured to your PC, you then need some software to make use of it. You can choose to simply provide the video to the internet, so that you can login from anywhere in the world & view the video from your camera(s), or go a bit more technical and have motion detection software, which monitors the camera(s) for changes, and will then capture a video clip of the action, or simply take some still images from the action. Most software will allow you configure what to do when it does detect motion, such as simply sound an alarm, capture the video to your PC's hard disk, upload the video/pictures to another computer or by ftp, email or sms you that it has detected movement, etc etc. The possibilities are endless. You can even (with suitable hardware) have a camera in your home that detects movement and moves the camera to follow the motion.

CCTV Links

Disclaimer : I have no connection with these companies - I find their websites very useful & informative

RF Concepts, UK

Sales of CCTV cameras & Associated parts

CCTV Cameras
Avermedia Video Capture Cards
Geovision Video Capture Cards

SCT Ltd, UK

Sales of CCTV cameras & related bits & pieces

SCT Main Page, with links to different sections
Avermedia Video Capture Cards
Geovision Video Capture Cards
Cameras Day & Night
Covert Cameras - Unbelievable !

IVIEW Cameras, UK

Sales of CCTV cameras & equipment

iviewcameras Main Page
CCTV Cameras - Wired
CCTV Cameras - Wireless
Motion Detection systems
Day & Night CCTV
PC Systems - Prebuilt
IP Cameras

IPCCTVCameras, UK

Sales of IP CCTV cameras & equipment

ipcctvcameras Main Page

Delta, Poland

Sales of CCTV equipment

Shop Main Page
Products - Cameras, cable, connectors, etc

Zoneminder

ZoneMinder is intended for use in single or multi-camera video security applications, including commercial or home CCTV, theft prevention and child, family member or home monitoring and other domestic care scenarios. It supports capture, analysis, recording, and monitoring of video data coming from one or more video or network cameras attached to a Linux system. ZoneMinder also support web and semi-automatic control of Pan/Tilt/Zoom cameras using a variety of protocols. It is suitable for use as a diy home video security system and for commercial or professional video security and surveillance. It can also be integrated into a home automation system via X.10 or other protocols.

If you're looking for a low cost CCTV system or a more flexible alternative to cheap DVR systems then why not give ZoneMinder a try?

Software

Although there are plenty of software packages for purchase off the shelf, you can also go the GPL route and use something like Motion which does all the hard work for you. Its a software motion detection system, which montiors multiple CCTV cameras or webcams for chnages in the captured images, and if it detects a change in the picture, can then perform an action, like capture a short video clip of the action, and capture multiple still images, upload/copy them to another computer either in your home or on the internet, notify you by sms or email, sound an alarm, etc etc.

Motion

From the Motion site mentioned above, some examples of applications are : Some of motion's features include:

  • Taking snapshots of movement
  • Watch multiple video devices at the same time
  • Watch multiple inputs on one capture card at the same time
  • Live streaming webcam (using multipart/x-mixed-replace)
  • Real time creation of mpeg movies using libraries from ffmpeg
  • Take automated snapshots on regular intervals
  • Take automated snapshots at irregular intervals using cron
  • Execute external commands when detecting movement (and e.g. send SMS or email)
  • Motion tracking (camera follow motion - special hardware required)
  • Feed events to a MySQL or PostgreSQL database.
  • Feed video back to a video4linux loopback for real time viewing
  • Lots of user contributed related projects with web interfaces etc.
  • User configurable and user defined on screen display.
  • Control via browser (older versions used xml-rpc)
  • Automatic noise and threshold control
  • Motion is a daemon with low CPU consumption and small memory footprint.

ZoneMinder

ZoneMinder the top Linux video camera security and surveillance solution. ZoneMinder is intended for use in single or multi-camera video security applications, including commercial or home CCTV, theft prevention and child or family member or home monitoring and other care scenarios. It supports capture, analysis, recording, and monitoring of video data coming from one or more video or network cameras attached to a Linux system. ZoneMinder also support web and semi-automatic control of Pan/Tilt/Zoom cameras using a variety of protocols. It is suitable for use as a home video security system and for commercial or professional video security and surveillance. It can also be integrated into a home automation system via X.10 or other protocols. If you're looking for a low cost CCTV system or a more flexible alternative to cheap DVR systems then why not give ZoneMinder a try?

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