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What Does CCTV Mean?

Security Cameras Security Systems Jan 6, 2022 9:37:27 AM General Security 5 min read

CCTV Camera Monitors in a Room

Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published in June 2020 and has been revised to reflect industry updates.

Since its inception more than 70 years ago, closed-circuit television (CCTV) has evolved from resource-consuming, 24/7 manual monitoring to advanced Internet Protocol (IP) network cameras capturing and transmitting real-time audio and video to users’ private monitors and smartphones.

Newer models feature sharp, high-resolution video; crisp, crystal-clear audio; motion detection; video analytics; night vision; and remote access. Many are also compatible with various smart technologies, for added convenience.

With the advent of cloud-based platforms, CCTVs are also sometimes referred to as video systems.

Widely utilized by law enforcement agencies, schools, businesses, and private residences, CCTV can deter crimes, record and view daily activities, and even monitor employee productivity and other important business analytics and insights.

Here’s a breakdown of CCTV’s beginnings, features, benefits, applications, and more. 


The Evolution of CCTV

Also known as video surveillance, CCTV technology premiered in the United States in 1949. These early systems required 24/7 monitoring because they couldn’t capture or store information. This was followed by time-consuming and costly reel-to-reel surveillance, whereby an operator would manually thread and change magnetic tapes.

VCRs were slowly introduced during the 1970s, yet it would be another 20 years until digital multiplexing arrived to equip camera models with time-lapse and motion-recording capabilities. 

CCTV advancements include analog and IP cameras, accompanying digital video recorders (DVR), network video recorders (NVR), so-called ‘smart’ interconnectivity, and 24/7 remote alerts.

Most commonly used for indoor/outdoor security monitoring and surveillance, every CCTV system consists of cameras, recording equipment, monitors, and video management software. Monitors might not always be required due to remote viewing capabilities.

As aforementioned, cameras and recording systems comprise this technology’s core. Analog systems are compatible with DVRs, while newer IP cameras are matched with NVRs.

CCTV footage is only viewable through a private, wired or wireless connection by authorized users—hence its closed-circuit designation.


CCTV Technology Features & Benefits

The following can be added to home or business CCTV security systems, and utilized through any mobile device when incorporated with the Alarm.com security platform app. 

Motion Detection 

Available through smart security providers such as Alarm.com, this tech senses movement and triggers an alarm in real time. It can also capture security camera scenes via analysis differentiation. Also known as pixel matching or frame referencing, it flags any images not matching previously programmed camera settings. 

Video Analytics

This ascertains motions between humans, animals, or vehicles. It also analyzes specific patterns to eliminate false notifications and identify what should be recorded or ignored. This prevents false notifications triggered by loud noises or strong weather, and also determines movement direction and activity duration. 

User-controlled tripwires and activity zones triggering alerts—such as indoor/outdoor lights—can be incorporated through CCTV systems equipped with NVR technology.

Night Vision

Compatible cameras with color or low-light black and white night vision capture HD images and recordings in darkness, or inclement weather conditions.

Instant, Remote Replays
Whether you’re on premises or away from your home or place of business, DVR and NVR technology feature remote alerts and CCTV footage playbacks. Via any smart device, this provides additional peace of mind regarding the safety of your loved ones and employees.

Playback technology can also help law enforcement and other authorities identify and apprehend trespassers, thieves, and suspects. 

High-Level Resolution

Resolution plays a pivotal role in CCTV technology. Indicating the level of detail and how well intruders would be effectively identified or recognized via stil images and recordings is top of mind.

With 1080p or 720p resolution the most common, deciding on either is dependent on usage, budget, storage, bandwidth, and what you’re trying to achieve.


To learn more about specific CCTV cameras for your home or business, check out our blog:


“CCTV Camera Types: Which Is Best for Your Application?”

Most commonly used for indoor/outdoor security monitoring and surveillance, every CCTV system consists of cameras, recording equipment, monitors, and video management software.


CCTV Applications
& Uses

This technology can be utilized within homes, commercial and public safety settings for detection, monitoring, surveillance measures, and other smart technology purposes. 



CCTV cameras monitor storefronts, offices, parking garages, casinos, and hotels to protect against intrusions, theft, and burglary. Stadiums and other public venues utilize this technology for crowd control, and enhanced security and surveillance. When used in conjunction with Alarm.com Business Activity Analytics, it can also gauge employee productivity and other important data insights, such as crowd mapping, crowd gathering, queue monitoring, and occupancy and people counting.

Public Safety

CCTV footage can assist law enforcement during criminal investigations, and aid municipalities in special projects such as traffic studies and crime patterns.

Outdoor CCTV cameras can deter trespassers and would-be intruders, and alert homeowners to unusual sounds and movements—without requiring them to leave the security of their residences. When combined with various smart technologies via the Alarm.com app, users can program technologically advanced surveillance, such as geofencing, video analytics, motion detection, two-way audio, and more.


The CCTV Difference

If you’re still undecided about CCTV technology at your home or business, consult an experienced services provider, such as General Security, for help and guidance.

General Security provides advanced commercial and residential CCTV systems to protect your home and commercial property. Request a free quote from us today!