Caught on Camera


The CCTV market has risen exponentially across the globe in recent years due to rising concern for security and safety.  Growing usage of CCTV in various sectors such as hospitality, education and retail for example, has created huge opportunities for CCTV manufacturers, distributors and installers.  Paul Dawson, Managing Director of ESP looks at how installers can take advantage of the continued growth in the CCTV sector by adopting the latest technologies.

According to a recent research study, the market for global CCTV is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 12% during 2015-2020.  In the UK in the short to medium term future, the prospects for the overall electronic security market are positive.  While there have been a number of budget cuts which will continue to impact on large scale projects in the public sector; the improving economic climate should support installations in some private end-use sectors, with overall market growth of over 10% forecast for 2014-2018.

To date analogue CCTV has been more appealing due to its low cost and simpler installation and the fact that virtually any analogue CCTV camera can be plugged into any analogue DVR using the same camera to DVR cabling.  This means that CCTV installation has literally been as simple as plugging and playing.

However, there is a growing demand in the CCTV sector for systems with high definition image resolution and there are now several options available, which installers can consider for those customers looking for an upgrade to their existing analogue solution, or those wanting to adopt a CCTV system for the first time.  

HD-SDI (High Definition Serial Digital Interface)
This is the most mature HD option available and produces 1080P HD resolution images.
This can be considered when upgrading from a standard analogue CCTV system to a HD system, because it can operate on the same cabling already installed.  What must be considered before installation is the fact that the DVR to camera cable run has a limitation of 100m (this can be increased using extender units) and the grade and quality of the cable must be high in order to successfully carry the HD-SDI video signal.  In system upgrades both the DVR and the cameras will need replacing with HD-SDI units.

IP (Internet Protocol)
IP CCTV is producing images of great quality in a convenient and energy efficient manner.  IP cameras work by turning images and audio into data and transmitting this data over a network or Internet connection.  The ultimate benefit of this over analogue CCTV systems is the potential to integrate IP CCTV into existing IT networks and CAT5 cabling infrastructure.  This solution is especially beneficial when tackling coverage of much larger areas such as university campuses, multi-level buildings and multi-site retail stores.  IP also offers the highest resolution cameras, albeit at the highest cost, and it is important to consider that regardless of a camera’s image quality claims, the video signal will only be as good as the connectivity and this is more than likely to impact on the clarity of the image that is transmitted by the camera.  Also for consideration is that with cameras of such high megapixels (can be over nine times the resolution of analogue) the memory capacity required for recorded image data storage also greatly increases.

IP CCTV is a technology growing in popularity but for the average small to medium installations is still an option yet to mature in the UK market.         

AHD (Analogue High Definition)
This is the most newly developed solution for transmitting full 720P and 1080P HD digital video in a CCTV surveillance system. The core concept of AHD is to deliver high definition video using digital TV (DTV) transmission.  AHD leverages the extremely robust AV transmission capability of DTV to easily and seamlessly upgrade an analogue CCTV surveillance system to digital full HD. 

With AHD, high definition digital video can be transmitted easily over existing coaxial cabling - the same cabling used for existing standard resolution analogue systems (such as 960H) and the HD option of HD-SDI.  However, AHD does not suffer from the DVR to camera cable run limitation that is experienced with HD-SDI. In fact AHD cable runs can easily exceed 300m - longer than a standard analogue system’s capability.  AHD products are on average lower cost than HD-SDI and also provide compatibility with standard resolution cameras, allowing a mix of standard and HD cameras connected to a single DVR.  This is most useful if only a partial upgrade to HD is required.  In system upgrading to HD, the DVR and the cameras will need replacing with AHD units.

Although this is the newest option, it is already the fastest growing and it is expected that AHD will be the de facto standard for digital video surveillance systems both now in the future.