CCTV over the internet is one of many names given to the new breed of digital CCTV cameras that is now rapidly replacing millions of old analogue cameras across the world. The reason for the popularity of these new cameras is their ability to be operated and to allow viewing remotely, over the internet. Many people now want these cameras in their homes, but just don’t know where to start. This article aims to provide that starting point.
The first source of confusion is in the name for this technology. Internet CCTV cameras are also referred to as digital CCTV cameras, IP cameras or network cameras; this last term because they connect to a computer network using a network cable, rather than to a video recorder using a TV aerial cable like the old CCTV cameras.
Connecting to a computer network (even a home router is a computer “network”) means the cameras can communicate over the internet. This is the real advantage over traditional CCTV; you can see the live scene, view recorded images and even switch motion detection on and off from anywhere in the world using a standard PC or even your mobile phone.
Cameras that are used to provide CCTV over the internet in this way are NOT plugged into a computer and do not need a computer in order to operate. These cameras are therefore very different from “web cams”, those little cameras that clip to the top of a PC screen, plug into the PC and actually need the computer to be running in order to work.
Internet CCTV cameras are also nothing like the old “dumb” CCTV cameras; in fact these new devices are really miniature computers in their own right. The cameras themselves can detect movement, for example, and send an email or even an SMS text message to alert you to the “incident”. You can then log in over the internet to see what is going on; all in a couple of minutes.
So how easy is it to set up one of these cameras? Well it is true that you need a broadband line, and also a router. You also need to configure settings in the camera, and if you are new to it, this can be tricky. Many on-line retailers will quite happily sell you any of the most popular brands of camera, but they will not set the cameras up for you. There are also many security companies who will sell you a complete system fully configured, but they are geared to big commercial customers such as schools and airports, and their charges are high.
So what can you do if you want a fully-configured internet CCTV system (ready to just plug in); and one that is priced for the home user rather than an airport? Well, there are only a few specialist companies that sell small, fully-configured systems geared to the home user’s budget, and it is one of these that you need to find if you are new to this technology and just need to quickly and easily set up one or two internet CCTV cameras in your home.