If you are looking for a security system for your home or business, you might have come across the terms CCTV and surveillance cameras. Most people use both words synonymously, however, there are a few subtle differences that set them apart.

This blog post explains the basics of these two types of cameras, what each of them has to offer, and how to choose the best one depending on your needs.

What Are CCTV Cameras?

CCTV stands for closed-circuit television, and it refers to a system that uses cameras to transmit video signals to a specific monitor or recorder. The system is closed, meaning that the signals are not accessible by anyone outside the system. This makes it more secure and less prone to interference.

CCTV systems are usually wired, meaning that they use cables to connect the cameras to the monitor or recorder. This ensures a stable and reliable transmission, but it also limits the flexibility and scalability of the system. CCTV systems are mainly used in places where professional monitoring is necessary, such as casinos, banks, or government buildings. They can also be part of regulatory requirements set out by insurance companies or the government.

What Are Surveillance Cameras?

A surveillance camera is a more general term that describes any camera that is used for monitoring purposes. It can include both wired and wireless systems, and it can be monitored locally or remotely. Unlike CCTV, a surveillance camera does not need to broadcast to a specific station. It can store the footage on a memory card, a cloud service, or a network video recorder (NVR) depending on the system setup and business requirements.

Surveillance cameras are more flexible and versatile than CCTV systems. They can be placed anywhere, and they can be accessed from any device with an internet connection. They use Power Over Ethernet (PoE) cables to power and transmit data, and can also be connected wirelessly with an independent power source. Surveillance cameras are widely used in various applications, such as traffic control, home security, or wildlife observation.

How Do CCTV Cameras And Surveillance Cameras Compare?

CCTV and surveillance cameras find usage across various private and public sectors. There are many differences between the two that have to be considered before implementing them to your business. These factors are listed below:

Image Quality: The image quality of a camera depends on the resolution, the lens, the sensor, and the compression.

  • CCTV cameras tend to have lower resolution and quality than surveillance cameras, as they are mainly used for live viewing rather than recording. CCTV cameras are usually limited to 720 x 576 resolution at max.
  • Surveillance cameras offer higher resolution and provide more details and clarity, but they also require more storage space and bandwidth. The lens and the sensor affect the field of view, the zoom, and the low-light performance of the camera. Surveillance cameras offer 1920 x 1080 resolution and can even go higher up to 4K depending on the price and usage of the camera.

Power Supply: The power supply of a camera determines how long it can operate and how easy it is to install.

  • CCTV cameras are usually wired and need a constant power source, which means that they need to be connected to an outlet or a power adapter.
  • Surveillance cameras are wireless and can run on batteries, solar panels, or power over ethernet (PoE), which means that they can be placed anywhere without worrying about wires. However, wireless cameras also need to be recharged or replaced periodically, which can be inconvenient or costly.

Storage: The storage of a camera determines how much footage it can record and how long it can be kept.

  • Since CCTV Cameras are wired, they usually store the footage on a digital video recorder (DVR), which can have a large capacity and a long retention period. However, the installation is limited because physical wires have to be used to transmit footage.

  • Surveillance cameras on the other hand, are wireless and can store the footage on a memory card, a cloud service, or an NVR, which can be connected through cable or through the internet which offers more flexibility and accessibility. This also allows for remote viewing, since the footage can be viewed and downloaded from anywhere with just an internet connection.

Cost: The cost of a camera depends on the size of the system, the required features, the image quality, and the brand of equipment and software used.

  • Generally, CCTV cameras are cheaper as they have fewer components and less technology. However, they also have higher installation and maintenance costs, as they require professional wiring and cabling.
  • Surveillance cameras have higher upfront costs, as they have more advanced features and technology. The benefit of a higher cost upfront is that they have lower installation and maintenance costs because they are easier to set up and move if needed.

Usage: Depending on the industry, the site requirements, and the business owner or site manager’s preference, both cameras can be used.

  • CCTV cameras usually have a wider field of view and are mounted on ceilings or high up on walls. They are used in office buildings, parking lots, retail stores, casinos and other places.

  • Surveillance cameras can be used anywhere to amplify security, generate alerts, and track or log access of personnel or vehicles.

Features: Security cameras come with a wide variety of features depending on the models and the pricing.

  • CCTV cameras are limited in features and are simply used for recording a specific place.
  • Surveillance cameras can have multiple features like motion tracking, vehicle detection, license plate recognition and more that can be used to improve security by generating alerts and allowing swift action by the Police.

Which One Should You Pick: CCTV and Surveillance Cameras

The choice between CCTV and surveillance cameras depends on your specific needs and preferences. Here are some considerations and tips that can help you decide which one works best for you:

Define The Purpose

If you need a camera for professional or high-security purposes, such as monitoring a casino or a bank, you might want to choose a CCTV system, as it offers more reliability and security. If you need a camera for personal or casual purposes, such as monitoring your home or your pets, you might want to choose a surveillance camera, as it offers more flexibility and convenience.

Take Note Of Your Budget

If you have a limited budget, you might want to choose a CCTV system, as it has lower upfront costs. However, you also need to consider the installation and maintenance costs, which can be higher for a CCTV system. If you have a higher budget, you might want to choose a surveillance camera, as it has more features and quality.

However, you also need to consider the storage and power costs, which can be higher for a surveillance camera.

Assess Your Specific Preference

If you prefer a wired system, you might want to choose a CCTV system, as it uses cables to connect the cameras to the monitor or recorder. If you prefer a wireless system, you might want to choose a surveillance camera, as it uses wireless technology to transmit the video signals.

Get Security Camera Systems For Your Business In Canada

Are you looking to install security camera systems in Canada? Spotter Security offers security system installation, maintenance and monitoring to keep your business secure.

With over 20 years of experience in the security industry and the expertise of securing businesses from multiple industries including manufacturing, retail, warehousing, and office complexes, Spotter Security makes sure to get the best system for your security.

Book a consultation to start talking about how your business can be better secured to protect your assets and personnel.

Written by : Carlo Di Leo

At the age of 24, with no experience in the security industry or any money in the bank, Carlo quit his job and started Spotter Security from his parent's basement. Founded in 2004, Spotter grew from a single man operation into a multi-million dollar security system integrator that caters to businessess and construction sites across Canada.

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