Security Camera Glossary

Security cameras have different specifications that optimize them for specific purposes, environments, or requirements. Here are some essential definitions you'll find in the product descriptions of our security camera products:

AGC - Automatic Gain Control is an electronic circuit that keeps the video signal at a constant level (1volt peak-peak). AGC is useful on security cameras working at low light levels such as interior rooms, or at night

AI - Auto Iris is an automatic method of varying the size of a lens opening in response to changes in scene illumination. AI comes into play in outdoor situations where the light is constantly changing and your security camera needs to adapt.

AWB - Auto White Balance is an electronic process used in video cameras to retain true colors. AWB is performed electronically relative to a white object in the picture.

CCD - Charged Coupled Device: It is analog technology. The CCD security camera has a little bit higher resolution than CMOS. The CCD security cameras also function better in low light. A CCD camera drains a little bit more power than the CMOS cameras for shorter battery life in wireless or DVR models. It uses 12v instead of 9v.

CMOS - Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor: a lower resolution camera compared to a CCD model. The advantage of a CMOS camera is that it uses lower operation current. CMOS camera is smaller than a CCD camera and works longer with the 9v battery.

HAD CCD - Hole Accumulation Diode is a type of CCD sensor with a layer designed to accumulate holes (in the electronic sense), thus reducing noise level.

S to N Ratio - Signal to Noise Ratio is simply the ratio of the signal power and noise power, expressed in decibels (dB). Or measure of noise on a video signal. It is represented in Decibels as the level of the surveillance video signal compared to the level of noise present on that signal. The higher the signal to noise ratio the better.

BLC - Balance Light Control is a method to compensate for bright spots in a video feed. It is also important to consider whether there are bright spots in the picture such as car headlights which can make identification of the vehicle registration or model impossible. This can also be a major problem where it is necessary to identify a person who is moving from bright daylight into artificial light. This could result in the subject becoming an unidentifiable silhouette.

OSD - On Screen Display is a method of displaying set-up information or instructions on to a display monitor. Resolution - Resolution measures the cameras ability to reproduce an image. The higher the resolution, the better the picture quality.

LUX - LUX is the measurement of low light needed for the camera to view and record properly.

FPS - Frames Per Second is the number of still frames (pictures) that give the illusion of motion, which appear in a single second of time.30fps is considered "real time". So for real time viewing of your cameras, you need at least 30 fps for each camera.

IR - Infrared, IR LEDS are used on Day/Night cameras which allow the camera to see in the dark. Focal Length - the distance from the surface of a lens to its focal point.

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Using Our Products

Please note that it is the responsibility of the customer to check all State, Local and Federal Laws governing the use of covert video surveillance cameras (with or without audio) before ordering and-or using. For information regarding the use of self defense products in the U.S. check these links: Stun Gun Laws | Pepper Spray Laws.