CCTV Buying Guide

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CCTV Buying Guide

Closed-circuit television, otherwise known as CCTV, is a very popular item for many businesses and individuals. Closed-circuit television can be used in many ways; however, it is most commonly used as a security and surveillance feature by their owners. Because of the versatility that CCTV offers, the demand for it is usually always high. Closed-circuit television systems can be purchased at many electronic stores, home and business security retailers, as well as online through eBay.

There are several things to know about owning a CCTV system that people should be aware of so that they can obtain the most effective use from their system. Understanding what CCTV can be used for and how it operates allows people who have thought about owning this type of system the chance to see if it is the right purchase for them. It is also important to know what can and cannot be expected from owning such a device before investing in one.

CCTV Overview

Closed-circuit television is a great tool that is most often used for security purposes although it has other uses as well. It is impossible to be everywhere at the same time, so using this type of system has been a valuable tool in many facets of society. CCTV is used on a daily basis as a tool to prevent crime, make sure that transportation systems are secure, and in many industrial fields that can be unsafe for humans as well as in many other industries. CCTV was first used in 1942 to survey rocket launches. It is a heavily used system in the United Kingdom, more so than in any other country. There are three essential parts that go into making up a CCTV system. CCTV works by making use of a digital video recorder (DVR), one or more closed-circuit cameras, and other accessories that are required to make the system functional.

CCTV Digital Video Recorder

The DVR records images that are captured, and the signals are transferred to monitors through the CCTV cameras, which allows for activities to be observed and recorded. Footage obtained by the DVR and the cameras themselves is able to be viewed via an internet connection on a computer or other device that can access these signals. The DVR is able to arrange the images in a way that is computer friendly. There are several CCTV digital video recorders on the market that offer various resolution types, so it is important to pick the one that is right for the task. The table below gives information on the different types of DVR resolutions that are available.

Resolution Type

Frame Size (in pixels)



704 x 576


Half D1 (Field)

704 x 288



352 x 288


If the information recorded by the DVR needs to be used for primarily security purposes, such as ones used by law enforcement officers or any other personnel where images and details are the most accurate, it is recommended to use DVRs with a D1 resolution.

CCTV Cameras

The second component involved in a CCTV system is the camera. The CCTV camera part of the system is what sees the information that is sent back to the DVR. Just like DVRs, there are differences in the various cameras offered for close-circuit television. Cameras record images by focusing on horizontal lines. Even though the amount of lines that a camera can pick up on is important, it is not nearly as important as the camera lens that captures the action, regardless of the amount of horizontal lines the camera is able to focus on. Cameras that work well in low light can be beneficial as well if the purpose of the camera is for crime prevention.


The accessories for a CCTV system vary by the brand and manufacturer. There are many complete CCTV kits that can be purchased that include all the items necessary to get the system up and running. The kits usually include connectors, power supply, and cables. More basic CCTV systems do not include the standard accessories, so it is important to know what else needs to be purchased in order to complete the CCTV package.

How CCTV Can Be Used

There is a variety of ways that a CCTV system in our society and the reasons behind why they are used largely dictate what type is best for the chosen purpose. Depending on what the goal is with such a system, there are a large variety of closed-circuit models to choose from. Crime prevention, transportation security, and industrial monitoring are all ways that CCTV can be used.

Crime Prevention

Outdoor CCTV systems are commonly used in areas where there is known to be high crime traffic. Convenience stores, casinos, and banks are some of the businesses that use this type of system on a regular basis; however, the number of individuals using these systems for home security purposes is also on the rise. It is very important that a great CCTV system is used if the results are to be effective. Using CCTV as a tool to deter crime also helps to make people feel more secure in these areas and in their own homes. It also serves as a reminder to people that they are in a potentially high crime area and that proper precautions should be taken to ensure their own personal safety and that of their valuables.

Transportation Security

CCTV has many uses within transportation security. CCTVs are very beneficial for this purpose and are used on railways, buses, ferries, and other modes of public transportation. It is often used to assist in monitoring passenger activity to make sure that individuals, personnel, and equipment are kept free from harm. It also helps to make sure that passengers pay their fare and that if a dispute arises, there is a record of the incidents that occur. CCTV systems used for this purpose should be able to pick up great detail, such as facial features, and other details that are important in an identification process. High quality CCTV systems are ideal for this type of work.

Industrial Uses

There are many times when human involvement within industrial parameters is extremely unsafe. CCTV is useful in situations that need monitoring due to the chance of exposure to corrosive materials, explosions, or other life-threatening factors that make working conditions hazardous to people. CCTV systems in these situations need to be both extremely reliable and durable. Industrial CCTV systems should be checked for performance and durability to ensure longevity before investing in one. These aforementioned factors should be considered before purchasing such an item in order to keep the workplace safe and the equipment functioning properly.

CCTV Expectations

While CCTV is a very useful tool for surveillance purposes, it is only as useful as the model that is chosen to do the job. There are limitations to some CCTV systems. One of the biggest disadvantages is the ability for the system to see every place at once. If this is a need for a CCTV system, it may be advantageous to purchase one with multiple cameras. While this may not necessarily cover all the territory that needs to be monitored, it can help in these types of situations. Another way to increase visual monitoring for large areas is to purchase more than one CCTV system.

How to Buy CCTV on eBay

CCTV equipment is easy to find on this online marketplace by performing a search directly from the eBay homepage, or at the top of any of the eBay pages. Finding the right CCTV system is very simple with the additional feature of having an advanced search option at your fingertips. This feature allows you to search for these types of systems by category so that many of the results you do not want do not get returned to you during the search process.

You can also search by the brand name if you already know which type of equipment you are looking for. From the advanced search option page, you can also find information regarding general search tips and how to further use the advanced search options to your advantage. No matter whether you plan on buying one CCTV system or multiple ones, eBay has such a large variety of sellers that are available to buyers that the selections available are tremendous.


Closed-circuit television systems are valuable tools to have in many different settings. The peace of mind that they can offer a business owner or homeowner is immeasurable. One of the important things to keep in mind though when purchasing such a system is making sure that the right one is obtained for the job required. Choosing the right digital video recorder and one or more cameras with adequate lens and any necessary accessories helps to ensure that the CCTV can do what is expected of it.

No matter whether it is security for a transportation system or if the system is to be used in industrial fields, understanding the differences in the types of cameras used for those purposes greatly increases the likelihood of the system being more effective. It is also helpful to be aware of the fact that these systems also have limitations and may not meet the expectations of the buyer unless they are aware of the limitations as well.

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