Guide to Buying the Right CCTV for Your Home

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Guide to Buying the Right CCTV for Your Home

CCTV technology goes back to World War II, when the Germans used the technology to monitor the launch of V2 rockets and the United States used the technology to watch atomic bomb blasts. George Orwell discussed the ramification of security camera systems in his seminal work, "1984". While his vision displayed a dim light on the concept of surveillance systems, security camera systems, especially CCTV systems, started to become popular methods of preventing theft in banks and casinos. By the late 1960s, most casinos and virtually every bank had some form of CCTV system installed on their properties. As technology improved, other venues installed CCTV systems for different reasons than the initial theft prevention motive. Contemporary CCTV systems are a pervasive part of UK culture, a phenomenon that Orwell would likely excoriate.

Consumers can buy CCTV systems or CCTV accessories from shops that specialise in selling security alarms and systems. They can also go online and shop on the leading auction site, eBay. Many homeowners that upgrade their CCTV systems offer their older systems at substantial discounts. Before buyers decide on a CCTV system, they should research CCTV systems by first learning what exactly CCTV is, and then learn about the benefits of installing CCTV and the factors to consider before making a CCTV system purchase decision.

What Is CCTV?

Closed Circuit Television, or CCTV, is a type of security camera system that presents covert video for a designated number of viewers. CCTV differs from many other types of security camera systems because it records and views images, but it does not broadcast them. The technology for CCTV systems was initially developed for banks and casinos to deter theft and other property crime. As manufacturers improved production processes, CCTV systems became affordable for homeowners. CCTV systems implement CCD video cameras to transmit video for viewers to observe images. Recent CCTV technological innovations include a web camera server that allows users to monitor property via the Internet.

The Benefits of Buying a CCTV System

Initially designed to prevent theft, CCTV systems have undergone numerous transformations that provide additional benefits to homeowners. However, the number one reason why consumers purchase CCTV systems is to prevent financial loss due to theft. Here are the benefits of installing a CCTV system, with the most important reason leading the list.

Prevent Theft

Casino owners utilise CCTV cameras to catch cheats and other scam artists who try to fleece their casinos. Banks install CCTV cameras to deter robberies. After the banks and casinos realised a reduction in the number of thefts, shopping centres began installing CCTV cameras to deter and catch shoplifters. Large apartment and condominium complexes were next to fall in line with the new theft prevention technology, although the large complexes also utilised CCTV cameras to catch vandalism.

Personal Safety

Another benefit that shopping centre and apartment complex owners realised was reduced violent crime. CCTV camera installations deter criminals from committing armed robberies or assaulting victims. The personal safety angle was the first benefit that attracted homeowners to CCTV systems. While CCTV cameras require monitoring and may not benefit homeowners as they sleep, they do provide security during waking hours. Most CCTV systems require at least one person to monitor for personal safety.

Anti-Terrorism Tool

The war on terror has created a surveillance niche that includes the most cutting-edge technology. Nonetheless, CCTV security systems still comprise the background of most anti-terror surveillance. Federal government institutions, military facilities, public transportation hubs, and nuclear power plants are just some of the entities that have invested in sophisticated and high-end CCTV surveillance systems.

Safe Work Environment

The surge in workplace violence incidents has forced employers to invest in multi-camera CCTV systems that monitor high-traffic areas. Typically, someone from the IT team monitors the system for incidents that can lead to physical confrontations. Workplace CCTV cameras are also installed to prevent the pilfering of sensitive company data and other digital assets.

Close Legal Cases

Eyewitness testimony has historically been a pivotal piece of evidence during criminal and civil trials. The progression of DNA detection technology has rendered eyewitness testimony to a lesser crime stopping role. Moreover, CCTV systems have become the eyewitness and our other eye, and placed it within a digital camera lens. CCTV systems possess audio, digital, and sound capturing capabilities, as well as provide footage that most courts rule permissible as evidence. What was once a battle of one person’s word against another’s, has now turned to conclusive proof of wrongdoing.

Reduced Insurance Costs

All of the aforementioned benefits combine to create possibly the most significant benefit. With homeowner insurance skyrocketing, consumers look for ways to defray the cost of insuring people and property. CCTV cameras, as well as many other types of security camera systems, have a direct impact on lowering crime rates. This leads to lower insurance premiums for homeowners. In addition, CCTV cameras can also catch fires and other potentially dangerous events live, and alert the proper response units.

What to Consider Before Buying the Right CCTV

Whether a homeowner or a director of a large federal government agency, a list of factors should be considered before making a buying decision. Rank the following factors in terms of importance and even place weight on each factor to determine what to look for in a CCTV system.

What Are the Security Needs?

Manufacturers produce CCTV systems to cover a wide variety of security needs. Some homeowners require multiple cameras to span over large distances, while many homeowners can get by with one CCTV camera strategically placed to cover the entire front garden. Budget often determines the breadth of a CCTV system, but users also have to account for the size of the surveillance area, surveillance duration, and camera location.

Type of Cameras

Every CCTV buyer must understand the difference in CCTV camera types. The only commonality of the following CCTV camera types is that they should be of the highest quality.

CCTV Camera Type

Brief Description


Surveillance of building and property perimeter


Clandestine surveillance


Mounted in high-traffic areas


Provides uninterrupted 24-hour surveillance


Discreet appearance for use in public access areas




360-degree panoramic view of surveillance area

Larger businesses and federal government agencies incorporate more than one type of CCTV camera into their elaborate security systems. For instance, a government agency may utilise outdoor, indoor, hidden, and pan-tilt CCTV cameras to realise the benefits that each type of camera provides.

Colour or Monochrome

Colour CCTV cameras typically cost more than monochrome CCTV cameras, which can influence users who must install multiple cameras. However, colour CCTV cameras present much more clarity than monochrome cameras. On the other hand, monochrome CCTV cameras are ideal in low-light conditions and for nighttime outdoor surveillance. Some higher-end CCTV cameras switch back and forth between colour and monochrome.

Light Sensitivity

One of the more important CCTV system factors to consider is the light source in the location where the cameras are to be installed. Every type of camera measures light sensitivity in units called lux. Lower lux ratings mean less light is needed to present clear images. Here are the standard light sources, along with each standard lux rating.

Light Source

Strength in Lux

Direct sunlight


Indirect sunlight


Overcast day


Indoor room


Very dark day




Deep twilight


Full moon


Quarter moon


Moonless clear night sky


Another way of viewing lux ratings is to compare lux measurements to the light emitted by a candle. A candle located one foot away from an object projects one foot candle, which translates to a 10 lux rating.


CCTV camera lenses determine image clarity as images are captured under different light levels. Some CCTV camera lenses are made for low light conditions, such as during dusk and dawn, while other CCTV camera lenses capture clear images under brilliant sunshine. The key is to ensure the camera lens is compatible with the CCTV model. CCTV camera lenses vary between some degree of fixed or variable focal length. Fixed focal length lenses capture images from fixed views, while variable focal length lenses adjust to capture clear moving images. CCTV cameras project images by implementing CMOs or CCD chips, which come in a few different sizes.

How to Buy the Right CCTV for Your Home on eBay

You can find a wide variety of CCTV systems and CCTV components by shopping on eBay. Simply type keywords into eBay’s powerful search engine, and then navigate through the search result pages until you find a seller who meets your shopping criteria. Type in specific keywords to reduce the number of search result pages. For example, type "infrared CCTV camera" or "spy cameras" to reduce the amount of time you spend searching for a CCTV system. Once you find the right CCTV seller, click on the seller’s product page to review accepted payment methods, return policies, and delivery terms.

Only consider eBay’s Top-Rated Sellers for buying a CCTV system. The top-rated sellers have established track records for selling superior products and offering generous return policies. eBay designates the top-rated sellers by placing an electronic ribbon icon next to each qualified top-rated seller’s product photograph. You can also read customer reviews that are found on seller product pages. Look for sellers who have garnered positive reviews for over the past year and preferably have some experience selling home security systems on eBay.


Closed Circuit Television, or CCTV, is a type of security camera system that requires someone to monitor one or more monitors. While CCTV technology was used initially as a military asset, the applications for homeowners became readily apparent soon after World War II. CCTV systems allow users to keep tabs on their personal property. Studies have proven for decades that the surveillance systems reduce the incidence of theft, and thus, lower insurance costs for homeowners. Other benefits of installing a CCTV system include enhanced personal security, conclusive evidence for use during a criminal or civil trial, and safer work environments.

While the decision whether to invest in a CCTV system is almost a no-brainer, the decision of which type of CCTV system to invest in takes more time and contemplation. There are many factors to consider during the buying process, with choosing the right type of camera representing the most difficult decision to make. CCTV systems can include hidden, outdoor, indoor, pan-tilt, bullet, dome, and infrared security cameras. The general rule for shopping for CCTV cameras is the larger the property, the more likely that multiple camera types comprise the system. Consumers also have to factor in light sensitivity, monitor resolution, and security needs before investing in a CCTV system.

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