Monitoring CCTV Footage via a Cable TV Channel?
Setting up a security system at home can be the first step in creating peace of mind for you and your family. However, if you plan to actively monitor your CCTV then having a CCTV monitor in a cupboard somewhere may be an impractical way of keeping an eye on things.
Modern CCTV systems can be complemented by a range of ways of monitoring the images from the system. Components can be added to broadcast the images over the internet, making them viewable from any PC or laptop, and there are even ways of getting the signal broadcast to your smartphone so you can monitor your system wherever you are.
One of the most popular ways to monitor CCTV images, however, is to have them broadcast to your television, making it possible to watch your security system from any room with a TV set in it.
Aerial broadcast is not safe
It is possible to have your security images broadcast to your TV using an analogue signal and aerial. This, however, is not secure and can be tuned into by other television users in the local area, which is not ideal if, for instance, you are using the system to monitor your children playing in the garden.
A much more secure way of obtaining CCTV images from the comfort of your lounge is to use your existing cable TV network to stream the images to your set.
Streaming through your cable TV network
This sounds fairly complicated but it is actually surprisingly straightforward to do. Several companies sell the components you will need to turn your TV into a CCTV monitor and with a bit of know-how and the right tools it can also be surprisingly cheap to achieve.
The main component you will need to purchase is an RF modulator (see picture above), which is available from any CCTV specialist on or off line. You will need to connect this to the cable as it comes into the property using a splitter before connecting the CCTV feed to the modulator. The modulator can be set to broadcast to any unused cable TV channel and once set up, the CCTV feed will appear on any television in the property when they are tuned to that channel.
Compromises you have to live with
There are some compromises to make when choosing to view your CCTV this way.
The most important compromise to note is that the quality of the picture will be severely reduced, which becomes increasingly obvious the larger the TV set is. Televisions of under 26” tend to maintain a level of quality, but if you are planning to watch the footage on a 50” plasma, then be prepared for a significant loss of quality.
If you are planning to record the images, it’s best to stick to a DVR recorder which is connected directly to the CCTV system rather than using a DVD recorder to record the images from the TV.
Apart from the reduced picture quality you have to deal with interference too
You may also find that the cable TV signal interferes with the CCTV feed. If this happens then a cable TV filter can be installed between the modulator and the CCTV which will minimise the interference.
Watching your CCTV via a cable channel on your TV can be a very convenient and useful way of actively monitoring your security system. In a domestic setting where your security system is used mainly for peace of mind or for checking where family members are, then this is an elegant solution.
It can also be a great choice for tenants in apartment blocks or hotel guests, for instance, who wish to keep an eye on their car in the car park from time to time.
It may not be such a good solution for high security premises where the CCTV needs to pick out the features of the people being recorded, but it certainly has its place.
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