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IP camera and cctv glossary



I wanted to mention this because you see this everywhere: flat screens for your home, PC, Blu-ray discs and in digital video surveillance products. Just know that 1080p (1920x1080 progressive scan) is the standard for all true hi-def display technologies. If your CCTV system boasts 1080p recording, playback, real time view, etc then this is hi-def.

ATR (Adaptive Tone Reproduction)

Sony's ATR/ATR-EX (Adaptive Tone Reproduction) function provides gradation compensation to improve the contrast of subjects whose gradation has been lost in cases where, for instance, both low-luminance areas and high-luminance areas exist in the same picture.

The ATR function improves the visibility of the entire picture by providing the optimum gradation compensation for the image in one field based on the luminance information.

Auto Iris

A lens in which the aperture automatically opens or closes to maintain proper light levels.

BLC (Back Light Compensation)

In images where a bright light source is behind the subject of interest, the subject would normally appear in silhouette. BLC allows the camera to adjust the exposure of the entire image to properly expose the subject in the foreground. WDR is a more effective alternative to BLC because it handles multiple exposure zones to give both the highlight and low light areas a proper exposure.


CCD stands for "charge-coupled device". First invented in the 1970s, this technology uses a shift register combined with photodiodes to create the modern day imaging device. The size of the CCD chip is normally 1/4", 1/3" or 1/2". As a rule of thumb, the larger the size, the higher the quality of the image and the higher the price. However some of the higher density 1/4" and 1/3" CCD chips can now produce as good an image as many of the 1/3" or 1/2" chips.

Day / Night

A Day/Night function helps the camera adapt to low lighting conditions on cameras that are not equipped with Infrared illuminators. The Day/Night function can be done by using a mechanical cut filter (sometimes called an IR cut filter or ICR) and/or by using dual imagers (one color, one black & white).


A surveillance camera function that digitally sharpens video which is being degradated from fog, rain, snow, haze, sand storm, or dust on your lens.

Digital Image Stabilization (DIS)

Digital image stabilization (DIS) compares video data from recorded images to detect shaking camera movement, most often from wind.

The camera creates a pixel buffer by recording extra pixels outside of the visible frame. When the camera vibrates or shakes, the camera shifts the visible frame to reduce the jarring effect on the video image.

DNR (Digital Noise Reduction)

Image noise is interference in the video signal that shows up as grainy specks. It can be caused by low lighting situations, a nearby power interference, heat, or device algorithms.

DNR is a technique of removing image noise from a video signal by applying a digital comb filter. It makes images clearer and reduces video file size.

A 2D filter reduces the noise that can be found in low light images. This type of filter is sometimes confused by motion, resulting in blur trails.

A 3D filter goes one step farther and effectively reduces the noise in static images and images with movement.

Dual Voltage

Cameras with dual voltage options to accept either 24V AC or 12V DC power sources and will automatically switch to the appropriate mode upon receiving power.


Frames per second. For CCTV this refers to the number of video images that can be recorded and/or displayed in one second. Also referred to as the "frame rate" or "refresh rate", 30 fps is considered "real time" and uses more HD space.


H.264 is a standard for video compression and is currently one of the most commonly used formats for the recording, compression, and distribution of high definition video.

The H.264 standard has 21 sets of capabilities called profiles.


High Definition Serial Digital Interface. This system is hi-def 1080p (1920x1080). The use of hi-def mega pixel (MP) cameras and HD-DSI DVRs will record hi-def video with 2.2MP cameras.

IP Camera

An IP camera is a networked digital video camera that transmits data over an Ethernet link. IP cameras (also called "network cameras") are most often used for video surveillance which is a digitized and networked version of CCTV. IP cameras offer a wide range of MP (mega pixel) cameras with very high resolutions and Decentralized IP cameras have the recording function built-in so there is no need for an NVR. Very popular, IP camera systems can be expensive and sometimes troublesome (but many, many people would disagree). Note: be careful because there are 2 camps out there. One pushing IP and the other not. You must decide what is best for you.

Baseline Profile (BP)

Primarily for low-cost applications that require additional data loss robustness, this profile is used in some videoconferencing and mobile applications. This profile includes all features that are supported in the Constrained Baseline Profile, plus three additional features that can be used for loss robustness (or for other purposes such as low-delay multi-point video stream compositing). The importance of this profile has faded somewhat since the definition of the Constrained Baseline Profile in 2009. All Constrained Baseline Profile bitstreams are also considered to be Baseline Profile bitstreams, as these two profiles share the same profile identifier code value.

High 4:2:2 Profile (Hi422P)

High Profile H.264 is the primary profile for broadcast and disc storage applications, particularly for high-definition television applications (for example, this is the profile adopted by the Blu-ray Disc storage format and the HDTV broadcast service). The High 4:2:2 enhancement primarily targets professional applications that use interlaced video and adds support for the 4:2:2 chroma subsampling format while using up to 10 bits per sample of decoded picture precision. View IP Cameras and NVRs that use Hi422P.

ICR (Infrared Cutfilter Removal)

The IR cut filter is on when the camera is operating as a color camera for precise color reproduction. With ICR, the filter is removed which allows for much greater light sensitivity in monochrome mode.


Infrared. Infrared cameras (a.k.a. night vision cameras) have special infrared lights (LEDs) installed around the camera lens. This provides special light that the camera uses to capture a good picture in the dark. LEDs - Light emitting diode. Infrared illuminators provide IR light only visible to the CCTV camera and invisible to everyone else. IR illuminators are perfect in areas where light needs to be avoided (parks, neighborhoods) or when video surveillance is needed in the dark. IR illumination can work well even at ranges over 1000 ft.


The amount of light needed for a camera to capture a good image. Infrared cameras usually have very low lux ratings. The smaller the number, the less light is needed. A 0.003, for example, lux rating would "see" in complete darkness. This time, smaller is better.

MegaPixel (MP)

A MegaPixel is one million pixels, and is commonly used to indicate the resolution of an HD surveillance camera. A pixel is a tiny square in a digital image. The image is actually a grid of these pixels. If you greatly enlarge a digital image, you can actually see the pixels.

The higher the number of pixels, the clearer the resolution or image will be. Common MegaPixel sizes include 1.3MP, 2.1MP, 3.0MP, up to 5.0MP or higher. For example: A 1.3MP image commonly is made up of 1280 pixels wide x 1024 high, or 1,310,720 pixels. In other words, 1.3 million pixels.


Multi-streaming means that your device outputs two or more types of video streams, with different properties, to different users or devices. It allows a user to get video in a different resolution, frame rate, or compression type to meet requirements of quality, storage constraints, bandwidth, or CPU usage.

The property differences could be

  • Compression type (such as H.264 and MPEG-4)
  • Resolution (to reduce bandwidth needs)
  • Frame rate (to supply appropriate-sized video to devices like smart phones without reducing resolution)

ONVIF (Open Standard Compliance)

 IP cameras are fully compliant with the ONVIF standard, ensuring compatibility with software and hardware from over 200 companies like Sony, Panasonic, Samsung, and Cisco.

ONVIF is an open industry forum for the development of a global standard for the interface of IP-based physical security products. The ONVIF specification will ensure interoperability between products regardless of manufacturer.

Increased flexibility and greater freedom of choice. 

  • The standard enables end users to select interoperable products from a variety of different brands that comply with the ONVIF standard
  • Future-proof systems and more secure investments. 
  • The standard will ensure that interoperable products are available from a large variety of vendors, no matter how the market develops
  • Reduced total cost of ownership. 
  • Interoperable products result in less integration costs, and enable end-users to choose the most suitable combination of IP-based physical security products for their specific needs, regardless of vendor.

OSD (On Screen Display)

A menu system that displays visually on an display panel or monitor screen.

PIR (Passive Infrared)

A passive infrared sensor is often used in motion detectors. Motion is detected when an infrared source with one temperature, such as a human, passes in front of an infrared source with another temperature, such as a wall. The sensor does not dectect the "heat" from the object passing in front of it. Instead it detects that the object breaks the field which the sensor has determined as the "normal" state. Any object, even one exactly the same temperature as the surrounding objects will cause the PIR to activate if it moves in the field of the sensors.

The term passive means that the PIR device does not emit an infrared beam but merely passively accepts incoming infrared radiation.

PoE (Power over Ethernet)

The feature of providing both data and power over the one ethernet cable, eliminating the need for a separate power cable.

Progressive scan

For video surveillance, the main advantage of progressive scan is that motion appears smoother and more realistic. It is also a way of displaying, storing or transmitting moving images in which all the lines of each frame are drawn in sequence (different from “interlaced video”). Progressive scan produces a higher quality video frame every time, because it is using every line of the recorded image.

Real Time

DVRs that display and record at the full frame rate of 30 fps per channel of video are called “real time.”

Many DVRs do not have the processing capability to record in real-time. They record only intermittent frames coming from the camera. A full frame rate produces the smoothest, clearest picture.

A DVR usually specifies the total frame rate for all channels. If you have a 4 channel DVR with a total frame rate of 120 fps, each channel records at 30 fps which means it can record in real time.


The resolution of a surveillance camera's image is measured in the number of pixels contained in the image. The higher the number of pixels, the more detail in the image. Higher resolution images give you the ability to zoom into the image to see fine detail.

Typical Resolutions

  • VGA: 640 x 480
  • D1: 720 x 480
  • Full D1 (FD1), 960H: 960 x 480
  • 720p: 1280x720
  • 1.3 MegaPixel: 1280x1024
  • 1080p, 2.1 MegaPixel: 1920x1080

A 1080p image has more than 6 times the number of pixels as a VGA image.

RG 59 Cable/Siamese cable

This type of cable combines the power and video cable. The RG59 siamese video cable can be run reliably up to 1000 ft. Made of a copper center conductor insulated with Teflon surrounded by copper braided shielding all protected by an outer rubber jacket. Good stuff.

Sense-UP (Sens-up, Slow shutter)

A camera function allowing the user to select a slower shutter speed in order to let extra light into a camera. This provides higher sensitivity in low light conditions and may eliminate the need for artifical light.

SLR (Strong Light Reduction)

Sometimes also called HLC (High Light Compensation), SLR is the masking of a very intense light source such as car headlights in order to bring up detail in the normally lit areas, such as a license plate or face.

TVL (TV Lines)

Analog surveillance video resolution is measured in terms of broadcast TV lines as viewed on a monitor screen. Video quality is charted with converging lines of higher and higher density. The TVL resolution number is the line density where the camera is no longer able to reproduce individual lines. The higher this number is, the better the picture.

The digital recording resolution can be expressed in effective pixel dimensions.


VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. It creates a secure connection between an individual computer or private network to another private network, over a public network such as the internet.

A VPN maintains security by authenticating users and using encryption, among other things. Data is encrypted before it is sent and it is decrypted after it is received.

A common use of a VPN in CCTV surveillance is to securely connect NVRs that are on different networks.

WDR (Wide Dynamic Range)

Digitally adjusting exposure in areas of the frame to maintain optimum detail in both the shadows and highlights of the image.

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Article ID: 25
Category: Knowledgebase
Date added: 2014-08-22 04:03:33
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