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CCTV FAQs and Glossary


What is video surveillance?

A group of Security Cameras, Monitors and peripheral equipment that work together to view and record footage of your Home, Business or virtually any space or property

What is the purpose of video security?

It is a tool used to protect people and property while enhancing overall safety and improve productivity and accountability.

Are video surveillance systems complicated?

Modern systems are very user friendly and M & J Video includes an in person tutorial while installing any system.  If you can use a computer you will be able to use your system.

Are all camera systems accessible on my cellphone , tablet , and computer?

Yes, all of our current systems are fully iPhone – Android – Mac – PC compatible.  All that is required is a dependable Internet connection wired or via WiFi.

Can security cameras see in the dark?

Yes, nearly all of the current models come standard with IR’s or Infrared Illumination, which give them the ability to see distances up to 150 ft. in near complete darkness.

Are security cameras waterproof?

Yes,  Outdoor Security Cameras are built to withstand weather ranging from desert heat to tropical rain forests.

Are expensive brand name security cameras really better?

No, one of the most common misconceptions of the Video Surveillance industry is that Cost = Quality. It really should be Cost = Features.  First most important thing to understand is that 95% of the USA’s Security Cameras are actually built of the exact same components from the exact same factories!  For instance; a new model Sony 1.3mp Camera may cost you in excess of $500 and the spec sheet will tell you the most important component is the 1/3 Sony CMOS Image Sensor, this is the chip that produces your image.  If you look at a New TVT Digital 1.3mp Camera you will notice it uses the same 1/3 Sony CMOS Image Sensor; meaning both cameras create the exact same image, yet the TVT will cost 50-75% less!  So what’s the difference?  Sony cameras come with a plethora of software and user layers capable of adapting to systems you would see in a Las Vegas Casino.  DON’T Pay For Features You Don’t Need!

So, what about the cheap pre-packaged systems I see at electronic stores and online?

To begin with we receive call’s every day asking for service and installation of these systems and Yes, we do offer custom installation and setup of these packages.  However we are forced to uphold 2 Policy’s: We cannot offer any kind of warranty for equipment bought elsewhere, and we cannot guarantee quality / performance.


At M & J Video we believe everyone should have access to the security that they need.  It is for this reason that we do not ‘bash’ systems like “Swann”.  However we do promote informed purchasing so we have broken down the realities of what to expect with a store bought or ‘Pre-Packaged’ system

  • Image quality is the most noticeable as the most common complaint pre-packaged systems receive is “My Pictures are Blurry and just wont Focus.”
  • Most of these cameras are designed for Indoor Use, even those labeled as ‘Weatherproof’ bare no official testing and the 2nd most popular complaint is “My camera just stopped working after 6 months.”
  • Something that tends to be overlooked until after purchase is, when buying a pre-packaged set, you also get pre-made cables cut to designated lengths.  Pre-cut cables limit the area you can cover, unless you pay for additional cabling.


Interestingly, 9 out of 10 customers who require additional help or wish for a more custom installation out of their pre-packaged system, would have saved money overall if they had purchased the installation and equipment together, optimized for their environment, professionally installed by M & J Video, with full warranty coverage and support.




CCTV Glossary


(ALC) Automatic Light Compensation

The Cameras Built in ability to compensate for changes in scene lighting.



The opening in a lens that allows available light to enter the camera.


(AWB) Auto White Balance

Circuitry in a color camera that allows It to yield perfect color pictures in different types of lighting.


(AGC) Automatic Gain Control

Circuitry in a camera that allows it to improve performance in low light conditions.


(AI) Auto Iris Lens

Type of lens where the aperture physically opens and closes to adjust the amount of light entering the camera, Not required on cameras with electronic shutter systems.


(BLC) Black Light Compensation

Ability of a camera to balance the lighting in a scene with an extremely bright background such as sunlight.



An impedance matching device that allows you to send video signals over UTP (Unshielded Twisted Pair) more commonly understood as the ability to run analog camera signals over Cat5e or Ethernet Cable.



Short for British Naval Connection represent the standard video connector used in analog security camera systems


C/CS Mount Lenses

Standard CCTV box camera mounting.



Charge Coupled Device – a device inside of a camera that ‘takes the picture and converts it to electronic signals.


Coaxial Cable

Normally RG-59 or RG-6 in CCTV systems this cable has a copper center conductor and copper shield


Day / Night Camera

A Camera that displays color pictures in good lighting conditions, and automatically adjusts iris in low light conditions.


Depth of Field

The portion of a video picture that is in focus.


(DVR) Digital Video Recorder

A device that compresses and records video signals onto built in Hard Disk Drives see.


Field of View

Area Covered by the camera not in center focus.


Focal Length

The rated coverage of the lens in mm. Smaller numbers give a wider angle of coverage.


Ground Loop

When the camera and monitor are powered from sources using different grounds with different ground potentials. If a path for current flow (other than the coax) exists, ground loops are possible. Solution: Install a ground loop corrector or power all camera from the same source as the monitor.


(HDD) Hard Disk Drive

Memory unit that stores saved video recordings, sizes in Terabytes or Tb.


IP Address

A String of numbers that identifies a camera or DVR on a network, example



An aperture that opens and closes to determine how much light to be let pass through the lens.


LCD  Monitor

Flat screen monitor used to view cameras in High Resolution.



The ability to split your video signal into multiple outputs for multiple viewing locations.



Takes multiple cameras (up to 16) and displays them on a single input or screen for viewing / recording.



Network Video Recorder, used to record and view IP and Mega pixel systems.


Quad Splitter

Combines 4 cameras onto one screen for viewing / recording.



Measure of a cameras ability to reproduce details, measured in pixels or TV lines.


Sequential Switcher

Displays cameras, one at a time on a monitor and scans through the cameras at a customizable length of time per shot.



When a lens can see a long distance with great detail.


Varifocal Lens

A lens that can be set for various focal lengths to achieve optimal coverage.


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