Glossary of Security Terms


The capability of the surveillance system to send an alarm to the user’s phone/email by means of an integrated security system.


A wave is recorded or used in its original form, for example in an analog tape recorder, a signal is taken straight from the microphone and laid onto a tape. The wave from the microphone is an analog wave, therefore the wave on the tape is analog as well. That wave on the tape can be read, amplified and sent to a speaker to produce the sound.

Analog camera

Analog cameras capture an analog video signal and transfer that signal over coax cable to the Digital Video Recorder (DVR).  Analog cameras resolution is measured in TVL (television lines) and range from 420TVL to 1000TVL.

Angle of View

The angle of view changes according to the focal length of the lens, the longer the focal length the narrower the angle or view. The shorter the focal length the wider the angle of view.


Aperture is a space though which light passes in an optical or photographic instrument, especially the variable opening by which light enters a camera.

Aspect Ratio

The ratio of width to the height of an image or screen

Automatic Gain Control

Automatic adjustment for the brightness of footage when the light suddenly changes. Automatic gain control for audio is used when the volume becomes too loud and lowers the volume, if the volume is too low the volume will automatically become louder.

Auto-Iris Lens

Auto-iris lenses incorporate an electronically controlled iris, allowing the lens to maintain one light level making them ideal for outdoor use or any applications with fluctuating light conditions.


A function on the camera that automatically terminates the loop-through once it reaches the last device on the chain of devices.

Auto White Balance

The colour of the light will affect the colours in your footage. Digital cameras have white balance controls to correct these colour shifts. Auto white balance is a simple fail safe mode for footage, but the white balance may vary and you may not receive the colours you expect. Auto white balance in digital footage means adjusting colors so that the image looks more natural.

Backlight Compensation (BLC)

Backlight Compensation is a term which describes the mechanism by which an IP camera can compensate for backlight by enhancing automatic exposure control on the camera. Backlight compensation technology is designed to optimize the brightness of images through using digital signal processing.


The term bandwidth is used to describe how rapidly you can send and retrieve data over networks like the Internet


Analog cameras capture an analog video signal and transfer that signal over coax cable to the Digital Video Recorder (DVR).  Analog cameras resolution is measured in TVL (television lines) and range from 420TVL to 1000TVL.

C or CS Mount

A device for recording visual images in the form of photographs, film, or video signals


CAT5 is used in structured cabling for computer networks such as Ethernet. The cable standard provides performance of up to 100 MHz and is suitable for 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX (Fast Ethernet), and 1000BASE-T (Gigabit Ethernet). Cat 5 is also used to carry other signals such as telephony and video.

Cathode Ray Tube (CRT)

A high-vacuum tube in which cathode rays produce a luminous image on a fluorescent screen, used chiefly in televisions and computer terminals.

CCD Image Sensor

(CCD Charged-couple device) Image sensoris a sensor that detects and conveys the information that constitutes an image


CCTV (Closed-circuit television) - A television system in which the video signals are transmitted from one or more cameras by cable to a restricted set of monitors


A CD-RW is a blank compact disc that can be recorded, erased, and rerecorded many times.

Charge-Coupled Device (CCD)

A charge-coupled device (CCD) is a light-sensitive integrated circuit that stores and displays the data for an image in such a way that each pixel (picture element) in the image is converted into an electrical charge the intensity of which is related to a color in the color spectrum

Closed Circuit Television (CCTV)

A television system in which the video signals are transmitted from one or more cameras by cable to a restricted set of monitors

Coaxial Cable

Is a type of cable that has an inner conductor surrounded by a tubular insulating layer, surrounded by a tubular conducting shield. Many coaxial cables also have an insulating outer sheath or jacket.


A device or program that compresses data to enable faster transmission and decompresses received data.

Common Intermediate Format (CIF)

CIF is a format for a new kind of color sequences for video transmission. CIF is a lower-resolution form of video encoding. It is used in closed circuit television, DVD or online video design. CIF is a choice for less 'high-res' applications, in contrast to higher-resolution megapixel results

Composite Video

Aone channel cable which is for analog video transmission (without audio) that carries standard definition video typically at 480i or 576i resolution.


Compression is a reduction in the number of bits needed to represent data. Compressing data can save storage capacity, speed file transfer, and decrease costs for storage hardware and network bandwidth.


Contrast is the scale of difference between black and white in your images. Without contrast you wouldn't have an image because there wouldn't be any differentiation between light and dark.


Full resolution that displays 720x480 pixels (NTSC).

DC Type Lens

"DC" stands for Defocus Control. DC allows the photographer to change the distortion characteristics of the lens so the "look" of the out-of-focus elements in the foreground or background can be changed to produce more pleasing photos

Decibel (dB)

The decibel (dB) is used to measure sound level, but it is also widely used in electronics, signals and communication. The dB is a logarithmic way of describing a ratio. The ratio may be power, sound pressure, voltage or intensity or several other things.


Deinterlacing is the process of converting interlaced video, such as common analog television signals or 1080i format HDTV signals, into a non-interlaced form. The deinterlace video setting is one of the easiest ways to dramatically improve your video quality.

Depth of Field

Depth of field is the distance between the nearest and farthest objects in a scene that appear acceptably sharp in an image.

Digital Video Recorder (DVR)

DVR is an electronic device that records video in a digital format to a disk drive, USB flash drive, SD memory card, SSD, local or networked mass storage device. Cameras connected to the DVR are analog cameras and connected with coaxial cables.

Digital Signal

A digital signal refers to an electrical signal that is converted into a pattern of bits and has a discrete value at each sampling point.

Dwell Time

The time lapse when switching between two cameras.

Dynamic Noise Reduction (DNR)

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.

Dynamic IP Address

Most devices use dynamic IP addresses, which are assigned by the network when they connect. These IP addresses are temporary, and can change over time.


Ethernet is used to connect networks together.

Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA)

An organization that standardized equipment manufactured by companies and ensured they were compatible.


Encoder is a circuit which converts the analog signal into a digital signal. Decoder is a circuit which converts the digital signal into analog signal, its input will be in digital form while the output will be a continuous sine wave or analog wave.

Field of View

Field of view is the area that is visible through the camera.


A filter that blocks access to bad websites on your computer

Frames per Second (FPS)

A measurement used for the DVR recording speed.  30 FPS is real-time recording.


FTP (file transfer protocol) is a standard network protocol used to transfer files between a client and server over a network.

Ground Loop

Video interference which causes horizontal lines on the monitor.  Could be caused by running the cable too close to a power line.


Is a block-oriented motion-compensation-based video compression standard that is currently one of the most commonly used formats for the recording, compression, and distribution of video content.

Hard Disk Drive (HDD)

Is a data storage device used for storing and retrieving digital information using one or more rigid rapidly rotating disks (platters) coated with magnetic material.


A switch located mainly on video recorders, which allows for switching the termination feature off.  This feature enables video signal transmission to other devices.


HVR stands for hybrid video recorder whichis used to record video footage in a digital format to a hard disk drive (HDD). It accommodates both IP and analog cameras and captures video/images through an Ethernet network via Cat5 / Cat6 cables from IP cameras as well as coaxial cables from analog cameras.

Image Compression

Image compression minimizes the size in bytes of the file without degrading the image quality. Reducing the image size allows more files to be stored on the specific memory system.

Infrared (IR)

In the light spectrum, it comes below the color red, invisible to the naked eye.

Infrared Cut Filter Removal (ICR)

An IR filter that is placed in front of the image sensor in a camera lens to remove infrared wavelengths that distort the image during daylight. During the night the IR cut filter lens is removed from the lens proving you to see clear night vision.

Ingress Protection (IP) Rating

Classifies and rates the degree of protection provided against intrusion (body parts such as hands and fingers), dust, accidental contact, and water by mechanical casings and electrical enclosures.

Input/Output (I/O)

A device that can be integrated with a DVR or NVR and can be controlled, i.e. microphone, alarm, PTZ controller.

IP (Internet Protocol)

IP (internet protocol)is a method used to send data from one computer to another over the internet.

IP Address

IP (internet protocol) address is a numerical label assigned to each device which is participating in a computer network which uses internet protocol for communication.

IP Camera

IP (internet protocol) camera is a type of digital video camera which can send and receive data via a computer network and the internet.


An Internet protocol camera, or IP camera, is a type of digital video camera commonly employed for surveillance, and which, unlike analog closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras, can send and receive data via a computer network and the Internet.

Internet Service Provider (ISP)

The company that controls/provides internet access to a consumer.


JPEG (joint photographic experts group) is a format uses for compressing image files.


LAN (local area network) is a group of computers and associated devices that share a common communication line or wireless link to a server.

License Plate Recognition (LPR)

Software that has the ability to read and store license plates on cars.  It has the ability to count cars and when applied with a sensor, it can capture images of speeding cars or red-light violating cars.

Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)

A semiconductor of light. In CCTV, it is paired with IR to shed an IR light in low lighting conditions.

Loop Through

A feature in CCTV that enables transmission of video from one device to another through cables.  Only available on devices that feature Video In and Video Out.


Lux is used to measure the amount of light output in a given area, where one lux is equal to one lumen square meter, a light that is configured for high lux output will travel further but will have a smaller footprint of light (e.g. lighthouse spotlight), and a low lux level will be configured at a shorter travel distance but have a larger footprint (e.g. typical house lights).

Megapixel IP Camera

Megapixel means one million pixels, 2 megapixel or 2MP equals two million pixels, a megapixel IP camera is a camera that can produce high quality resolution images and able to send the video signal through a wired or wireless network.

Motion Detection

Motion detection is the process of detecting a change in the position of an object relative to its surroundings or a change in the surroundings relative to an object.


MJPEG (motion JPEG) is a video compression format in which each video frame or interlaced field of a digital sequence is compressed separately as a JPEG image.


MPEG (moving picture experts group) is an international standard for encoding and compressing video images.


Designated a standard for a group of audio and video coding formats and related technologies.

Multiplexer (MUX)

A device that allows for the viewing of multiple analog cameras on one screen. The video feed is transmitted from a VCR.  A 2 camera multiplexer is called duplex, 3 triplex, and 4 quad.

Network Camera

Network camera also called an IP (internet protocol) camera is a type of digital video camera which can send and receive data via a computer network and the internet.

Network Video Recorder (NVR)

NVR is a software program that records video in a digital format to a disk drive, USB flash drive, SD memory card or any mass local or network storage device. NVR uses IP cameras and are connected with PoE cables or use wireless cameras.


Pan is the movement of a PTZ camera, whereby pan is the horizontal pivot of the camera.


Accessories that can be connected to a computer, or I/O, i.e. monitors, keyboard, printer, mouse, etc.

Phase Alternating Line (PAL)

An analog TV encoding system used in most of Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America.

Picture-in-Picture (PIP)

A feature that allows for the display of one large camera image on the screen surrounded by smaller camera images.


Picture element, the smallest unit in an image.

Port Forwarding

The process of opening ports on a router to allow incoming and outgoing traffic that is not defined in the routers set of rules.  This is put into effect when setting up remote viewing.

Privacy Masking

A function on the camera that allows you to mask a frequently moving object, so it does not activate motion detection.

Power over Ethernet (PoE)

PoE is a cable that has RJ45 plugs on both sides, used to connect wired LANs (local networks areas) and IP cameras up to NVRs, cables send electrical current and data though the single cable.


PTZ (pan, tilt and zoom) is a specific type of camera that has pan, tilt and zoom movement options available by remote controlling, also auto tracking objects.

Remote Viewing

A feature on DVRs and NVRs that allows the owner to view live and recorded footage from a laptop, smart phone, or tablet, as long as it has internet connection.


Resolution is the number of pixels contained on a display monitor,resolution is measured by the number of pixels horizontal by pixels vertically.


SÉCAM, or Séquentielcouleur à mémoire, is French for Sequential Color with Memory.  It is a French analog TV system.


A sever is a computer, program or device which is dedicated to managing network resources, there are a number of categories of servers such as, print servers, video servers, file servers, network servers and database servers.

Tampering Alarm

Active Tampering Alarm is a video intelligence feature in network cameras that enables security staff to detect disruptions by automatically alerting an operator or setting off an alarm when a camera has been diverted, obstructed or manipulated.


Tilt is the movement of a PTZ camera, tilt is where the camera will move up and down in a vertical direction.

TV Lines (TVL)

Or lines per picture height, is the number of horizontal alternating dark and light lines on a camera.  The higher the TVL, the higher the resolution, but the smaller the angle of viewing is.

Uninterrupted Power Supply

Equipment that supplies power in the case of power failure, i.e. batteries or generator.

Varifocal Lens

A lens whose focal length can be changed manually, has multiple focal lengths.

Vertical Interval Switching

The seamless switch between two cameras, no time is elapsed.

Video Cassette Recorder (VCR)

A device that records video and audio onto a VHS tape.  This is an outdated device that has been replaced with DVRs and NVRs.

Video Graphics Array

A connector with three rows of 5 pins each, typically used with computers or hi-def TVs.  VGA is also a display resolution, 640x480 pixels.

Video Server

a video server is a computer-based device also called a “host”, dedicated to taking in, storing and delivering video.

Visible Light

The light spectrum that is visible to the naked eye.


A digital audio recording file.

Wireless Network Camera

A wireless network camera can send all the video and audio data through a network without using any wires.Some wireless cameras only need wires to be connected to a power supply while some cameras need no wires as they are battery operated.


WPA (Wi-Fi protected access) is a security protocol designed to create secure wireless (Wi-Fi) networks.

Wide Dynamic Range (WDR)

The ability of a camera to compensate with multiple levels of light for the back light behind an object.


The ability of a camera to magnify a picture.

Zoom Lens

A lens with the ability to zoom in and out without losing image quality.

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