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CCTV Monitor Facts - Get It Right - May 02, 2011

CCTV Monitor Facts - Get It Right - May 02, 2011

CCTV Monitor Facts - Get It Right
By Christian M Gillman

CCTV monitors have come a long way in the past few years, and it is a good idea to know how your surveillance video needs to be viewed before purchasing one. To help you make this decision we will explore a few of the basics about CCTV monitors.

Dedicated CCTV Monitor Vs. Your TV

The ability to use your TV in your surveillance system can be of benefit for smaller applications as it has the composite video (RCA) connections necessary to connect to your security cameras or DVR. The downside in using your TV has to do with the resolution. In general an older TV won't have as good a resolution as a dedicated CCTV monitor would. This is one reason that CCTV monitors can cost more than normal TV's because they come with a higher quality picture tube for better video display.

High definition televisions are rapidly changing the game for surveillance systems; at least when it comes to resolution. Some of the higher grade LCD televisions can easily keep pace with the best CCTV monitors and sometimes even surpass their capabilities. The main downside that still exists in televisions however is their inability to handle consistent use. If you have a HD TV that you want to hook your surveillance system up to from time to time; that is perfectly acceptable. If you plan on having a constant stream of surveillance video however, it is recommended you use a CCTV monitor that won't quickly degrade from prolonged use.


This is a topic that can be expanded onto many pages, but we will address some simple facts. CRT's used to be extremely more affordable compared to their LCD counterparts, but this difference has almost entirely disappeared in the last few years. In fact CRTs are now pretty much an obsolete technology, and as the next few years come and go it will become near impossible to find a CRT CCTV monitor as LCDs take their place.

The main advantage left to CRTs is their ability to be used in more hazardous environments as seen in the manufacturing sectors. So if you are in the marketplace for a CRT CCTV monitor you should probably act fast as they are almost completely phased out as it is.

Portable Test Monitors

If you are a surveillance installer or have a mobile surveillance system these are perfect for you. Portable test monitors are very handy tools that can be quickly hooked into a surveillance system and used to troubleshoot video signals or adjust camera angles on the fly. These monitors are generally handheld and great for short periods of use, but they are not very good solutions for standard surveillance systems. These monitors are generally lower in resolution and picture quality than a standard CCTV monitor and are not the best options for large surveillance applications.

Know Your Connections

As a last note before you pick out your CCTV monitor you want to make sure you have the right connections available to hook it into your system. If you're using coax, BNC, RCA, HDMI, VGA, etc...; you want to make sure your monitor will accept this type of connection or at least get an adapter to make it usable.

Christian M Gillman has worked in the surveillance industry for over 6 years. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter, learn more about surveillance, and find great products at

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