History of CCTV…

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CCTV has become a key factor in today’s society of security and surveillance equipment. It is all around us from little shops to big organisations, however, it hasn’t always been as high tech and reliable as it is today. Throughout the last 80 years there have been many different stages of how CCTV surveillance works and is recorded. 

Where it all began.

CCTV was first invented back in 1942 by a German man called Walter Bruch. It was created to allow German operators to observe long range missiles in World War 2. They kept this footage recorded on reel-to-reel recording systems but soon figured out that this method was not very efficient as it would need ongoing manual controls and the operators would have to thread tapes through the recorder to be ready to switch them over making this very tedious and time consuming. Bruch’s invention was used in Germany only until 1949, 7 years later, when it was introduced commercially gaining quick interest from the US government. It was in fact a US company that introduced the first commercial CCTV television system and a contractor named Vericon started promoting the system.


CCTV reached British shores in 1960, 11 years later, but still wasn’t very technical. They used automated sensors, infrared cameras and body temperature detection in organisations for surveillance. This system was only able to be viewed live because they didn’t have the capacity to record any of the footage. It was also still only commercial until a British woman named Marie Van Brittan Brown invented the first ever home styled surveillance system with the help of her husband. They used: 4 little peep holes, a sliding camera, television monitors and two-way microphones creating a closed-circuit system for CCTV. 


CCTV peaked again in the 1970’s with business owners as they used it to manage security in banks and popular department stores as these places were almost always full of the general public and valuables such as expensive stock or huge amounts of money. Having this security was definitely a stress reliever as it made it a little bit easier to avoid being targeted for robberies. They also scrapped the reel-to-reel recording systems because the new VCR recording quickly outdated it. VCR recording systems were seen as more convenient and they were relatively cheap to buy and run and the biggest benefit was that they could be left alone to record and come back to later to re-watch.


There was another jump in the improvement of CCTV and surveillance as engineers figured out how to connect multiple cameras to the same set of monitors. This means it allowed them to view multiple different areas at the same time making robberies more difficult to get away with. 

Early 2000’s

In the early 2000’s CCTV was changed forever. VCRs were replaced by DVR’s and that included: greater storage capacity, speed and image quality. CCTV was footage could be stored without any need for manual tapes making it more accessible and also multiplexers were built into the systems making it less time consuming to install. 

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