CCTV Glossary and Jargon Buster


We know some of the terminologies within the CCTV industry can be complicated to understand, so we thought we would put together a blog that helps explain some of the most common terminologies that we hope will help you understand CCTV a bit better when you’re investing in a new commercial CCTV system.


Going through the brackets of video quality, 4K quality is at the top of the video monitoring resolution, sitting at 3840 x 2610 pixels as the 4K refers to 4000 pixels horizontally on the image/video.

F Stop

As simple as this, the F stop on a camera changes how much light goes into the lens, the lower the F stop means the more light travels into the lens.

IP Address

An IP Address (also known as an Internet Protocol Address), is like having an address present on a letter, an IP Address gives an exact location to the data that’s being sent.


Light Emitting Diode (in screens), refers to how an LCD screen is actually back-lit with LEDs.

Line of sight

The line of sight is essentially taking data from point A to point B, an uninterrupted transfer between the transmitter and receiver.


A device which increases the amplitude of a signal.


Automatic white balance is the camera’s way of light source’s colour temperature, cooler and warmer tones depending on the situation such as a “cloudy” white balance for a more overcast setting.


Contactless technology that’s able to store and transmit data within a short-range. NFC’s primary use is access control, event ticketing, transport tickets and the use of google/android pay on android phones.


Nitedevil is an in-camera function that allows lowers shutter speed to allow more light into lower lighter conditions such as nighttime footage.


Liquid Crystal Display – LCDs allow displays to be much thinner than a cathode-ray tube.


A unit of measurement for the Signal-Noise ratio. The higher the value, the better and crisper the camera’s picture and sound, with the usual decibel range ranging from 48 to 52 dB.

Response Time

Response time boils down to how quickly pixels can change from frame to frame, if the response time is inconsistent and does not have a consistent flow within the video, that would be called “ghosting” another word for lag.


PTZ is an acronym for Pan, Tilt and Zoom. A quite straightforward acronym that refers to being to rotate an angle the camera to the desired area.


A charged coupled device is one of the main components of CCTV cameras, the CCD converts light that passes through the camera into the image you end up seeing.


DNR otherwise known as Digital Noise Reduction is an important feature within cameras so they can have the very best quality come through into the final image, in addition to that, A=a 2D filter reduces noise in low light images, and a 3D filter reduces noise caused by movement giving less motion blur.


Local Area Network otherwise known as LAN, is plain and simple just there to state that a collection of computers are at the exact same location.


Video motion detection quite literally gives away its meaning in the title, a way of tracking movement within individual frames.


Audio which is made up of two channels, left and right.


When a node sends out data that is intended for transmission to all other nodes on the network, most commonly known for TV usage, broadcasting is one of the simplest ways to present an image across multiple video platforms.

Privacy Masking

Data protection act is placed at the forefront of privacy masking, certain sections of your CCTV footage may belong to people who haven’t consented to be on film, that’s where the masking blocks out these sections to comply with the protection act.

Pinhole Camera

A camera with a pinhole aperture and no lens.


WAN short for wide area network is the opposite of a LAN due to the fact it covers devices that are many miles apart.


The amplification level of an audio signal.


An unmanned aerial vehicle (an aircraft piloted by remote control or onboard computers).


Radiofrequency being lower on the spectrum than microwave uses electromagnetic waves that sit between 3kHz to 300gHz.


A camera that’s not clearly on display.


Has similarities to CDD but works at a lower quality.


An element of the system that’s not powered.


A filter that removes checked patterns in the image overwise is known as “moire”


A function that accesses additional features within the camera such as WDR, and BLC. Short for Digital signal processing.


Specifically the transfer between one node to another.


A one-directional electrical current, short for Direct Current.


Commands that two devices receiving data shall follow so they can understand one another.


A category 5 twisted cable that is able to transmit data at 100MB per second or faster. CAT5 cables are commonly used for audio devices.


A category 6 twisted pair cable that’s primary use is for carrying signals.


Backlight compensation settings allow the camera you’re using to expose the current image in its entirety in cases of underexposed foregrounds that are getting shadowed by an overexposed light source.

Mechanical IR Filter

A filter that tries to keep the original colours of what the CCTV cameras are recording, removing unwanted IR light.


Auto iris is a feature built into most cameras that allow them to open and close the lens automatically before the light reaches the CDD to allow controlled exposure.

Commercial CCTV systems advice

If you need help and advice choosing the right CCTV system for your commercial premises call our team directly on 01492 547997 or send us an email to [email protected] and we will be happy to offer free CCTV advice.