Time… A concept that is an enemy to some and a friends to others. Time ultimately is inevitable to most as death and taxes are. As we live our lives time pushes us forward and makes us face new obstacles ranging from old age and senility to political unrest and changing climates. One thing time does very well is lead to a rapid progression and change in the technological industries, and monitors are no exception. Be it a TV, a security monitor, or an iphone; we have seen a very rapid progression in monitor technology over the last couple decades that can boggle the mind. To narrow the focus in this expansive and ever changing landscape of monitor tech we will take a look at one area in particular; the surveillance monitor.
In the surveillance industry monitors are used mainly for one purpose and that is to monitor a security camera setup. Now to some people they may think that a specialized monitor is going to be needed to hook into a surveillance system. While this is somewhat true depending on the application the monitor may need to be used in; there are quite a few basic specifications that are quite universal in world of monitors. Factors such as whether you are going to use the now more or less outdated CRT format (Cathode Ray Tube) or go with a more modern LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) standard. Furthermore there are still some customers who prefer Black and White monitors over there color counter parts; and lets not forget about monitor size which can now range anywhere from a couple inches in size to an entire wall being filled with a single monitoring system.
To begin we will look at CRT monitors and there younger and more sophisticated brother the LCD monitor. Now we could spend the time going line by line and comparing their specifications and features next to each other, but that would be quite a time consuming and arduous process. Instead we will look at a few basic concepts that most customers will be looking at when making this choice.
First and foremost is the most basic of all factors that a customer would look at; space and size. Now this doesn’t necessarily mean size in terms of screen size, but rather size in terms of how much space the monitor takes up; a 21″ CRT monitor vs a 21″ LCD takes up quite a different amount of space. CRT monitors as they go tend to be very bulky and large as they must accommodate an array of tubes and electronics that aren’t used or necessary in an LCD display; which in turn can then be a much slimmer and smaller option; even though the screen size may be the same. For most people this issue is a pretty simple decision and they would go with a LCD hands down just for the sheer space saving it provides. This doesn’t even take into account the ability an LCD has to be mounted in more confined and less accessible areas.
Secondly when deciding between an LCD and a CRT something that people need to realize is the fact that as the days go on it is going to become increasingly more and more difficult to find support and replacement parts for CRT’s; this is due to the fact that they are rapidly becoming an obsolete technology. While this may not yet be as true when it comes to the surveillance industry it is very clear in the world of TV’s as CRT’s are no longer an option and LCD’s have now dominated the market. As we progress we realize however it is only a matter of time before this very thing becomes true in the surveillance world as well.
Lastly in the world of CRT vs LCD there is still one major factor that is keeping CRT monitors from being completely ousted in surveillance systems; durability. Durability is a key factor when it comes to CRT’s; because they are far better able and ready to handle more intense environments with fluctuating temperatures that would ruin an LCD display very quickly. For this reason a lot of manufacturing companies and the like prefer a CRT equipped surveillance system over an LCD system.
We will now move onto another topic of interest in the world of surveillance monitors and that pertains directly to CRT monitors; the option of a B&W monitor or one with color. Yes believe it or not there still exists a select number of CRT surveillance monitors that only have B&W as an option. As we stated earlier CRT’s are slowly becoming obsolete in the surveillance world as they have in the world of TV’s, and it clearly can be seen in this small segment of the CRT population. As time goes on there is still a small customer base that prefer B&W CRT monitors for their surveillance applications, and this can be rooted in the idea of resolution. Back in the day when CRT’s ruled the land it was generally known in the surveillance world that a B&W CRT monitor provided for a better resolution and picture clarity than their color counterparts. Even though this mostly isn’t true to this day after many advancements in monitor technology, it is still something that older surveillance installers and customers will feel safer with.
Another small topic of interest in the world of surveillance monitors is the size. Obviously for a long time people always would think the bigger the better right? Well that’s not necessarily the case anymore. With the advent of wireless capabilities and portable DVR systems there is a wide need for small monitoring solutions that are more portable and adaptable to a changing environment. So when choosing a monitor for your surveillance system; it may be a safe bet to put some thought into these needs.
Do you need it to be portable or stationary?
Does the monitor have to be fit into a smaller area or does it have a large area to play with for installation?
These couple simple questions are a good example of what to think about before making your monitor purchase.
On a more security oriented route there are a few quick questions that should also be in mind when purchasing a surveillance monitor. One question you need to know the answer to is how many cameras do you intend to monitor? If you are only monitoring a single camera system then you don’t have to worry to much; however if you are monitoring a multiple camera system you should consider the following.
How do you wish your various video inputs to be displayed?
Will you need a quad system to split the video on the screen for you or will you be running your monitor through a DVR that utilizes a specialized software to do that for you?
What type of connections will you be using?
Will you need any specialized adapters to connect the monitor to your system be it a BNC to RCA converter or a VGA to DVI adapter?
These questions are definitely something to keep in mind when deciding to purchase a monitor for your surveillance system as they can help prevent headaches down the road.
Ultimately when it comes to buying surveillance monitors for a security system or just buying a monitor in general be it for your computer or home entertainment system; keep in mind that yes it is an ever changing technology especially in the last decade and you should make your purchase wisely and with thought towards the future as to what your needs might be.