The History of CCTV

CCTV Installation Birmingham

CCTV is something that has just become a feature of modern life. We’ve all waved at the camera in the supermarket to see ourselves on the screen behind the counter. But CCTV has obviously not been around since the dawn of time, in fact, the earliest documented use of CCTV wasn’t until 1942. We’re going to take you on a whirlwind tour of CCTV supply and installation

1942 – CCTV and the War

The first use of cameras to monitor an area for security purposes came from Germany in World War Two. Walter Bruch, a German electrical engineer and pioneer of German television, invented CCTV to monitor the launch of V-2 rockets. During this period, the US also monitored nuclear weapons tests through CCTV to maintain a safe distance. 

1949 – Commercial CCTV 

A US contractor, Vericon, started promoting CCTV to commercial audiences. The CCTV ran entirely on wires and did not require a government permit. This CCTV was predominantly used for businesses. They only comprised of camera and monitors and, therefore, couldn’t be used to record footage, only for live surveillance. It wasn’t until a couple of years later that primitive reel-to-reel recording systems were introduced. Even then, these tapes were unreliable and expensive, so, as you can imagine, were a rare occurrence. 

1969 – Home Security Patent

In 1969, Marie Van Brittan Brown won the US patent for home security systems. This encouraged people to look further into the concept of CCTV. It was no longer a distant curiosity but became something people wanted in their day to day lives. 

The 1970s-2000s – Introduction of VCR

Video cassette recordings were good for more than your mum’s home videos, they introduced recorded CCTV cameras. VCR made the previously inefficient service significantly quicker and easier. 

However, there was a limit to how much could be recorded on a VCR and this meant a lot of things were lost. If you’re a fan of true crime, you’ll know that a lot of key recordings that could have aided police investigations were recorded over through to the 90s. 

Today – CCTV as we know it 

Nowadays, we have network video recorders that encode videos to stream the footage for storage or remote viewing. NVR provides higher quality than VCR and CCTV is now state of the art. 

Check out Unison CCTV’s packages and provisions for various industries here or contact us