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CCTV Data Recovery

CCTV Data Loss and Recovery

Anyone who has been around disk-based storage devices for a while has had an incident where they’ve either lost data, the HDD has been corrupted, or maybe the media has been damaged in some way. The immediate response is usually panic. “That data is lost forever, and I had important footage on there!”. Or, “My building has burnt down, and my DVR is toast. I’ll never be able to tell what happened!!”. To quote the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:don't panic

There’s something to remember about data being erased from a hard drive, and that is that data isn’t really gone when you delete it. Not immediately, at least. Essentially (in very basic terms), the drive is told that the sectors that contained the data are okay to overwrite. So, if you’ve deleted data from your drive, or accidentally formatted it, the best thing to do is keep calm and don’t use that drive. Less time spent in use equals a better chance of recovery. That being said, if data is overwritten, it’s pretty much gone for good. Powering down the unit and calling a recovery specialist is the best first course of action. Also, keep in mind to try to act as quickly as possible, as CCTV hard drives are usually on a constant overwrite mode.

As it turns out, we specialize in CCTV data recovery, and we’re able to recover data from DVRs in most cases. We’ve been successful in recovering data from several DVR hard drives that were in fires, some with damage to the board, formatted drives, and corrupted files. If you ever find yourself in this situation, power down the DVR and give us a call. We’ll give you a quick and honest assessment. Our pricing is fair, and our turn-around times are usually within just a few days, unless there’s physical damage that needs to be repaired. We can help with damaged DVR’s, NVR’s, Hard Drives, SD Cards, IP Network Cameras and More! If you require CCTV data recovery, give us a call.

We love talking to people about data recovery.


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Seeing Color in Extremely Low Light Levels with STARVIS!

Starvis Compare

Starvis CCTV Security Cameras

I’ve been in this industry for a while now, and there have been a handful of innovations that have really grabbed my attention. STARVIS, certainly is one of them. For quite some time, a major drawback to to having CCTV cameras in a low-lit area like a restaurant or bar, is that since the light levels are below the IR threshold, cameras stay in IR mode (Black and White) all the time. In IR mode (night vision), you sometimes lose detail that may be important later on, especially color. In a situation where we need detailed images from our CCTV Cameras, like what color shirt someone is wearing, having a Security Camera that can see in color in low light can be very beneficial. In addition, there are unforseen times when something may cause the IR to bounce wrong and ruin a picture. I know it sounds far fetched, but we don’t have CCTV systems because we’re complacent.

Like I had mentioned earlier, Starvis is one of the few new things in CCTV (well… relatively new) that has really grabbed my attention. It allows for very low-light footage to be captured in color. The Starvis Back-Illuminated sensor, made by SONY, is incredibly sensitive, and since its introduction, they’ve improved upon the technology. You may very well be asking yourself what practical application would this have for you. Check out this comparison below and pick which image you would rather use as evidence or as a way of determining what color shirt a person was wearing.


With Starvis technology, not only are images captured, but the footage would also have extra information for the police to possibly make an arrest. Can’t see the color of a car when your cameras are in IR mode? What about a home intruder? The ability to be able to show the police exactly what they looked like is something that could be incredibly beneficial. Business owner? Maybe a restaurant or bar? Being able to keep all footage in color would help identify troublemakers should they start making a scene, or worse. Detail is better preserved in color. Beyond capturing detailed evidence, viewing your live CCTV images and recorded footage can be much more productive when in color. Imagine trying to explain to an employee in training: “Hey, when you served that woman with the, well I’m not sure what color hair she had but on my footage it looks…grayish?”

So Starvis Low Light CCTV Security Cameras are quickly becoming popular with Bar’s, Restaurants, Poker Rooms, Internet Cafe’s and a multitude of other business’s that operate in low light conditions. One Internet Cafe owner exclaimed “Wow, it’s great to be able to finally see everything in color, all the time! It always bothered me that when we were closed during the day, everything was in color but as soon as we opened, and the lights went down, my cameras were in black and white.”


So you’re with me up to this point, right? I’m sure you’ve asked yourself, “Which cameras are offered by Ellipse Security that have Starvis Capabilities?”. I’m glad you asked. Our STOiC Technology Line of Cameras feature many Starvis Models for your needs. Here is a quick list:

The STH-B3271 with not only StarVis, but an incredible 270 feet of IR range

The STH-D5561W Dome

The variable focus STH-D2100W Indoor Dome (2.8-12mm zoom)

The STH-B3181 with an IR range of 180′ and a 2.8-12mm Variable Foucus lens (also available in charcoal color)

And the author’s personal favorite, the STH-B2061W. Quite possibly our most well rounded camera, as well as one of our most popular. SmartIR, Starvis, a compact size, and also has built in audio. This camera could have an article all on its own.

And adding new models every day!

So, now that you’ve seen what Starvis can do for you, and have some ideas as far as practical applications for the home and business, give it a shot for your CCTV camera system. You’ll be able to see the difference for yourself. Still have questions? No problem! Give us a call!

We love talking to people about security cameras, and StarVis!

Toll-Free 877-880-7728


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A Brief History of Samsung DIY Security camera Systems

Ellipse has been a stocking distributor for Samsung (now Wisenet) Home Security Priducts and DIY (do-it-yourself) security systems for over 14 years. Over this time, Samsung security camera systems have changed dramatically, as has the industry in general. A brief (very brief) history is in order to truly see how far we have come since the first Samsung, Black and White CCTV systems came out back in early 2002-03. Back in 2003, systems were bulkier, less robust, and only available in standard resolutions. In those days, VCRs were still common for CCTV storage, and the DIY security camera systems were called “Observation Systems”. If you wanted to record activity, you could add a VCR to your package (don’t forget the tapes!).

Among the very first Samsung DIY systems was the SSC-12. This 4-channel, black and white CRT monitor was a switching system, meaning you could only view one camera at a time. Recording followed suit on these systems, since VCRs were only single channel. This was eventually followed by the SOD14C4LN. Perhaps the most popular of the early DIY systems. Theese systems utilized an RJ11e type cable to transmit video, power, and 2-way audio over a single cable.


The SOD14C4LN and SSC-17 were the first “Dual-Quad” systems available. And continued to use Samsung’s proprietary RJ11e cable. It was during the period that Ellipise Security came out with the first RJ11e to BNC adapter, so customers could add BNC Security Cameras to their RJ11e Systems as well as adapting their RJ11e cameras to BNC systems. From there, the systems evolved to employ web servers inside the monitors ,for viewing over the web. Systems such as the SSC-14WEB and SSC-17WEB allowed viewing over the Internet, but still required a VCR or single channel DVR in order to record.

With the introduction of the DVR (Digital Video Recorder), remote viewing moved from the monitor to the recording device. Early Samsung DVRs, such as the SHR-1014 were single channel and came with just a 60gig hard drive. Samsung DIY systems started to become “All-in-One”, with the DVR, web server, and power integrated into the monitor. The SMO210DN was an 8 channel CRT monitor with a built-in DVR. However, the monitor was extremely heavy (about 70lbs with a 21″ screen). Shipping these systems proved to be difficult, as they were oversized and very easily damaged.

Samsung took a giant leap forward with the SMT-190DN system. This system featured a 19″ LCD monitor with a built-in 8-channel DVR. It also included remote viewing and still utilized the RJ11 cable and cameras. Systems have also evolved from the first SSC12 and SOD14C cameras to more sophisticated SOC-C120 and SOC-N120, which incorporated night vision LEDs for the first time.


The All-In-One trend continued with the introduction of the SME-2220, SME-4221, and SME-4220 systems. But Samsung began experimenting with new cabling options. These systems, along with the SDE-120N and SDE-300N, began using the 6-pin mini din cables for video and power. The SOC-A100 and SOC-A101 cameras used with the 6-pin mini din systems were higher resolution (600TVL), and better night vision. Although the All-In-One systems were popular, these would be the last of the models with the DVR built into the monitor.

Samsung’s next offering turned out to be a popular one. In addition to going to a stand-alone DVR and no monitor, Samsung chose to go ot RJ-45 or UTP cabling for their DIY systems. The SDE-4001 and SDE-5001 systems were 8 and 16 channel systems, respectively, and came with several variations of bullet style (SEB-1005) cameras and dome style cameras (SEB-1001). The DVRs were internet accessible and came with a 1TB hard drive. Although the system used RJ-45 cable, they remained analog systems. RJ-45 cable was easy to find, and the systems were popular since many homes and small businesses already had RJ-45 cabling in place. It was at this point that Ellipse Security began to sell the PTBNC-400 for adapting RJ-45 to BNC.

Eventually, however, Samsung decided to go to using common Coax cable (BNC). Systems like the SDS-P5100, SDS-P5122, and the SDS-P5102 were 16 channel systems that used BNC cable. The SDS-P4080 and SDS-P5080 were the 8 channel counterparts. Night vision capabilities and resolutions continued to improve, first with the SDC-5340BC, and then the SDC-7340BC security cameras. At this point, resolutions were up to 720TVL.

The next evolution in Samsung DIY followed the industry’s push into HD Analog technology. Beginning with the 720p SDH-C5100, and the SDH-B3300. The SDC-8440BC cameras included were capable of 720p HD resolution, and still used BNC cables. Shortly thereafter, the 1080p Full HD versions came out. The SDH-C75100 (16ch), SDH-C75080 (8ch), and SDH-C73000 (4ch) deployed the SDC-9441BC camera with 1080p resolution and 82ft of nightvision.

Samsung DIY Cables

Which brings us to the current offerings available to small businesses and homeowners today. 2MP systems, and brand new 4MP Super HD systems are cost effective and deliver HD resolution, siginificant night vision, and storage up to 2TB included. The SDH-C75083 is a 16 channel system that incorporates a metal-housed, SDC-9443BC camera with excellent night vision quality. Its 8 channel versions include the SDH-C74083HFN and the SDH-74043, which are expandable up to 8 cameras. The newest of the Samsung Wisenet systems are available in 1440p resolution (4MP). The 16 channel version, the SDH-C85100, comes with 10 of the new SDC-89440BC cameras. These cameras are IP66 rated, and boast 82ft of night vision. The 8 channel 4MP systems, the SDH-B84040 and SDH-B84080, comes with 4 and 8 cameras, respecitvely.

At Ellipse Security, we continue to stock and support all of the latest Samsung Wisenet security camera systems and accessories. As a Samsung authorized distributor for over 14 years, we have the most extensive knowledge base and support for Samsung DIY systems available. We continue to be a partner with Samsung, and a leader in the DIY CCTV market.

Questions? Want to know moew or have an older Samsung System that needs upgrading? Call us Toll-Free at 877-880-7728!

We Love to Talk to People about Security Cameras!

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Using the Vari-Focal Zoom Function (Manual Zoom) on CCTV Security Cameras

How does the Manual Zoom Work on CCTV Cameras? It’s pretty straight forward but requires a bit of practice to get it just right! As you probably know, most Security Cameras are Fixed Lens cameras with no zoom features. It can help immensely in a CCTV Installation to have at least some cameras with a Vari-Focal Zoom or (Variable Focus) lens. There are both Manual Zoom, and Motorized Zoom Security cameras available but the Manual type will be covered here. Manual Zoom Security Cameras are cameras that have to be zoomed in and out, as well as focused manually, when installed. They are not designed to be used like a PTZ or Motorized Zoom camera. These cameras feature the option of what FOV or Field of View you will need for each camera. The picture then stays in that setting once installed. That way, you are not stuck with a fixed wide angle when you may need one of your cameras to zoom in to your entry gate, etc. We have included below, some best practices, suggestions and instructions for using Manual Zoom, Vari-Focal, CCTV Cameras.

Best Practice: If no hand held test monitor is available, try hooking up the Manual Zoom CCTV Camera to your Recording Device and/or CCTV Monitor BEFORE running the cable. You can also use a test cable if you have a spare or if you have already run the cable. This will allow you to play with the Zoom and Focus options on the camera and even get the camera pre-set for the angle and view you want (FOV) before mounting. Once the Security Camera is mounted and in place, it is much more difficult to get the fine adjustments, unless you have a Hand Held Test Monitor like the ones found here:

CCTV Installation Tools

* Warning: Do not force the zoom or focus screws as they can break and you will not be able to adjust them at all. If they are hard to turn, they are probably at the end of their respective turning ranges.

Vari-Focal Zoom


  1. Find the zoom and focus screws located on the bottom side of the camera. While watching the monitor, use your allen wrench to slowly turn the zoom adjustment. You will notice that the picture begins to zoom in or out (depending on which way you turn the screw). As it zooms, it will blur as the focus needs to be adjusted to the new zoom level.
  2. Now take the ‘Focus’ screw and turn it slowly one way or the other until the picture is in focus again. This can be repeated until you get the image you desire.
  3. The Zoom and Focus adjustments on CCTV Cameras are frequently slightly off from each other. In other words, if you zoom all the way back (as wide angle as possible) you may not be able to focus the camera. In this case, back off the angle a bit until you can fine focus. Your FOV (Field of View) will still be at the widest angle of the camera. This may also hold true for the narrowest FOV as well.
  4. The Focus adjustment is extremely sensitive and only needs very slight adjustment when fine focusing. If you turn it too much you may miss the mark. It’s OK though, just turn back slightly.
  5. It is always better to start with a focused camera, them zoom a little (in or out) focus, then zoom in or out a little more, fine focus, etc. Doing this incrementally will make it easier to find the focus.
  6. There are a variety of Manual Zoom and Focus controls on CCTV Cameras but the general rules listed above, apply in almost all cases.

Field of View CCTV



We hope this was helpful and informative. Please feel free to comment or contact us with additional questions. We are always ready to assist! Toll-Free 877-880-7728

We Love to Talk to People About Security Cameras!!

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IR (Night Vision) Application Issues and Concerns in CCTV Dome Style Security Cameras


Dome style Security Cameras are a large segment of the CCTV, Surveillance Camera Market. Due to their flexibility and popularity,Vandal Proof Domes are a commonly used form factor. Although they are popular for good reason, there are also some issues and/or drawbacks that could affect performance, Image Quality and Night Vision Images. We will attempt to address some of the more common ones below.


Dome Camera too close to reflecting surface

Mounting an IR dome camera underneath an eave or overhang, without enough vertical clearance between the dome and the eave, may cause the IR LEDs to reflect off of the bottom of the eave and bounce back into the lens, ruining the shot. This same effect can be duplicated in a variety of mounting scenarios. Keep the angle of projection of the IR’s in mind when mounting your security camera. Bounce back from objects too close to the IR is extremely common.

Scratches on Dome Camera Outer Cover May be hard to detect

We performed many test’s with Vandal IR Dome Cameras to see how anything from minor scratches to more significantly visible ones impacted images during day and night. A variety of CCTV dome cameras were tested with light and heavy fingerprints, dust and dirt as well. To the eye, some of these issues were not very noticeable unless carefully inspecting the camera and could easily go overlooked in the field. Even slight smudges, dust, or scratches had significant negative impact on image quality at night with IR on, reducing details and blurring portions of the FOV (Field of View), even if these issues were not present during the day, or visible on the dome camera cover itself. Very little force was required to scratch the polycarbonate dome. Never let the dome cover dangle against the wall during installation. It may sound obvious, but is a problem that we run into too often.

Fingerprints on the inside or outside of Dome Cameras Cover

Again, these may be very difficult to actually detect but will cause significant issues. Fingerprints can get on the inside of the dome camera cover during installation just as easily as the outside. Make sure the inside of the dome cover is clean before re installing. After placement, angle of view and focus is set, a final cleaning should be done before closing the cover.

Placement of Black O-Ring around lens is not correctly seated or off center

When reinstalling the dome camera cover, make sure the O-Ring that surrounds the actual lens is placed so that it keeps any IR from bleeding through. This will cause a glaring effect on the image. The ring should be snug against the dome cover all the way around. This is the inner ring that surrounds the lens.

Dust or Dirt, etc, on Dome Camera Cover

Sounds like we are beating a dead horse but, dirt builds up on the dome cover but is barely visible to the naked eye. This may happen a little bit at a time. The image will still be great in the daytime but as soon as the IR’s kick on you will see a plethora of issues. Be careful cleaning the cover as well. Use a scratch free cloth or you will do more damage than good.

Shooting IR Camera through glass is not optimal

Rather than ‘Not Optimal’ we should probably say ‘Inoperable’. IR LED’s will bounce back when going through glass. IR Cameras that are observing an external (outside) area should be installed outside. Installing the camera indoors and shooting through a window will not work. Alternatively, we have seen people put IR Night Vision Security Cameras into housings with glass covers. Same principle applies. Do not do this.

Use a Scratch Free cloth to clean your CCTV Dome Camera

Cleaning your dome with a rough or dirty rag may do more harm than good. The poly dome cover will scratch easily and should be cleaned gently with the appropriate material. I think we may have already mentioned this but it is worth repeating.

Wrong Camera Selection

In many areas, a problem can be solved by switching to a Bullet style Security Camera. ‘Turret’ Style Dome Cameras are another option. Some areas are not optimal to the profile of a Dome style Security Camera. Check with your Dealer or Distributor for options. IR Dome Security Cameras are extremely popular due to ease of installation and rugged form but may not be the best choice for all CCTV Camera applications.

Whatever your questions or concerns, we are happy to help! Give us a call anytime! Toll Free 877-880-7728

We Love to Talk to People about Security Cameras!       


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Getting the Most out of Your DIY CCTV System


Many of us have had that feeling. Getting a new CCTV system home, getting everything unpacked, going over the setup instructions, running cable… you get the idea. You get everything installed, get your security cameras set just right, and then you go to look at what you’ve accomplished. It looks stunning. And why wouldn’t it? You’ve worked so hard. You’ve taken every aspect into consideration. Fabulous.

But you’ve now asked your significant other to go walk around outside, so you can see some movement on your system. That’s half the fun, right? They go off on their walk and… you can’t see them for several minutes. What? Oh, there they are. Now they’re gone again…. No matter, though. Right? At least you’ve got all the entrances covered. Other than the side door they’ve just come in through. No matter. It’s okay.

That night, you take what seems like the 50th look at your gorgeous CCTV system, but this time… something’s wrong. These cameras are supposed to be great at night! WHAT GIVES?! You paid a lot of money for this security system, and it took just about all weekend (with help, by the way) to get the thing installed. Now you have four out of ten security cameras that look horrible at night. Why on earth are they so blown out and gross looking?

How frustrating.

Here’s the thing. Many people who are doing they installs on their own don’t have a good plan going into it. Here are a few tips for you to keep in mind if you decide to forgo having someone install your system for you.

  1. Have a layout plan before you start running cables. Even before you start looking at CCTV systems, you should have a good plan as far as your surveillance layout. You need to know which areas of your property you want to cover, which are key areas, and also have a good idea of how to accomplish your goal. Why plan this before you look for systems? Well, maybe you have a need for more than just a box system. One instance that we’ve seen first-hand here at Ellipse Security is a client needed to keep a close eye on a dock that was about 100 yards from their house. A fixed camera wasn’t going to do this for them, so they needed a variable focus camera for this task. The same client had a need for longer range IR than normal kit cameras could provide. A STOiC variable focus camera, and a few long-range IR cameras came to the rescue. Added to their kit cameras, they made this system something that was perfect for their needs.
  2. Honestly assess your needs. I really don’t know anyone who doesn’t want a fleet of PTZ cameras. Who doesn’t want to feel like they’re one of those guys who gets to play around with the surveillance system for the city of London? This author can sincerely tell you that he would love to. That being said, not only would this be overkill for the majority of smaller systems, but having that many PTZ cameras is pretty cost prohibitive for most of us. There’s also the flip side of that coin. Everyone wants a deal. Again, we’re all in good company here. But the rock-bottom kit system may not be what your situation needs. We’re not saying that you need to spend thousands on a system for it to work for you. We literally work with just about any budget, and can tailor a system for your needs, but it needs to be seen as an investment, as well. Give us a call for a free consultation. It’s not just a slogan; we really do love talking to people about security cameras.
  3. Now you have a good idea of the equipment you’ll need to cover the areas you need covered, you’ve picked the perfect system, gotten the layout perfect… but that camera just looks horrible at night. What?! Despite our best planning, we can’t escape physics. What do I mean by that? Well, during the day, cameras don’t have to deal with IR (infrared). It’s what makes seeing at night possible for CCTV cameras. It’s great, but also comes with a small drawback that needs to be planned for. That infrared light is going to reflect off of certain surfaces. Leaves, concrete, light colored walls, etc… Before you blame the camera, check to see if there’s any IR reflecting back into the camera off of any of the surfaces in your camera’s field of view. Debris, scratches or smudges on a Dome Style Security Camera are also a common culprit! Could be any of the above examples, so you may need to inspect and adjust your camera, or even trim some trees to eliminate this as an issue. Seems like kind of a pain, but we can assure you that the picture quality will drastically improve, so it’s well worth it. Try to include this in your planning and it will save you some trouble later in your install.
  4. One last thing to consider is whether you’d like to be able to monitor your CCTV system when you’re away from home or the office. If so, we’d be happy to help with this. Pretty much all CCTV systems these days have an app for viewing remotely. This can really be a great asset for home or business owners. Setting up alerts for movement, motion detection, etc… One thing, however, is that you need to plan a good, secure password for your system. Yeah, “Password1” is really easy to remember, but it’s… not good. At all. Pretty much every default password from every major manufacturer is available online. Leaving the default password on your DVR or NVR is like leaving your door wide open, with your collection of Rolex watches just inside, and a sign out front saying “Come on in!”. Anyone can log into your CCTV system and see your cameras. Live. Or worse. Check out our previous post called “Security for your Security” for more information on passwords and why you need a good one.

Let me end by saying that this isn’t an exhaustive list. There are going to be issues that may crop up. You may have a camera in your line-up that just doesn’t work for you. You may not have thought about bullet vs dome cameras. Maybe you need more storage space for your recording device. These are all things that we can assist with. With just a few minutes of consultation, we can maximize every dollar you invest, and make sure you get what you need out of your CCTV System! Give us a chance to show you why we love talking to people about security cameras. As stated above, it’s not just a catchy slogan (especially for a tech nerd like myself).

Call Us Toll Free at 877-880-7728

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Security For Your Security

If you’ve created an account on any website in the last 5 years, you’ll be familiar with password requirements. 8 characters, alphanumeric, etc… sometimes even special characters. Regardless of its inconvenience, it’s a good practice. So, what does that have to do with your CCTV system?

A surprising number of people leave the default password on their home security systems and cameras. A staggering number, actually. “It’s easy to remember,” you may say. Well… that’s true, but it’s also easy for anyone in the world to gain acess to. And then access your CCTV system. Maybe it’s your home security system, so they can peek in on your family. Maybe your business security system, so they can keep track of when you are and aren’t in the office / store. Maybe it’s just to access your system to add to a botnet (

Simply put, a botnet is a network of devices that can be used to do harm, like sending a DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack, steal information, send spam, or give the attacker access to said systems. If you think P.C.s are the only devices that are vulnerable, you may be surprised to find out that even Smart Refrigerators have been used in some botnet attacks. Chills your drinks, and takes out a government server!

Most people would like to believe that it wouldn’t happen to them, but sincerely, why take that risk? It’s really a simple thing to prevent. It turns out that “password” isn’t really a great password.

How would you prevent this from happening? Strong passwords are a good start. You really should consider a password that’s at least 9 characters long, alphanumeric, with special characters, and varied case. Also, rename the admin account, rather than just using the name ‘admin’. Here’s an example of a changed username and strong password:

Username: DAdams42

Password: h3@r70Fg01d

The password above has a special character, varied case, five numbers, and it’s 11 characters in length. Just write it down and keep it in your wallet or other safe place, if need be.

Yeah, it’s a bit of a pain to put that in every time you’d like to view playback on your NVR, but it’s better than someone being able to access your personal cameras. Now, this mostly applies to IP Cameras, but also goes for any home CCTV system that’s connected to the internet. IP cameras and systems just happen to be a bit more neglected as far as passwords go.

Now, keep in mind that if viewing your CCTV system from outside your home or office isn’t a big deal to you, you can always just leave it disconnected from the internet. That will prevent anyone from being able to connect to it remotely.

This author isn’t usually an alarmist, but botnets like Mirai and the newest one The Reaper (yeah… doesn’t really invoke images of bunnies and rainbows), can cause serious damage, and most people have no idea that their hardware is being used for this kind of thing. I’m going to include some reading material for you guys just below here, but to sum up my point, you really should consider security for your security. It’s a simple measure than can save some hassle and embarassment. And can prevent people from using your equipment and internet connection to do harm to others. Plus, the internet doesn’t need to see video of you in your skivvies.

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Why your Business deserves better than a Big Box Store Security Camera System

We’ve all seen the numerous ‘Systems in a Box’ in all of the Big Box Stores like Sam’s Club and Home Depot, as well as the Large Consumer Electronics Shops such as Best Buy. While they seem like a great deal, there are several factors that any Business Owner should be aware of before purchasing one of these systems to protect their assets. For less than you would think, you could get a fully customized, better security camera system by calling Ellipse Security Distributors.

Every business operation is very different. When you factor in the number of employees, lighting conditions, management structure (on site, etc.) you have an incredibly diverse set of applications. By calling Ellipse Security before you decide on which system is best, you can insure that you know what options are available to help you run your business and still stay within the budget. We will customize a scalable security camera system that can grow with your business and still be in budget!

Here are the issues that will leave you feeling short changed with a Big Box Store System (BBS):

    Limited Hard Drive (Storage) Space

With most security cameras offering higher and higher resolutions and megapixel images, recording space can be used up very quickly, leaving you with an inadequate amount of recording time. Most BBS systems come with 1TB or 2TB Hard Drives which is not sufficient especially when you are using 10-16 cameras, or your business is open for more than 10 hours a day.

      One Size Fits All, Won’t Fit All

BBS Systems generally come with cameras that are all the same or very similar. The camera that you use over your cash register and the camera you use to cover your parking lot would normally be very different, right? Some business applications require longer night vision or audio surveillance. The Camera cable lengths are all generally 60 foot with BBS Systems. This can obviously be a drawback. Most Security Camera Systems for business require longer or custom length CCTV Cables.

     No Support or Limited Support

Many of the systems sold in these Big Box Stores are lacking in technical support if they have any at all. Try calling the store? Nope, they know absolutely nothing about your system. Many of the tech support numbers have astronomically long hold times, that make you wait forever just for the privilege of speaking to someone who still does not understand your question.

    Cheap Hardware

Most of the BBS Systems focus on price point rather than quality. The failure rate of cameras on some of these systems can be down-right frustrating AND expensive if you are paying someone to install them. The Warranty may cover the camera, but certainly will not pay for having to take down the bad camera initially and then re-installing the replacement later on. That money you thought you saved? Poof! Gone.

    Firmware Upgrades are Rare

The majority of these systems are not supported beyond the initial sale. There are no firmware upgrades or bug fixes, etc. With technology changing rapidly, you may get a system that was rushed to market and has a glitch. Sadly, there is almost never a fix for that with BBS Systems.

    Proprietary Equipment

Possibly the most insidious issue on the list. A business owner who has made the mistake of buying a BBS system that has proprietary cameras will find out later there are no replacement cameras or cables available for their system, or, if available, they are extremely expensive. We have had many people call us searching for the non-existent replacement camera for a proprietary system that is no longer supported. Look for a Security Camera System that is NOT proprietary.

      Not Customizable

If there are (8) Dome Cameras and (8) 60 Foot cables in the box, that is what you will pay for. Even if you need (6) Domes (2) Bullets and (4) 150 foot cables. They are a Big Box Store, its about moving SKU’s., not about service. If you purchase from a company like Ellipse Security, you can get exactly what you need. Mix and match, switch out cables, we’re on it!

At Ellipse Security, we can customize a reliable, scalable system that works for you. By investing just a bit more, we can save you money and headaches in the future, as well as providing a system that works for YOUR Business. You can also talk to us about applications that many people don’t think of such as: Employee Training, Vendor Theft, Customer Service and more! For more information about what CCTV Cameras can do for your business, see our article: Why CCTV Cameras?

Call us today! 877-880-7728

We Love to talk to People about Security Cameras!

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With advances in CCTV technology, there come some challenges. If you purchased a home or business system more than a couple of years ago, you may have to consider compatibility when thinking about an upgrade. This may seem daunting, but in fact, might be a little easier than you think. Many of the security DVRs that we offer are actually backwards compatible, for the most part. This may not be the case if you’re using an older CAT5 system (don’t worry, there’s a solution for this as well!), but if your aging system uses BNC cable, we’ve got you covered! STOiC, TruView, Watchman, and Samsung are compatible with your existing cameras. So, what does this mean for the consumer? In a word, choice. In a few more words, choice, and an affordable way to upgrade your system in stages. You’re able to upgrade your DVR now, keeping your existing cameras, and over time upgrade cameras to get the full potential out of your CCTV system.

Something else to keep in mind is that if you’re using a system that is utilizing BNC cables, you won’t have to run new cable. This can keep costs way down, and turn it from a job needing a contrator, to something that can be done by many people on their own.

So, what about those who aren’t ready to upgrade their whole system? Yep, there’s a solution there, too! We offer one of the few security cameras on the market that is specifically designed to be a replacement for older SD Analog systems. Not only that, with its 4-in-1 capability, it’ll upgrade with you when you’re ready. The STH-B7300W is a wonderfully rounded camera. Capable of 720p in AHD, TVI, and CVI, as well as CVBS (SD Analog), this can replace everything from Samsung’s SDC-5340 and SDC-7340, to Night Owl, LOREX, and even Samsung’s SDC-8440. What’s better than that? Well… STOiC’s two-year warranty is pretty great, too.

Well… given my long-winded introduction, let’s get to the whole point of this entry. Below I’ve compiled a small compatibility chart. This will be updated from time to time, so check back periodically. One more bit of information for you to think about: the STOiC cameras that we offer are compatible with most systems. Not just the STH-B7300W, but all of our STOiC cameras. When you order, just let us know which system you have (or, using the handy chart below, just let us know which video type your DVR uses). We’ll take care of the rest for you!






TruView – TVI (5MP DVRs will support TVI, as well as AHD up to 1080p; 2MP DVRs will support TVI, as well as AHD up to 720p)

Watchman – AHD

Samsung – AHD


Swan – TVI (Proprietary)

Q-See – TVI

Annke – AHD

Nightowl – AHD

Bolide – AHD

Speco – TVI

Super Circuits – TVI


Now, let me finish by saying that if you have any CCTV needs that need to be addressed, just let us know. We offer free consultations on system building, free technical support for any product purchased through us, AND you’re able to talk to a real person. If you’re an integrator or installer, we’d LOVE to hear from you. Give us an opportunity to show you why we love talking to people about security cameras!

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Adding a Cost-Effective Public View Monitor with the VMU-100 Video Management Unit

How to hook up a Public View Monitor with the Watchman VMU-100 Video Management Unit

(Must be used with a Watchman HD Security DVR)


If you have installed Public View Monitors for your business, or for your customers, you know that they are expensive. Using a Watchman VMU-100 Video Management unit can produce results in a short amount of time with a minimal investment. The VMU-100 can only be used with the Watchman HD Security DVR’s so if you have not already switched to Watchman, call us to talk about how Watchman can benefit you and your CCTV Installations.

For those not familiar with the term ‘Public View Monitor’ you have probably walked into a grocery or retail store, looked up, and seen yourself on a big monitor. These monitors are considered “Public View’ Monitors as they monitor the ingress and egress of the facility by the general public. Many of these monitors are self-contained units with a built-in camera. In addition to being expensive, they present other problems with your security application. Since the monitor must be facing the same direction of the camera, placement of one or the other may not be optimal. With the Watchman Video Management Unit, these problems are avoided as the Monitor is receiving video from an adequately placed camera via your local area network.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Your HD Watchman Security DVR is connected to the network at the facility.
  2. A monitor is installed in the location that will be used for public view.
  3. The VMU-100 is installed at the same location of the monitor.
  4. The VMU-100 is connected to the Network and the Monitor
  5. You can now log in to the Video Management Unit and pull up the appropriate camera.

VMU-100 Diagram

This allows you to use any regular VGA or HDMI Monitor which keeps the cost of your CCTV application down. Because of the lower cost factor, Public View type monitors can be used in a variety of additional security applications. This can add revenue to your CCTV Installation and separate you from the competition. If a prospective customer gets 6 -8 CCTV quotations, and yours is the only one to propose a PVM, your proposal will stand out. With the simplification and lower cost, of offering the option of a Public View Monitor, many new applications emerge. The VMU can be used in situations where the Monitor must be in a different area than the camera. With standard conventional PVM’s, the camera is permanently installed in the monitor so options are limited.

One such application is a monitor installed in a tire shop so customers can watch the progress on their vehicle. Other uses for the Video Management Unit include Police Stations, Electronics Stores, and Factories. In addition to providing a cost-effective option for providing a PVM, the VMU can be used to view a multitude of DVR’s in various locations. For more about this versatile and unique accessory, call us toll free at 877-880-7728.

Learn more here: Video Management Unit

View Watchman DVR’s here: HD Security DVR’s

Or just Call us!

We Love to talk to People about Security Cameras!

Watchman VMU-100 Video Management Unit