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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: [email protected]

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


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What are the different types of Security Cameras and which ones are best?

Different Types of Security Cameras:

Why do all these security cameras look so different? Of course there are different types of security cameras for different types of applications. Generally, some form factors are better in certain areas although sometimes it is just customer preference on which CCTV Camera is chosen. Aesthetics can come into play in offices, residential homes and Public Spaces but performance will usually take precedence when it comes right down to it. Certain features work better on certain types of cameras, such as night vision on Bullet Style CCTV Cameras. Below, we attempt to give you an overall general understanding of the common form factors available in Security Cameras.

Bullet: Bullet Style Cameras are used in many Outdoor applications. These Security Cameras allow for more significant IR illumination due to their form factor. They are easy to mount just about anywhere with the assistance of the swivel brackets and can be mounted from the top or bottom. Most Cameras sold by Ellipse include a “through-the-cable” bracket that allows the cable to disappear into the wall so it cannot be cut by vandals or thieves. Bullet Cameras are the second most popular next to Domes and have an extremely large variety of forms for almost any application. Great for Home, Commercial, Warehouses, Gas Stations, Parking Lots, Farms, and more!

      Bullet Style Cameras can come in a variety of designs.


Dome:  Security Dome Style cameras come in a variety of shapes and forms and can be used indoors or outdoors as well. Domes are generally a better choice for indoor applications due to their form factor. It is generally more difficult to get long IR (night vision) ranges from dome cameras so if you need to see far away in the dark you should look for a great IR Bullet Camera. However, Security Dome cameras are the most deployed Security Camera Style. Dome Cameras can be Vandal Resistant and also ‘Turret Style’ Domes are very popular for the ease at which they can be installed. Dome Cameras are great for Offices, Homes, Indoor, Small Rooms, Low Ceilings, Schools, Colleges, Hallways, Gas Stations, Warehouses and MORE!

NC328-TDAVandal Dome Security Camera

STH-D5091W‘Turret’ Style Dome, also referred to as an ‘Eyeball’ Dome Camera


PTZ: PTZ stands for PAN, TILT, ZOOM. These cameras are great for live monitoring and can be moved automatically through DVR or NVR protocols (Like RS485 or Pelco-D). This allows covering a large area when using the PTZ and live viewing. PTZ style cameras are great for Commercial, Large Buildings, Casinos, Poker Rooms, Parking Lots, Large wide areas, and more!

 HD PTZ Camera‘PTZ’ Style Security Camera          

Covert: Covert cameras come in an almost endless variety of forms. Covert cameras are designed for inconspicuous, ‘spy’ or covert surveillance. They can be extremely small like the STH-CPBC Color Pinhole Board camera or disguised as something else like the STOiC STH-CWPC which looks like a wall electrical plate. These cameras can be hard wired or wireless and even contain tiny DVR’s. These ‘Self Contained’ DVR Cameras are also referred to as Spy or Nanny Cameras.

Covert Camera inside a Smoke Detector

Covert Camera behind a Wall Plate Blank


Wireless: Wireless or WIFI Cameras are a growing segment of the DIY and residential market. Of course, there are several applications for Wireless or Wifi Security Cameras as you might imagine. Wireless technology is getting better and better in both the residential and commercial markets. Wireless Security Cameras are convenient and easily installed. However, they are not nearly as reliable as Hard Wired cameras due to signal issues such as strength and interference. However, sometimes they are a necessity. In general, wireless cameras are used in residential applications out of convenience and in Commercial Applications out of necessity. When considering Wireless Security Cameras, it may be best to consult an expert. Some ‘Wireless Systems’ have wireless video but the cameras still need power. Completely wireless systems employ current battery technology to power the cameras wirelessly as well. Although this makes installation as easy as climbing a ladder, there are many drawbacks. Batteries cannot provide enough power for significant night vision. Also, batteries will need to be changed when they lose their charge (which, of course requires a trip back up that ladder).

Wireless Security Camera

Fully Wireless Battery Operated Camera


For larger commercial applications, and certain industrial installations, there are also Explosion Protected Cameras, Thermal Cameras and many others.

Certainly these Security Camera types can be broken down even further, but this should give you a general idea about which way to go. Of course, you can mix and match many cameras on the same system as long as they are all compatible technology. For our Technology Compatibility Guide: Click Here.

Still not sure which camera or system is best for you? Call Us!

We love to talk to people about security cameras!

1-877-880-7728 Toll Free