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The Evolution of Outdoor Cameras: What Can They Do Now?

May 30, 2023|

From grainy black and white images to crystal clear video footage, the evolution of security camera technology has been quite a long journey.

The first security camera available to the public was a 1949 closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera, but using video for surveillance purposes has been around for much longer. Since those early days, technology has come a long way.

Today’s outdoor cameras offer high-resolution video, advanced motion detection, and remote monitoring capabilities, making it easier than ever to keep tabs on your property and loved ones.

Join us as we journey through time and explore the history of video surveillance and how modern security camera systems can benefit you and your family.

Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro and Spotlight Pro.

Pre-1940s: The first surveillance systems

The first surveillance systems date back to the early 1900s, a time in history when a new world of technological possibilities was beginning to emerge.

The earliest video cameras were developed for use in the entertainment industry. But in the years that followed, the Nazi German military co-opted it for weapons observation during World War II. German engineer Walter Bruch found a way to use CCTV cameras to safely watch the launch of V-2 rockets from a safe distance.

Soon after, the United States adopted this CCTV camera technology for security and observational purposes. However, this security footage could still only be monitored in real-time. We hadn’t developed the technology to record it for later viewing, so human monitoring was still essential.

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1949-1951: The first available CCTV systems

The first commercial closed-circuit television system hit the market in 1949 and was called Vericon. Its primary use was for monitoring industrial processes for safety and allowing students to observe medical procedures. This video surveillance system would ultimately pave the way for the CCTV security systems of the future.

It wasn’t until the 1970s that the first videotape recorder (VTR) was introduced. This invention allowed people to use reel-to-reel magnetic tapes to record and store video footage for later viewing, eliminating the need for constant human monitoring.

Depending on when you were born, you might recognize these video cassette tapes and the videocassette recorders (VCRs) used to play them back. But with its $50,000 price tag and massive size, the first VCR was far from attainable for most people.

1969: Home security systems

Back when securing your home meant little more than locking a door, New York City nurse Marie Van Brittan Brown and her husband Albert were not ones to leave their safety to chance.

Concerned about their home security (especially for Marie’s safety when she was home alone), the couple set out to improve the CCTV technology set up by Walter Bruch for the Nazis in the 1940s so it could not only safely monitor separate locations but also record the footage.

To do this, Marie Van Brittan Brown designed an integrated security system with a few peepholes, a moving surveillance camera, a viewing monitor, and two-way audio capability. This analog system set the foundation for the modern-day home security technology we know today.


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1970s to now: The progression of camera technology and features

Technology’s many advancements since 1970 eventually made analog VCRs available to the general public, making the use of CCTV cameras and video surveillance more accessible and common.

Security cameras continued evolving as well, shifting from analog VTRs and VCRs towards digital video recorders (DVRs). This digital recording technology allowed users to store their video on hard drives, cutting down the overall weight of home surveillance systems and saving lots of physical space.

Over time, this evolved into the cloud storage, high-definition video, night vision, and sophisticated two-way audio communication we see in today’s home security systems. But it hasn’t stopped there; Modern security cameras also offer a full view of your home and property with just a few taps on your smartphone.

Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro.

Modern outdoor cameras: What can they do now?

The evolution of CCTV technology is impressive, but what can modern outdoor video surveillance systems do for you today? Let’s explore some of the most impressive features of modern home surveillance technology and see how far these camera systems have come.

Note: All of these features are included in the Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro, the smartest outdoor camera on the market.

High-quality video

Remember the blurry news clips of the 80s and 90s? You could barely make out who or what was on the screen, and most likely, neither could law enforcement. Luckily, that’s a far cry from the quality of today’s security cameras.

Smart home security cameras have taken video quality to an astoundingly accurate level. With 4k sensors and high-resolution zoom capabilities, these modern cameras offer crystal-clear video footage that makes it easy to identify intruders and suspicious activity in and around your home.

And that’s not their only improvement. Some outdoor cameras come with a wide-angle view, allowing you to monitor larger areas outside your home. This is particularly important for large properties with multiple entry points.

Night vision and motion detection

Since violent crimes mostly happen at night (as do burglary and arson), high-quality night vision technology is necessary for any outdoor security camera. Fortunately, modern home security cameras offer infrared night vision technology that can detect and capture clear images even in low-light conditions.

For even better performance in darkness, the best outdoor cameras feature advanced motion sensors to distinguish between people, animals, and other moving objects. This ensures that you are only alerted when there is a real danger to your home, not just the neighborhood cat on a midnight stroll.

As an added bonus, Vivint’s Smart Deter feature uses lights and sound to deter lurkers as they approach.

Smart home integration

Long gone are the days when video surveillance had to be monitored at all times and cameras had to be manually swiveled to cover new areas.

Today, almost any device you can think of can be “smart,” meaning it can be controlled and monitored from anywhere as long as you have a mobile device and internet access.

Additionally, smart home cameras integrate effortlessly with your home’s WiFi network and other smart home devices such as thermostats, speakers, and video doorbells. This means you can use your smartphone to do things such as lock your doors, adjust your home’s temperature, and turn your lights on or off remotely.

As far as installation is concerned, most smart outdoor cameras offer a combination of hardwired and WiFi connections. This hybrid approach combines the stability of wired installation with the flexibility and convenience of wireless connection, providing you with the best of both worlds.

Benefits of outdoor security cameras

Thinking of investing in a smart outdoor security camera? Here are just a small few of the many benefits that make outdoor security cameras a worthy investment:

  • High-quality home security footage. With a smart outdoor camera, it’s easy to know what’s happening around your home throughout the day and night in accurate detail. The Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro provides a 1080-pixel video feed and infrared color night vision, and the Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro lets you use facial recognition settings to alert you when someone’s at the door.
  • Convenient access to live footage anytime, anywhere. Smart outdoor cameras capture and record real-time footage of your home, which you can view remotely on your smartphone or a central control panel like the Vivint Smart Hub.
  • Smart home integration. With just a few smartphone taps, you can check in on your home and its surroundings from anywhere in the world. You can also just as easily answer the doorbell from your couch.
  • Catching crime on camera. The belongings you keep outside the home may be just as valuable as those inside (or even more so). Capturing video footage of property crimes around your home may help law enforcement bring criminals to justice and your valuables back to you.
Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro. 

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With the latest technology at your fingertips, keeping your home safe has never been easier. When you’re ready to find the perfect home security system to suit your needs, contact our Smart Home Pros for a free consultation. They’ll help you choose the right smart home security products and get you set up with a professional installation that’s convenient for you. Give us a call at 855.822.1220 today.

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