The History of CCTV

“Always eyes watching you and the voice enveloping you. Asleep or awake, indoors or out of doors, in the bath or bed—no escape. Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimeters in your skull.” – George Orwell, 1984

1920s + 1930s

  • Earliest video camera was made for television production with the goal being to allow live broadcasts


  • World War 2
  • Walter Bruch invented the CCTV for the purpose of learning about weapons, not people
  • The first recorded use of CCTV was used by the German military to observe rocket launches from a bunker, however only “live streams” were available as recording features would come later on
  • Surveillance cameras were then picked up by the US government to enable scientist to observe the effects of nuclear bomb testing from a safe distance


  • US contractor Vericon started selling the technology for commercial use


  • Primitive security cameras were being used for public and home security
  • Monitored safety at rallies and public gatherings – this is when preventable safety measures started
  • Introduced to stores and retail departments


  • London transport started installing CCTV cameras throughout the train stations


  • Olean, New York was the first city in the world to install CCTV cameras on their main street


  • Marie Van Brittan Brown pioneered the home security system with a patent
    • Her invention bought CCTV INTO HOMES
  • With this patent, it allowed people to use video cassette tapes, invented years prior in 1951, to record security feeds
  • First home video surveillance system with a picture display monitors were utilized


  • VCR Replaced video cassettes
  • NYC placed cameras in high crime neighborhoods to deter delinquent activity
  • Started to use CCTV to protect banks
  • 1973 – NYPD installs CCTV in Time Square
  • CCD Chips (charged couple device) was used for night recording


  • Digital video recording in commercial space allows building owners to “comb through” video footage with ease.
  • Digital Multiplexing
  • DVR made the process of recording easier by decreasing the need for certain steps and created ample recording space as well as eventually wallowing remote viewing
  • Local authorities begin to utilize CCTV cameras by installing them in heavy populated and crime ridden locations

1990s + 2000s

  • Facial Recognition Software
  • Time lapse and motion only recording features allowed for more functionality
  • Multiplex recording devices and ATM video surveillance


  • First IP (internet protocol) camera was released by axis (stand-alone camera + operated via a customized internal web server)

2013 – Current

  • BSIA – 1 CCTV camera per every 11 people

CCTV Requirements for 2021

  • Better image quality
  • Simplified install and maintenance
  • Secure and reliable technology
  • Longer retention of recorded video footage
  • Reduction in initial costs
  • Size and scalability
  • Remote monitoring capabilities
  • Integration with other systems
  • Built in system intelligence