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CCTV is the use of video cameras to send out a signal to a specific, small set of monitors. Many stores use cctv as a theft prevention deterrent. Cctv is used in a wide range of areas where large amounts of people gather. Cctv is also used in areas where security is very important. Many factories use cctv to keep track of entrances and exits.

Cctv is different from broadcast television due to the fact that the signal is not openly transmitted. Cctv is widely used for surveillance. Cctv is generally used in areas that need heightened security. Banks, casinos, and airports and military installations often use cctv in addition to security patrols. Cctv allows these areas to employ less security officers and still have a high security level. Many, if not all, cctv systems allow images to be recorded. These recordings can be used in case of any theft, security breaches or other incident.

In a number of large industrial factories, cctv equipment is often used to watch parts of the factory from a control room. Often cctv allows workers to view areas where the environment is not safe for humans to work. Many factories that deal with hazardous materials or hazardous gasses Install Closed-Circuit Television in order to keep workers safe. Cctv systems may operate non-stop or only as required to monitor a particular event or during business hours.

With cctv, it is not possible to tune into the security cameras of a local shopping mall on your TV. This is because the closed-circuit television is self-contained and, unlike conventional television, does not broadcast a signal. Each camera within a cctv is hard wired and has a secure radio signal that links it to the viewing and recording equipment. This signal is not available in any other way. This restriction is both for security reasons and also to protect the personal privacy of those one the images. There are many privacy groups that want cctv barred from public places while other groups enjoy the increased sense of security that these security systems provide.

It has become essential for cctv to truly be closed. The use of cctv continues as a result of the need to meet the terms of data protection laws and human rights. In a wide number of countries, cctv legislation dictates that many of these surveillance systems must also supply any member of the public, with a legitimate reason, with copies of any recordings.

A closed-circuit television used for surveillance may deter crime by being "a closed circuit" but it is also essential to watch over the public to keep these systems from being used for improper purposes.

Large companies now perform closed-circuit television and video surveillance across a number of platforms. Many times these companies often use securely linked closed-circuit television systems that are connected to a central monitoring and recording facility over the Internet.