Discover the Real History Behind CCTV Invention

The security landscape has been shaped and reshaped by innovations. Among these, Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) stands out as a pioneering development.

But when was CCTV invented? 

That question uncovers a wealth of history that stretches back decades. Join us on an enlightening journey that explores the origins, historical milestones, and the evolving landscape of CCTV.

When Was CCTV Invented

The Genesis of CCTV

The Original Idea

It may surprise you that the origins of CCTV can be traced back to World War II. The technology was initially used for military purposes, primarily for rocket launching.

Cameras were set up to safely monitor launches from a distance. Essentially, when CCTV was first used, it served as a vital tool for situational awareness in high-risk scenarios.

In the world of security, the initial use of CCTV is a classic example of how military technologies often find civilian applications.

Who Invented CCTV?

The honour of inventing CCTV goes to Walter Bruch, a German engineer. He developed this technology to observe V-2 rockets launches. 

When were CCTV cameras invented? The first known use of CCTV was in 1942 during these operations.

Timeline of Key Events

YearEvent Description
1942Walter Bruch invents CCTV for rocket observation
1950First commercial applications in the United States
1960Surveillance systems deployed by police in New York
1970UK starts employing CCTV for public surveillance

Early Adaptations: CCTV in the 1950s

Crossing the Pond

Soon after the end of World War II, CCTV made its way to the United States. Its first commercial application was rather mundane, used for monitoring industrial processes. But it didn’t take long for the technology to catch the eye of law enforcement agencies.

Policing in New York: First Milestone

When did CCTV start in the US?

Well, the first significant deployment was by the New York Police Department in the 1960s. Cameras were installed in public places to combat crime, creating a foundational blueprint for modern-day urban surveillance.

When Was CCTV First Used in the UK?

The UK followed suit soon after, adopting the use of CCTV in the UK in the 1970s for similar public safety objectives.

The UK’s Role in CCTV Expansion

Surveillance in the UK: A National Priority

The UK has played a pivotal role in the widespread adoption of CCTV. 

When did CCTV start in the UK? Cameras first appeared in public places in Bournemouth in 1985.

Rise in Numbers: CCTV Cameras in the UK

By the turn of the century, CCTV became ubiquitous. Estimates suggest that there are around 4 to 6 million CCTV cameras in the UK today, making it one of the most heavily surveilled countries globally.

The table below shows just how widespread CCTV usage is in London:

UK Cities with Most CCTV Cameras

CityEstimated Number of Cameras

UK Surveillance Cameras: Public Perception

Interestingly, the prevalence of UK surveillance cameras has not led to significant public outcry. In fact, many view them as essential tools for public safety.

How Many CCTV Cameras in the UK Today?

The Data Speaks

Let’s crunch some numbers to understand the scale of CCTV in modern-day UK. Based on estimates, there is one CCTV camera for every 13 people in the UK.

CCTV Density in the UK

MetricData Point
Cameras per person1:13
Total Cameras in the UK4-6 Million
Cameras in London alone650,000

The sheer density is a testament to how integral CCTV has become in everyday life.

The Future of CCTV

Technological Advancements: A New Frontier

As technology advances, CCTV systems are becoming more sophisticated. From grainy black-and-white footage to 1080p high-definition CCTV footage, the transformation has been remarkable.

It’s not just the quality of CCTV that is improving from technology advancements. The power source is also being revolutionised with the advancement of solar technology giving rise to the use of outdoor home solar security cameras.

In the current era, we’re seeing the integration of artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms into CCTV systems.

AI in CCTV: More Than Just Recording

One of the most significant advancements is the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in surveillance systems. The technology allows for real-time data analysis, predictive policing, and facial recognition.

In essence, CCTV is no longer a passive tool; it’s now an active participant in security management.

Types of AI Technologies in Modern CCTV

Facial RecognitionIdentify suspects or missing persons
Motion DetectionAlert operators about suspicious activities
License Plate ReadingTrack vehicles of interest

Smart Homes: The New Frontier for CCTV

When it comes to homeowners who have CCTV, the rise of smart homes has dramatically impacted how surveillance is implemented. CCTV is often integrated into a larger home security ecosystem, interconnected with smart alarms, doorbells, and locks.

A modern CCTV system can serve as the cornerstone of a fully-integrated smart home security setup.

The Constant Evolution of CCTV

The journey from when CCTV was first used in military applications to its modern form has been nothing short of remarkable.

This constant evolution reflects a broader trend in the security industry, marked by technological advancements and changing societal needs.

Key Takeaways

  1. CCTV has its origins in World War II for observing V-2 rocket launches.
  2. The UK has played a pivotal role in expanding the scope and usage of CCTV.
  3. Technological advancements, especially the inclusion of AI, are setting the stage for the future.

Why You Should Care

If you’re a homeowner with a CCTV system or considering installing CCTV, understanding its rich history can offer valuable insights into its efficacy and potential.

As technologies continue to advance, the capabilities of these systems will only improve, offering greater security and peace of mind.


When Did CCTV Start in the UK?

CCTV cameras first appeared in public places in Bournemouth in 1985. Since then, their usage has expanded significantly across the country.

How Many CCTV Cameras are in the UK?

Estimates suggest that there are between 4 to 6 million CCTV cameras in the UK, making it one of the most surveilled countries globally.

When Were CCTV Cameras Invented?

The first known usage of CCTV was in 1942, invented by German engineer Walter Bruch to monitor V-2 rocket launches during World War II.

Here at Upcoming Security, we draw upon decades of industry experience to provide you with expert, reliable advice.

If you have further questions or would like to know more about the intricacies of CCTV or other security technologies, feel free to reach out to our team.

Your security needs are our top priority, and we’re here to provide clarity and expertise on all your concerns.

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Steve White

Steve is an experienced security professional with over 20 years in security installation and consulting. He's here to help you answer your security questions.