A balun converts an unbalanced video signal into a balanced signal which can then be fed over standard CAT 5 cable. CAT 5 is much more cost effective to work with than RG59 and also provides greater flexibility as up to 4 video signals can be fed on a single CAT 5 cable run. Baluns can be either passive (no power required) or active (they need a separate PSU but generally offer extended transmission distance).

In general, if a balun is used on a camera, a corresponding balun is also required at the monitor side to convert the balanced signal back to unbalanced to allow connection to a standard BNC input (DVR, monitor etc.).

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