Whether you are a home owner who would like to be able to check up on your home while you’re on vacation or a business owner who would like to make sure the business is secure or running smoothly while you’re away, a CCTV video system is essential for security. Having a camera security system allows you to check in and give you some peace of mind. If you are thinking of installing a camera system you are probably asking yourself this question: Should I go with an analogue camera system or an IP camera system?
What’s the Difference Between an Analog CCTV Video System and an IP CCTV Video System?
With an analogue system the cameras are connected through coax cables and run back to the digital video recorder (DVR). All the videos from the cameras are stored on the DVR’s hard drive. The videos can be stored for a number of days or weeks (depending on the amount of memory). However the oldest stored video will be recorded over when it gets to the end of memory. The DVRs come in a few different sizes, (4 channel, 8 channel and 16 channel) depending on how many cameras you want to connect. Most DVRs now can also be connected to your internet router, which will allow you to view your cameras via the internet anywhere in the world.
On an IP camera system the cameras are connected over an IP network and the video is recorded on hard drives or an NVR (network video recorder). The NVR uses software to manage the videos and sometimes requires a license on a per camera basis and must be installed on the recording server. With the IP cameras the video is streamed straight from the camera and doesn’t require conversion from an analogue format to digital. A (power over ethernet) POE switch can be used to connect a group of cameras in an area and run a single cable from the POE switch back to the NVR, which allows for much easier installation as well. The NVR can also be connected to the internet to allow you to view cameras anywhere using your laptop or smart phone.
I already have an Analog System – How can I Change to an IP Camera System?
So you have a dated analogue system and you want to switch to the new IP technology. What should you do? There is a system called a Hybrid. This system allows you to connect your existing analogue and IP cameras on one digital video recorder. This is a great way to transition from your old analogue cameras to IP cameras giving you the flexibility to change to IP cameras over time without having to replace all the old cameras at once.
How do you decide which CCTV option is best for you?
The number one reason that the IP camera system is so popular is the resolution of the camera, and the quality of the images that they produce. IP cameras that have resolutions above 5 mega pixels and are considered higher end cameras. These cameras can record in 1080P and even higher resolutions. The high resolution gives a much better picture quality and allows the user to zoom in on recorded video and still have usable video. The highest resolution that analogue cameras typically have is about 580 TVL which is equivalent to about 0.4 mega pixels, which limits the picture quality and the “after the fact” zooming.
Another difference between an analogue camera system and IP CCTV system is that they are designed differently and because of this, analogue cameras are usually typically less expensive than IP systems. This is true to a point, as when system get beyond a certain size, the costs for an IP system come much closer to an IP system, and the larger the system gets, the less expensive on a “per camera basis they become – often to the point of being cheaper than an analog system. This is due to how IP based CCTV video systems are designed and installed compared to analog systems (which we discussed previously). As with anything, the value you get out of an IP-based system is higher than that of an analog system, so comparing prices of these systems isn’t exactly comparing apples-to-apples.
Buying a new CCTV video system or upgrading your existing system can be tricky and there are lots of options to consider. The choice between an analog system and a digital IP-based system is becoming an easier one to make, with the quality of IP systems improving and prices declining. Taking into account the info in this blog post can make the decision on how to proceed easier and less stressful.