Anyone who is planning on getting a new video surveillance installed or an old one upgraded will have to deal with choosing between an IP and analog video format. It is important to remember that even though IP (Internet Protocol) is a newer and more capable format, there are still cases where analog may be the better choice. It all depends on a few factors and your specific requirements.
But first, we need to understand what the two different formats are:
Analog Video Security System
Analog video cameras use conventional base band format over coaxial or UTP cables as a means of transmitting video to a destination, which in most cases is a DVR. While the live and recorded video is transmitted in analog format, it can still be accessed over LAN, WAN, or through the Internet because DVRs can digitize the video and store them on hard drives.
IP Video Security System
As the IP in the name implies, IP video cameras transmit video as a digital stream via an IP network. Similar to analog, IP video security systems record the video stream to a hard drive, but where it differs is that the DVR is typically replaced with a Network Video Recorder (NVR). Additionally, since the video is transmitted in a digital format, there is no longer any need to convert the stream from analog to digital, making transmission faster and allowing for more flexibility as to where the video is stored.
Which Format to Choose?
As mentioned earlier, the choice between IP vs analog video security will ultimately rely on several factors and how important these factors are to you.
Cost – in terms of cost, analog video security systems have the upper hand, as IP video security systems usually cost more. However, if the system is designed from scratch instead of built piece by piece over time, a camera system installer can ensure that the cost difference is minimal.
Resolution – if you are after video quality, IP video cameras are the only choice. Analog cameras tend to have a max resolution of 580 TVL, which is roughly equivalent to 0.4 megapixels. IP video cameras, on the other hand, have a lot more leeway and it’s very common to see resolutions beyond 5 megapixels. A high enough resolution is important if you want the ability to zoom in on videos without losing too much detail.
Wireless Capability – while there are wireless analog systems, they are usually counter-intuitive because they need another piece of hardware to encode the analog signal and convert it so that it can be broadcast over an 802.11 IP network. Otherwise, they could encounter interference. IP video, on the other hand, is made for wireless application. If you need a wireless system, you will end up saving more if you go with an IP video security system and you’ll have less problems setting everything up.
While the existence of IP video does not necessarily render analog systems obsolete, IP video security systems end up being the better choice due to several benefits that more than make up for the slight difference in price.
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