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Analog vs. IP Cameras: Which is Right for You?

Last updated 2 years ago

Both analog and IP security cameras can serve your business or apartment building with a variety of benefits. Below is a brief comparison between the two systems:

  • System Setup: Modern analog systems are a hybrid of old and new technology. Analog security cameras are connected to a digital video recorder (DVR), where the signal is digitized and archived electronically.  These hybrid systems allow for the transfer of video data over network connections, so that users can remotely monitor their buildings via the internet.  A completely IP-based system can eliminate the need for a DVR to record footage, as some cameras have built in slots for memory cards.  Users can access the camera directly via software or sometimes even a simple web page.  Footage can also be sent to a network attached storage device.  Both hybrid and all-IP systems have their place and it is best to talk with a security expert in order to determine which system best suits your needs and budget. 

  • Camera Types: Analog and IP cameras have made great advancements in the past few years.  Analog cameras provide an analog signal output which is measured in TV-Lines.  Most color cameras provide anywhere from 480 to 540 TVL of resolution, while black and white cameras can reach as high as 600 TVL.  The analog camera’s signal is converted to digital by the DVR unit, which typically records at a resolution of 352 pixels x 288 or at a higher resolution of 704 pixels x 480.  IP Cameras produce a digital image much like that of a digital still camera.  Typically IP cameras provide a larger digital image than their analog counterparts and start with sizes of 640 pixels x 480 pixels.  The increase in pixel count means that the image can be enlarged further without degrading the quality.  IP cameras also differ from analog ones in the wiring that they use.  IP cameras can be connected to the infrastructure of an existing network, saving money on the overall installation.  If network bandwidth or security is a concern, analog cameras are directly connected to the DVR, eliminating the direct connection to the network. 

  • Initial Cost: Analog cameras are typically less expensive than their IP counterparts. However, a number of variables could actually make IP the cheaper option for your building. For instance, the improved video resolution of an IP camera may mean that one camera could be used to cover an area that would normally need two or more analog cameras.  Additionally, if only a few cameras are needed, eliminating the DVR that’s required in an analog system could also save money.  When determining what system is right for your application, you need to consider several factors beyond the installation cost.

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