There are two different types of CCTV systems: IP and analog. Even though analog systems are older, advances in technology have greatly improved their performance over the years. Now, you can get high-quality analog systems for about the same price as IP systems. But despite the improvements, there are still areas where IP prevails over analog CCTV systems.
Difference Between IP and Analog
It’s a common misconception that the difference between IP and analog systems is that IP systems are connected to the internet while analog systems aren’t. This results in a lot of people falsely claiming that analog systems are not capable of remote access since they’re not connected to a network. While it is true that IP systems depend on a network connection, newer analog systems can be connected to the internet for remote access as well.
The real difference between these two CCTV systems is the way data is converted and transferred. As covered in our analog CCTV system guide, analog cameras transport video signal to the DVR via coaxial cables. Analog systems depend on the DVR to convert the video signals into digital video. With IP systems, the IP camera has an internal sensor that already records images in digital video so a DVR is not needed. Additionally, the data transmission is done through the network instead of over coaxial cables.
Using IP Over Analog CCTV Systems
One special advantage of using IP over analog CCTV systems is their ability to use PoE (Power over Ethernet). With analog systems, each camera needs to have 2 different cables that are connected to 2 separate things. 1 cable is a coaxial cable that is connected to the DVR for data transmission while the other is a power cable that is connected to a power supply to send power to the camera. IP cameras have the option of using PoE. This means that each camera will only need to be connected to one device via Ethernet cables that can transmit both power and data. Using PoE offers more flexibility when it comes to installation because there’s less cables to handle.
Video Recorder Independence
As mentioned previously, analog systems rely on the connected DVR to convert the video signals into digital video and for storage. IP cameras can be connected to a video recorder called an NVR, but the sole purpose of the NVR is to just store footage, not to convert signals. All of the digitization occurs on the IP camera before the data even reaches the NVR. Unlike analog cameras, IP cameras are independent from the video recorder so they can work by themselves. Using IP over analog CCTV systems means more options when it comes to storage. If the user doesn’t want to use an on-site NVR, then the IP camera can send digitized footage directly to the internet instead.
Another important advantage of using IP over analog CCTV systems is that they are capable of supporting intelligent video analytics. Since IP cameras already record images in digital video, it’s easier for footage to be analyzed and manipulated. Analog cameras can use video analytics as well, but they have more limitations; analog cameras need a separate device to convert video signals to digital which means that it’s more difficult to manipulate footage without causing image distortion.
Analog systems are fairly simple to configure when it comes to setup, but they are limited when it comes to expansion. Analog systems require each analog camera to be directly wired to both a power supply and the DVR. This means that the number of cameras you can connect is limited by how many ports on the DVR you have. Additionally, you would have to make sure that all of the devices are connected to each other and in the same vicinity, meaning less installation options. IP cameras will only need one cable if you use PoE and you have more flexibility when it comes to setting up. IP cameras can be connected to single switch with additional ports and do not need to be directly connected to an NVR.
Analog systems have come a long way since they were first introduced, but there are still a lot of advantages of using IP over analog CCTV systems. IP systems can use video analytics and they offer more flexibility in terms of expansion and installation. Analog systems are still good if you want a simple setup without any fancy features, but going with an IP system would be the ideal choice for those who want more out of a security system.