What is the Difference Between Network IP Cameras and Analog CCTV Cameras?
If you are considering installing a new video surveillance system, or expanding your existing video surveillance system, you might want to consider installing, or upgrading to a network IP video system. A network video surveillance system offers you a number of improvements over a traditional CCTV video system, like better image quality and lower cost to own and maintain.
A network IP system runs off a local area network, or LAN, which connects computers by ethernet. You access each camera like it was it's own computer, because it has it's own network IP address. You can control this camera from anywhere in the world and it makes for easier use than a traditional analog CCTV video system.
For years, Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) video surveillance systems were the only choice for video surveillance of your home or business. At first, the images from analog cameras were transmitted through cables to a quad, or monitor for viewing. With the advent of the Video Cassette Recorder (VCR), you were finally able to record the video to a VHS tape for future viewing. However, if you had to actually find an instance of needing the video for law enforcement, it required watching, or fast forwarding through hours of video.
This advanced to using a Digital Video Recorder (DVR) or DVR card in a computer to convert the analog video signals to digital formats. Then the video can be recorded to a hard disc, or burned to a DVR. They were still closed systems using CCTV cameras that were viewable only by the administrators of the surveillance system. Recent advancements have allowed those DVR's to have the ability to connect to the Internet, so you can remotely view the cameras from any Internet accessible computer or smart phone. The problems are that the cameras are still analog and the system is far from perfect.
While Network IP Cameras have been around since the mid-1990's, they were originally not as good as professional analog cameras. The allowed digital imaging, networking, and storage, though they were usually web-cams that let you view a tiny, grainy image over the Internet, or a local area network.
The times have changed; technology and IP technology have married up with the digital camera, to create the ultimate video surveillance system. IP network capable cameras have caught up with analog camera technology, and now exceed the quality of the video from traditional CCTV cameras.
The main benefits of an Network IP based video surveillance system is:
- A complete digital solution, no need for DVR's or DVR cards.
- Ease of set-up, no video cables to run.
- Power the camera over your LAN, no power cables to run.
- Pan-Tilt-Zoom is built in, no need for additional hardware.
- 2-way audio is built in, now you can hear and talk to the person.
- Interlace problems are eliminated in high resolution cameras.
- The video is secure, and can be easily scalled as you needs grow.
These are the main advantages of a network surveillance system over an analog surveillance system, so you can make an educated decision before you purchase a new system, or upgrade an existing CCTV based system. You should know that IP cameras are more expensive then CCTV cameras, as they are considered a little computer by the network, and have the digitizing hardware built in.
The cost of installing a network IP camera system starts to pay for itself after 8 cameras, as you have a decreased labor cost due to no video cable to run, you just hook up a switch to a local area network and run your IP cameras off that.