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IP CCTV vs Analogue CCTV

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Customers often ask for the differences between IP CCTV and Analogue CCTV. Below is a basic run down on the differences without getting to technical.

The main difference between Analogue and IP CCTV is resolution. The maximum resolution on an analogue system is D1 720x576 pixels which is 414,720 pixels. IP CCTV cameras are known as Megapixel cameras which means they can deliver millions of pixels with the most common being 1.3 million and 2 million pixels. So the image quality is so much better with the extra pixels.

Analogue camera pictures normally run on coaxial cable back to a Digital Video Recorder (DVR). This recorder converts the analogue signal from the camera to a digital format and stores it on a hard drive. DVR's have a network point on them and you can give them an IP address and log onto them over a network like the internet. Power to the camera is delivered to the camera from a separate power supply. There is normally 2 x cable that go to an analogue camera. Coaxial for picture and Figure 8 for power.

There are devices called Baluns that allow you to run analogue cameras over Cat5e or Cat6 cable. Some Baluns can carry picture and power on the one Cat5e cable.

Internet Protocol (IP) camera pictures normally run on Ethernet cable Cat5e or Cat6. The picture from the camera is digital and is stored in a digital format on hard drives on a network video recorder (NVR). NVRs take on a few of different forms.

1. The first is that you can use off the shelf computer equipment and load a software on that called a Video Management Systems (VMS) that will take the images from the cameras, process them and store them on a hard drive. The advantage of running this system is that you can normally use a variety of cameras from various manufacturers. These systems are feature rich and can integrate with other systems such as access control and alarms. Power for the cameras come from a Power over Ethernet switch (POE).

2. The second form of NVR is a network attached storage device (NAS) that has an onboard software video management system (VMS). These systems normally have a good range of supported cameras and basic functionality. Power for the cameras come from a Power over Ethernet switch (POE).

3. The third form of NVR is an appliance that looks just like the old DVR. These plug and play devices are new to the market and offer the normal CCTV functionality but restrict you to a list of cameras from the manufacturer of the NVR. These systems are more cost effective. Power for the cameras come from the appliance. It has a built in POE switch.

If an installation requires feature rich video control, needs a wide variety of cameras and you are computer literate then the way to go would be to use a video management system such as Milestone on computer hardware. If you have a small installation and may use video to review issues occasionally then a NAS device or a plug and play device would be the way to go.

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