If you’re searching for “security camera installers near me,” you’re likely looking to protect your home or business—but when it comes to selecting the right security system for your property, do you know which type of camera is best for your unique needs? In this article, we address the differences between IP and analog cameras so you can create a custom, optimized security system to protect what you value most.
What’s the Difference Between IP and Analog Cameras?
There are two primary types of video camera on the market today: analog and digital IP cameras. Analog cameras send video signal through a coaxial cable to some kind of video recording system, which converts the signal from analog to digital. This digital signal is then compressed and the data stored, either on a hard drive or via the cloud. Digital IP cameras record video in digital format without sending it through a recording system first, then transmit this signal over a network.
Aside from these differences, the attentive video surveillance system owner will recognize that there are different results for both types of cameras, including:
- Resolution: Typically, IP cameras offer higher resolution than their analog counterparts, with up to 20 times better resolution. For reference, analog cameras tend to produce images between 420 and 700, while IP tend to offer between 1.3 megapixels to 5 megapixels.
- Video quality: It is generally accepted that analog cameras capture lower video quality than IP cameras, but they also tend to perform better in low-light conditions. If you need to be able to zoom in on your video footage for finer details, it’s better to opt for IP cameras.
- Range: While analog cameras can send signals up to 1000 feet away through coaxial cable, the image tends to become distorted after being converted to digital format. IP cameras send signals up to 400 feet away using Ethernet cables, or limitless distances using IP networks, with no image distortion.
- Wiring: Because some IP digital cameras come in wireless varieties, they can sometimes go where analog cameras (which rely on coaxial cables to transmit their signal) cannot.
- Installation process: Most people agree that analog cameras rely on a system that is relatively simple to understand—an analog camera sends a signal to a video recording system via coaxial cable, which in turn translates the signal into digital format and stores it. This relies on one cable to send video signal and another to connect the camera to power. IP cameras, in comparison, only needs one wire to transmit both power and video signal; these cameras can also be controlled remotely as long as the angle they are installed at stays constant.
What’s Better: IP vs. Analog Cameras
When it comes to selecting the proper cameras for your CCTV security system, more factors than cost alone contribute to the decision. Resolution and quality, range, wiring, and ease of installation all come into play, but there are more factors to consider as well—coverage, overall security, and low-light capabilities come into play as well.
Benefits of Analog Cameras
While digital IP cameras typically offer newer technology than their analog counterparts, there are some distinct advantages to opting for analog versus digital cameras. Here are some of the benefits of choosing analog:
- Because analog cameras have been around longer than digital IP cameras, there are generally more design options to choose from on the market. This also means they are a tried-and-true method for gathering video surveillance, with years of reliable service to back them up.
- Analog cameras rely on DVR systems, or Digital Video Recorders, which is generally simpler to troubleshoot than IP networks. By and large, DVR systems are straightforward to install and operate.
- Analog camera files tend to be smaller, with lower bandwidth requirements. Because analog cameras transmit smaller video files over coaxial cables rather than LAN, they don’t take as much bandwidth as IP cameras. They also generally only transmit the signal when someone is viewing the camera’s input, rather than constantly
- Analog cameras are cheaper than their IP counterparts. This becomes especially crucial for security systems relying on many cameras for coverage.
Downsides to Analog Cameras
While there are several pros to getting a series of analog cameras over IP cameras, there are several downsides as well. Some of the cons of getting an analog camera include:
- More wiring. Because analog cameras rely on two separate wires to transmit signal and to charge the camera, they are a little more cumbersome to install.
- Lack of encryption. Unlike their IP counterparts, analog cameras cannot be encrypted, which makes them vulnerable to hackers.
- More cameras required. It often takes more than one analog camera to cover the same amount of area as one IP camera.
- DVR considerations. Because there are a finite number of ports available to receive input on your DVR system, if you end up with more cameras than ports, you will need to purchase another DVR.
- Installment considerations. Analog cameras have a shorter range of where they can be installed, as they must be within a certain distance from their DVR system. This limits camera positioning options.
- Government limitations. Government regulations on signal strength and analog frequencies make for limited performance on wireless analog cameras. Their signal is often influenced by other wireless devices and distorted, and can even be affected by fluorescent lighting.
- Lower image quality. Because analog cameras have a lower frame rate than IP cameras, they are not the best suited for zooming in or focusing on fine details.
Benefits of Digital IP Cameras
Especially if you require tighter security than the average business, you may consider dropping the extra cash for a cutting-edge digital camera CCTV system. Here are some of the primary benefits to choosing IP cameras:
- Higher resolution. It is generally accepted that digital cameras offer better video quality than analog cameras, with a range of aspect ratios and resolutions which can be customized to your needs.
- Simpler installation. Because IP cameras don’t require a decoder or encoder, there is less equipment required to get your CCTV system working. IP cameras also require less wiring, and offer zoom in capabilities once installed for ease of use.
- Video encryption. On digital cameras, video signal can be encrypted and authenticated for enhanced security.
- Easier to add cameras later down the road. Because of IP cameras’ open platform nature, they are universal and can easily be expanded to include more cameras with time. Analog cameras, in comparison, will require the purchase of more DVRs should you wish to add on, and experience limitations in terms of compatibility.
- Video analytics intelligence. IP cameras offer higher video resolution and are often compatible with analytics software capable of predicting fire and human behavior, sounding alarms, tracking patterns, and more. This is a distinctive advantage for high security endeavors.
- Coverage. With up to four cameras in one device, IP cameras can transmit four video input signals at once, using just one signal to transmit four messages; this is beneficial for both lowering licensing fees and maximizing coverage.
- Ability to go wireless. Because digital cameras are not as easily influenced by other technology like their analog counterparts, they operate quite well with wireless networks.
Downsides to Digital IP Cameras
While there’s a lot to like about IP cameras, there are a few downsides to opting for this form of CCTV security system as well. Here are some of the cons for digital IP cameras:
- Storage requirements. Because IP cameras offer higher resolution than analog cameras, they create larger video files requiring more space for storage.
- More complex than analog cameras. Because IP cameras tend to be on the cutting edge of technology, there’s generally more to understand than with analog cameras. This goes from installation to software used for observing footage.
- Bandwidth requirements. With higher bandwidth requirements, there can be higher costs associated with running your IP CCTV system.
- Initial cost. IP cameras generally cost more up-front than analog cameras—but the upside to this is it’s easier to scale your network and add cameras down the road should your business expand.
Security Camera Installers Near Me
Looking for “security camera installers near me” is just the first step in creating your ideal CCTV security system—selecting between analog and digital cameras is another crucial piece of the puzzle when it comes to making a custom video surveillance system. Regardless of how you choose to run your CCTV system, most people agree that opting for a combination of different kinds of cameras is generally best for ensuring maximum coverage.
When it comes to selecting from analog and digital camera systems, consult a professional security camera installation service like Sentry Surveillance to see what’s best suited for your home or business. Call Sentry Surveillance today for a consultation!