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IP or Analog HD CCTV

One of the biggest areas of confusion within CCTV surrounds the decision of whether to fit an IP or an Analog based CCTV System. What are they and how do they differ?


IP CCTV uses your network which in a home or small business will be based around your internet router to constantly stream images from the cameras to an NVR or network video recorder. Each individual camera is assigned an internal IP address and the NVR looks for the cameras on the network.

The big advantage of IP CCTV is that you don't have to wire each camera directly to the NVR, you just need to connect them to your network. This makes covering large sites easier. Power for the cameras can either come from a 12-volt adaptor locally or be PoE (power over ethernet). The system may seem a bit complicated at first with network switches and so on but most equipment is plug-and-play. One of the big advantages of buying from us is that we are real people at the end of the phone if you have any questions.

You can also get higher-resolution images using an IP-based system. HD analogue CCTV tends to be HD 1080P or 2.1 megapixels, With IP CCTV you can enjoy 4, 5 or even 8-megapixel image quality. Do keep in mind that with the increase in resolution comes an increase in the demands of your storage so it isn't necessarily the case that more is better. A happy compromise would be something around 4 or 5 megapixels. This gives improved images whilst still allowing you to store footage for sufficient time.

IP CCTV also allows you to take advantage of advances in processing and artificial intelligence. Higher quality NVRs are able to work with specialist cameras to store vehicle number plates, create movement alerts or even recognise individuals via facial recognition.

You can use wireless bridges to link remote cameras to your IP CCTV system. One-half of the bridge is located near the camera, and the receiver half of the bridge plugs into your network.

Be careful not to waste any gains you might make in resolution with the use of wide-angle cameras. These spread pixels apart rapidly as you move away from the camera and detail can not be captured. It's much better to use optical zoom cameras which make the most of your pixels and provide a higher pixel density / better quality image. We are always happy to advise on camera choice.

Both HD analogue and IP-based CCTV systems can be accessed remotely on your phone or tablet.


Analog CCTV

Traditional analogue CCTV is based around a DVR or digital video recorder with cameras hard-wired to it using either coax cable or CAT5e / CAT6 ethernet cable. You only need a single cable running to each camera as this can also provide 12-volt power as well as transfer video signal back to the DVR. At CCTV42 we sell high-definition analogue CCTV and it is our preferred solution.

Because cameras wire directly into the DVR no strain is placed on your network regardless of resolution. The only time you use the network is if you want to remote access the system and it will keep recording even if the network fails or phone lines are cut. Fault diagnosis is much easier as there are fewer components talking to each other.

Over the past few years, there have been significant improvements in analogue CCTV so it is now possible to get good-quality high-definition images. The one thing to watch out for with HD analogue CCTV is which protocol or language is used. We use HD-TVI cameras for a number of reasons but you can also get HD-AHD, HD-CVI and HD-SDI. Then there are a number of different resolutions. We use HD 1080P or 2.1 megapixels. Camera resolution is explained here on the website.

Our HD cameras come in a variety of lens options, not just wide-angle and it’s possible to get genuinely long optical range cameras without spending too much money.

One common misconception is that only IP camera systems can be remotely accessed over the internet. This is not true. All our analogue DVR recorders have the ability to connect to your network and can then be accessed within the property over the local network or from anywhere in the world over the internet using a computer, phone or tablet.

A bit more slightly advanced information

One potential advantage IP CCTV has is the ability to include cameras from other networks on your CCTV system. You could theoretically have a camera in another part of your building or even a different location on your CCTV system linked via the internet. You can even take HD analogue feeds from our DVRs and feed them into an IP CCTV-based NVR. This potentially allows you to conglomerate CCTV onto a single display and also to back up recordings on a totally independent system.