Contact Us

Looking for residential? Visit Alarm New England

See Sonitrol's response to recent issues regarding COVID-19

By: James Curtiss on August 25th, 2022

Print/Save as PDF

Video Surveillance Cameras: Should You Choose Analog or IP?

Video Surveillance

Home and business owners can protect their buildings, possessions, and assets with security camera systems. While researching video surveillance methods, you’ll run across systems using analog cameras and IP cameras. Understanding analog vs. IP cameras can help you choose the best security system for your situation.

The most significant defining feature between the two types of CCTV cameras lies in how they record and store footage:

Analog Cameras

Analog cameras record video footage and transport the data through a coaxial cable to a DVR, or digital video recorder. Analog surveillance systems often require multiple other wires, including power cables, audio wires, and wired connections, enabling you to pan, tilt, or zoom with your camera.

IP Cameras

IP, or Internet Protocol, cameras transmit video data from your cameras to a device set up to receive digital files, such as a hard drive, USB, or other forms of digital storage. These cameras often only require a single cable to perform all necessary functions.

Besides overall function, other factors play into your decision of an analog video system or IP camera system. Let’s look at six considerations that can help you choose the right security system for your home or business.

1. Coverage

IP cameras offer better video coverage than analog cameras. While analog video can come in from as far as 30 meters away, cameras at the tail-end of that distance provide grainier, blurrier videos. Since IP cameras use digital video formats, the video comes through crystal clear regardless of the distance.

Depending on the size of the space requiring video coverage, you may require several analog cameras and the respective wiring needed for each camera. However, IP cameras can cover areas that take three or four analog cameras to cover, making them more cost-effective and cutting down on a mess of cables.

2. Resolution

Higher video resolution allows you to catch finer details like faces, license plate information, name tags, and more. Analog cameras top out at 4k resolution, while IP cameras can offer up to 8k resolution. If you’ve ever experienced frustration over blurry videos when trying to zoom in on something important, you’ll enjoy the clarity offered by IP camera footage.

While higher resolution means better quality videos, the files will take up more space on your storage device, so keep that in mind when determining which resolution you prefer. Although you may need more storage, digital storage space often outstrips DVR space in availability and affordability.

3. Security

The DVR systems recording your analog video camera footage can easily disappear should an intruder discover your system. IP systems don’t have this invulnerability since the videos save to a digital system that can back up to a cloud network. IP video cameras also have built-in encryption, protecting them from digital and physical theft.

4. Dependability

IP camera systems often depend on Wi-Fi for full capability. If you lose your internet service or place cameras in areas with spotty connectivity, you may not have access to your cameras, and recording may stop.

Some home and business owners use IP cameras as their primary security system and have a handful of analog cameras in place should they lose service. In most cases, you can rely on your network to support your IP video camera system.

5. Innovation

Analog cameras perform the basic function of recording and saving video for future perusal. Some systems allow for panning, tilting, and zooming, while others serve as stationary cameras. When comparing analog vs. IP cameras, consider the basic functions and how they've improved with the latest and greatest security technology.

IP cameras offer multiple benefits you can’t find in analog camera systems, including:

  • Facial recognition
  • Vehicle recognition
  • Motion detection
  • Video analytics
  • Instant video sharing

6. Cost

For those concerned about their bottom dollar, analog cameras offer lower equipment prices. However, because of the multiple wires and cables involved in the setup, the lower initial investment can lead to a higher installation cost. If you choose to handle the installation yourself, what you save in money, you may spend in time.

The higher cost of IP cameras quickly disappears with the easy installation process. Although prices have dipped lower recently, IP camera systems vary in extra features that can increase costs. Regardless of the higher investment, many home and business owners feel that the price matches the other benefits of IP cameras.

Questions to Ask When Comparing Analog and IP Camera Systems

  • What system best fits your budget?
  • What areas will the camera surveillance cover?
  • How does the camera store footage, and where does the system store it?
  • What features are important in your surveillance system?

If you want professional guidance while choosing analog vs. IP cameras, call your local security experts at Sonitrol New England at (860) 407-5677.

About James Curtiss

Experienced security industry professional. Commercial Security Consultant working at Sonitrol New England.