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Analogue vs IP CCTV

IP vs Analogue CCTV

CCTV has an almost limitless number of combinations, configurations and features all designed to ensure the consumer has a solution to their particular vulnerability. However, the options open to installers and consumers alike are largely dictated by what type of system is used. Here we take a look at IP vs Analogue CCTV systems and cover the pros and cons of each.

Quick Overview

Analogue CCTV is a legacy technology which is still in widespread use today. An analogue system comprises of a camera sensor connected to a Digital Video Recorder (DVR). It is the DVR that takes the image from the camera and digitalises it for onward transmission to a smartphone app, monitoring centre or storage within the onboard hard-disk drive (HDD).

IP (or digital) CCTV uses computing language to transmit imagery between the camera and NVR (Networked Video Recorder) In essence, an IP system is its own network of small computers connected to each other.

Cost

Winner: Analogue System
Commercial analogue CCTV systems have been on sale for near on 70 years. They are an established product, and as a result, do not require the research and development cost that manufacturers place on IP hardware. Although this has been true since the launch of commercial IP CCTV, the cost of IP is falling rapidly.

Image Quality

Winner: IP System
Image quality is where IP wins hands down. At the time of writing, the largest widespread commercial resolution camera is 12 megapixel which places it between 4k and 8k resolution. The analogue camp says they have an 8mp camera; however, it is based on TVL rather than the number of pixels. Side by side, an 8mp IP camera will out trump the equivalent analogue camera every time.

Cable Distance

Winner: Analogue system
IP CCTV has a maximum cable run distance of 100 metres; however, manufacturers such as Hikvision are investing in NVR’s and POE switches to increase this. (See Hikvision 300m NVR / Switch). Generally speaking, for installers to exceed the CAT5 limitations, they would need to install repeaters or switches. Analogue CCTV, on the other hand, has a maximum cable run distance of 1km.

Functionality

Winner: IP System
Two-way audio, active deterrence (camera can sound and omit a visual alarm on motion detection) human/vehicle identification, people counting and ANPR are just some of the functionality that IP has over analogue.

Reliability

Winner: IP System
Dependant on how it is installed and the use of cable Analogue CCTV is susceptible to a phenomenon called a ground loop. This occurs where more than one ground is used in a system. It can result in shadowing, wavey lines and a generally poor picture. IP CCTV is much more resilient in this regard.

Security

Winner: IP System
Analogue CCTV transmission is not encrypted. Although relatively unheard of, analogue CCTV cable can be cut and spliced resulting in the perpetrator gaining access to the images of your camera. IP transmission is encrypted and has additional password controls for each camera.

IP vs Analogue – In Summary

In short, IP CCTV is a far superior solution vs analogue equipment. The cost difference between the two has become so thin that the added functionality, security, quality and reliability is easily justified. That being said, analogue CCTV still serves a purpose in covering huge cable runs where an existing IT network cannot be utilised.

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