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Video Surveillance Cameras: Analogue or IP?

As we progress further into the 2020s, technology is evolving rapidly, with security cameras being no exception. In video surveillance, two different types of systems are commonly used – traditional analogue systems and newer, digital IP camera systems. If you’re looking to install or upgrade a CCTV system, there are a variety of factors to think about, as each analogue and IP camera systems differ significantly.

What is the main difference between Analogue and IP Security Camera Systems?

Analogue cameras capture video and transfer it directly to recording equipment through a coaxial cable. Then, the DVR (Digital Video Recorder) converts the video from analogue to digital signals, compresses the file, and stores it on a hard drive.

Alternatively, IP (Internet Protocol) cameras transfer video digitally over a network (LAN – local area network) and connect to a recorder using an ethernet cable via a network switch. Because each IP camera has its own IP address, the cameras can be found and streamed over the network, which are then stored on a hard drive.

Advantages of IP Security Camera Systems

  • Video Quality

IP cameras provide overall higher video quality than analogue cameras. They offer more video site ranges, such as a wide or narrow field of view, and better zoom-in capabilities. As they transmit digital signals to the recorder, they offer far greater video detail, which makes them much better for smart features such as facial recognition or detecting license plate numbers through ANPR technology.

  • Wiring

Unlike analogue systems, IP video surveillance systems only require one cable for power, video and data transmission, using Power of Ethernet (PoE). Not only does this mean that cabling during installation is less costly, but allows for more flexibility and scalability in the design of the system. IP cameras do not need to be directly connected to the recording device (Network Video Recorder) or a power supply, and can be placed at any point around the premises that is close to the LAN network.

  • Intelligent Security

Analytics can be used within IP security cameras such as motion detection to trigger alarms, tampering detection and people counting. Some cameras can play a loud recording or an alarm if motion is detected and have the capability to differentiate a criminal trespasser from wildlife, which helps to cut down false alarms on monitored systems. In addition, video from IP security cameras is encrypted prior to transmission, meaning the systems are more difficult to exploit and sensitive information is less easy to access by unauthorised persons.

Advantages of Analogue Camera Systems

  • Simplicity

Analogue camera systems tend to have a simple setup, as cameras are wired back directly into recording equipment. Especially if wiring is already in place for an analogue system, it is simple to upgrade the resolution of analogue cameras, with newer models providing HD imaging.

  • Lower Bandwidth and Storage Capacity

As analogue cameras transmit video files to the DVR over coaxial cable, transmission takes up less bandwidth, which can mean less pressure on existing local networks. Analogue cameras generally record at a lower frame rate, meaning less storage capacity is needed for recordings.

  • Budget

Less complicated technology means that analogue security cameras tend to cost less than IP cameras. For smaller systems with less of a budget, an analogue CCTV system may be more than adequate to enhance the site’s security. It is worth noting however that, although the equipment itself may be lower in value, analogue systems require more cabling which can increase labour and overall costs.

Which system is best?

Whether an analogue or IP video surveillance system is more suitable for you will depend on business needs. If an analogue system is already in place, few cameras are needed, or budget is tight, analogue cameras may be the most viable option. On the other hand, if there is a requirement for higher image quality, an existing network infrastructure, and your budget allows for it, it is worth considering an IP system.


Watch Systems Ltd will help you pick the right video surveillance system for your business, after carrying out a site survey to assess security risks, infrastructure issues and any other factors that may affect the integrity of security systems on site. To get in touch to find out more about our services, contact us here.


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