Analog VS IP Security Camera Systems

In the quest to build a crime-free environment, CCTV security system should be the first line of defense to deter theft, burglary, and any unwanted loitering. Using the right technology would protect and give you peace of mind.CCTV surveillance system is one of the widely used securities for home and business.

But often times, users face the challenge of a too low resolution from the analog security camera, which makes it difficult or even impossible to identify correctly a suspect. The image is either pixelated or the video detail is crushed by the compression.

In today’s article, we will unfold the five reasons why you need to upgrade your analog CCTV system to IP surveillance system.

Table of Contents

The Analog CCTV Architecture

The Analog CCTV Architecture Schema

Analog CCTV has been around for decades. As technology keeps evolving, the analog system began to lose its value on the market. Limitations tend to arise as a result of the analog modulation technology used. Therefore, the demand for analog CCTV system has drastically fallen in it become less and less interesting for business and property owners.

Over the years, manufacturers have tried to roll out several upgrades to enhance the analog system. These upgraded versions now serve as an alternative to the IP CCTV system, since not everyone could afford the IP CCTV system. The best part of the upgrade was that users were able to use their existing infrastructures such as cabling.

What is Analog CCTV?

Analog CCTV is a system which relies on traditional infrastructure such as coaxial cables in order to transmit the video signal from the security camera over to the encoding machine in a one-way direction. The encoding machine could be a standalone, or PC based DVR.
The camera streams analog video signal to the DVR, where the DSP (Digital Signal Processor) then processes the raw data before final compression.

Analog CCTV operation

Here are different upgrades made to the analog CCTV system:


  • AHD (Analog High Definition)

AHD is an analog high definition system which transmits high definition video over the traditional coaxial cable to the DVR. AHD uses 720p as well as 1080p resolution to deliver HD image but not as good as IP camera.

AHD was developed by Nextchip, a Korean company. AHD version 1.0 was first introduced which only allowed 720p resolution to be used. AHD version 2.0 was later released to allow 1080p resolution camera on a more cable distance of 500m.

Users at the verge of upgrading their cameras to AHD also need to check their DVR for HD compatibility. Traditional DVRs only support 960H resolution which can be translated to 960 x 576 pixels, this resolution is far less than 720p. Using a 720p AHD security camera on this type of DVR will only yield a futile result.

AHD technology is able to cover 500m cable distance using RG59 coaxial cables, which is the industry standard. At the other hand, using UTP (Unshielded Twisted Pair) cable is possible but will only reduce the cable transmission distance to 150m. However, when using Cat.5 UTP cable, ensure you connect it through a pair of BNC balun.


  • HD – CVI (HD – Composite Video Interface)

HD – CVI is a technology that transmits HD video signal over coaxial cable to the DVR.
It was invented by Dahua, a Chinese company in 2012. Dahua offered high-resolution video surveillance to people who can’t afford the huge cost of installing IP video surveillance. CVI also gives users the advantage of using their existing cabling.

Dahua is also the first technology to bring an ultra-high definition of 4k over the traditional coaxial cable to the market. CVI is Dahua’s patented in-house technology, this means only Dahua makes CVI. This technology is available in 720p and 1080p respectively.

A maximum coaxial cable length of 488m and 396m can be achieved on 720p and 1080p respectively, whilst Cat.5 UTP cable run is 200m. This is a great technology with stunning resolutions but however, they can’t stand IP CCTV.


  • HD – TVI (HD – Transport Video Interface)

TVI uses transport technology and digital signal processing to transmit a high definition video signal over the coaxial cable to the DVR. TVI technology was developed by Techpoint, a company based in San Jose, California.

Even though Techpoint only makes chipsets and not security cameras, over 100 CCTV manufacturers have adopted this technology into their product line including Hikvision, Samsung, and TVT.

HD – TVI is backward compatible because it is made by many manufacturers unlike CVI, which is proprietary to Dahua. TVI has a maximum cable distance of 500m for both 720p and 1080p, whilst Cat.5 cable is 213m.



  • HD – SDI (HD – Serial Data Interface)

HD – SDI is an HD digital video technology that transmits 1080p video quality over the coaxial cable. The technology transmits uncompressed video signals to the DVR. SDI is the only technology that has a similar true high definition image resolution like the IP CCTV system, but it is too expensive and more difficult to manage compared to TVI or CVI.

The high digital resolution produced by SDI is phenomenal while still using an analog video cable. Unfortunately, SDI quickly became unpopular amongst users, and manufacturers have exterminated the technology because of the high cost in the hardware production. Coaxial cable run distance is 150m whilst Cat. 5 UTP cable is 107m but it requires a digital converter

This technology does not have backward compatibility

IP CCTV Architecture

IP CCTV operation

IP camera system operates on the principle of a computer network. IP CCTV transmits and receives digital signal simultaneously. This action can also be referred to as full duplex or bidirectional line.

The IP camera transmits a digital signal which has already been processed by the web server of the IP camera to the NVR (Network Video Recorder), VMS (Video Management Software), NAS (Network Attached Storage), SAN (Storage Area Network), or directly to the cloud.

IP CCTV Architecture Schema

The IP camera can either be centralized or decentralized, which means a centralized IP camera will either record to the NVR, VMS, or cloud.  Whereas a decentralized IP camera does not necessarily depend on the NVR or VMS. It has several media storage options to record such as recording to NAS, onboard SD card, and SAN.

Axis was the first company to introduce a centralized IP camera in 1996, whilst Mobotix released the first decentralized IP camera in 1999. This has been a huge success in the invention of IP CCTV system.

What analog and IP CCTV cameras have in common?

  • Camera form factors: Both analog and IP cameras have an identical shape, there is no way to tell the difference from a distance except on a closed examination.
  • Physical installation: Analog and IP cameras require the same physical installation. The same technique required to install the analog camera should also be applied for the IP camera. However, you also need to follow the 8 feet rule to get the camera to capture and register objects.
  • Lens and Sensor: There is no difference between lens and sensor used by Analog and IP cameras. The same rating also applies to them.
  • Light considerations: Light is paramount to the two different camera system. Therefore, light consideration must be carefully observed for both systems. Make sure your environment is well lit to enable your security camera to capture a good image.

5 proven reasons to upgrade from Analog to IP surveillance system

1) Resolution:

Resolution is the first requirement to consider when selecting a video surveillance system. It is what mainly determines a good security camera. Live view should not be the basis for determining Image resolution of a security camera, playback is the best technique.

But an IP camera has a superior image resolution capability that is unmatchable for the HD analog. A surveillance video is expected to go through a compression after which the processed video is accessible for the users.

IP camera does not go through compression stage on the NVR since the camera already has a web server to process its own video. One of the drawbacks of HD analog CCTV is that they don’t have their own web servers like IP cameras.

However, the transmitted video from the camera will be compressed at the DVR, and this will have a negative impact on the processed video such as the detail being crushed or pixelated. Digital zoom is efficient on IP CCTV whilst it is not on analog or HD analog, the image easily gets pixelated.


2) Scalability

You can start small and grow big with your video surveillance system, you don’t have to be in a rush especially if you are on a budget.

Whilst it is impossible to add additional cameras to the DVR due to the limited BNC ports available, it is very easy to add IP cameras to an NVR system. NVR is built with unlimited features. Connecting additional cameras to an NVR is very simple and achievable regardless of the camera’s location.

Amongst IP camera system scalability is digital transmission which allows audio, motion detection, analytics, and PTZ controls. You only need to connect the IP camera to any nearest switch along the network path. There is no need to run another power cable, the camera will get the appropriate power needed from the same data cable connected to the PoE switch.

This is not achievable with an Analog system. You have to provide a power adapter for each camera, along with the coaxial video cable that is running from the DVR to the Analog camera.

IP camera systems are very easy to scale-up when security need arises.


3) Cost Effective

IP camera systems may have a higher upfront cost than analog, but considering their additional features and capabilities, it is definitely worth the price. You will pay more in the future with an Analog system to keep it up to date.

Moreover, video surveillance security is a long term investment that needs to be thought accordingly right at the beginning.


4) Remote Access

Remote access is very important when you think of going on vacation, or stay up late at work and you need to watch what is happening in your house.

But remote access works differently on analog and IP CCTV systems.

If you have an analog system that you want to access from the internet, there is no option to view your favorite camera, all the analog cameras will connect at the same time. This is because analog cameras are not regarded as network devices.

Only the DVR is regarded as a network device as a result of the built-in network interface card.

With an IP system, you have the flexibility of configuring either the selected camera(s) or only the NVR. This action is possible because each one of the camera is recognized on the network as a node. This is the best way you can manage your bandwidth.

Conversely, this is not possible with an Analog system because the camera does not have a network interface.

Meanwhile, all the security cameras connected to the DVR stream at the same time, which can cause a bottleneck for the entire network especially if the internet upload speed is less than 2mbps.


5) Integration

Change is the only thing that is constant.
Whenever there is a need for integration in the future, IP camera system is available but an Analog system can’t be integrated due to its limitations.

For instance, video analytics can be integrated on an IP system but it is not achievable with an Analog system.

With IP camera systems, integration is a breeze.

Final Thought

One of the biggest factor spinning the interest of IP camera system is the resolution. Having video surveillance with great resolution will not only protect your lives and properties but will also provide a detailed video evidence during a criminal case.

All the analog technology on the market have their own limitations, which you will only get to know after installation. There is a limit to the image resolution, some of these HD analog cameras still come in TVL which is the unit for measuring analog camera resolution.

Since Analog systems are full of failures, it is a wise decision to rather choose an IP camera system which has tons of advantages over the analog.

Resolution is what makes people upgrade their CCTV camera systems, because they were not getting the full benefit.

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