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Analog CCTV Cameras vs IP CCTV Cameras

IP CCTV Cameras represent the future of CCTV Systems. In this blog post we will cover the differences between the older analog CCTV cameras and the new, feature rich IP CCTV cameras and why we specify IP security systems for our customers.

For years, HD resolution and single cable signal/power have been IP camera advantages, with analog cameras limited to much lower resolution and requiring separate power and video cables. However, in new HD analog cameras, AHD, CVI, and TVI have made significant advances, with resolution similar to IP, single cable power up the coax, and more – however, anlog systems often lack many “smart security features”.

IP cameras capture much better quality images than you could ever imagine achieving with a traditional CCTV camera. Additionally, IP cameras possess a much wider field of view, meaning a single IP camera is potentially able to do the job of three to four Analog cameras.


What is the main difference between Analog CCTV and IP CCTV systems?


Analog CCTV Camera Systems

In an analog CCTV Camera system the camera will capture an analog video signal and transfer it through a cable to the DVR (digital video recorder). The DVR converts the analog signal to digital, compresses it, and then stores it on hard drive from where it can be retrieved. Connected to the DVR are monitors used for viewing the footage.

The recordings can be set up to feed to a number of computers on an internal network and they can also be broadcast over the internet. Cameras themselves can be powered through mains power supply units where they are situated or by using a specific type of video cable which combines power and video together to provide power from the end of the cabling.


IP Digital CCTV Camera Systems

IP CCTV systems also capture analog images but they convert them to digital immediately. This digital video stream is then broadcast via an Ethernet cable to the LAN. In IP CCTV camera systems the NVR (Network Video Recorder) replaces the DVR of the analog system. The Ethernet cable from each camera runs to here and the NVR compresses and records the signal. From here the NVR broadcasts the video streams from the cameras to the LAN. The video feeds from IP CCTV systems are of a much higher resolution and offer many more advanced features such as people counting, analytics and more.

IP systems are capable of providing better quality images, 4K / 8 megapixels and beyond, with a higher resolution than their analog counterparts and can also capture clearer images of moving objects. Wireless IP systems are generally superior to analog wireless systems as they suffer less interference. The signal is also encrypted to avoid unauthorised persons trying to access the signal.


If you would like to find out more specific information about analog cameras and why IP CCTV Camera systems offer better value and features, below we examine AHD, CVI and TVI which are common analog camera formats, including their latest generation advances, compared to IP cameras.


Power Over Coax, 8MP/4K Resolution, Broader Support

Though they were slow to arrive, long-promised features such as power over coax and 4K camera availability have been released as of 2021:

Power Over Coax: Though power over coax is not universal, we offer several models of PoC CVI cameras.

4K/8MP HD Analog: 8MP HD analog models are now common in 2021. Note that while they are marketed as 4K, they are not technically true 4K, as they do not support 30 FPS required by standards.

Broader support: As of 2021, many new generation HD analog DVRs and encoders support AHD, CVI, and TVI as well as SD analog on the same ports, effectively creating “universal” recorders. This allows for greater flexibility in camera selection when building our customer systems.


HD Analog Variants

There are three major HD analog variants:

  • Analog High Definition (AHD)
  • High Definition Composite Video Interface (HD-CVI)
  • High Definition Transport Video Interface (HD-TVI)

All HD analog cameras support coaxial video transmission, typically to 500m of RG-59 cable and, at least a max resolution of 1080p, with new generations adding support of 3MP, 4MP, 5MP, and 4K.


Analog High Definition (AHD)

Analog High Definition (AHD) was developed by Korean chip manufacturer NextChip, originally specified with a max resolution of 720p, but increased to 4MP, 5MP, and 4K in later releases.


High Definition Composite Video Interface (HD-CVI)

D-CVI (Composite Video Interface) was developed by our partner Dahua and was originally exclusive to them. It has since been licensed to others, though non-Dahua CVI product remains rare.

Dahua originally kept CVI proprietary.Then, in 2016 due to other CCTV Camera manufacturers seeing the benefits, Dahua changed with the 3.0 release of the technology opened up support for AHD and TVI on HD analog recorders.


High Definition Transport Video Interface (HD-TVI)

Chip manufacturer Techpoint developed HD-TVI (Transport Video Interface), which has been adopted by several manufacturers including Dahua.

TVI’s latest releases have added recorder support for AHD and CVI cameras as well as PoC, 5MP and 8MP/4K resolutions (all in 2017/2018).


Encoding/Transmission Differences

All CCTV video footage is encoded and compressed (e.g., H.264 or H.265). The key difference between HD analog and IP is where compression is done.

In our IP cameras, compression is performed inside the camera. In HD analog, compression is performed on the server side (e.g., recorder, encoder, video server, etc.).

This is a major driver in performance differences and one of the key reasons we install IP CCTV for the majority of our customers.


Advantages Of Encoding In the Camera

IP cameras have several advantages due to compressing things in the camera:

Bandwidth is essentially ‘unlimited’. Because the video is compressed in the camera, the output can be 3MP, 5MP, 10MP, 20MP or more and can easily ‘fit’ inside standard networking infrastructure (e.g., 100Mb Ethernet). This benefit is increasing important for our customers when we integrate a CCTV Camera System on to a company network.

Advanced features can easily be added as the same computer that compresses the video, can compress audio, dewarp fisheye panoramics, support multiple imagers, perform video analytics, etc.

No specialised hardware is needed on the receiving side, reducing costs for our customers.


Disadvantages Of Encoding In the Camera

IP camera cost increases since every camera requires the processing power / hardware to encode instead of just adding it to a single or a few recorders / encoders which then handle encoding for multiple cameras. This is one reason why HD analog cameras are generally notably less expensive than IP cameras, however installation cost can increase for older technology so IP CCTV Cameras still offer more value for money overall.


Resolution Similar In IP And HD Analog

Historically, both HD analog and IP cameras regularly delivered Full HD 1080p resolution. This was a big jump from SD analog’s previous limitation of VGA / ~0.3 MP. However, 4K / 8.3MP IP cameras are now commonplace in installations we have designed and completed in a wide variety of scenarios.

4K analog CCTV CVI/TVI cameras are now available, though frame rate is limited to 15 in the vast majority of cases, so is not “true” 4K, which requires 30 FPS as per standards.

IP CCTV cameras have taken the lead in resolution at full frame rate. As customer screens and quality CCTV Camera images are required 4K IP CCTV camera systems have been the most popular option among our customer base.


Advanced Features: Advantage IP

IP CCTV Cameras have a large lead in advanced features, given that IP CCTV has a lot of technology built in to the CCTV camera and can therefore include all sorts of advanced processing (audio, fisheye dewarping, on board video analytics, etc.).

AHD, CVI, and TVI all offer PTZ/OSD control up the coax. CVI and TVI offer some features of IP such as I/O and two-way audio, in theory, though model support for these features is rare and will eventually fade as manufacturing declines.


Recorder Compatibility

We can make IP CCTV cameras compatible with any CCTV recorder or client by using a standard called ONVIF which enables compatibility between systems.

HD analog CCTV camera types require specialised receiver and encoding hardware which cannot simply be added to older analog DVRs.

HD analog types were historically not compatible with each other. For example, if you connected a TVI camera to an AHD or CVI only recorder, you will get no usable video (likewise, with the other way around).


Universal Receiver Support Now Common

While it has historically been an issue, HD analog compatibility has increased significantly, with multiple manufacturers now offering “universal” DVRs or encoders which support AHD, CVI, and TVI, such as Dahua’s “Penta-brid” recorders.

However, users should beware of limits on resolution, frame rate, and advanced feature support of some variants when using these recorders, as a manufacturer may support their preferred standard at full resolution/frame rate, but higher resolution support in others formats may often not be available..


PoE Vs. PoC

One of the big customer benefits of IP CCTV cameras has been Power over Ethernet (PoE). Instead of using one cable for video and another for power, a single cable can be used and power transformers can be eliminated with the result of reducing customer costs.

Single cable power/video is now available in some analog models. With Power over Coax (PoC), external power supplies can be dropped and some labour time can be reduced. Additionally, PoC offers longer distance power transmission than PoE, with 200-300m runs possible on RG59 coax vs. 100m using standard PoE/UTP however this is overcome with network switching on the IP Camera side.

Most of the biggest CCTV brands in the world are now no longer supporting HD analog. For example, Avigilon, Canon, Bosch, Panasonic, Pelco, Sony are all not supporting HD analog.


Model Availability: Advantage IP

HD analog cameras supporting advanced features such as true multi-exposure WDR, super low light, etc., are less common than IP cameras with these features. Newer generation Dahua products increasingly support advanced features, but these are still less widespread than IP cameras.

On the other hand, many premium features and niche form factors are still far more widely available in IP than HD analog models as most vendors look at HD analog as primarily focused at the budget market where lower cost and less sophisticated options are expected with image quality not as important.


IP CCTV Camera Installation

Connecting IP CCTV Cameras is more complex with IP than any of the non analog versions. With IP, each camera needs an IP address, the network needs to be set up directly, the Engineer needs to know IP to connect the cameras, and the VMS/recorder must support them, either via direct driver or ONVIF. When installing our systems we carry out a network assessment in advance of the installation.

As experienced IT surveillance professionals this is not a problem for Advanced Overwatch. However, many non IT and traditional low voltage engineers with other companies will find HD analog’s setup difficult to migrate to IP from.


HD Analog Closing the Gap on IP, Still Lower End Though

Increasingly availability, better industry recognition and improving features (higher resolution, better compatibility) are helping drive IP CCTV adoption.

Finally, there will remain functional advantages for IP cameras for higher end applications indefinitely, as edge storage, on-board analytics, multi-imagers with a single output, etc. will continue to be IP only. Additionally, many larger applications have standardised on UTP network cabling. IP cameras remain a more natural / direct fit for such cabling architectures.


What are the main benefits to our customers of IP CCTV Cameras

There are many advantages that an IP security camera CCTV system offers over an analog format as detailed above. IP security cameras send their signal over a network, allowing greater information transfer than an analog signal sent to a DVR. What are the biggest advantages?


Whether cabled or wireless, CCTV systems that use IP / Network based approach have multiple advantages. They can record at a higher resolution. This means zooming in won’t create a blurry image, but can create a very clear one.


A digital video recorder (DVR) on an analog system can’t highlight events and save these out. To find a specific moment, you’ll have to play through all the footage until you find it. For security events that may happen overnight, that means scrubbing through hours of footage. An IP system can highlight or flag events for you based on specific parameters. These can include motion detection, tampering with the camera, and a range of other events


An analog system limits you to the number of cameras you can hook up to a single DVR. You also need cabling for each individual camera. IP camera based CCTV uses a network video recorder (NVR). This runs each camera in a certain range to a single switch. This switch can then run back to the NVR, saving substantially on cabling, installation, and maintenance costs. You can even use Power over Ethernet (PoE) to use certain types of signal cables to provide power to the cameras as well. This covers the power supply for the cameras.

IP cameras are able to cover a better field of view. This means that they can cover the area that it would have once taken multiple analog cameras to observe. An IP CCTV Camera system from Advanced Overwatch means you can use fewer cameras, less cabling, you’ll need less maintenance, and you don’t have to invest as heavily in storage. You’ll save substantial amounts of time when looking for particular events in the footage as well.


As SSAIB Certified installers, we provide our customers with advice and assistance on IP CCTV Camera Systems and the installation or upgrade process. We install IP CCTV Camera Systems in Northern Ireland, province-wide. Call our product specialists on: 028 7087 8077 to arrange a free security assessment at your premises.

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