Analog vs IP Cameras installed by Santa Barbara Cash Register and Central Coast Cabling

If you’re considering switching to an IP camera security system, consider these 12 points.

An analog camera is a traditional camera used in CCTV systems. It sends video over cable to VCRs or DVRs. IP cameras are all digital cameras that can send signals over cable to be stored in the network. Many security camera systems today are hybrid systems incorporating both analog and digital components.

1. Video quality

IP cameras provide overall higher video quality than analog cameras. They offer more video site ranges, such as a wide or narrow field of view, and better zoom-in capabilities. And because they transmit truly digital signals, they offer far greater video detail, which makes them much better for facial recognition or detecting license plate numbers.

Analog cameras have overall lower quality than IP cameras, but perform better in low light conditions. Analog cameras have more limited site ranges and don’t offer the zoom-in clarity of IP cameras. If you zoom in on the analog images, you’re going to get a grainier, degraded picture. It’s not like what you see on TV cop shows. If you’re using an analog camera, you’re not going to recognise the perpetrators face by zooming in.

2. Resolution

Generally, digital cameras provide resolutions 6 to 20 times higher than analog cameras.

Analog cameras are limited to resolutions of the NTSC/PAL standard of 720 x 480 pixels (NTSC)/575 (PAL) or 0.4 megapixels (4CIF). analog camera resolutions range rom 420 to 700; which at the high end can produce sharp images.

IP cameras offer resolutions that can range from 1.3 megapixels to 5 megapixels (2560 x 1920) of compressed, encoded transmissions. This gives you the ability to cover a far wider viewing area or to get far more detailed pictures in narrow, zoom-in viewing areas.

3. Transmission media

Traditional analog cameras operate over coax cable. They can also work over, twisted-pair cable or with wireless connections, but that produces less resolution.

IP cameras also work over twisted-pair, coax cable, and with wireless connections.

4. PoE capabilities

One of the advantages of IP cameras is that they can be powered over the twisted-pair Ethernet cable, thus eliminating worries over running electrical wire.

Older analog cameras can not be PoE powered.

5. Wireless

Wireless IP camera network connections can be a very practical solution in areas where it’s too difficult or expensive to run cable. Wireless can also be used in buildings where it’s impractical or impossible to run cable, such as in historical buildings.

6. Distance

Analog cameras can send video over twisted-pair cable up to 1.5 kilometres away and up to 300 metres away over coax cable. But analog transmissions lose clarity with increased distance and when the signal is converted from one format to another.

IP cameras can send digital video 100 metres over twisted-pair Ethernet cable and unlimited distances over IP networks. Because the images are digital, they maintain 100% of their clarity over long distances and when the signal is converted between different formats.

7. Intelligence and manageability

IP cameras offer network intelligence and remote manageability. They can stream images, and different parts of images, to different recipients simultaneously. They can perform additional tasks such as sending a message when they detect motion.

8. Ease of installation

Analog cameras require more cabling than IP cameras. For instance, they require a separate cable to control the pan, tilt, and zoom functions. If there is audio, another cable is required. One analog camera may require three separate cables: power, audio, video.

IP cameras can accept power, video, audio, PTZ control, and control signals over a single cable.

9. Security

Analog cameras are far more vulnerable to security breaches because the feeds can be physically intercepted and tapes and recording devices can be stolen. analog video feeds are also not encrypted.

IP cameras make data difficult to intercept. They encrypt and compress data before transporting it over the Internet to your server and they have VPN support.

10. Reliability

Analog security cameras have been around for more than half a century and have a long history of reliability.

IP systems have built-in reliability due to the data encryption and compression. They are as reliable as the network is, although backup systems can be put in place to minimise outages.

11. Expandability

IP cameras offer more expandability and scalability than analog cameras because their cabling requirements are less complex. But it is still possible to leverage your existing cabling infrastructure when migrating to IP cameras with the use of converters and extenders.

12. Costs

IP camera systems are thought to be more expensive because the cost of the cameras is higher than for analog cameras, although the price of IP cameras continues to drop. But the overall cost may be less than anticipated due to lower costs for cabling, recording equipment, and labor.

Costs can also be mitigated by installing IP cameras with the existing cabling infrastructure through the use of extenders and media converters.