If you’re thinking about upgrading your analog cameras to IP, there are a variety of factors to think about. While the price gap between the two is getting smaller, there are advantages and disadvantages to both and what you choose ultimately depends on your organization’s specific needs.That said, IP cameras are clearly dominating the market.
Benefits of Analog Cameras
- Cost: The most obvious reason to stick with your analog system is the price tag. Analog cameras tend to be significantly more affordable, especially as your camera count increases.
- Larger pool of installers and vendors: Since analog cameras have been around for years and because they are fairly simple to install, you may have an easier time finding an installer, as well as a vendor
- Simplicity: Analog cameras are fairly easy to run, sending recordings to a digital video recorder (DVR), which then converts the analog to digital and stores it. DVRs are also simple to set up and run.
- Technology Catching Up: High definition (HD) analog has tremendously increased the picture quality and the resolution over the past few years. You can get four and eight megapixel cameras that are HD analog. Comparing 4MP Analog HD with IP, your quality on High End Brands is within a 5% Quality margin, That is impressive.
Disadvantages of Analog Cameras
- Image quality: Image Quality on an Analog camera is slightly lower than that of IP, and is more likely to cause issues when digital zoom is done. Images are not as sharp and may appear more grainy or blurry on a digital zoom.
- More cables: You need a power cable, plus a DVR cable, whereas you only need one cable with IP cameras.
- Less Advance Features: Most of the latest and greatest features added to CCTV surveillance is done on IP based camera systems, as this is mostly done by integrated software solutions, and is only implemented in Analogue cameras, years after it was introduced in IP. This is focused on Number plate recognition, facial recognition and detection as well as human detection. Today we have human count, human database programs and other that is being developed in IP based systems, and will only feature in Analogue cameras, in a few years time.
Benefits of IP Cameras
- Multiple sensors: IP cameras have the ability to contain three or four cameras in one, which can cover an area that may normally take multiple cameras to cover.
- Costs have gone down: Like any piece of technology, IP cameras have become more affordable over the last few years. You can still spend some money if you’re really trying to, but you can get some really good entry-level IP-based cameras for a reasonable amount of money.
- Ease of installation: Whereas an analog camera takes two wires, an IP camera only takes one for both data and power that connects to a network switch, so you don’t need power at the camera site. You can also control the camera ( depending on the camera features ) focus and zoom.
- Resolution: Resolution in cameras just keeps getting better and better, and IP cameras have superior image quality to that of analogs. You can get cameras with different resolutions and aspect ratios customized to your needs.
- Intelligence and analytics: IP cameras are basically small computers that compress and store video, plus they can be programmed to provide all sorts of analytics. They can detect motion or smoke, count people, track certain colors, sense when something disappears, and set off alarms. You can draw a trip line where if something crosses that line, it sends a signal, All the stuff you see on CSI? That’s not analog cameras. All that fancy stuff comes from IP cameras.
- Security: Video is encrypted and authenticated so transmission is secure.
- Less equipment: Whereas with an analog camera you need to have an encoder or decoder, there’s no need for that with IP.
- Open platform: You can use an IP camera with anything, for the most part, this makes it easier to add new functions to your system.
Disadvantages of IP Cameras
- Cost of initial set-up: It may cost more to initially set up your IP camera system if you’re making the switch from analog; however, once you have it set up, it’s much easier to tailor and scale your system as needed.
- Learning curve: With IP cameras, there’s a user interface.