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IP vs Analog Surveillance Cameras

IP vs Analog Surveillance Cameras

Should I get IP or Analog Surveillance cameras? This is a question that is asked quite often. There are many opinions on the subject. Those who say analog is better usually state 3 reasons. Analog does not use compression so no video is lost. Analog is true real-time while IP can have a delay usually micro seconds. Analog does not require any bandwidth on your network. Let’s analyze these statements.

The first one regarding compression really boils down to the compression technology. Of course data can be lost at various stages. Think of this over simplified illustration: would you rather have every other frame of a license plate that you can read flawlessly, or every single frame of a license plate you cannot make out. IP cameras offer the ability to see details down to the brand of shoes someone is wearing.

Next Analog is true real time. The fact is a few microseconds just don’t matter. Even the TV we watch isn’t truly live by the time it bounces through all the satellites time is lost.

Last Analog doesn’t use bandwidth. As long as you have a good network this doesn’t matter either. We’re not talking about your internet speed from your provider that has no bearing on your internal network. We are talking about your router, switches, cable, and access points. Any current router is more than capable of handling the traffic.

IP cameras have many more pixels allowing you to zoom in and see details that can’t be seen with analog. How much you can zoom is only limited by how many mega pixels your camera is. We’ve all seen a news report with grainy surveillance images where you can’t make out much, and that TV drama where they zoom in and clean it up just isn’t reality. IP cameras eliminate that problem.

So why would I ever use analog? The cost savings of a 4 camera system is less than $300 if you go analog, so money should not be a determining factor. There is one situation when you would use them if your house is already wired for analog. In this situation I’d recommend a HD TVI system which allows HD quality over coax instead of network wire. You won’t be able to hook up a 10 megapixel camera but 1.3 – 2MP will be no problem.