Security cameras come in two distinct types, Digital(IP) and Analog(AHD, TVL, TVI, HD-SDI, HD-CVI). Many types of these security cameras are still widely in use. However the security camera industry continues to push the limits of resolutions, and as a result, the use of digital IP security equipment continues to increase while analog continues to decline. Let’s take a look at the general differences in analog surveillance cameras and IP surveillance cameras.
RJ-59 Cable Ends-Security Camera
Analog Security Cameras
1. Analog cameras send a video signal to an encoder(DVR) which then processes the signal and records it.
2. Analog cameras require a direct connection to the DVR.
3. Analog security cameras require two cables, one for power and one for video.
4. Analog cameras have a limited platform of resolutions available.
Cat5e and Cat6 can be used for IP cameras
IP Security Cameras
1. IP Cameras encode the video signal at the camera and send the video to Network Video Recorder(NVR) through an internet protocol(IP).
2. IP cameras require a connection to the same network as the NVR and don’t have to be directly connected to the recorder.
3. IP Security cameras use Power over Ethernet(PoE) which means you only have one cable going to the camera that supplies power and transfers video.
4.The worst IP camera resolutions are far superior to the best analog resolutions.
Analog Surveillance Camera Types:
Analog Camera Types: TVL, AHD, HD-CVI, HD-SDI, TVI
Television Lines(TVL) :
TVL is the oldest of all the analog camera resolution rating systems and was popularized by Chinese manufacturers in an effort to artificially inflate the resolution of their cameras, making them seem like they had higher resolutions. TVL cameras have incredibly low resolution, and are usually black and white. While most modern resolution ratings reference the vertical pixel count (1080p, 4k, etc.), TVL as a rating refers to the specification of an analog security camera’s horizontal resolution power. It is common to see TVL resolutions measuring 480 TVL, 600TVL, 650TVL, 700TVL.
Typical TVL Resolutions in Pixels:
480 TVL: 510 x 492 (0.2 Megapixel)
600 TVL: 768 x 494 (0.3 Megapixel)
650 TVL: 811 x 508 ( 0.4 Megapixel)
700 TVL: 976 x 582 ( 0.5 Megapixel)
Almost all of this equipment is phased out or in the process of being replaced. If you are installing new security cameras and using TVL cameras, you are installing old technology with hard to find replacement parts.
Expect TVL cameras never to have a resolution greater than 720P
AHD, HD-SDI, & HD-CVI:
Analog HD, HD-SDI and HD-CVI CCTV cameras are capable of capturing video surveillance footage at a 1080p resolution. These high definition analog surveillance cameras must be used with a special surveillance DVR that supports their video signals for encoding. All of this hardware still uses the BNC Coax cabling (RJ59) and was introduced as a way to achieve High Definition over coax.
The current price, availability, and interoperability of these security camera systems makes it a bad choice for a new install or a retrofit.
Expect High Definition analog cameras to have a max resolution of 1080P
Transport Video Interface(TVI):
TVI is currently the best and most affordable transitional technology available for upgrading your old analog system to High Definition without pulling new cable. TVI solved what AHD, HD-SDI, & HD-CVI had problems with or failed to do. Able to acheive greater cable distances and better resolutions while still utilizeing the same coaxial TVI became a large contender in the analog cctv market. TVI supports HD video signal (1080P/720P), audio signal, and digital signal transmissions. If your looking to upgrade your old analog system and don’t have the option to pull new cable for an IP based Security System then TVI may be an option for you.Typical TVI Resolutions in Pixels:
720P: 1280 X 720 (1 Megapixel)
1080P : 1920 X 1080 (2 Megapixels)
Expect TVI analog cameras to have a minimum resolution of 720P and a maximum of 1080P.
IP Surveillance Cameras
IP security cameras have impressive resolutions and ever-evolving technologies. IP cams have introduced some of the biggest changes in the security world with their crystal clear 4k resolutions and smart video analytics. If your buying a security system for the first time or upgrading an existing one you should definitely consider using an IP security camera system. It has many benefits over analog and the overall install is easier compared to conventional security surveillance systems.Typical IP Resolutions in Pixels:
1920 x 1080 (2 Megapixels) 1080P HD
2688 x 1520 (4 Megapixels) HD+
3840 x 2160 (8 Megapixels) 4K+
Expect IP security cameras have minimum resolution of 1080P.
While this article is short and touches on the basics of analog security cameras vs IP security cameras many more differences co-exist between both styles of cameras. One of the easiest ways to identify an analog camera is by the camera cable end. Analog cameras will require two cables, one for power and one for video while IP cameras use PoE and only require one cable to work.