The Difference Between NVR and DVR
Setting up your CCTV system for home or business
So you’ve already decided to install a CCTV surveillance system in your home or business. But before you think about the types of security cameras or where you’ll place them, you’ll need to decide whether you want to use an NVR (Network Video Recording) or DVR (Digital Video Recording) system. Despite the similarity of the acronyms, the two systems are built differently, and there are pros and cons for each. The type of CCTV system you install will depend heavily on your needs and expectations for the system as well as the available infrastructure you’re building onto.
NVR (Network Video Recording): Internet Surveillance
A Network Video Recorder is a network of IP Cameras. Basically, each camera (or node) in your network is connected to a digital network just like your computer, smartphone, and tablet. They’re connected with a CAT5 Ethernet cord and broadcast a digital video signal from an IP address. Just like your network printer or your file server, these cameras can be accessed and used from anywhere as long as you’ve got a device that can interface with your network.
This means that if you’re out of the office, whether taking lunch or halfway across the world, you can still check in on the premises. With the right network setup, viewing your webcam feeds is as simple as connecting to your network over the Internet and viewing the feeds from your IP cameras. The downside is that if you can access your cameras remotely, so can anyone else – provided they’re determined enough to hack your system.
IP cameras have other benefits, too – the feeds can be backed up by any number of servers in any number of places. You can configure as many independent backup servers as you want, either in a single room on-site or scattered across the city or country. Additionally, installing IP cameras will get you significantly better picture quality over analog cameras. 3 megapixel cameras are generally the lowest resolution available for making out details like license plates or facial features.
Installing IP cameras also gives you more versatility over analog cameras. With PTZ cameras (Pan-Tilt-Zoom), you can reposition your camera remotely just by accessing it over the network. And with the right software to compensate for distortion, you can use a fisheye lens to get a wider field of view without the loss in resolution typical in analog cameras using the same lens. If you’re looking for flexibility, redundancy, image quality, and ease of access, a Network Video Recorder is probably your best bet.
DVR (Digital Video Recorder): Hardwired Security
If NVRs represent the cutting edge of security systems, DVRs are the reliable, tried-and-true systems. Though technically a digital network, a Digital Video Recorder uses analog cameras connected by a coaxial cable (the pin-and-threaded-nut that delivers your cable television signal or home internet connection) to a central hub. This technology has been around a long time – the first coax cable was patented in 1880, believe it or not – but it can still be used as the backbone of a quality surveillance system today.
A digital network doesn’t have the same kind of wireless vulnerability as an NVR system. Whereas network video recorders can be network accessible, a DVR network is usually set up as an intranet, so there’s no external port traffic to worry about – in a typical network configuration, your feeds can only be viewed by someone physically wired into the system.
Analog cameras are also cheaper and simpler than full IP cameras, but they lack many of the extra features described above – they’re not as high-resolution and they’re not remotely controllable. If all you need is basic surveillance, though, they definitely get the job done.
TVI (Transport Video Interface): A Hybrid System
If you have a coax network but want a higher definition video feed, you might be looking for a TVI system. Transport Video Interface cameras run HD video through your analog system, giving you a much clearer picture with better zoom capabilities.
Enhancing Your Analog System
Some TVI cameras support controllable PTZ features or fisheye lenses, granting you the large field of view ordinarily only seen in a network video system. Transport video recorders will recognize older analog cameras as well as TVI cameras, allowing you to upgrade your existing system gradually. They even allow the ability to add 1 IP camera on a 4 channel TVI system, 2 IP cameras on an 8 channel TVI system, and as many IP cameras as you need on a 32 channel TVI system. The ability to create a hybrid system with a mix of analog and IP cameras gives these systems the advantage when working with existing coax cable wiring.
Which Should I Choose?
When it comes to choosing a network, it’s always a balance of needs. To determine which of these network configurations is right for you, ask yourself three simple questions:
1) What hardware am I dealing with?
If you have coax lines, but not CAT5, use them to install a DVR or TVI system. It might avoid a renovation, and it will get your surveillance system up and running today. However, or if you’re starting from scratch or don’t have the space to install a central hub for a DVR system, you might consider building an NVR with IP cameras and use your existing data network instead.
2) Who will be maintaining my network?
NVRs may need tech support. If you’ve got a network tech on-site who can maintain it, or if you’re partnering with a professional security company for ongoing support issues, then a network recorder is a fine choice. If you’re simply hiring a night watchman to take care of the system, the simpler plug-and-play nature of a DVR might be in your best interest.
3) Who needs to access my network?
If you only need to broadcast to the guy monitoring from your security room, a DVR network is probably enough. If you need full off-site monitoring, cloud recording, redundancies, or any other kind of decentralization, an NVR is likely the way to go.
Get Safe and Sound
Whether you’re installing a DVR, NVR, or TVI system for your video surveillance system or just want a little more information on security systems, we’re the local security company who can get it done. Our people are fully trained, and all our equipment is industry certified. Call Safe and Sound today for a free audit and CCTV systems consultation!