IP Camera vs CCTV System: What’s the Difference? (2024)

When it comes to security cameras, choosing between IP cameras and CCTV cameras is crucial for ensuring the safety and security of your property. 

Understanding the differences between these two technologies can help you make an informed decision. This blog will compare IP and CCTV cameras, highlighting their main differences and benefits.

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CCTV & IP Cameras Compared

IP Camera

CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) cameras and IP (Internet Protocol) cameras serve the same basic purpose of capturing video footage for security purposes but operate using different technologies. 

CCTV cameras use analog signals to transmit video to a Digital Video Recorder (DVR), where the footage is stored and managed. These systems are typically more straightforward and cost-effective but offer lower image quality and limited features.

On the other hand, IP cameras use digital signals to transmit video over a network to a Network Video Recorder (NVR) or directly to cloud storage.

IP cameras support higher resolution, providing superior image quality than analog cameras. They offer advanced features like motion detection, remote access, and facial recognition.

Additionally, IP camera systems are easier to expand and integrate with other security systems due to their network connectivity and support for Power over Ethernet (PoE), which allows data and power to be transmitted through a single cable.

What are IP Cameras?

IP (Internet Protocol) cameras or network cameras are digital video cameras that transmit video data over a network. They are used in modern video surveillance systems and offer advanced features.

How Does It Work?

An IP camera system captures video footage and converts it into a digital format. The signal from the digital video camera is then transmitted over an IP network to a Networked Video Recorder (NVR) or cloud storage. 

IP cameras support PoE (Power over Ethernet), allowing data and power to be delivered through a single Ethernet cable, simplifying installation and reducing costs.


  • High resolution: Provides superior image quality and high-definition video.
  • Advanced features: Includes motion detection, remote monitoring, and facial recognition.
  • Scalability: Easily expandable with multiple cameras and integration with other security systems.
  • Remote access: Allows for monitoring from anywhere with an internet connection.
  • PoE support: Simplifies installation using a single Ethernet cable for power and data.


  • Cost: Higher initial setup cost compared to traditional CCTV systems.
  • Network dependency: Requires a reliable network infrastructure for optimal performance.
  • Complex configuration: May require more technical knowledge for setup and network configuration.

What are CCTV Cameras?

CCTV Camera

Unlike IP cameras, CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) cameras are analog security cameras that transmit video signals to a Digital Video Recorder (DVR) for storage and management.

How Does It Work?

A CCTV camera is a recording device that captures video footage and sends the analog signal to a DVR via coaxial cables. The DVR converts the analog signal to a digital format for storage and playback. 

Traditional CCTV cameras are often used in basic surveillance systems where high-definition video is not critical.


  • Cost-effective: Generally cheaper initial setup costs compared to IP systems.
  • Simplicity: Easier to install and operate with straightforward technology.
  • Reliability: Analog technology is reliable and less susceptible to network issues.


  • Lower image quality: Provides lower resolution video compared to IP cameras.
  • Limited features: Lacks advanced features like remote access, motion detection, and digital zoom.
  • Scalability challenges: Expanding a CCTV system can be more complex and costly.
  • Wiring: Requires separate power and video cables, making installation more cumbersome.

Here’s A Quick Look

FeatureCCTV CameraIP Camera
ConnectivityCoaxial cablesEthernet cables (PoE) or Wi-Fi
StorageDVR NVR or Cloud
Remote AccessLimited, via DVRExtensive, via internet connection
Smart FeaturesBasic, if anyAdvanced (motion detection, analytics, facial recognition)
Bandwidth UsageLow High
SecurityAnalog signal, less secureEncrypted digital signal, more secure
Power OptionsSeparate power source neededPower over Ethernet (PoE) available
Best Suited ForSmall to medium-sized, basic needsLarge, advanced security requirements

Key Factors To Consider

Image Quality

When choosing between CCTV and IP cameras, consider the image quality. IP camera systems typically offer superior image quality, with high-definition video and better zoom functions. They provide clearer, more detailed video feeds essential for accurate surveillance. 

In contrast, traditional analog cameras produce lower-resolution images, which might be sufficient for basic monitoring but not for detailed analysis or identification.

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Installation is another crucial factor. Analog cameras generally require more complex wiring, including separate power and video signal cables. It can make installation more cumbersome and time-consuming. 

In contrast, IP cameras often use a single Ethernet cable for power and data (PoE), simplifying installation. Some IP cameras also support Wi-Fi connections, offering even more flexibility.


Maintenance requirements can vary between the two types of systems. Analog camera systems typically require regular maintenance of the physical recording devices and connections.

While more advanced, IP camera systems may need software and firmware updates to ensure they function correctly and stay secure. Both types of systems should be regularly checked to ensure all components are working properly.


Scalability is a key consideration, especially for growing businesses. IP camera systems are highly scalable, making adding more cameras easy and integrating with other networked video recorders (NVRs) or access control systems. They can be easily expanded to cover larger areas or multiple sites. 

Analog systems are less flexible and require more infrastructure changes to scale up, which can be costly and time-consuming.


Cost is always a critical factor in decision-making. Analog cameras generally have a lower initial cost for both the cameras and the recording devices. However, the overall cost can increase due to more complex installation and higher maintenance needs.

IP cameras often have higher upfront costs but can be more cost-effective in the long run due to easier installation, advanced features, and lower maintenance requirements. The cost-effectiveness of each system will depend on the specific needs and scale of the surveillance system.


Are IP cameras considered CCTV?

Yes, IP cameras are considered CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) cameras. While traditional CCTV cameras use analog signals, IP cameras transmit video using digital signals and network connectivity. Both types are used for video surveillance, but IP cameras offer advanced features and better image quality.

What is the difference between normal and IP cameras?

A normal camera, often called an analog camera, transmits video via coaxial cables to a DVR. An IP camera, however, transmits video digitally over an IP network, either wired (Ethernet) or wireless (Wi-Fi), to an NVR or cloud storage. IP cameras provide higher resolution, better image quality, and advanced features like remote access and motion detection.

Can IP cameras work without the internet?

Yes, IP cameras can work without the internet. They can record and store footage locally on an NVR or other storage devices connected to the local network. However, internet access is required for remote viewing and management features.

How do I know if my camera is IP?

You can identify an IP camera by checking if it has an Ethernet port or Wi-Fi connectivity options. Additionally, IP cameras typically have a web interface for configuration and management. If your camera connects to a network and can be accessed via an IP address, it is an IP camera.

Is it a good idea to have CCTV at home?

Yes, having CCTV at home can enhance security by deterring potential intruders, providing evidence in case of a crime, and allowing remote monitoring of your property. Modern IP camera systems offer high-definition video quality, easy installation, and integration with other security devices, making them a good option for home security.

Final Thoughts

Choosing between IP cameras and CCTV systems depends on your specific needs and budget. IP cameras offer advanced features, superior image quality, and scalability, making them ideal for larger or more complex security setups.

While simpler and often more affordable, CCTV systems may be sufficient for smaller or less demanding applications.

Ensure your peace of mind with the right security solutions!

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