The Difference Between Analog and IP Security Cameras

Posted on November 5th, by TB in Video Surveillance. 4 comments

Analog vs Digital in Security Cameras

Type of camera: Analog
Type of cable: coxial cable, RG59, Cat5e/6 (balun)
Connectors: BNC
Power: 12VDC, 24VAC
Recorder: dvr, capture card, nvr (encoder)

Pros: cheap and easy to install Cons: non hd and no internal mic
Also known as: cctv, analog
Cost: $

Type of camera: HD SDI
Type of cable: coxial cable, RG59, Cat5e/6 (requires balun)
Connectors: BNC
Power: 12VDC, 24VAC
Recorder: hdsdi dvr, capture card
Pros: high definition and easy to install Cons: no internal mic
Also known as: hd cctv, hd analog
Cost: $$


Type of camera: IP
Type of cable: network cable, Cat5, Cat5e, Cat6.
Connectors: RJ-45 module connector
Power: PoE, 12VDC, 24VAC
Recorder: nvr
Pros: ultra high res, protocol support, mic, wifi Cons: installation and configuration
Also known as: hd, digital, network, wifi, wireless
Cost: $$

Analog vs Digital
One of the requests we most often receive from our first time customers is to recommend a surveillance system for a given application. While we have our preferred brands and models, we expect our customers to assume the roll of a security camera installer for a moment and consider these key points.

  • Resolution
  • Visibility
  • Distance
  • Storage

Resolution: Our product line ranges from 300TVL thermal imaging cameras to 40MP 180 degree panoramic security cameras. With the advances made in today’s imaging sensor technology, high definition surveillance is cheaper than ever. Before investing in a potentially expensive surveillance system, there are some things to consider when choosing a resolution.

  • High definition cameras are typically more expensive. A quality 600TVL camera with a wide angle lens costs around $100. A camera with 6 times the coverage area at 1080p HD resolution can cost $300.
  • High definition cameras consume more storage. Since HD cameras produce images significantly larger than traditional analog cameras, they also produce larger video files requiring more storage space.

Visibility: An image sensor can only do so much without assistance. Even the most advanced security camera imaging sensors need infrared illumination to see in pitch black conditions. Using infrared illumination has some benefits and downfalls to consider.

  • Built in infrared illumination has its limitations. A majority of IR cameras have a usable range of approximately 50ft. There are some exceptions but conditions are not always ideal. Built in LEDs can create a “ring” effect.
  • Even a small amount of light can significantly improve visibility in cameras with quality sensors. Surveillance cameras with built in IR consume more electricity. For long distance illumination, third party panels can be used which have a wider light pattern.

Distance: Depending on a high resolution sensor alone to bring distant objects closer to the field of view can be expensive. Digital zoom on images lower than 1080p become pixelated quickly. For best results, a 5MP sensor or higher is recommended.

  • Gates and entryways are the best place to point security cameras. For applications where mounting the camera close to the desired field of view is impossible, the combination of a powerful lens and high resolution imaging sensor will produce the best results.
  • A lens can compensate for resolution. Mounting a camera more than 50ft away from the desired field of view can get tricky. When pointed in the right direction, using a lens with an adjustable focal length can be the difference between capturing a face or license plate and a unidentifiable overview shot.

Storage: Another component of a surveillance system is storage. Choosing the right hard drives can be the difference between a week and a month’s worth of storage time.

  • Storage is cheap. The storage market has been saturated with different types of storage. Because of this, there is plenty competition between hard drive manufacturers to help drive down hard drive costs.
  • IP cameras can consume 6 times or more disk space than a traditional analog camera. Depending on the number of cameras, resolution, and frame rate, HD security cameras may require one or more hard drives.

Although many other factors should be considered when choosing a surveillance system, understanding these basic key points can increase your chances of being happy with your investment.

4 thoughts on “The Difference Between Analog and IP Security Cameras

  1. There are lot of noticeable differences between analog and IP security cameras which can prove crucial in case of any mishap. But it also depends upon where you are going to install them and for what purpose you are using them. If you require high security then IP cameras are must.

  2. I have read so many posts about the difference of ip cameras and analog camera but I think this is the most accurate. Thanks a lot for sharing such useful article.

  3. Keeping it simple with such a difficult subject is hard enough. Expecting the customers to know their needs, then interpreting that into the ‘right’ solution is even harder. This could be a good guide for the new customer to get a better understanding and learn the options available. Distance and visibility expectations from customers can be ambitious, it is our job to educate them accurately. Very good article.

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