There is much debate as to which system is better – the analog or the IP CCTV camera. The answer is a little more complex than would first appear to be the case, and in the final analysis, the answer lies in the customer’s specific requirements. What this means is that both analog and IP offer unique features and benefits, and these are fundamental in determining the true cost-benefits resolution, but it is clear that each application has its merits, and suit different environments, depending on the specific requirements of each customer.

As one would expect, the manufacturers and suppliers of each type of camera extolls the virtues of their product, citing its specific benefits versus the other. But that is far less relevant to the argument, as the ultimate solution will, as mentioned above, depend on the specific requirements of the customer.

That said, and accepting that technology is always moving ahead, and in recent times moving very fast, it stands to reason that the product type that most aligns itself to the new and valuable technologies is likely to be the ultimate winner in the analog vs IP debate. In this context, the market is dominated by the analog, simply because the analog has been around for years and has enjoyed considerable market penetration due to its relatively low cost entry points. However, in recent years, the IP Camera is beginning to make serious inroads, even though typically more expensive, due to its undeniable clarity of its images, and the ability by the authorities (primarily the Police) to use these images for identification purposes.

While there is plenty justification for the on-going use of analog cameras in the appropriate environments, the fact that the new IP cameras currently capture images with up to 10 megapixel means this new generation is significantly superior to the analog, and particularly if one of the objectives of the security system is to generate clear images.

If an IP network is already in place at the installation site, and it can handle the additional load of the new cameras, then IP cameras will be easier to install.

Once the cabling is in place, configuring the system is easier for analog systems, as each camera simply plugs into the DVR. As each IP camera has its own IP address, each has to be individually connected.

Analog wireless systems do not work well due as they operate on the unlicensed bandwidth where there is increasing interference from other wireless devices. Digital IP wireless is much better as interference is significantly less due to its operating on a different band.

IP cameras should be considered for large installations which have high bandwidth especially if the cameras cover a wide area, or if wireless cameras will be used. Using analog cameras and multiple DVRs can be less costly than purchasing many IP cameras along with the required software licenses.

The multiple DVR solution also provides better failover protection. If the network goes down in an IP based system, video is lost from all the cameras. If the network goes down in an analog system, the DVRs are still recording the cameras. If one DVR has a problem, only the recorded video from the cameras on that particular DVR is lost. In contrast, if the recording PC goes down in an IP system, all video recording is stopped.

Progressive Scan vs Interlaced
Even at the highest resolution available for CCTV, the clarity of rapidly moving objects – such as a person running or speeding car – has long been problematic in security and surveillance applications. In an analog environment, a rapidly moving object will appear blurry. This is because an analog video signal, even when connected to a DVR, interlaces to create the images. Interlaced images use techniques developed for analog TV monitor displays, made up of visible horizontal lines across a standard TV screen. Interlacing divides images into odd and even lines and then alternately refreshes them. The slight delay between odd and even line refreshes creates some distortion – only half the lines keep up with the moving image while the other half waits to be refreshed. This causes moving objects to blur or appear jagged. Consequently, the IP system is far better in the case of requiring clear images.

Network Video Server vs DVR
Although DVR’s do record digitally and are better than VHS based systems, they are still not truly digital and can not be classified as IP. DVRs essentially take an analog signal, convert it to digital format and then compress it, all of which typically reduces quality. IP signals on the other hand begin as digital and remain that way. IP based systems are also less complicated than clunky DVRs and are designed to be end user friendly. In addition, with an IP based system you can have from one to many cameras, whereas DVR based systems typically require that you start or move up in blocks of 4, 8 or 16. There are many other advantages to IP based systems such as increased recording time, smart search capabilities, web based remote viewing, Access Control , easy system upgrades, etc.


The digital network video surveillance system provides a host of benefits and advanced functionalities that cannot be provided by an analog video surveillance system. The advantages include the following:

• Remote accessibility
• High image quality
• Event management and intelligent video
• Easy, future-proof integration
• Scalability and flexibility
• Cost-effectiveness

Remote accessibility
Network cameras and video encoders can be configured and accessed remotely, enabling multiple, authorized users to view live and recorded video at any time and from virtually any networked location in the world. In a traditional analog CCTV system, users would need to be at a specific, on-site monitoring location to view and manage video, and off-site video access would not be possible without such equipment as a video encoder or a network digital video recorder (DVR). A DVR is the digital replacement for the video cassette recorder.

High image quality
In a video surveillance application, high image quality is essential to be able to clearly capture an incident in progress and identify persons or objects involved. With progressive scan and megapixel technologies, an IP camera delivers better image quality and higher resolution than an analog CCTV camera as discussed above.

Event management and intelligent video
There is often too much video recorded and lack of time to properly analyse the hours of recorded data. Advanced IP cameras and video encoders with in-built intelligence reduce the amount of irrelevant recordings, which functionalities are not available in an analog system.

Axis IP cameras and video encoders have built-in features such as video motion detection, audio detection alarm, active tampering alarm, I/O (input/output) connections, and alarm and event management functionalities. These features enable the IP cameras and video encoders to constantly analyse inputs to detect an event and to automatically respond to an event with actions such as video recording and sending alarm notifications.

Event management functionalities can be configured using the network video product’s user interface or a video management software program. Users can define the alarms or events by setting the type of triggers to be used and when. Responses can also be configured (e.g., recording to one or multiple sites, whether local and/or off-site for security purposes; activation of external devices such as alarms, lights and doors; and sending notification messages to users).

Easy, future-proof integration
IP video products based on open standards can be easily integrated with computer and Ethernet-based information systems, audio or security systems and other digital devices, in addition to video management and application software. For instance, video from an IP camera can be integrated into a Point of Sales system or a building management system.

Scalability and flexibility
An IP video system can grow with a user’s needs. IP-based systems provide a means for many IP cameras and video encoders, as well as other types of applications, to share the same wired or wireless network for communicating data; so any number of IP video products can be added to the system without significant or costly changes to the network infrastructure. This is not the case with an analog system.

In an analog video system, a dedicated coaxial cable must run directly from each camera to a viewing/recording station. Separate audio cables must also be used if audio is required.

An IP-Surveillance system typically has a lower total cost of ownership than a traditional analog CCTV system (subject to certain conditions). An IP network infrastructure is often already in place and used for other applications within an organization, so a network video application can piggyback off the existing infrastructure. IP-based networks and wireless options are also much less expensive alternatives than traditional coaxial and fiber cabling for an analog CCTV system. In addition, digital video streams can be routed around the world using a variety of interoperable infrastructure. Management and equipment costs are also lower since back-end applications and storage run on industry standard, open systems-based servers, not on proprietary hardware such as a DVR in the case of an analog CCTV system.

Furthermore, Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology, which cannot be applied in an analog video system, can be used in an IP video system. PoE enables networked devices to receive power from a PoE-enabled switch through the same Ethernet cable that transports data (video). PoE provides substantial savings in installation costs and can increase the reliability of the system.

Integrated security solutions can become very complex, particularly if one wants to integrate a suite of solutions, including CCTV Surveillance, Access Control (designed to control who can enter your premises and/or parts thereof) and Building Management Systems (to manage and control utilities, elevators, etc.).

DyCom Security Solutions is a specialist IT, wireless and security consultant, who can both advise and assist with all your security requirements. As the DyCom Group also has in-house wireless and networking skills, we are able to continue to undertake both large and complex projects using our combined in-house skill set.

DyCom would be delighted to work with you to design the most cost effective but productively effective system across all of your IT and security needs. We offer a no-cost no-obligation discussion and quotation, so before you leap into a solution, please call or email DyCom for their specialist input.