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HDCVI vs IP

If you, like many people, are having trouble deciding which surveillance system will best fit your needs, don’t fret. You’re not alone. Feeling some level of anxiety over the sheer number of options to choose from does not make you crazy - it makes you a smart shopper. Thankfully, there are really only a few major key points that statistically end up swaying a potential buyer one way or the other.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that, as long as you take the right approach, you will be able to save yourself precious time (and money) when homing in on the perfect solution by evaluating what you need most.

Performance

This is the deal-breaking consideration for a vast majority of potential buyers. To keep it simple, let’s compare an IP camera to a laptop and a DVR to a desktop computer.

Sure, you can buy the most expensive laptop on the market and it will allow you to surf the web, check your emails, and stream some videos without any problems. In fact, a lot of the nicest laptops are actually quite powerful and can do much more. But if you need to use heavy system resources to do things like stream HD movies, play the latest graphics-intensive PC games, host media/gaming servers, or even use software for photo/video editing, most people wouldn’t argue that you need a desktop computer.

The same applies to the IP/DVR equation. Sure, you can buy the latest and greatest IP camera and it will probably be very impressive. But when it comes to the compression, encoding, and playback of large amounts of high definition video, a DVR will beat the puny chipset of an IP camera every time. This is not to say that you can’t get high quality video from an IP camera. But if you are looking for a heavy-duty solution for multiple cameras and the ability to manage a large amount of HD footage over a long period of time, in this case, bigger is better.

Security

With DVR systems, you can have multiple cameras monitoring a particular area while having only one device online (the DVR). But with IP cameras, every single camera you put up has to be independently connected to the internet. In fact, with a DVR system, you don’t even have to go online. You can store everything locally and access it whenever you want to.

Of course, one must always take it upon themselves to maintain online security. But in the case of DVR systems, there is the added benefit of having the option to utilize being truly closed-circuit.

Ease of use

When considering how user-friendly something is, you want to account for both hardware and software setup processes.

Hardware

Setting up a few IP cameras can be a fairly simple process. Mounting and wiring them can be done pretty quickly as they are standalone units. Since most of them can connect to Wi-Fi, running cables is not much of an issue and all you really have to worry about is plugging it into power. Alternatively, you can utilize PoE to build a stronger connection than Wi-Fi, but then would have to deal with wiring Ethernet cables.

DVR systems typically require wiring the cables through the wall or the ceiling every time, which can be difficult to do or require a professional install. The tradeoff is that one never has to worry about a delay in the video signal or problems with internet connectivity.


Software

If someone has no knowledge of networking whatsoever, they will need to either learn enough until they can manage their IP cameras independently or they will need technical support’s assistance constantly. Most of the time, it’s a mix of both. But having to learn networking can be daunting and relying on technical support can be frustrating.

HDCVI systems use something called Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) to help you get online in no time. Finding an IP camera that supports UPnP is definitely possible, but then one has to consider that managing more than one IP camera’s network configuration can be very tedious and burdensome, especially when it comes to troubleshooting.

Access

For the majority of CCTV history, these systems were heavily depended upon for surveillance but never had the capability to go online. In fact, this is one of the major reasons IP cameras became so popular, because they had the ability to grant users remote access whenever and wherever they wanted. Now, people have the ability to access their DVR systems, like HDCVI or 960H, on the go as well. Through the use of smartphone/tablet apps or using a computer/laptop web browser, users can log in to their DVRs and see what’s happening, manage their recordings, or even receive snapshot email alerts when Motion Detection is triggered just like IP cameras. When it comes to remote access, this is a tie.

Storage

Most IP cameras have an SD card slot that allows local recordings and snapshots to be saved. This is one of the most reliable methods of storage, but could end up being an extra purchase if you don’t already have an SD card with the right specifications. A lot of IP camera users actually end up using a cloud service to store their videos and snapshots which requires a subscription, but allows very easy remote access through a wonderful web interface. Alternatively, you can save recordings and snapshots to your computer’s hard drive and, if you have enough space, this is the cheapest and simplest method of storage but complicates where and when you can access these files.

DVR systems, however, come preinstalled with their own hard drives. This means that you can records for weeks and never have to worry about paying for a cloud subscription, running out of space on your computer, or being limited to frequently clearing out the files from a comparatively tiny SD card.  And, once you access your DVR remotely (for free) through the web interface, you can playback, manage, and delete anything you want from your hard drive. As long as users make sure that their DVR’s physical location is secured, the storage options tend to be a lot more convenient and practical.

Quick Summary

Performance: No one denies that IP cameras can have beautiful HD footage. But when it comes to powerful, long-term, and reliable surveillance, a DVR is the way to go.

Security: Both IP cameras and DVR systems technically hold a risk by being network-enabled. But as long as one exercises good practices, they have nothing to worry about. For the particularly network-conscious, DVR systems, however, have the perk of being completely closed-circuit (offline).

Ease of Use (Hardware/Software): IP cameras are typically the best solution for consumers who have a very simplistic need for surveillance. They are easy to install, but can be difficult to manage. DVR systems can be difficult to install, but tend to be very easy to manage and are mostly used where a security or surveillance presence needs to be established and taken seriously.

Access:
Whether an IP camera or DVR system, both technologies allow users to access their cameras remotely. The only standing difference would have to be that the DVR can be directly accessed through a monitor which comes in handy if the user chooses to opt out of remote access altogether.

Storage: IP cameras have a lot of versatility when it comes to storage and can be very convenient. However, they can quickly become burdensome when managing many cameras or a lot of footage. DVR systems are a bit more future-proofed and are designed to manage a lot of footage and many cameras.

Conclusion

Overall, there is no clear-cut right or wrong answer as to which is better for you. It all really depends on what it is you need the technology for. The best way to think about it is that an IP camera system tends to sacrifice performance for convenience, and a DVR system tends to sacrifice convenience for performance. But it’s important to keep the distinction in mind that the convenience sacrificed by a DVR system has to do with the installation, which only has to be dealt with once. But the performance sacrificed by an IP camera is by design and will have to be dealt with for the life of the product.

IP cameras are very convenient, quick, and can be pretty powerful. DVR systems are a bit tricky to install, but are truly a more permanent solution for surveillance and offer a level of reliability and performance that distinguishes them from them IP cameras. But, once again, depending on the situation and application of these systems, an IP camera could easily make a lot more sense in every way. So now there’s only the matter of finding which of these two options is more appropriate for your particular scenario, and that’s where you come in.

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