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IP vs analogue CCTV – How to choose

Posted on Thursday, November 17th, 2011 by James

After making the decision to secure your premises with surveillance cameras, now comes the task of deciding which route to take; do you use traditional analogue CCTV or venture into future technology by using IP network cameras like Y-cam?  It’s a big question and a daunting task with so many options and products to choose from. To help we have put together a quick guide, highlighting the different features and possibilities of both solutions.

How the cameras work

Internet Protocol cameras, or IP cameras, like Y-cam are like a webcam you would find attached to your computer.  However, these are slightly more advanced as they have their own web server inside them plus a processor and various network connections, so your computer doesn’t need to be on for them to work; they just boot up, connect to your network and are ready for you to access them.  As accessing the camera works like a webpage, they allow multiple users to access, view & record video from anywhere in the world via an internet connection.  The cameras also connect to your computer network, so if you are in an office you probably already have this cabling in place and if you are at home they can connect through your Wi-Fi network so no cabling is required.

Traditional analogue CCTV (closed-circuit television) gets its name from exactly how they work – they use wiring around your premises to create a closed-circuit. These systems have tried to move forward with the market, however some still use old methods of transporting information through cable; they need to be viewed on dedicated televisions or monitors.  Some systems allow for displaying multiple cameras on one screen.

Quality & Storage

Y-cam’s IP cameras offer detailed, high quality images, available from 640×480 to 720P, which can be stored either directly to a PC, built in SD card or direct to Network Attached Storage (NAS), creating high quality footage to multiple storage devices. To digitally store images from analogue CCTV systems requires that the signal to be converted (digitised) this often leads to a loss of picture quality.

Features

Y-cam IP cameras offer a multitude of beneficial features including remote vision via PC, Mac and mobile phones, motion detection email and FTP alerts, IR night vision, PoE, two-way audio and much more.

CCTV cameras don’t have audio built in, this often requires an additional microphone and separate cabling, which complicates the installation and can add significant cost.  Y-cams, by contrast, have audio capability inbuilt making it possible to listen in on the location you’re surveying.

Security

Security is a huge factor between these two solutions. It is relatively easy to tap into the analogue signal from a traditional CCTV and replace the live feed with any desired image. On the other hand IP cameras have built-in encryption and require password authentication, making it very difficult to tap in or replace the video information. The digital system provides total privacy and secure picture capture & transmission.

Future-proofing

IP cameras also benefit from the possibility to add additional cameras with very little effort. Any number of security cameras and devices can be connected to the system with minimum intervention to the existing infrastructure. In the analogue system, each camera cable runs directly from a surveillance camera to a monitoring station, whereas network cameras can be connected and removed from virtually anywhere, creating an extremely simple method to grow your system, whether your business expands, you obtain new contracts or see new crime hot spots cropping up, you can easily meet any new requirements.

This is not the same for traditional CCTV as systems are much harder to move and relocate due to the excessive wiring and cabling, plus they are much harder to expand as DVR’s can only support so many cameras; once this limit is reached it’s either stop or start again with a bigger DVR.

Pricing

With all these benefits you would expect IP cameras to have a much higher price tag; however, this is not the case. IP cameras are extremely cost effective; by using an existing IT infrastructure, users can slash installation costs as there is no need for additional cables and as the technology grows the price will become ever more competitive.

Everyone will have different security needs, but all of these factors add up to a solution which is easy to install, use and maintain, making IP the sensible choice against traditional CCTV and, as the market continues to gravitate towards IP solutions, we are clearly not the only ones to see its full potential.

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