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What’s The Difference Between Analog And IP Cameras?
Sep 04, 2017

What’s The Difference Between Analog And IP Cameras?

When choosing security cameras for your home or business, you’ll notice a lot of talk about the differences between analog cameras and IP cameras. Both types of cameras work well in either personal or business security scenarios. An analog camera feeds your security images directly to a television, VCR, or DVD player. An IP, or network, camera feeds your security images directly to a Web server. Whether an analog or IP camera is best for you depends upon your individual security needs, so I’m going to list some differences between the two to help you decide on your security camera.


Let’s talk about budget first, because that is generally a primary concern for anyone looking to install a new security system or enhance an existing one. Analog cameras are cheaper than IP cameras. The technology behind the analog security feed is tried, true, and quite old – about 50 years old to be exact. As such, these cameras cost less than the newer and more technologically advanced IP models.

This being said, the IP models are generally easier to install than analog units are. They feed the security image directly to Web server, so any wiring you need is likely present in your home or business for your computers. Therefore, the cameras themselves may be more expensive, but the installation and wiring fees for an analog camera just might offset the difference in camera cost should you choose an IP.


Cost aside, another important consideration for your CCTV security cameras is lighting. I stress to my customers daily that security cameras do you no good if you cannot see the images they are projecting. An analog camera works very well at recording images in many different hues of light. An IP camera performs much better in well-lit conditions.

With this in mind, if you are securing your home, for example, and you would like to spare your neighbors the annoyance of high-voltage mercury lighting around the perimeter of your property, you might do better with an analog camera. If you’re securing your business, which has lighting all around the property to keep it bright throughout the night, you would do fine with an IP camera.


Another thing I stress to my customers is distance. In this particular case, analog wins again for home lighting, whereas IP wins for business property. Analog cameras record well in light, but lose clarity the further away the image. IP cameras maintain clarity at longer distances, so they work well for securing larger areas, such as parking lots or warehouses, for example.

In terms of motion sensitivity, however, an analog camera is far more stable. This camera model might not project clear images at extended distances, but it can handle the shaking of high winds or even an earthquake better than an IP camera. Your image will stay truer on a disturbed analog camera than a disturbed IP one.


Clarity at a distance isn’t your only concern, however, and I often recommend IP systems to my customers who desire a clearer and sharper picture. This is where the differences in technology come into play, and one of the reasons why IP cameras are more expensive than analog cameras. Just like pictures taken with digital cameras, the more pixels the better the clarity.

As I said at the beginning of the post, analog camera technology is older, and the maximum amount of megapixel resolution an analog camera has is 0.4 megapixels. An IP camera has as much as 10 megapixel resolution, so your image will be much clearer with an IP camera. This will, of course, also increase the cost of the camera.

Projection Feed

I briefly touched upon it in my introduction, but let’s talk a little bit more about the actual projection feed of an analog versus an IP camera. The security systems you see monitored on TV screens by security guards are generally analog CCTV systems. These cameras are hardwired into a recording device, such as a VCR or DVD recorder, and are constantly recording and projecting the security images onto the TV screen.

An IP camera system can be hard-wired or wireless, and the image feeds to a network server. The server to which the feed is transmitted can be accessed by any electronic device with Internet capabilities. For example, if you have your home or business secured with IP security cameras, all you would need to do is log in to the server hosting your camera feed and voila! Instant security images on your computer, smartphone, notepad, or other mobile device.

Security Camera Security

It might sound silly to talk about security camera security, but let’s do that for just a moment! As I explained above, your analog security camera is feeding the images directly into a recording device. This makes your security feed susceptible to anyone with the capabilities of getting their hands on your tapes, DVDs, or recording units.

An IP security camera encrypts your security feed prior to sending it to the network server. It does this for several reasons, including compressing the data into a smaller size and securing it for transport over the Internet; therefore, if you are concerned about the security of your security images, you’ll probably feel more comfortable with an IP CCTV security system than an analog one.

As you can see, there are some significant differences between an analog and an IP security camera. The type of camera you choose really does depend upon your individual security needs. If you are securing your home, and simply want a simple, inexpensive system, analog might be the way to go. If you’re securing your business and have an expansive area to secure, you might find IP a better solution.