Guide for selection IP Cameras, analog or digital?

IP Camera Introduction

Internet Protocol (IP) camera mainly is composed of a lens, an image sensor (typically CMOS image sensor) and an image processor, and a H.264 video compression SoC (System on Chip) and an Ethernet chip that allow camera to connect to network for video broadcasting.

When light passes through the lens to the sensor, the image sensor will convert it to digital signals then processed by a built-in image signal processor (ISP). Instantly, the signal will be compressed with H.264 format by a multimedia SoC to minimize the file size for optimal transmission. Finally, the video images are sent through the network to back-end device for viewing or recording.

IP network camera internal design

A standard IP camera includes a power cord and an Ethernet (RJ45) port only, some multi-function network cameras have rich interface including Audio Input/Output, Alarm Input/Output, and even Micro-SD card slot for local video storage, or BNC output.

IP network camera back interface

What are the primary functions of IP camera?

Monitoring and recording video footage is the function of IP camera (system). Using the advanced IP camera technology, IP camera system can provide high definition video surveillance with remotely access feature. HD video recording, remote viewing and motion detection are key features for IP cameras.

High Definition monitoring

Almost standard IP cameras adopt megapixel resolution progressive scan CMOS image sensor to capture different megapixel resolution images with high clarity. Now you can find 1.0MP, 1.3MP, 2.0MP, 3.0MP and even 5.0MP IP cameras in the market. These cameras produce stunning, and real time video footage, built-in IR-CUT filter to prevent unnatural lights enter into camera sensor which help camera to capture crisp images with true color reproduction.

Remote monitoring

Authorized users can access the IP camera through typing IP address or domain in web browsers. After login, user can config the IP camera, also watch live video footage or even perform video recording. IP cameras broadcast video footage through internet, user can access the feeds from anywhere via PC browsers, video management software (Windows, Mac), smartphone or tablet.

Smart monitoring

IP camera works standalone, it has built-in CPU, through integration of software, the IP camera features intelligent motion detection, which allow user get informed about any suspicious activity around supervised areas. Combine this with the advanced recording modes, email and push notifications and you get a vigilant guard that takes care of your home or business security around the clock.

Why choose IP cameras?

Internet Protocol (IP) cameras offer many advantages over traditional analog cameras. Firstly, IP camera is based on digital technology, supports end-to-end video streaming solution which allow it works standalone and supports advanced network functions. Utilizing progressive scan megapixel resolution COMS image sensor - providing up to 5 megapixel(2560x1920) resolution images with high clarity.

IP cameras have capability to transmit video, audio, and power over a single Ethernet cable, which is less expensive than coaxial cable transmission, and IP network cable is probably already wired throughout your building. IP security cameras can easily alert you by sending live video to a computer or mobile device for immediate review. Lastly, IP cameras can be accessed, managed and recorded from across the hall or across the world via the internet.

IP camera

What's the difference between IP camera and CCTV camera?

Based on different technology is the main difference between CCTV camera and IP camera. CCTV camera can capture images then transfer uncompressed analog video signal over coaxial cable to the digital video recorder. On the other hand, IP camera delivers compressed digital video signal via Ethernet cable, then broadcasting over whole network including LAN and WAN (Internet).

In analog CCTV system, the digital video recorder is essential device, and user can't directly access the individual CCTV cameras, capturing images is the only task for CCTV camera, each camera is powered by plugging in the power supply right at the camera or by using RG59 Siamese cable with bundles the video and the power cables. After receiving the analog video signal from cameras, the DVR will convert the analog signal to digital, compresses it, then stores the compressed video on hard drives. Besides, DVR has different recording modes including full time, schedule, motion detection and alarm event. The DVR can connect to network through its RJ45 interface. When broadcasting over the Internet, the video for all of the cameras is transmitted as one stream (one IP address). Therefore, it is very efficient.

Different from analog world, the IP camera captures images but immediately converts it to digital signal, then compress it with H.264 format, after that to broadcast over network, all these works will be done by IP camera itself. IP camera can connect to network through either hardwired Ethernet connection or WiFi wireless connection. Standard IP camera need to run with power cable connection. For PoE IP camera, power is supplied to the cameras through the ethernet cable via Power-Over-Ethernet (POE) adapters built into the cameras and at the (POE enabled) switch or NVR with separate Ethernet PoE ports.  Since each IP cameras can work standalone, user can access it with authorized accounts. The IP camera provides web function, allowing user to config it through PC browsers, and watching  live video through video management software (VMS), smartphone or tablet applications.

A network video recorder (NVR) is dedicated to record video and manage the IP cameras. The main difference is that video feeds are digital, the NVR doesn't need to compress the video. The NVR combines the video streams from the cameras and handles the broadcast over the LAN and internet for local and remote viewing.

IP camera vs CCTV camera

CCTV camera or IP camera

Considering both image quality and cost, IP camera becomes the best solution for both residential and commercial video surveillance applications. If the cost of IP camera isn't declining, analog system is the cost-effective solution for residential users. However, the cost of IP cameras and components is rapidly declining, making IP systems more and more affordable and desirable.  

In terms of image quality, recently many manufacturers release HD analog cameras with capability to deliver 720P and 1080P megapixel resolution images (such as 960H, HDCVI, HDSDI, AHD), but IP camera can deliver much higher resolution which is up to 6 megapixel.

Equipment cost isn't the only consideration when choosing the system between CCTV analog and IP digital. Analog camera requires using coaxial cable for its video transmission, each cabl for analog cameras must be run all the way back the DVR, which in turn, greatly increased the installation cost. In contrast, IP camera can be easier to install, IP camera connects to Ethernet cable for video transmission, user just need to connect it into the existing IP network. The Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology also can simplify the installation process, IP camera can work with only single Ethernet cable connected, central managed power supply can allow cameras provide reliable performance.

Choose different types of IP cameras

No matter what kind of video surveillance project is, IP cameras are the best choices to small, medium, large surveillance applications. Easy to use, and great network function, PoE, P2P technologies, IP cameras can give you high quality and high resolution images to enable users setup HD surveillance systems. Since digital technology becomes so common, users easily to find wide range of different IP cameras at affordable prices. IP cameras have different types, each of them suitable different installation environment. Before embarking on installation, choosing appropriate IP camera is very important.

IP bullet camera

This type camera gets the name from its bullet housing design. Included everything to capture high definition images at day and night, the sleek and weather proof IP66 rated rugged enclosure design can enable camera withstand dust, rain, wind, strong and low and temperature, hence IP bullet cameras are suitable any indoor and outdoor environment. Typically, this type of camera has built in IR illuminators, which are able to provide illumination when camera works under low light or complete darkness conditions. Obviously, IP bullet camera are the most widely used cameras in security applications, especially applications for residence or small business.

Dome camera

Putting camera module inside a dome shape enclosure, dome camera can deliver 1.0 mega pixel to five mega pixel resolution images with advanced functions such as 3D nois reduction, wide dynamic range. Furthermore, dome cameras adopt vandal-resistant and compact design which make dome camera use in train, bus, even boat...etc. Mini dome cameras are suitable for discreet applications. If you want to choose IP  camera for indoor usage, the security experts recommend the IP dome camera, compact size and aesthetic design, allowing them easily blend into your interior decorations.

Box camera 

Different from above two different types cameras, box cameras are widely used in commercial applications. A box camera doesn't come with lens, but it allows users to attach different C/CS lens to enable camera has different field of view, lens selection permit camera to capture clear images with different view angel, without outdoor enclosure, the box camera only can be installed indoor, put box camera inside a IP66 rated weatherproof enclosure, it can work outdoor, through adding fan and heat, box cameras are ideal for extreme low and high temperature environment, they can give users great flexibility to customize solution for specific surveillance applications.

Fisheye/Panoramic view camera

Fisheye camera to provide you panoramic view to secure your area with 180° panoramic view when mounted on the wall, or a 360° bird’s eye view when mounted on a ceiling…always looking in all directions to capture all activity. Panoramic is ideal for indoor video surveillance, especially for office, and hotel lobby, and airport.

IP PTZ dome camera

PTZ is the abbreviation of Pan/tilt/zoom, PTZ camera can deliver 720P HD and 1080P full HD images with great clarity. The PTZ camera is ideal choice for large area surveillance, allowing user to track and zoom in on the details of an important subject. Typically, PTZ camera has advanced functions such as presets and cruise rotation, manual and auto scan, as well as smart motion detection, zone intrusion detection. Looking for IP cameras to secure your parking lot, shopping mall,  or even city surveillance projects, PTZ camera is your best choice.

Hikvision DS-2DF7286  30X IP PTZ camera

The disadvantages of IP camera solution

Now IP cameras are replacing the traditional analog cameras to become new trend in video surveillance industry. This doesn't mean IP camera is perfect solution to suitable any applications, it does have several disadvantages.

Video latency: Compared with analog surveillance cameras, network camera delivers compressed video signal, and also using the RJ45 Ethernet cable for video streaming, hence it exists video latency, especially when you are operating the PTZ camera, this effect will become more manifest.

Transmission distance: Although using the highest standard Cat6 Ethernet cable, the video transmission distance only reaches up to 100 meters. In contrast, analog signal can transmit over 500 meters via using 75-5 coax cable. This distance is still not far, now you need to use optic fiber transmission method, which in turn, greatly increased cost.

Bandwidth problem: In analog cameras, the maximum resolution is 0.4MP (exclude the recent megapixel resolutions such as 960H, HDCVI, HDSDI, HDTVI, AHD), for video storage, basically below 2M/s bitrate to meet the bandwidth requirement. Nevertheless, IP camera delivers megapixel resolutions, typically a single 2 megapixel IP camera, running 30fsp with H.264 compression will use a whopping 4Mbps of bandwidth. It should come as no surprise then that some companies have gone so far as to create an entirely separate IP network just to run their camera system.

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Tags: IP Camera, IP Camera Installation