The advantages of IP CCTV

This article outlines the main advantages IP CCTV technology. Please call us on 0508 11 00 22 or email us if you have further questions.

You may see high definition CCTV called HD (high definition), IP, MP (megapixel) or network CCTV. They all refer to the same CCTV technology. This technology offers high resolution recording and playback of security footage on a network system.

What are the advantages of an IP CCTV system?

IP CCTV systems offer far superior image quality

The biggest advantage with a megapixel CCTV system is much, much higher resolution pictures. Trinity stocks IP cameras from 2 megapixels to 12 megapixels. A low resolution analog CCTV system, common in older CCTV systems, can produce a maximumof a 700TVL which equivalent to around 0.4 megapixel. Today 20+ megapixel still cameras are commonplace which makes a 0.4 megapixel image from an analog CCTV system seem obsolete.

This high resolution is also retained by the NVR which means you will see the same level of detail as the live image when you play back your recorded footage and take stills from it. As the resolution is increased especially above 2MP you have the ability to digitally zoom into a pre recorded image without the picture pixilating as it does with a low resolution image. This helps when trying to identify an intruder or read a licence plate on a vehicle.

Older technology DVRs in comparison record in CIF which gives about a quarter of the detail you got from your old, non HD TV or 4CIF which gives about the same level of detail as that same non HD TV. To get resolution that is similar or higher than a full HD (high definition) TV you need at least a 2 megapixel camera. To achieve images at 4K you’ll need an 8MP or higher resolution camera.

Is the image quality all that’s important? It many instances, yes, particularly if you need to capture detail such as face recognition, to see what is being picked from your warehouse or what changes hands over your till. Poor quality images captured by basic analog systems can be all but useless for retrieving detail or attempting a positive identification. Many people are shocked the first time they try to use their analog recorded footage in this way – we have all become so used to high definition images on everything from our mobile phones to our TVs. So do take the time to consider the issue of image quality very carefully.

IP cameras cover a much wider area than analog CCTV cameras

A high resolution IP camera can cover a much wider area than an analog CCTV camera – for example a single IP camera can often easily cover the same area you would need up to four low resolution cameras for. This means in some situations installing an IP surveillance system is actually more cost effective plus you get the benefit of much more user-friendly footage from a single camera.

IP systems offer much more powerful search functions

Another advantage with an IP system is the playback and search functionality can be much better than even the most advanced analogue DVR. NVRs can include such features as object search – if an object goes missing you simply draw a box around the space it was in and the NVR will automatically search out activity in that area. If you are considering a CCTV system for a warehouse or a busy retail or restaurant environment it is likely you will often need to refer back to recorded footage. IP licence plate cameras can read and record licence plates to a data base allowing you to search for vehicles or create automatic events when a particular vehicle is seen. Don’t underestimate the time (and money) savings possible with an IP system’s back-end functionality – it can make a big difference.

IP systems offer superior expansion and wireless opportunities

An IP camera can be simply wired in to the nearest network switch where it uses the existing network infrastructure to take the cameras signal back to the NVR. This means some IP system installs require less wiring than an analog system would. Analog CCTV cameras also need to be wired directly back to the DVR which can limit the ability to install them in some situations (or make the installation very expensive).

IP cameras can also be integrated with a wireless network allowing almost unlimited expansion. Analog wireless CCTV systems are fraught with problems, particularly from interference on the radio frequency band they transmit on (this is becoming more and more prevalent).

NVRs can often record a mix of high and lower resolution IP cameras which allows you a larger range of camera options and price points. It also means you can upgrade a camera to a higher resolution model in the future without having to change the recorder.

IP systems are likely to be the future of CCTV

The reality is we now live in a high definition world. More and more companies (and home owners) are upgrading existing CCTV systems for IP. Eventually IP CCTV will be the standard for CCTV installation. The technology is changing so quickly that there is always a newer and better option six months later in for both analog and IP products. However, IP will provide you with a longer term solution.

4 An analog system can only output a maximum of 700 TVL, even if the camera resolution states it is higher. This is because of how data compression works on the DVR which limits the quality of the image that can be reproduced.