The advantages of SD CCTV

This article outlines the main advantages of standard definition CCTV technology to help you decide if it will work best for you. Please call us on 0508 11 00 22 or email us if you have further questions.

You may see standard CCTV referred to as SD (standard definition), traditional, conventional, digital or analog (or analogue) CCTV. All these terms usually refer to the same CCTV technology.

What are the advantages with a standard CCTV system?

Analog CCTV systems are often less expensive overall

Analog CCTV products are at this point in time still cheaper than their IP counterparts – NVRs can be twice as expensive as a DVR for example. The installation of an analog surveillance system can also be less expensive because they are quicker to install with minimal network set-up and configuration.

However in some situations a single IP camera can be installed in the place of a number of standard CCTV cameras so we always recommend looking at both options before making a final decision.

Analog CCTV systems are easier to maintain

Overall standard CCTV security systems need little maintenance once installed. We recommend a basic check once a week to confirm all cameras are recording and footage can be retrieved from the DVR.

Because an analog system is not attached to the business or home network it won’t be at the mercy of network issues. Large file sizes, limitations to the bandwidth, viruses or too many devices trying to use the network (congestion) are just some of the challenges facing the installation and ongoing maintenance of an IP system.

Analog CCTV cameras can perform better in some environments

Depending on the environment an analog security camera may perform better than an IP camera in the same position. Situations where this may occur include:

  • Low light: The CMOS image sensors normally used in IP cameras deliver great HD resolution but do not handle low light very well. Some IP cameras will produce a grainy picture at low light (which also uses up bandwidth and storage space because it is interpreted as motion)2. Many analog cameras use a CCD image sensor which has much better low light performance.
  • Darkness: Most analog surveillance camera include in-built IR (infrared) that allows the camera to record images even in complete darkness. While IP cameras will record down to a very low level of light if they need to record in zero lux separate IR illuminators will need to be installed3.
  • Fluorescent lighting: Fluorescent lighting is used in many indoor spaces in New Zealand and it can create problems, particularly for IP cameras. The frequency of the fluorescent lighting and the power source can clash which creates a constant flicker on the live and recorded video image. Accurate colour information may also be affected. Note that this problem can also affect some standard analogue CCTV cameras with CCD image sensors.

This information is only designed as a guide and we will always recommend a CCTV surveillance system that best suits your particular environment. It is always a good idea to get an on-site demo or make an appointment to visit a CCTV showroom like our one in Auckland.

Longer cable runs with analog CCTV cameras

IP camera cable distances are limited to 100 metres between the camera and network switch by structured cabling regulations. It is possible to run Cat5 cabling that will allow analog cameras to be mounted up to two kilometres away from the DVR.

Mix and match analog surveillance products

Virtually any standard CCTV camera will plug in to any DVR allowing you to easily customise and upgrade your system. An IP surveillance system is set up specifically to work with the network protocol it is designed for. This means different IP camera and NVR brands may not be compatible.

View footage in true real time

Because the image from a standard CCTV camera is processed and compressed at the DVR (not the camera) it can be viewed live with no delay. IP cameras can experience ‘lag’ for up to 2-seconds.