Analogue Security Cameras vs Digital

What are security cameras?

Business establishments and institutions require security to stay viable in the long term. Assets and inventory need to be protected so that they continue to provide value to the business owners and investors. The higher value the property or merchandise, the more critical it becomes to have security in place.

A security surveillance system is the most viable solution available today. It enhances the existing capabilities of security personnel, increases their coverage, and makes coordination much easier. Owners and managers need to consider carefully what type of surveillance system they will put in place.

What are the choices?

There are two technologies currently in use for security cameras: Analogue and Digital. For all intents and purposes they perform the same function, which is to capture and record images in the direction they are pointed. It’s in how they capture, relay and store these images where they differ.

Analogue cameras were developed first and are usually what’s installed in older establishments. It captures images or video as analogue signals similar to the way that non-digital TV works. Image quality can vary depending on the type of camera but typically becomes more expensive the higher the resolution it can capture. Current analogue systems connect to a video recorder via coaxial cables. The stored video on the recorder is accessible locally with some systems offering remote viewing software allowing offsite connectivity from web-enabled devices.

Large scale digital camera systems are a recent development. These capture images or video and convert them into digital signals similar to how a web cam or digital handheld camera works. They can capture video in the minimum standard resolutions and higher, reaching high definition multi-megapixel video quality for optimum detail. They connect to an external managed switch, which can send the captured video directly online, to a computer, mobile device or to a network video recorder.

What are the pros and cons of these two systems?

When it comes to image quality, digital cameras with their megapixel capabilities absolutely outshine their analogue counterparts. Installation is also easier with digital cameras since they can be connected to the switch wirelessly or by using fewer cables when installing a POE switch which powers the cameras over the Ethernet through the CAT5 cable. This avoids greater installation costs by reducing the amount of cable required as well as having to conceal less cable which in turn reduces labour costs.

Analogue’s main advantage is in pricing. For certain applications that require the minimum image quality, an analogue security camera system will cost cheaper than a digital one. However, this advantage is rapidly eroding due to the increasing availability of cheaper digital camera units.

These cheaper digital security cameras offer improved video capture quality and easier installations but do require a stable network connection. Analogue systems will continue to function as long as they are connected by cable to the recorder. Digital systems must remain connected to the network at all times for operability.

One other advantage of digital camera systems is that they can be adapted to infrared imaging easily. This is very useful for night time monitoring. The digital sensor on most systems can have the ability to view IR images if an IR source is available.

Which is the best for your business?

For businesses and institutions that require a high level of security, a digital video system which can capture more detail is recommended. Good examples of these types of establishments are casinos, banks, jewelry stores – any location that deals with high value transactions.

When choosing between the two systems, digital is becoming the preferred choice for most, especially when setting up security systems in newly constructed buildings. Although analogue systems may still be useful for those businesses that require only the minimum image quality.
Analogue Security

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