If you're looking to install CCTV in your home or business, or perhaps you're looking to upgrade, you'll probably be aware that there are several different technologies available. How do you know which one is right for you?
It's worth looking at the pros and cons of each technology so you have a starting point in selecting the righ system for your needs.
Analog is the oldest form of CCTV monitoring. A lot of companies are moving away from analog these days to IP, which can produce higher quality video. However, it's not yet time to dismiss analog.
Newer forms of analog, such as HDTVI and AHD, are able to produce very decent image. They can also often give better bang for your buck.
Here are some situations where analog can be a good option:
Practical use #1: Upgrading Existing Systems
Many old CCTV systems in commercial premises run on analog. The quality is usually very poor compared to even a cheap system you can buy today.
Often it can be impractical to rewire a whole shop; you can use the existing analog wiring to install a HDTVI system which can produce significantly better image quality than on your old system.
Old analog cameras like this one in a Subway store can be upgraded without changing the cables.
Practical use #2: Low Budget Home CCTV
You can use a 720p AHD (analog high definition) system to monitor your home 24/7. Whilst not quite as high quality as an IP system you can still get good quality video which will meet your home security needs. When shopping for an AHD kit make sure it has at least the following features:
- Motion recording
- Night Vision
- At least 1TB hard drive
- LAN connection
- Mobile app so you can view the cameras from anywhere in the world
I personally recommend the techview system from Jaycar. It has all of the above features as well a a user friendly interface and a great app for monitoring.
Analog pros: Cheaper than IP, easy for upgrading old systems
Analog cons: Lower quality image than IP, cabling limits the quality of image
IP is the new technology of the CCTV world. Using 4 pair ethernet cable to trasmit signals, the capabilities of an IP system, both in image quality and for other practical reasons, leaves analog in the dust.
Practical Use #1: Retail Environment
As well as giving you high resolution video, most IP systems can also do:
- people counting
- number plate recognition
- face recognition
- POS machine integration (so you can monitor the camera above the till and see every transaction amount appear on the screen in real time, this can help deal wth cash register theft)
So there are many practical things an IP can do in a retail environment that an analog system simply can not.
POS integration in to your camera system allows you to see exactly what transaction is taking place in real time,
Practical Use #2: Home or Business Monitoring
Even if you don't need many fancy features such as number plate recognition and POS integration, an IP system can still be the best option for you for simple monitioring of your home or business. If you put a 4MP camera on an IP sytem you'll actually get 4MP, unlike analog where a lot of that image resolution is lost because of the cables.
IP pros: Better resolution video, more advanced features, better future proofing.
IP cons: More expensive than analog, rewiring old cables can be a hassle.
Wireless systems from companies like Swann are very popular on the DIY market, though sometimess professional installation can be the best way to go. Often, the term wireless can be misleading as the cameras still need power which involvess running, you guessed it; wires!
Some systems do run on battery but even the best one's don't last more than 6 months.
Also a lot of wireless systems have a small range of <20 metres. Outside that range the cameras simply won't work.
Wireless pros: Easy installation, good for DIY
Wireless cons: Slower and less stable connection than other platforms
With this information you're now ready to start making decisions on what CCTV system is right for you.