All security cameras and security surveillance systems are designed to provide protection for your home or business. However, despite this universal purpose, there are actually a lot of differences between each system. In order to pick the right one for your home or business, you need to understand these differences. This starts with a fundamental choice between NVR and DVR.

Technical Differences between NVR and DVR


NVRs and DVRs both work with security cameras, but they are set up differently. NVR stands for network video recorder. This means that the cameras transmit data with a network cable. In order to use a network cable, NVRs use IP cameras. The NVR serves as a recorder for the IP camera, logging the footage for later review.


The other main type of surveillance system is a DVR. This is a digital video recorder. A lot of people use DVRs already in connection with their televisions. The task of recording your favorite television show for later viewing is very similar to the way DVR security surveillance works. A DVR system works with cameras that use coax cables.


Overall, the key difference between NVR and DVR has to do with the type of connection. This connection dictates the type of camera. There are other technical delineations, but this fundamental difference is important to grasp in order to make informed choices about your surveillance system.


Performance Differences Between DVR and NVR


While both systems provide you with security footage, each one is different to use. Not everyone has extensive technical expertise, which can make the ease of use an important factor. After all, a surveillance system is not worth much if you cannot use it properly. That said, both NVRs and DVRs are made to be user friendly. Each one has a menu system that must be navigated in order to program the recorders and review the data.


Generally, NVR systems are somewhat more complicated to use in this capacity. This mostly has to do with the cameras. Because the cameras are network devices, they must be programmed with an IP address. This adds an extra layer of technical complication. Most people can accomplish this task, but it can be more frustrating for novices. It is possible to purchase NVR systems that streamline this task for you. Some advanced NVR systems automatically recognize the cameras and complete installation on their own.


By contrast, a DVR system tends to be more straightforward. The cameras must merely be connected to the recorder. There is no need for additional programming. Therefore, for less experienced users, a DVR system can be less tedious to set up. This can be an important advantage to consider when weighing the options for a DVR or NVR. However, it is worth noting that both systems offer the same functionality with remote video monitoring and HD recording.

Installation considerations for NVR and DVR


Since both systems offer the same functionality, your choice will probably depend on more technical factors. Ultimately, most people choose their next camera system based on the type of wiring they have in place already. If you already have an older analog CCTV system in place, you probably have coax cables installed. In this situation, choosing DVR makes much more sense. No additional wiring will be needed, and your installation costs will be kept to a minimum. However, if you do not have any wiring in place, then starting off with an alternative NVR system might make more sense.

Your options for Security Cameras


The broad distinction between DVR and NVR can be further understood by the specific cameras that are currently on the market. Both DVR and NVR are HD systems, which offer superior video quality compared to older, analog CCTV systems. By looking into these specific camera options, you may be able to further differentiate between NVR and DVR for your home or business.


The first options are HD-CVI cameras. These cameras work very much like analog cameras, and they use coax cables. This means they are DVR supported. In general, these cameras have a limited transmission range of 600 feet or less. While there are various camera models available, all HD-CVI cameras must be manually adjusted at the camera. The resolution for HD-CVI cameras may be up to 5 megapixels. Many people choose HD-CVI cameras if they already have coax cables in place for an older analog system. While these cameras are an upgrade, they do not offer much more in terms of perks.


If you are looking for something a bit more cutting edge, then HD-SDI cameras may be the right choice. These cameras also use coax cables, which means they can be installed in place of an established analog system. However, HD-SDI cameras can do a lot more than HD-CVI cameras. These cameras have an impressive transmission range of up to 1,500 feet. You can also make adjustments to the camera through the DVR, which makes maintenance a lot easier. There are other modifications that can be made on these cameras for added versatility in daily use. However, these cameras may not offer as much resolution. The best HD-SDI cameras on the market currently max out at 2 megapixels.


If you are thinking about an option of the NVR variety, then HD IP cameras are what you need. IP cameras work with network wiring, which is usually a Category 5 or Category 6 cable. This is the same kind of hookup that a computer or laptop will use. Although the wiring is more specific with IP cameras, the perks associated with these cameras beat out anything that DVR can offer. Some IP cameras offer incredible resolutions of 20 megapixels. Moreover, IP cameras can be programmed individually without a recorder at all. Instead, your IP cameras can be connected directly to the network and viewed independently. The camera itself often acts like a recorder with programming options, bandwidth controls and email alerts. The biggest obstacle for most people is that this technology is harder to use. It may take some technical acumen to master the full range of possibilities with IP cameras.

Making Your Choice

Both NVR and DVR systems offer practical solutions for your security. You choice for a camera will be largely decided by your preferences. To make your decision, simply weigh all the relevant factors.

Start by thinking about any wiring you have in place. If you already have an older analog CCTV system, then you can save time and money with DVR options. However, if there is nothing in place, then you can choose NVR systems. Moreover, think about your camera cable lengths. Will you have enough transmission power from whatever system you choose?

You should also think about how much resolution you need. Most people are fine with 2 megapixels for their personal needs. Still, some people have specific needs that warrant better resolution. NVR systems offer superior resolution in most cases. Make sure you select a camera that will do the job.

Also consider your own technical prowess. Are you confident in your ability to work with networks? Do you think you can program a network device? This kind of skill is necessary for NVR systems, but DVR systems are more accessible to novices. It is important to pick a system that you can actually use in order to see real results.

Clearly, there is no right or wrong answer. Both DVR and NVR systems will provide powerful security for your home or business. Weigh the options, and make your choice today.

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