Exploring Analog, HD-SDI, And IP Cameras

What’s the difference and which should you choose for your security?

When it comes to putting together a security system for your commercial property, it’s very likely you’ll have more questions than you had when you started your homework. One of the first questions is which camera is the best way to go: analog, HD-SDI, or IP. Such is the nature of technology and security needs and budgets.

The bottom line, though, is that when balancing needs and budgets, camera choice matters. To help get you on your way, here’s a quick rundown.

Analog security cameras

An analog system is hard-wired, requiring a coax table to run from the camera to the DVR and monitors.  Although they are cost-effective, if you have more than one location to monitor, each will require its own DVR.

  • If you’re working with a limited security budget and if your monitoring area is limited, analog is less expensive.
  • Analog systems require little maintenance, and if your network goes down, they will continue to operate.

This doesn’t go to say that analog doesn’t have its share of cons – so many, in fact, that many security companies (including POM Tech) don’t even offer analog cameras anymore. Perhaps the biggest drawback is the quality of the image, although the number of TV Lines – which run from 600 – 900H TVL – can impact this. The higher the line, the greater the resolution. The lower the line, the grainier the image. This and other factors are rapidly making these cameras outdated:

  • The cameras lack some of the advanced features found on IP cameras, such as advanced zoom and image clarity.
  • Because analog cameras are prone to interference and sign encryption issues, there is a chance an outside party can view your signals via a wireless system.
  • Analog cameras do not work well with long-distance surveillance.

HD-SDI security cameras

When High Definition – Serial Digital Interface (HD-SDI) cameras arrived on the scene, it was widely seen as a major advance. Imagine – an HD system that can run off the same coax cable connecting the analog system. No new wiring required!

That wasn’t entirely true. While it does operate like an analog system and is easily installed, the signal is different. Not only can HD-SDI be fussy with analog wires, but the HD-SDI cameras won’t work with a conventional DVR, and analog cameras won’t work with an HD-SDI DVR.

Nevertheless, there are some benefits:

  • If you’re upgrading from an analog system, the HD-SDI system has a similar installation.
  • The DVR looks and programs like a traditional DVR.
  • The price is reasonable for the technology.

In addition to the differences in the DVRs and some cables, there are other negatives to consider with HD-SDI cameras:

  • At full resolution, the camera has a maximum recording speed of seven images per second.
  • Cable distance limitation is approximately 450 feet.

IP security cameras

Rapidly moving to the head of the class is the Internet Protocol, or IP, camera. The security industry as a whole is moving toward IP because of their varied functionality. In short, the system converts images and audio into data, which is then transmitted via a network or Internet connection. IP cameras are smaller, smarter and getting less expensive.

  • The biggest plus is the higher resolution abilities, which translates into a very crisp and clear image – an important item when needing fine details.
  • There are more features available, such as facial recognition, threat and motion detection, and missing or extra object detection. Additionally, the system can “talk” with other digital systems, such as lighting and alarm systems.
  • The cameras can be configured through a network and have a web interface for even more customization.
  • The IP camera images can be accessed remotely – from a smartphone if you’re away from the office or by offsite security monitors.
  • Capture and record is done through a digital format so the transmission/conversion of images is done without data loss.

An IP system is more expensive than analog, especially because there are could be incompatibility issues when mixing and matching camera and NVR (Network Video Recorder) brands – all players must be on the same page or an ONVIF protocol can be used. But they have become drastically less expensive and more common, and tend to be the preferred choice for modern surveillance. You tend to get what you pay for, in terms of functionality.

In addition, IP cameras mesh well with managed services like remote monitoring, giving offsite personnel – whether in-house employees or contractors – the flexibility to monitor a security feed from anywhere, at any time.

Security cameras and peace of mind

At the end of the day, after you’ve balanced budget and needs with technology, you have to feel comfortable knowing your assets are safe and secure. The security team at POM Technologies is available to not only answer your questions, but to help you design and build your security system.

For a free consultation, contact POM Technologies today at 212.688.2767 or through our online form.