When you want to protect your home or business, one of the best ways is to use security cameras.  You need to decide whether to go for the classic analog CCTV (Closed Circuit TV) based surveillance cameras or the more modern IP cameras.

The main differences between the two camera types are:

This LIVE WEBCAM FEED is an example of analogue camera surveillance. As you can see, the image is of medium quality, lacks clarity and it's not possible to see anything in detail. Also, the vehicle motion is blurred and pixellated when close to the camera, unless it is travelling slowly.

Live webcam outside Rider's Corner, Moon Muang Road, Chiang Mai, Thailand
(updated every 10 seconds when active)

The pictures below show an example of an everyday scene from the point of view of a surveillance IP camera and is much clearer than the analogue camera image above. The high resolution capabilities allow us to view any aspects of interest in detail.



Image 1
Detail 1
Image 2
Detail 2
Image 3
Detail 3

A high-end 540TVL camera would only be able to view the large image and would then need to be zoomed in telescopically
via PTZ to view the detail losing the rest of the picture which is out of view. Trying to achieve this with an analog camera
would not be possible as 0.4 megapixel resolution would simply not be sufficient.

Video security can be both a defense and a deterrent.  As they say: Better safe than sorry!  If you are considering installing or upgrading video surveillance for your business or your home, understanding how different video surveillance systems work is critical to your making the correct decision.

Both analog and IP-based video cameras can transmit signals either wirelessly or through wired connections such as Cat-5 cables. IP-based cameras have the added benefit of being able to use switches, hubs, and routers that allow the Cat5 network to be expanded to much broader ranges. In order to determine which style camera system is best suited to your needs, let us take a closer look at each type.

Analog Cameras

Originally, video surveillance was done using closed circuit television.  This technology used analog video cameras, coaxial cable and video tape recorders.  Nowadays it is normal to use digital video recorders. The cameras transmit a signal to a specific, limited set of monitors.  CCTV systems typically involve a fixed communications link between cameras and monitors, using wires and cables.  This method records what is happening, but does not send you alerts. Also, the cameras, monitors, and recorders must be physically close enough together to be connected by cables. This method is fast becoming obsolete.

Pros of analog cameras

  • Lower cost:  analog cameras generally cost less to purchase than IP cameras.

  • Greater flexibility of design:   analog cameras often come in a larger variety of designs such as mini covert cameras to large PTZ models. If you have unique surveillance needs you may find it easier to find the style of camera you need in an analog model.

  • Superior compatibility:  it is much easier to mix and match cameras and brands if you use analog versions. This can make it easier if you already have existing camera equipment that you wish to incorporate into your surveillance system.
Analog Camera

Cons of analog cameras

  • Lack certain features:  many of the basic analog cameras often lack some of the more advanced features such as digital zoom.

  • Potential interference problems: if you are installing a wireless surveillance system, analog systems can have interference problems. More importantly, the resulting signals cannot be encrypted. This can potentially mean that someone else can view the signal.

  • Long distance applications are more difficult:  if your surveillance needs encompass a wide area, analog cameras may not be your best choice. Analog cameras generally do not accommodate large distances, and getting them to work over broad ranges can be difficult.

IP Cameras

An IP camera is a digital video camera designed specifically for surveillance, and which can be viewed via the Internet.  IP cameras are stand-alone devices that connect to your Ethernet or wireless network.  You can monitor multiple cameras in different locations from a PC or Smartphone over the Internet. 

Pros of IP cameras

  • Far superior picture quality: small details can be seen at greater distances.

  • Better wireless reception: IP cameras have encryption built into them providing a more secure network. Interference is also not a problem with IP-based models.

  • Can utilize existing wiring: Because IP-based cameras act as their own network device, you can often take advantage of existing network wiring within your home. This can make the installation task much easier.

  • Remote access can be easier: IP cameras are better suited for remote surveillance needs.
IP Camera

Cons of IP cameras

  • Higher cost: because of the additional technology that is built into each camera, the cost is generally higher than analog versions.

  • Higher bandwidth required: IP cameras require more bandwidth than analog cameras.

So now that we know the differences between the two types, let's look at the benefits of IP cameras over analog cameras.

IP cameras could actually save you money too. Let's look at a hypothetical situation:-

Suppose you have one camera connected to a video recorder by coaxial cable; you are not happy with the image quality because this camera is directed at a vulnerable spot on the premises and it's not easy to discern what is happening in the distance. If you are employing a guard company, what would they do to remedy the situation? They would probably put a guard constantly in that particular area.

A better and obvious solution would be to replace the existing camera with an IP camera which has 5 - 10 times better resolution. The camera can be connected to an outdoor motion sensor which would in turn trigger the network video recorder. The guard in the guardroom can take control of the situation because he has been alerted by the IP cam/sensor or the Central Management System software in the recorder. So we can see that a guard can better monitor all areas in greater detail where there is an IP camera installed, without having to be there on the spot, thereby saving on the cost of extra guards.


With Megapixel cameras, forensic zooming is capable while it simultaneously records the whole picture onto the NVR (network video recorder) server and vice versa by watching recorded video when forensic zooming on the desired view. One of the most compelling advantages of high resolution surveillance systems is the ability to capture not only situation awareness of what is going on in the big picture, but also fine details that can be used for license plate reading and identifying people. The combination of situational awareness and detail allows security operators to react faster and reduce investigation time, all with a higher probability of prosecution and conviction.


IP vs Analog


IP and Megapixel camera-based systems are the future of video surveillance.  In the short term they may be a little more expensive, but it is obviously an investment in superior quality and flexibility.  As the surveillance technology of the future, you won’t be outgrowing an IP camera-based video surveillance system any time soon.  You will be able to upgrade and improve this system for years to come while older systems will become obsolete.

Please contact us if you require further information

Only an accurate alarm system provides adequate security and peace of mind

Smart Alarm Logo  Home and Business Security Center

Web store
Crime reports

Which camera?
Which system?

Contact us
About us

Copyright © Smart Alarm Co. Ltd. 2013