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What is the difference between IP and HDCVI cameras?

HDCVI camera systems are currently becoming increasingly popular challenging the current favourite; the IP camera system. Both are excellent in their own rights, but what are the differences between them? This guide is a comparison of the two products at the megapixel they are both available at.

To begin, it must be said that IP Cameras, also knows as Network Cameras, are the latest in CCTV Systems.

Camera Resolution 

HDCVI and IP security cameras are both available in 1.3 megapixels (720p) and 2 megapixels (1080p) and while these may be the lowest of the HD resolutions, it is good enough to beat the old analogue system. At these resolutions, both images look very true to their marked resolutions, however, you will notice a clearer and more true-to-colour image with the IP cameras although, if you would not be able to tell unless the pictures were side to side.  Below 1.3 and 2 megapixels, HDCVI cameras cease to exist where as IP cameras, as they are the latest, are easily accessible and readily available up to 12 megapixels.

Camera Frame Rates

With both HDCVI and IP systems available at 1.3 and 2 megapixels, they both boast frame rates as high as thirty frames per second (FPS) to achieve real-time recording. Obviously, as the latest system is the IP system which is available up to 12 megapixels, the frame rates will be higher on later models.

Cable Type and Cable Run

HDCVI cameras are HD analog cameras and they use the traditional RG59 cable. More specifically, they use solid copper RG59 cable along with having a coaxial cable for video and a DC cable for power. In order to connect your HDCVI cameras to both your DVR and power supply, you will need to use BNC connectors (twist-on, crimp, compression) plus DC power terminals. HDCVI cameras also have a  video transmission distance of up to 300 meters, but they still require power within 100 meters if using a 12V DC power supply box. Although, the power distance can be easily increased by using a 24VAC power source however, a 24VAC to 12VDC power converter will be required at each camera end to down-convert to 12VDC, which is required by almost all HDCVI cameras at this time.

For IP cameras, you will a 1 Cat5e or Cat6 network cable per camera, Either one of these cables will suffice. Since most IP cameras are now PoE (power over Ethernet), the only other thing you will need are RJ45 connectors to attach your cameras to your network/power supply. If you have  IP cameras that are not PoE (all our IP cameras have PoE with the option to have a local power input at the camera), you will need to run an additional DC cable and use power terminals at one or both ends, depending on your power supply. IP cameras will be limited to 100 meters but that can be extended with IP extenders or network switches as many times as you want.

Cat5e vs Cat6

The question of whether Cat5e or Cat6 cable should be used for any new network is the subject of many debates. In the IP CCTV industry, Cat5e is often used

  • Cat5e supports speeds up to 1Gbps and up to 100m
  • Cat6 supports speeds up to 10Gbps and up to 100m
  • Cat6 costs roughly 30% more than Cat5e
  • Cat5e is usually sufficient for an IP CCTV installation
  • Cat6 is widely used for future proofing or network backbones

Power Supplies

HDCVI and non-PoE IP cameras will require either an individual power supply, or  a power distribution box. You should use a DC power terminal to attach your DC cable to the cameras individual power supply, or you will directly attach your DC cable to the screw down terminals in your power distribution box, if you have one.

IP Cameras with PoE capability will be powered via your single length of Cat5e/Cat6 cable. While providing power to your cameras, the network switch will also serve as a  connector between your cameras and network.

Video Recorders

HDCVI and IP cameras are capable of recording using standalone video recorders. A HDCVI camera is paired with the HDCVI DVR, while an IP camera is paired with the NVR. The DVR and NVR are virtually the same thing as far as build and features are concerned. The difference between them is how your cameras may connect to them.

With an HDCVI system, your coaxial cable will be hardwired right to the back of the DVR.  An IP camera system can mimic this setup, but only if the NVR possesses PoE ports on the back of it. The alternative is to connect all of your cameras and NVR to a network switch before connecting it to your network (router/modem). 

Cost Difference

IP cameras have been dropping in cost considerably over the past few years however HDCVI cameras are still cheaper. Not only are the cameras cheaper, but HDCVI DVRs are also cheaper than the NVRs needed for IP cameras. You may find yourself saving the pounds per camera by switching to HDCVI but the recorders are more expensive then ones needed for IP cameras.  However, cables and connectors are where IP cameras get better. The required Cat5e cable is easily less than half the cost of solid copper RG59 cable needed for the HDCVI. Just keep in mind that RG59 is outdoor rated and most Cat5e are not. In addition to that, RJ45 connectors cost less then what HDCVI cameras will require. 

Although, the IP cameras are available in higher megapixels so the price will reflect this but you will be getting better images and consequently, better protection.

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