trading as J&C Antenna Services

CCTV – Analog vs Digital

Analog vs Digital IP Cameras

IP stands for Internet Protocol.  An IP security camera is a digital video camera which sends and receives data via a computer network.  An Analog security camera sends to a Digital Video Recorder (DVR).


Both Analog and IP security cameras use an analog image sensor.  Analog security cameras tend to use CCD (charge coupled device) sensors while IP security cameras use either CCD or CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor).

The analog signal from the sensor is then converted to digital form by an analog-to-digital converter and further processed by the security camera’s onboard digital circuitry (DSP).

Analog security cameras convert images back to analog by a digital-to-analog converter, allowing the image to be transmitted to a video monitor or a digital video recorder (DVR), where the image is encoded and stored.

IP security cameras encode or internally compress the image and transmit images via an IP protocol (Ethernet).  Images are either stored in the camera or on a network video recorder (NVR).

Both Analog and IP security cameras have night vision (infrared) capability and can be streamed to most devices via the internet.

Analog Security Cameras

Analog is a standard wired security camera.  Most wired cameras today are indoor/outdoor and have an infrared cut-filter for night vision.  Wired cameras will require video extension cables.  Analog cameras are in general lower in resolution than IP / Network cameras.

Pros & Cons of Analog

  • low resolution / video quality
  • hard-wired and difficult to scale
  • any analog CCTV camera can be plugged into any DVR
  • point the camera; plug in the cable; power on the DVR
  • generally cheaper than IP (* see note below)
  • power source required
  • functionality of an analog camera remotely is minimal

IP Camera Systems

While Analog security cameras may appear to be a cheaper way to go, the more expensive IP security cameras provide far superior quality and options. 

Fewer IP security cameras are required to cover the same area, and with many homes and businesses already having computers, internet access, router, switches, etc it often proves cheaper in the long run to choose IP security cameras rather than Analog security cameras.