NVR vs DVR: What Are the Differences?

Surveillance systems have become an important requisite for commercial and residential areas. They play a vital role in numerous applications, including crime prevention, personal privacy, and more. A video surveillance system is needed to keep your business safe and secure. With different security systems out there with different types of cameras and equipment, it’s hard to choose the right surveillance system.

When choosing between a network video recorder (NVR) and a digital video recorder (DVR), think about what you need the system for and which type of camera will work best. Keep in mind that both types of devices are becoming increasingly popular. This article discusses NVRs and DVRs in detail.

What’s the Main Difference Between NVR vs DVR Systems?

Apart from the storage differences, the main difference between an NVR and DVR is in their processing of raw video data. DVRs process data at the recorder, while NVRs encode and process data at the camera before transmitting it to the recorder for storage and remote viewing. Unless they’ve been reconfigured, DVR systems connect to an analog CCTV system through coaxial cables, while NVRs communicate with IP cameras over Ethernet or WiFi.

NVR Systems——The Basics & Components

NVR stands for Network Video Recorder. It’s a computer system that includes a software program for recording video in a digital format to storage devices such as disks, USB flash drives, SD memory cards, and more. It’s more flexible than DVR systems. Here are the components required to set up an NVR system:

IP Cameras-NVRs work with IP cameras, including PoE (Power over Ethernet) cameras and WiFi cameras. Both types of cameras can process their raw video data to digital signals and transmit it to the NVR to be saved. PoE cameras are convenient because you only need to run one cable between the camera and the NVR.

WiFi IP cameras-The second type is a wireless camera that can be connected to the NVR through a WiFi router or network. They are not difficult to set up, which is an advantage because they don‘t require wiring. On the other hand, their reliability is reduced by the reliance on a stable connection. Just remember the WiFi IP camera still needs a power source. It is not a wire-free camera with a battery built-in.

Each type offers different pros and cons, which will be explained in a bit. Regardless of the type you choose, it is important to make sure the recorder supports the manufacturer of the camera you’re buying.

Ethernet Cables-Ethernet cables are what are used to connect a PoE camera to the back of an NVR. They provide video, audio, and power. Cat5e or Cat6 cables are recommended, and they typically shouldn’t be run more than 328 feet (100 meters). But if you need to extend the distance, the PoE extender is a handy tool to go for, You can extend PoE up to 1500ft (500 meters).

NVR recorder-Video is encoded before it reaches the recorder, which means that the NVR recorder only really does recording and storage.

NVR Camera Systems——Pros & Cons

NVR Pros:

  • The PoE camera system allow single Ethernet cable to send power both and data to the IP camera. No need for power source present at the edge.
  • Wireless installation is almost always possible with minimal wiring.
  • The NVR system can work with WiFi and PoE wired IP cameras, which allows for greater camera placement freedom.
  • The system is capable of working with cameras that provide better resolutions or other features such as human shape detection.
  • The hybrid NVR system can also use analog video from a camera and turn it into digital data, which gives the system more efficient.
  • The data can also be given extra protection by encrypting it.

NVR Cons:

  • Overall, an NVR video surveillance system is more expensive.
  • Learning the software for NVR video surveillance systems can take some time for beginners.
  • Slow internet speed can make the technology difficult to use.

DVR Systems——The Basics & Components

DVR systems are designed to record videos in digital format. They are cheaper than NVR security systems, and this is one of the advantages of DVR systems, especially for small or domestic applications. A DVR system can’t store as much data as an NVR system, so it’s not the first option for large and industrial applications.

Analog Cameras-Analog security cameras are typically used in DVR systems. NVR systems are generally more expensive due to the camera, which typically transmits video data. While DVR security systems are less expensive and complicated.

Coaxial Cables-Data transmission is mostly done over coaxial cables. But due to their limitations, coaxial cable is not the best form of transmission when it comes to power supply devices on the same line. A separate cable needs to be used to carry electrical signals. Coaxial cables are sturdier and thicker than Ethernet cables, making installation a bit of a challenge. Audio is another limitation, as the standard coaxial cable may not support audio transmission.

Coaxial cables don’t provide power, so you need to install the analog camera near an outlet. If your property has a coaxial connection from a previous system, that cable can be re-used.

Standard coax cables won’t carry audio. A variant with an added RCA connection is needed, but even those have a limited number of audio input ports, and only a few cameras will be able to record audio.

The image quality on standard coax cables starts to degrade at around 300ft/90m, which might be enough for some applications, but not others.

DVR Camera Systems——Pros & Cons

DVR Pros:

  • Low cost, easy to use option for businesses with low bandwidth internet connection.
  • Great for small businesses in need of security surveillance.
  • Easy to operate, requires no special expertise.

DVR Cons:

  • The biggest disadvantage of the DVR is lower image quality. As the video is being encoded after it reaches the DVR. There is signal loss during the transmission of the analog video.
  • It requires more cables and wires because there is a need for a separate power source, which means if any of the cable disconnects, you lose your streaming.
  • DVR systems typically cover less area than IP cameras in the exact location.
  • The number of features and flexibility is lesser than that of an NVR system.
  • Audio recording on the NVR is limited to a specific channel.

DVR vs NVR——Which One to Choose?

When it comes to choosing between a DVR system and an NVR system, there are many factors at play. DVR systems are typically cheaper, which is why they’re more popular with smaller companies. They also take less bandwidth and have better signal stability, which makes them more reliable than an NVR solution. However, they don’t offer as good sound quality or image quality as a standalone NVR system.

NVR systems offer better image quality and system flexibility, which can be hard to come by when using a DVR system. While these systems cost more in the long run, you’ll at least have an excellent resolution of what you’re looking at. Plus, you can put IP cameras anywhere without having to worry about the cable running too far up into the walls or ceiling.

Ultimately, there is no “best” system for everyone. If you don’t need top-of-the-line image quality and have low bandwidth usage, you might want to consider a DVR unit. But if you have higher bandwidth usage and want more features than a simple DVR recorder then an NVR option might be better for you.

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