Instances of property crime are on the rise and now more than ever, protecting homes, businesses and possessions from theft and vandalism are vital. One of the best ways to prevent crime and protect property is by utilizing a video surveillance system. CCTV (closed circuit television) systems have been used reliably for decades but recent advances in digital IP systems offer many advantages and features not available on CCTV systems. IP cameras and IP network systems can instantly improve the way that surveillance video is captured, processed and stored. In fact, even systems that currently employ CCTV cameras can gain many of the benefits of digital systems by using a clever device known as an analog to IP converter.
CCTV and IP systems differ in significant ways, how to distinguish? CCTV cameras capture analog signals that are sent directly to televisions, VCRs or DVD recorders. They work in much the same way a regular television operates. Although this method has been used for years, it has some big disadvantages. First, the quality of the video is constrained by the limitations of the camera and analog signal. Unlike IP systems that use multiple Megapixel technologies, the image quality from analog cameras can’t compare. Also, analog systems are very sensitive to interference from other equipment, storms and damage to wiring. Finally, these systems can be expensive and difficult to expand when additional areas require surveillance.
IP systems don’t suffer from the limitations of analog. IP cameras capture high-definition video and digitize it for transmission over a LAN (local area network) to a computer or web server. Each IP camera acts as an individual network device and systems such as this give users many more features and options that are not available on pure analog systems.
The following key points outline the immediate benefits of upgrading an existing analog CCTV system to a digital IP system:
IP cameras have image resolutions that are up to 20 times higher than analog. Using HD (high-definition) technology, IP systems result in greater source image quality and video that can be further enhanced with many powerful software options that exist.
Analog systems send a signal directly from camera to TV with a simple wire that can be intercepted easily by anyone with common cabling equipment. This is a serious flaw! In contrast, IP digital signals are first encrypted before being transmitted ensuring enhanced security and a signal that cannot be compromised or intercepted.
IP cameras exist as part of a network that can be connected to the internet. This allows features such as off-site storage and management. Also, IP systems are compatible with a wide range of software and Apps that allow for remote access. Users can log into their security system from anywhere and view their home or business.
Analog systems are difficult to expand with additional cameras because of the limited number of ports available on typical CCTV equipment and may require additional expensive components. IP systems are designed with scalability in mind. They can accept an unlimited number of cameras, can be combined with existing systems and typically do not require professional installation. Thus, they are cheaper and easier to scale up as security needs change.
Ease of installation
Many IP cameras are wireless which makes installation simple and less costly by eliminating wiring costs and the professional labor needed to install it. If wired IP cameras are selected as an upgrade they can often use existing wires, further reducing installation hassles.
Mass storage options
Analog video is difficult to store, requires antiquated equipment such as VCRs and is susceptible to physical damage when stored on tape. IP systems use digital technology and massive amounts of surveillance video can be easily stored on computer drives and web servers. In addition, digital storage is easy to backup for redundancy and protection from data loss or damage.
IP systems may have some higher initial component costs over analog but their advantages in features, media storage and scalability result in greater cost savings over the long term. In fact, using a combination system with an analog to IP converter allows users to take advantage of existing analog cameras while adding additional features that are only available on digital systems.
Upgrading existing CCTV systems using an analog to IP converter
Upgrading to a digital IP security system makes sense in today’s connected world. Virtually all homes and businesses have existing networks that can accommodate digital surveillance systems. However, for those who may have a significant investment in older analog video surveillance systems, there is a handy solution – an analog to IP converter kit can breathe new life into older surveillance systems.
An analog to IP converter is a video encoder device that takes the analog video feed from existing cameras and converts it into a digital signal that can be captured, processed and stored across a digital network.
Installation steps will differ somewhat depending on which IP converter is utilized however all converters work in generally the same manner. The coaxial cables from any existing analog video cameras attach to the converter using BNC connectors. Meanwhile, the converter is connected to a facility’s network router via a modern Cat 5 network cable. Some network converters even have wireless capability to connect to any available wireless network already in place.
Once connected to the network and properly identified, the user is free to take advantage of many powerful security software options that are compatible with the newly converted digital signal for control, processing and mass storage. At this point, many of the advantages of digital IP systems can be utilized including encryption, multiple storage options, remote access and more.
Converting an older analog video surveillance system to a modern IP digital system is easy, cost effective and eliminates many of the drawbacks inherent to analog systems. Powerful features and remote capabilities will add convenience and greatly improve the quality and effectiveness of any video surveillance system.