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NVR vs DVR Surveillance Systems: What’s the Difference?

When it comes to setting up a video surveillance system for your home or office, you’ll need to decide on what type of system to use: NVR or DVR? Which is better, or more importantly, which system is better suited for your needs? Both types of systems pretty much provide the same thing – a video recording of an observed area – but each system goes about it in a different way.

The Difference Between NVR and DVR Security Systems

The two main differences between NVR and DVR surveillance systems are the type of cameras used and the way the camera and recorder communicate with each other.

NVR System
A network video recorder (NVR) works with either wired or wireless IP cameras that connect to a router. It’s through the router that IP cameras communicate with the NVR. IP cameras also process video from analog to digital in the camera, which is less work for the NVR to do, making the system more efficient. NVR systems also connect to a computer or storage device via the Internet or a local area network (LAN). This reduces the cost of running wires and provides more options of where to place cameras in areas you want to monitor. But even though NVR surveillance systems are popular due to their wireless features, there are some disadvantages. If the local network or Internet fails, you could lose valuable camera footage, compromising your security. Plus, other devices such as phones or physical walls can cause interference, resulting in poor video quality or loss of signal.

DVR System
A digital video recorder (DVR) works with wired, analog or digital cameras that connect directly to the DVR. They also don’t need an Internet connection to work. The DVR basically converts the video feed from the camera into a digital, compressed format, which can be stored on a memory card, hard drive, or computer. Since DVRs are made to work with analog cameras that are connected through coaxial cable, upgrading an existing CCTV system can be easy because the coaxial wiring is already in place. There are also some hybrid DVR systems that are compatible with newer IP cameras that are connected by RJ45 network cables, which means you can create or upgrade a security system using both types of cameras.

Here’s a list of some Pros and Cons to keep in mind for both systems.

NVR Pros:

  • Installation can be easy with minimal wiring required.
  • Works with wireless IP cameras, allowing more freedom of camera placement.
  • Can work with cameras that produce greater resolutions and other features such as motion detection.
  • Processing video from analog to digital occurs in the camera, which allows the system to be more efficient.
  • Can connect to the Internet to allow remote viewing capabilities and the ability to store data in multiple locations.
  • The data of an NVR system can be encrypted for better protection.

NVR Cons:

  • Is dependent on network stability. If the network goes down or is affected by other devices, physical obstructions, or weather, it can experience interference or fail to record.
  • Is susceptible to attacks by hackers over the Internet or LAN.
  • Network costs and data usage can be affected due to the large amount of data used.
  • Typically more expensive than DVR systems.

DVR Pros:

  • DVR systems can be used to upgrade existing CCTV systems to digital using pre-existing wiring.
  • Since DVR systems are hard-wired, they are not network dependent, therefore they won’t fail due to network outages.
  • If not connected to the Internet, DVR systems are safe from viruses, malware, and being hacked online.
  • DVR systems are typically less expensive than NVR systems.

DVR Cons:

  • If the DVR fails or malfunctions, the system goes down.
  • Not all DVR systems can connect online, limiting the ability for remote viewing and monitoring.
  • Installation can be more work and costly since each camera requires a wire to connect to the DVR.
  • If analog cameras are used, they’ll most likely provide lower resolutions with little or no advanced features.
  • DVR systems can be compromised if the wires are damaged, cut, or physically accessed for viewing.

If you plan on upgrading or adding a DVR or NVR surveillance system to your property, Home Controls can help. Just call our toll free number at 800-266-8765 (7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Pacific, Monday – Friday). We’ll be more than happy to assist you with free support, product advice, and system designs.

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