There are 2 generations of technology for video surveillance systems. The first is the older analog based system and the second is the modern Internet Protocol (IP) based system. The biggest confusions are the cost of the 2 technologies and the relative effectiveness of them. This article attempts to provide a more precise big picture of cost benefits for a company considering a video surveillance system.

Three Cost Areas: There are 3 major cost areas in connection with the installation of video surveillance system.

- Cameras at various specified locations of the organization
- Cabling fabric connecting cameras to the monitoring centre
- Video Footage recorder at the monitoring centre

System design is a major cost and some companies try to save money and buy the equipment themselves and then pay for it to be installed. This is a big mistake because the design of the system is the most important factor to achieve the maximum effectiveness of the system.

Cameras: An IP camera can be almost 5 times the cost of an analog camera. What does the big extra price offer to the customer? Top of the list is clarity. The maximum clarity of an analog camera is lower than 800 x 600 dots of resolution (called VGA) on a display screen. An IP camera provides 1280 x 1024 dots (Super VGA) and this resolution is about 3 times higher than VGA. There are IP cameras with VGA resolution and they are cheaper than SVGA. There is no analog camera with SVGA as VGA is the limit imposed by analogue production technology. The higher resolution means higher clarity. It allows IP camera footage to be used by the police to track down criminals or to cover a wider geographic area.

Cabling: IP cameras use standard and low cost computer cabling for connection whereas analog cameras uses co-axial cable which is more expensive and being phased out. Cabling is very site dependent but it is certain that IP has cost advantages in many respects. One important implication is the potential for integrating video surveillance into standard information system networks for operation and maintenance.

Recorders:  With the advent of low cost PC systems, most Digital Video Recorders (DVR) for analog cameras have turned to PC based these days. These Recorders use electronics to convert analog signals from the camera to digital on an individual camera basis. The design of DVR is therefore dependent on the number of these converters built in. Common numbers are 4, 8 and 16. If you install a DVR with a 16 camera capacity, you will need to buy another DVR when you want to install the 17th camera at a later date. IP based video recorders do not have this limitation and the maximum number is whatever the software people set for their software design.

Comtex has been in business for over 50 years offering CCTV and Access Control Systems. We are a certified DSX and EasyLobby Dealer and offer a FREE on site security survey of your premises. Visit our website or call 201-935-2000.

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