IP video standing in line to take place of DVRs
- By Eli Gorovici
- Oct 02, 2008
Video surveillance over IP is the next step in the
evolution of CCTV technology. It’s time to
enter the era of networked video -- one in which
video surveillance and, eventually, the entire security
management system are going IP.
Networked video, or video over IP, uses private and
public networking to allow access to real-time video
anywhere there is a network connection. However, not
all video over IP systems are created equal. More
advanced solutions enable the end user to leverage an
existing network, without new coax cable. The newest,
and most advanced, of these systems are fully softwarebased
to ensure a more future-proof solution through
easier upgrades and greater flexibility and scalability.
Enter the NVMS
The DVR and network video share a number of beneficial
features and functions: recording to digital hard
disk; no tape maintenance; consistent, high-quality
images; fast, easy image retrieval; and access to recorded
video over IP networks. However, a more comprehensive
comparison of the two technologies reveals that network
video technology offers a number of significant
advantages over a standard DVR.
A traditional DVR gives IT and security personnel
only limited flexibility and control. For example, with traditional
DVR technology, each time a camera is added,
new coaxial cable is added. Each new hardware or application
often requires an additional system platform. With
a full-functioning network video management system, all
video surveillance and CCTV applications run on existing
infrastructure. This is important for two reasons: First,
because the network already exists, end users are able to
digitize the signal at the source -- the camera -- and then
run it on the standard Ethernet network. Second, end users
can add cameras, access control, door alarms and intercom
without the additional expense of installing new
cabling. With an NVMS solution, the end user is purchasing
a technology standard (IP), as opposed to a black box.
An NVMS solution is easy to understand and control; it’s
like buying independence and gaining greater freedom.
Comparing the Technology
An NVR offers all the features of legacy DVRs -- recording
of video and audio; fast image retrieval time; encryption
of all the digital information; wireless viewing from
cell phone or PDA; system control via a map or a camera
list; and automatic, event-driven pop-up screens and
audio clips. It also offers complete matrix functionality
a software-only solution, virtual redundancy using the
network and the ability to add a single camera simply by
adding a software license.
Using the existing network. Connect an NVMS system
in two ways -- through an existing Ethernet network
or by leveraging the existing network infrastructure -- to
create a security network. Either way, end users eliminate
the need to pull wires or trench fiber, and there’s no
need to run additional coax cabling.
Matrix capability. Unlike a DVR-based system, the
NVMS camera and/or video source is all-digital, so the
network becomes a true virtual matrix switcher, complete
with all the capabilities of an analog matrix
switch. Also it’s part of the network, so it can share
information and resources.
Scalability.With an NVR system, adding a camera is
as easy as ordering licenses -- no major expense, no technician
and no downtime.
Reliability. Unlike a DVR, an NVR can have complete
redundancy simply by redirecting the video to a
new destination over the network in case of server failure.
What’s more, with the NVR’s single port encoders,
end users eliminate the single-point-of-failure problem
common to most DVRs.
Frame rate and image quality. With top-of-the-line
NVR solutions, end users can view all cameras at one
rate (30 fps NTSC/25 fps PAL), same as on a matrix system,
and record at a different frame rate (from 1-30
NTSC/1-25 PAL fps per camera) -- enabling maximum
efficiency in managing bandwidth demands for transmission
Storage costs. An NVMS reduces storage demands
by employing multiple video compressions over the network
instead of coaxial cabling. An NVMS solution can
save 20 to 30 percent in recording and storage costs over
the DVR just by moving the video compression to the
source -- the camera -- away from the traditional recording
unit (the DVR).
Hardware costs and flexibility. NVR technology
adapts to a user’s current infrastructure and hardware. It
runs on off-the-shelf computing hardware, not proprietary
hardware like a DVR -- bringing system costs down significantly.
When new PC hardware with greater CPU processing
power becomes available, you can add them to
new installations with full compatibility to other locations
running different hardware because the NVRS software
has interoperability with every other location.
Protection. Standard DVRs don’t have virus protection,
so each time a virus attacks, an end user may have
to clean or reinstall all the DVRs. Because the NVR is
based on standardized networking protocol and runs on
an off-the-shelf computer, it stays equipped with the latest
Future proof. Buy a DVR, and you own a box. In
two or three years needs will change, but the box won’t
adapt. Worse, the entire system may need upgrading or
replacement. The NVMS is a software-driven system;
you never have to throw it away. As new versions of
NVR software or different compression methods
become available, users can upgrade without changing
There’s no doubt that DVR technology has delivered
significant improvements in terms of capabilities and
overall security system management. But the current
analog-input DVR box is by no means the final word in
the evolution of CCTV recording technology -- far
from it. If an end user is going to go
digital, don’t just change the recording
to digital -- change the entire
system to digital.