Pros and Cons When Choosing Between a DVR and NVR


These days, people have numerous options when it comes to setting up security cameras at work sites, home and offices. For video recorders, the two main choices are between a network video recorder (NVR) and a digital video recorder (DVR). While surveillance cameras are mostly offered as network or analog units.

What are these choices and how can such equipment affect your surveillance system? Find out below.

Video Recorders and Cameras

Video recorders serve as the main hub for security monitoring systems. The units facilitate connections between cameras, routers, remotes, storage, computers and other devices that make up the entire surveillance system. Video recorders also allow operators to store, view and convert video files using video management software.

An analog camera is a monitoring device that is compatible with DVRs and offers 1-way data communication on an analog line. On the other hand, an IP or network camera, which is compatible with NVRs, provides a digital signal and 2-way communication. Because of this, the digital signal does not need to be converted.


Starting with DVRs, this type of video recorder is designed to work with analog cameras that require cable connections to the unit. It cannot cater to PoE connections and must convert the analog signal to digital, via an encoder. DVRs use BNC and coax cables for connection between the analog camera and the recorder. Taking this into consideration, camera installations are limited by the cable, which usually maxes out at 300 feet (due to signal decay). Furthermore, without PoE, analog cameras would need two cables: one for power and the other for video/audio.

NVRs are considerably easier to setup, compared to DVRs. Operators simply connect a wireless router directly to the unit, then connect the IP or network camera to the router using a cable. Wireless connections are also possible, with the IP cameras connecting to the NVR/router over a LAN or internet network. Unlike analog cameras connected to a DVR, PoE-enabled IP cameras connected to an NVR do not need a separate power supply, as power and video/audio signal are passed through a single cable, i.e Ethernet.

Note: Some IP cameras can function without an NVR. This type of camera relies on a video management program or application.

What about Video Resolution?

Although output signal from a DVR is more reliable, due to its wired configuration, the units suffer from low resolutions, capped roughly at 1080p. By comparison, NVRs are capable of high video resolutions – all the way up to 4K. If wireless signal is an issue at the site, it is possible to setup a wired NVR system with P2P for signal reliability.


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