Houston IP Cameras

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IP Camera - Internet Protocol camera is a type of digital video camera that is commonly used for surveillance. Unlike Analog closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, can send and receive data via a computer network and the Internet. Although most cameras that do this are webcams, the term IP camera or netcam is usually applied only to those used for surveillance that can be directly accessed over a network connection.

An IP camera is typically either centralized (requiring a central network video recorder (NVR) to handle the recording, video and alarm management) or decentralized (no NVR needed, as camera can record to any local or remote storage media). The first centralized IP camera was Axis Neteye 200, released in 1996 by Axis Communications.

IP cameras are typically available at resolutions from 0.3 (VGA resolution) to 29 megapixels.[1] As in the 21st century, there has been a shift in the consumer TV business towards high-definition (HD) resolutions (eg. 1080P (Full-HD), 4K resolution (Ultra-HD) and 16:9 widescreen format).

Image Resolution – All analog video cameras use the NTSC analog video standard, which was created in the 1950s. No matter what the camera’s manufacturer claims the image quality is, it is still being transmitted and recorded using this standard. It is an absolute cap on image resolution that you can’t get around. On the other hand, IP cameras come in a broad range of resolutions (measured in megapixels, or MPs) from which to choose depending on your specific requirements. For example, a 1.3 MP IP camera (generally the lowest resolution camera on the market) has almost 4 times the resolution of an analog camera. With this added resolution, faces become clearer, license plates become easier to read and larger areas can be covered by a single camera.

Scalability – Generally, analog cameras run a coax cable transmitting the video to a VHS recorder, which records straight to video tape or a DVR (Digital Video Recorder), which turns the analog signal into a digital signal for storage and review. The problem with this is that the VHS or DVR has a finite number of ports that cameras can be plugged into. Once you max out that number of ports, you would need to either buy a new VHS or DVR with more ports or a second, separate machine to run the additional cameras. IP video networks have the clear advantage when it comes to adding new video cameras. First, since IP cameras connect to the IT network, there is no limit to the number of cameras that can be connected. Second, the need to run a cable from the camera to the DVR is eliminated – you only need to run a cable to the nearest network switch. In addition, in IP-based systems the video is recorded using NVRs (Network Video Recorders), which use multiple hard drives and often employ a backup technique know as RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) to disperse the data across multiples hard drives for data safety and efficiency. Finally, since the data is being transmitted digitally, it can be transmitted across the internet, allowing for multiple locations to utilize the same NVR, meaning that a new video system does not need to be set up at each site, allowing for scaling beyond your existing facility.

Use of multiple cameras – because the the cameras are connected to your network, you can hook up as many cameras as you wish and you only require one cable that links them to the network switch.

Advanced safety – to ensure safety and to best protect your data, the hard drive performs a feature called redundant array of independent disks (RAID), and this scatters your footage to make it secure.

Obtainable footage – as the data is managed digitally, it can be accessed across the internet, so whatever device you are on – as long as you have the internet – you can check your cameras on your tablet, phone or computer.

Ease of Installation – Many find it hard to believe but at this point IP video security systems are actually quite easy to install. Today, most IP cameras are actually plug-and-play, the same way your computer’s webcams are. In addition, the cabling is easier as well. With an analog camera, which has a single cable that can only transmit its video signal, it will also require a separate power cable and, if you want added functionality such as PTZ (Pan, Tilt, Zoom) controls for the camera you’ll need another cable for that. However, IP cameras use a single cable that can be used for everything. Using PoE (Power over Ethernet), IP cameras can be powered through the same cable that transmits the video signal and any PTZ commands. Finally, as mentioned above, since IP cameras run on the network, you don’t have to run the cable all the way back to the DVR. Instead, you only need to run it to the nearest network switch.

Costly – because IP cameras offer pan, tilt, zoom, high resolution and on-the-go monitoring, these features along with the high tech equipment can be expensive. However, like everything there are a range of models that are lower and higher in price.

Increase bandwidth required – with so many cameras hooked up to your network, you will need a decent bandwidth to ensure that your images are fluid and easy to access without constant internet problems.

Security - could be compromised if credentials are insecure, given the camera can be accessed independent of a video recorder.

Analog vs IP Cameras
There are many differences between analogue and IP cameras, so in order to understand what each type offer, it’s important to compare the two models.

Firstly, analog cameras capture footage using signal from a coax cable and is then transferred to the digital video recorder (DVR), whereas an IP camera originally obtains an analog image but converts it into a digital image inside the device.

As for footage access for both cameras, analogue is stored within the hard drive which stays there until it is gathered. In the case of the IP camera, the footage is streamed and broadcasted across the local area network (LAN), and this information then travels along the Ethernet cable. The Ethernet cable then transfers the information into a network hub, so the image from the camera can be viewed.

Both cameras offer ‘real time viewing’, however analogue can only be viewed at one IP address connected to a PC or TV whereas an IP camera can be viewed whilst away from the building.

IP cameras are up and coming because so many homeowners and commercial customers want an easily accessible video log. Regardless of where we are – whether that’s abroad or away for a long weekend – it gives us peace of mind knowing what’s happening.

When you bring it back to the basics analog cameras are cheaper and IP cameras can be costly but it completely depends on the job you require it for.

IP cameras, although lag a couple of seconds behind an analog camera, they offer you a wide range of coverage because you can have countless cameras situated around the building. Whereas, analog cameras require multiple cables and good signal which limits the amount of cameras you can realistically place around your building.

If you want CCTV for your stock room or situated over your tills, an analog would be sufficient enough and therefore anymore than that, such as a high resolution IP camera, would be excessive in this case.

For now, installing analog cameras coupled with DVRs is still the most cost-effective approach for most security applications. However, the cost of IP cameras and components is rapidly declining, making IP systems more and more affordable and desirable.

IP cameras should be considered for large installation sites that already have a high bandwidth network installed - especially if the cameras will be spread out over a wide area, or if wireless cameras will be used.

For large installations with many cameras, some installers still prefer a multiple DVR solution to an IP solution. Software is bundled with higher-end DVRs that allows you to view and record cameras from multiple DVRs. The multiple DVR solution also provides better failover protection. If the network goes down in an IP based system, video is lost from all the cameras. If the network goes down in an analog system, the DVRs are still recording the cameras.