Should I Replace An Analog PTZ With An IP One?

A member is asking about what to do with an existing Pelco Spectra analog PTZ. Should they replace it with another analog or go IP?

This is for a parking lot - 200' x 400'.

Why replace it? Has it failed?

What Carl said.

  • Does a new analog camera meet the needs for surveilling the parking lot?
  • Are there new business requirements to increase resolution or FoV?
  • Do you have the infrastructure to easily switch to a new IP PTZ?
  • Will there be any benefit to switching to the new IP PTZ over the analog alternative?

I believe it failed or is failing. Beyond that, let's assume the camera is old or broken down and it's 'time' to replace. Presuming you are replacing it, what do you choose?

He also asked about 180s and I think the Arecont 12MP could be interesting here, as long as he does not have live operators monitoring the lot.

One point Ethan made (this happened during the surveillance study hall) was that the price different between analog and MP IP PTZs is relatively minimal compared to their overall high costs (for both).

Seth is correct. A lot of factors are involved to make an informed decision. Is the customer migrating away from the analog and a clear plan to do so is being implemented? Was the analog PTZ working for him? Does he need to look at a megapixel solution? Can his network handle the increase in network traffic or is it going on it’s own network? Was a person monitoring the PTZ? Was it on a tour? Did they utilize presets which could be replaced by megapixels?

"Does he need to look at a megapixel solution?"

It's a 200' x 400' area. It's hard to believe that megapixel would not deliver material benefits.

As everyone has already mentioned (and Seth nailed most all of the key reasoning questions, imho) unless we know how the original PTZ was being used, it's difficult to make a valid recommendation for either platform as a replacement choice.

We all can agree that there are benefits to increasing resolution if the primary use of the PTZ is to capture evidence rather than as a manned tracking camera.

If the primary use of the PTZ is to track stuff manually (manned PTZ), then I would suggest that switching to an IP PTZ would make this task more difficult (latency factor using IP vs analog PTZ).

Also, even if the original PTZ was used to cover that large area on a pattern or tour, will the increased resolution that an IP PTZ can provide actually produce better, actionable results?

Covering the large area that it does (200'x400') what will the real benefit of higher resolution be? Unless the PTZ is programmed to zoom in on things that move, how does the increased resolution of an IP PTZ help for an unmanned application?

Most large outdoor IP HD/Megapixel PTZs have an analogue output. Perhaps this can be connected to the existing system for latency reasons and the IP stream recorded for evidence collection/further investigation?

"Unless the PTZ is programmed to zoom in on things that move, how does the increased resolution of an IP PTZ help for an unmanned application?"

The increased resolution helps even in an unmanned application because you can maintain a wider FoV while getting the same quality level as the smaller FoV analog unit. That's a key issue in PTZs, missing things because the FoV is too narrow.

I was looking for a solution in general; a rule of thumb to go by, because there are many different situations as Seth has pointed out. Or in other words, when is it good to replace or upgrade an analog PTZ with an IP solution whether it be IP PTZ or single or multiple fixed IP cameras?

James, any rule of thumb on this is going to include about five to ten 'thumbs'. There's just too much involved to simplify it to just one or two factors.

One of the main reasons we are looking at swapping out our analog PTZ’s (when they fail) is so we can dump our DVR’s and move everything into a single VMS. We are going to fixed megapixels as a replacement because we do not actively monitor the PTZ’s and some of the tours are 90-120 seconds, meaning they are covering a whole bunch of ground. Ground that would be better covered with two or three fixed cameras.

Anyway, the VMS vs. DVR is something to consider in the decision making process.

I still have a few analog cameras. I use an Axis encoder to get these into my VMS system. For cost reasons I'm not going to just go out and replace all my analog camera. They work well enough. When they fail I will replace them with an IP camera.

I'm a big believer in "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".

If you have a mix of analog & IP recorders then I would recommend dumping the analog recorder and use IP encoders to get everything into an IP based VMS. This is your first step to becoming an all IP camera shop. All IP is generally the goal. Although there are some specialized analog cameras that still might peak your interest.