Why Would An Installer State That Analog Cameras Are Better Then IP?

I was talking with an Installer the other day. He has been in the business for ages. He told me that he believes analog cameras are better then IP. And that he likes them better.

I didnt really get into a conversation with him beyond that. However why would someone believe that? The only reason what I came up with is that analog cameras are more idiot proof in setting them up, and that it is harder to mess it up. Beyond that I couldn't think of a reason to gernalize so much.


"He has been in the business for ages"

Here is your answer

Thats my feeling

To play devil's advocate, why would anyone generalize that IP is better than analog? :)

You say he is an installer. Many installers do not care about advanced features or job profitability etc. They care primarily about how easy it is to install. (To be clear, I am not saying all or even most, but there are definitely many who think this way) To that end, and especially if he has 'been in the business for ages' I could understand why he thinks they are better because it is most likely easier for him to install.

Hey, I'd rather plug some in and have it instantly work, then wait a minute for it to boot, see if it connects, see if I can find it on the network, upgrade the firmware, etc., see why the VMS is not connecting, etc.

So it is not better, but rather easier for him to install. He was saying that he recommends analog as it is better.

Is he recommending NTSC or HD analog?

This was at a job that he was working on and he was installing Northern D212HIR

I hear those are top choices from the Tri-Ed advanced security design team! ;)

I was talking with an Installer the other day. He has been in the business for ages. He told me that he believes analog cameras are better than IP. And that he likes them better.

So why did you not ask him why he believes one is better over the other? literally, we can debate all day as to why he thinks IP is better than analog. Maybe he was stating a fact or maybe an opinion.

Do him a favor, send him an IPVM invite.

He'll have a month to explain it to us. If he never logs in, you get it back anyway.

Do him a favor, send him an IPVM invite.

Bad idea. IPVM is a website, it requires use of IP to access (not to mention it has IP in the name).

Instead you should lobby John to do a series of video for public-access television broadcast and get his local cable company to air them.

Or I could send him some VHS tapes!

Of course they are! For video surveillance proposals, certainly analog HD cameras are much better than IP cameras!

I always stated that. If you want to know my reasons, please read this article I wrote and published at my website.

Was there a brief snippet of time after Analog SD video but before Analog HD where IP cameras were the best?

Here come the debates......

A lot of good points, but at least

  • Analogue HD is not compatible
  • HD-TVI analogue cameras are definately not without delay

Probably qualifying as a dinosaur in this industry myself, I can see that perhaps he believes the old ways are best. Essentially, setting up conventional CCTV systems is easier in the "programming sense", but require more cable; separate power source etc. The age of digital video recording, especially with network capable DVRs made things a little more difficult....but not much. These network capable DVRs did serve to introduce the typical security company to the "unique" and sometimes eccentric personalities of IT personnel!

For customers that have a coax infrastructure in place, coupled with HD conventional cameras, there is a cost savings that may be realized when they are looking to upgrade. The argument can be made that most customers also have a network in place too, so why not just go IP?

Suffice it to say, IP is here to stay and may very well be the asteroid that wipes out the dinosaurs!

Here's an example where HD analog would not have such problems from a current discussion.

The person stating the above is correct, from an engineering point of view. I will try and explain. The standard video signal, analogue, comprise of an huge amount of information, like chrominance, luminance, sync-pulses, video information and plenty more. It is understood, that if you take 100% of the analogue information and digitize such, then you will need about 120Mega Bits per second video per camera on the digital format. As we know, this is impossible, and bandwidth is very very costly. So, how do we do it in digital format, we strip all as much as possible at source, send the code via digital format and regenerate the sync-pulses etc at the receive side. Now we can have 156Kilo bits per second images per camera. The question remains, what did you compromise? Well, it can be quality (Cif) it could be frame rate, it could be clarity etc. The end result is that the analogue camera is easier to install, but the image is as it is original as can be! Please note: I did not include all the reasons and explanation, just the basix, and needless to say, each compression algorithm has it's own way and it's unique bandwidth calculation formula! I do hope this is worth something!

"It is understood, that if you take 100% of the analogue information and digitize such, then you will need about 120Mega Bits per second video per camera on the digital format"

How did you arrive at this number?

Are u talking about raw video or ?

sound way too low

720 width x 480 height x 30 fps x 10 bits per pix = 103,680,000 = 103.68 Mbps

I was using RGB 4.4.4

Color depth at 12 bits/pix

and got about ~ 190 Mbps for Interlaced

and got about ~ 375 Mbps for Non-interlaced

What formula are you using?

Interlaced doesn't use less bandwidth than "Non-interlaced".

Interlaced sends half of the frame twice as often, so it evens out.

The problem with your argument is that live video is effectively useless. The human eye can't see and process all the detail in the image at once. So, we need a way to store the images that allows us to go back and retrieve key elements and/or show those elements to other persons (police, jury, etc.). The analog video recorders do not store all of that information in its original detail, they compromise in same way and store a limited amount of data.

As and end user and also a consultant to licensed venues, the frustration and anger I've felt at times towards IP cameras, I do not recall ever feeling the same towards their analogue cousins, and I certainly understand why some people feel that analogue can be better than IP.

A lot of our experience has been with low light applications and this is where IP cameras don't stack up as well as they ought to. If we also consider the potential networking and configuration issues and the always constant threat of something dropping out or going down, I'm beginning to ask myself if we'll every be able to categorically state that IP is always better. Well, not in my lifetime anyway!

Tom, I agree about the networking and configuration issues.

That said, on the low light side, there is so much outstanding IP offerings, especially in the past few years, from high quality integrated IR to super low light cameras, MP / IP now have clearly surpassed analog for low light applications both in terms of brightness and detail. It's just a matter of picking the right IP cameras (e.g., from our most recent tests, such as Hikvision Darkfighter Camera Tested, Dahua Starlight 1/2" Camera Tested, 5MP Super Low Light Tested (Bosch), etc.)

Thank you John. I agree that there are some great low light IP cameras out there, however, if obtaining colour images is vital, I struggle to think of many IP cameras that can provide real time, colour images in low light scenarios. That being said, we are about to try a Hikvision Darkfighter.

"MP / IP now have clearly surpassed analog for low light applications both in terms of brightness and detail."

Being IP there's nothing to do with the camera itself. IP is just a type of technology for transmitting video signals.

If you have an IP camera with a sensor technology that can be excellent for low light applications, brightness and detail, this same sensor technology can be used in an analog HD camera giving a similar performance. I mean, MP sensors can be used in IP or HD analog cameras.

Which HD analog cameras are better in low light than the HD IP cameras I cited above? You tell me. Share test results.

I understand theoretically that you could accomplish this in NTSC analog, HD IP, HD analog, etc. I am saying, as a practical matter, the leading edge of super low light performance is MP CMOS imager combined with image processing and IP transmission. So when you look at what is available in commercial products, the best low light performance is HD IP.

Finally, the whole 'MP is worse than SD' claim is no longer true. Related: Beware Out of Date Knowledge

"the frustration and anger I've felt at times towards IP cameras, I do not recall ever feeling the same towards their analogue cousins"

Btw, I enjoyed that quote. There are some analog issues (e.g., setting up PTZ controls is a huge pain) but overall things were easier with analog.

Tom I am curious to which IP cameras/VMS you experienced so much frustration with?

All of them?

Maybe that's because you've never tried Av.. Aventura? ;)

Assuming all IP video systems have the same level of difficulty to configure and manage is nuts. Having worked with many end users and intergrators that have experence with only one system I am curious to see which system Tom was frustrated with.

Tom we have found the "low light" models from different manufactures switch to B/W way to early. Sometimes you need to adjust the day/night threshold or force the cameras to color only mode for good low light color performance.


Not sure what wasmeany by analog > IP...

There is one way however where the simplicity of the old analog can win on many IP systems: Archiving.

In the old days. It was relatively easy to archive 10 year of video. Even a few years ago in the days of DVR it still remained easy. You just use the HDD in a similar DVR when you want to "see" anything ..plop the HDD and be done ...

I am not sure how to do that right now... with most VMS... If you take the HDD out all hell break loose... So there remains a huge advantage for analogue at least from my point of view. There is a product from Veracity that allows to just "play" the HDD when you want to research something ... Unfortunately it seems to be compatible with perhaps a couple of VMS . there is no other product that I know of that allows you to take out the HDD and play it back some time later...

Long term retention is a serious issue in IP video surveillance. Not addressed by any simple, straightforward means for the most part ... You are knee-deep into Deep Storage systems with Tape Libraries before you know it, the storage subsystems cost multiple times the original system with all its cameras and installation ...

The term better is misleading. In our case the term better means a better (reduced costs, while meeting the requirements). There are some very real financial benefits to analog cameras, and specific reasons you might consider them. Real Example.

We have a number of buildings where the areas of coverage are small rooms and lots of hallways. We needed to provide near 100% coverage with very long storage demands, and reasonable frame rates of 15IPS.

Low cost analog cameras, running on UTP/Video/12v power baluns back the a number of Avigilon Video encoders (single channel license covers four cameras) allowed us to meet the requirements at an affordable price to the client.

Cost reduction benefits include;
A. Encoders require fewer switch ports
B. License costs
C. Cabling Costs - we can send POE+ 300' (single plenum cat5e) away - split the POE out into a 12V 30 watt feed and power the encoder and four small dome analog cameras. We've created this as a kit, and our cabling contractors are able to easily install these when pulling cable.
Depending on the building, we go from the encoder to the camera with a standard Video/DC/Audio cable skipping the baluns.... (these cables are very low cost, and premade.

Any suggestions on low Light analog cameras (NO IR L.E.D's) is greatly appreciated.
Metal housing is preferred. Thanks

Cost reduction benefits include;

A. Encoders require fewer switch ports
B. License costs
C. Cabling Costs

Leaving the licensing costs out of the equation for the moment, since not all recorders allow the 4 to 1 reduction, although recognizing the fact that when applicable they would be a significant cost advantage, I would question the other two cost benefits since something like the camswitch 4 plus is possibly cheaper per port and cable costs are the same.

"Any suggestions on low Light analog cameras (NO IR L.E.D's) is greatly appreciated."

New discussion here - What Is The Best Non-IR Analog Camera In Low Light?

Of course they are anyone can install them. You can even buy premade cables.

What a perfect solution for any mindless fool to install cameras.

1. You just call an integrator

2. Have the integrator wow you and show you exactly what they would do if they get the job

3. Buy said product on the internet.

After that buy yourself an easy pass and put the toll collector out of business too!

I'm aware of plug and play IP but the dinosaurs are most likely not. Its amazing how many companies survived all these years with little knowledge or desire to learn and grow.

On the Technical side, all cameras are basically analog at the sensor level when the CCD/CMOS pixels are converted through the Analog to Digital Converter then it becomes Binary eliminating the 1v peak to peak signal. Digital/Binary will always be better to deal/work with as 0's and 1's as oppose to Analog "Signal Strength" As well the electrical current is Mostly Alternative Current(AC) which is analog, few are DC.

In this context of this discussion, digital and analog are not exact opposites. For example HD-SDI, technically a digital format, would be more similar, (from an installers perspective), to the others in the "analog" camp of NTSC/PAL/CVI/TVI/AHD.

IMHO, the distinguishing aspect between the two camps is the transmission of data using a packetized and variable length network encoding scheme, in this case TCP/IP, versus the fixed format of say NTSC.

I agree that they are not exact opposites, my point was from the Forensic Analyst view that the original image source is analog from the Sensor, and any modification/compression from there is Binary and has to be understood in order to explain if necessary things like artifacts created during compression or aberration from the lens. The industry has gone a long way from 1953 where NTSC was develop until now where for example the Hubble Telescope discovers new planets that were not only beyond our view, but even our imagination just decades ago. 20 years ago Storage meant How Many Video Tapes could you physically store, now in the Digital World we are seeing Terabytes of data being stored on a regular basis with 128Gb chip now the size of a contact lens.

I was mainly referring to this comment:

Digital/Binary will always be better to deal/work with as 0's and 1's as oppose to Analog "Signal Strength"

as I did not understand the point, since both "analog" and IP cameras work with 0's and 1's for their image processing.

They mainly differ in their transmission methods and encodings. IP cameras also compress their images substantially, though the reason this is necessary is because of the transmission choice.

In any event, we are talking from an installer's point of view, not necessarily an engineer's or designer's point of view.

To clarify you wrote "both "analog" and IP cameras work with 0's and 1's for their image processing." The analog Camera does the image processing once the Analog signal as gone thru the A/D converter and a Digital binary stream is available. No image processing is done at the sensor level where the RGB/CMYK Photons are counted. After the Digital information is processed inside the camera it is then reverted back to Analog and outputted through the BNC Connector on Analog Cameras. On IP cameras the last step remains Digital and is Converted to a common streaming format ie. h.264, .265~etc...

No image processing is done at the sensor level where the RGB/CMYK Photons are counted.

Though if they were really "counted" at the photosite, that would be a digital pixel, no?;). And they are working on such sensors.

But, as you say, the sampling is normally done at the A/D converter, which would typically not be sensor level in the case of CCD's. However, with CMOS that is often not the case:

The success of CMOS has been driven in part by its potential to allow more functionality on the chip than was practical with CCDs. Many functions that used to require separate chips have moved on to the imaging sensor: analog to digital conversion (aka A to D, ADC or A/D), power conditioning, timing control, internal clock drivers, and a host of output interface options, from serializers to various parallel protocols.

If you are just trying to make the point that image processing is much easier to do in the digital domain, I concur wholeheartedly. In audio gear for instance, an analog dynamics compressor/limiter may be 4u in the rack and weigh 20 pounds. The virtually identical DSP plug-in could run in a tiny fraction of the space, weight and power.

Though, I'm not sure this knowledge is what the OP had in mind. Maybe a good topic for a new discussion?

From the title of this discussion "Better Then IP?" Well that was then, it might not be that way now! ;>)

I doubt the installer had encoders in mind. If your buying encoders you might as well buy dahua 2 megapixel cameras with 2.8-12 mm motorized lenses at $142.00 each or less.

Is anyone using encoders for anything more than integrating old customer analog cameras? Even then a good sales presentation should make for a easy upsell. Cost of an encoder with license vs cost of a Chinese ip camera with license is very close.

Most of the frustration and angst I've felt Michael, I guess shouldn't be thrown 100% at the cameras alone. The switches, the VMS software; the overall networking set up; the compatibility issues between different manufacturers; I'm sure they've all played a part in my blood pressure rising at times.

It wouldn't surprise you to learn that the cheaper chinese no name brands caused the most dramas, and although our Hikvision experiences were not great, I should point out that this was over 3 years ago. I'm led to believe that they've improved considerably since then.

And as much as I'm a big fan of Samsung products, we found that disconnecting and connecting the same cameras during trials did cause some headaches. Another example, is when a rogue Vivotek camera suddenly decides it doesn't want to have a fixed IP anymore. Just happens right out of the blue............

I am however, just about to try Vivoteks VAST VMS to see if this helps.

Most of the businesses I talk to are relatively small (under 30 cameras) and their budgets are not huge, hence the Samsung and Vivotek products.

Compared to IP, Analog cameras HD or SD have no edge....recording.

They don't need edge recording because recording is made in the DVR were cameras are connected to

IP cameras with Edge storage can record to the NVR they are connected to as well as locally. This is not usually necessary, but just an added feature.

It's worth something, right?

Analog cameras don't and likely won't have edge because they would need an (h.264) encoder to be built in. Once you add that in you might as well make a hybrid.

To say one technology is better than the other is limiting your arsenal of tools at your disposal. In the right application and customer budget any of the technologies can work well. McDonalds doesnt sell Tbone steaks or Prime Rib and they manage to stay in business. Your going to lose a lot of business if you try to Jan every square peg into a round hole. You will also kill your profits giving every chessBURGER customer a steak at the same price to hit their budget. The needs of a Little Ceaserestaurant chain is much different than that of a Healthcare System provider. All the ones and zeros with the magic to make pictures is awesome to us. Many customers just want great pictures. The first thing I think about is the Tommy Boy movie. When Tommy Boy uses the Steak analogy. When everyone feels the need to get a technical on every customer.