If you have reached the point that you are asking this question, then you have been searching for some type of security camera for your home only to find that there are more cameras than breakfast cereals to choose from. There are analog, IP, HD-SDI and HDSDI CCTV cameras and they seem to work in different ways. You may even suspect that you need a special class just to understand what each is and how they differ. Once you decide which type you favour, you may then need a second class to understand what the specification terms mean in order to compare one to the other. Perhaps, you’ve decided to ask your 10-year old who seems to know all about this stuff – but, when it comes to securing your home from invasion, you may not trust a child’s judgment so much.
Let’s begin with the oldest – the analog camera. These were made around 1995 and there are still some available on the secondary market today. The picture is grainy and they only record in black and white. You will need a hybrid DVR to transmit the images over the internet. Prices on analog cameras are usually fairly low because most of them are sold as previously owned. These cameras record for a specific period of time before overwriting the saved data. They need some form of lighting near the area that is being observed. They are still good for watching over car lots and parking areas.
IP cameras have a better picture and an option that allows recording in both colour and black and white. Image quality is less detailed than the newer HD cameras but considerably better than analog – also known as film cameras. The first CCTV cameras where connected to the computer and then viewed remotely on monitors at security service call centres. They are connected through a Cat 5 cable to your internet connection which means that the quality of your service will determine the quality, speed and output of the camera as well. Because these cameras require Cat 5 wiring, you cannot use Coax that you may already have with your current alarm. The cost of installing new wiring to the panel can be very expensive. IP systems require professional installation because they need to be networked to other modules.
HD-SDI cameras have the same quality as your internet pictures allow. These are transmitted over your internet as well. They are available in hard-wired and wireless models. The photo quality is much more detailed when sent over a Wi-Fi system and much easier to see minute details over your cell phone. HDSDI CCTV cameras are connected to your HD television and can be viewed on your television instead of your computer monitor. They are a bit higher in price but because they can be installed with your existing Coax cabling, the cost is more than offset.