When choosing a video surveillance system you will hear a lot about NVR vs. DVR. These are two very similar but unique options for video recording. Each has their advantages and weaknesses. When deciding which recorder is best for you it is important to analyze your specific needs. While NVRs may be the ideal choice for some, DVRs may be a better choice for others. Here we take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of each recorder to help you identify the best fit for you.

DVR (Digital Video Recorder):

  • Records video signals from hardwired, closed-circuit television cameras.
  • While DVRs were originally meant for use with analog cameras, there are now hybrid versions that use a mix of digital cameras and analog cameras.
  • Video is encoded on the DVR so it must be connected to the cameras.
  • Remote monitoring via smart phone, PC or tablet can be achieved if the DVR is connected to a LAN network that has internet service.
  • Installation can be difficult because the wires from the cameras must always be connected to the DVR and often holes need to be drilled in walls to run the wires from the cameras to the DVR.
  • Users don’t have to worry about losing video feed due to a signal loss.
  • Can record up to 480 ips.
  • Cameras do not need to be programmed but running wires from cameras to the DVR can be difficult and can cause problems when trying to upgrade the system.

NVR (Network Video Recorder):

  • Records video signals from IP cameras.
  • Video is encoded at the cameras and transferred to the NVR for storage.
  • Can often take up a large amount of data.
  • Video streams can be duplicated via “mirroring” on additional hard drives so if one part goes down there is a backup.
  • The NVR can be placed anywhere as long as it falls within the same network range as the cameras.
  • NVRs are wireless which makes for easier installation and upgrading as well as being more discreet.
  • If the internet connection drops out video could be lost.
  • Can record up to 3500 ips.
  • Cameras must be programmed with an IP address which can be tricky for users that are not network savvy.

At the end of the day, both systems can be installed by skilled, professional installers so ease of installation may not be a huge concern for you. The choice may come down to whether or not you have a reliable network connection. If your internet connection is often slow, drops out or has a small range then a DVR may be the more reliable choice. If you have a solid network connection and don’t want to deal with a bunch of wires running through your property then a NVR is the better choice. Both recorders do a solid job of recording and storing video and with current technological advances both can be monitored remotely. The real choice comes down to wireless vs. hardwired.


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