Digital Video Recorders, Network Video Recorders and Hybrid Video Recorders are the main choices for security recording. What will suit you best is a matter that our highly trained video security consultants will discuss with you.
- DVR (Digital Video Recorder) The DVR replaced the security VCR after the advancement of large capacity hard drives. Tapes would wear out after about 30 cycles and storing days or months of video became cumbersome. The DVR stores video on a hard drive. This is the same hard drive that you use in your computer. At Pro Video Security, we only use Security Grade Hard Drives that are built for continuous and long use. Beware of using consumer grade hard drives that will fail faster and are not built for the rigorous constant recording that a DVR requires. The DVR is an incredible machine that is designed to store video on the hard drive for future viewing. Your analog cameras connect to the DVR via RG59 or RG6 coaxial cables. The DVR is usually set to recycle the recorded video, which means that the video is stored on the hard drive until full. Once full, the oldest video is then overwritten as the new video is recorded. The length of the stored video depends on the number of cameras connected, the compression style of the DVR, the frame rate and video quality settings, the amount of motion (if motion activated) and the size of the hard drive(s), as well as other factors. Most customers set the DVR on motion activation recording as this will save the recording space for actual activity; thus, saving hard drive space and allowing for video that can be stored for longer periods of time. The DVR has a smart component that allows Pre and Post recording of activity. So if a person walks into camera view at 12:22:38 the video can start 5 seconds or so earlier and record 5 seconds after activity stops.
- PC Based DVR – The PC based DVR is generally more efficient at storing video. The reason is that the PC based DVR uses separate chips for each camera allowing for independent recording. Standalone DVRs on the other hand almost always record all channels even when one channel detects motion. You will only see the recorded channel of video while the non-motion channels get blocked out. Hence; Standalone DVRs are less efficient at recording and will use your hard drive up faster. PC Based DVRs are also easier to backup, access video files and use, especially if you have experience using a PC. There are also more bells and whistles available on a PC since you can load special programs on top of the DVR program. We do not recommend using a PC based DVR as a PC on a regular basis. You can also add more hard drives and replace bad components easier by just visiting a computer store. While the PC based DVR is more versatile and flexible, there are some down sides. Some PCs can have Windows related errors when doing updates. They can have more operating issues than the typical Standalone. A restart will fix most issues and some PC based DVRs have software that will automatically restart the DVR to avoid such issues. Windows 7 is more reliable and these issues are not as prevalent now. But like any other DVR, we recommend checking your recorder regularly to verify it is recording and operating properly.
- Standalone DVR – These simple recorders are used when you don’t want or need to use a PC. Advantages are that they don’t use a Windows operating system and are simple to use. They are not as efficient as the PC based when recording as mentioned above. They are generally smaller and easier to hide or store if space is a concern.
- NVR – (Network Video Recorder) An NVR is used to record IP cameras. IP cameras connect to a network (router) in order to connect to the recorder. IP cameras usually require CAT5 wire to run between the camera and the router although there are wireless IP cameras as well as devices that can be added to allow the coaxial cable to be converted to CAT5. IP cameras are usually used when you want HD or High Definition cameras. The Megapixel IP cameras are much higher quality than the analog cameras. Analog cameras are about 0.3 Megapixel cameras. Megapixel cameras can be from 1.3 Megapixel up to 10 or more. When using an NVR and high Megapixel cameras, you may want to use a separate router as the high bandwidth can slow your main network down. A larger hard drive is advised since the file size is much larger with Megapixel cameras.
- HD-SDI Digital Recorder (HD Video Recorder) – The HD-SDI camera is another HD camera. This camera uses RG59 or RG6 coaxial wire to record. The HD-SDI cameras offer either 1.3 or 2 Megapixel quality. Although they use the same existing coaxial (RG59 or RG6) wire from your analog, they offer the flexibility of not having to run new wire to install a camera as would be usually required when using an IP camera which runs on CAT5 wire.
- Hybrid Video Recorders NVR/DVR – A Hybrid recorder is an excellent choice when you would like to keep some or all of your Analog cameras yet would like to add some HD cameras. A Hybrid recorder accepts both. A Hybrid NVR or a Hybrid HD Recorder is the best of both worlds. Especially when you have some investment in analog cameras.