Buyer’s Guide: HD-Analog or IP Video Surveillance Cameras

Is there really a right answer to the question “which cameras are right for my business—HD-Analog or IP cameras?” The short answer is yes.

However, the in-depth answer depends on what you need and expect from your camera system. Compelling arguments can easily be made for both options. So, what’s the deciding factor when it comes to HD-Analog versus IP cameras?

You are.

It all comes down to:

  • Your goals

  • What infrastructure is in place

  • How your business utilizes your camera system

  • Your technical knowledge


But before we delve into the pros and cons of HD-Analog versus IP cameras, let’s define exactly what we’re talking about.

HD-Analog OR IP Cameras for video surveillanceAn IP (or internet protocol) camera sends and receives video, data, and power via a single Ethernet cable. It can be accessed directly via the internet, or often, thru a Network Video Recorder (NVR) onsite.  IP cameras come in a variety of form factors and can offer advanced features, on-board video analytics, and megapixel resolutions.

An HD-Analog camera sends and receives High Definition video and power over a single, traditional coaxial cable. It comes in a variety of form factors and is often connected to a Digital Video Recorder (DVR) onsite.  They offer improved picture quality over traditional analog, as well as reduced cable and labor costs should you opt for an upgrade path.

Your Camera Consultant

When it comes to HD-Analog or IP cameras, your needs are the deciding factor. If you need additional help comparing features and pricing, just let us know. We’re happy to offer our expertise and pricing.

Contact DIGIOP today to let us help you select the best option. Our friendly experts will listen to your needs and offer a customized plan to decrease loss in your retail locations. Together we can transform your business.

Pros and Cons of HD-Analog or IP Cameras

Take a deeper look at the top pros and cons for camera options, and you’ll begin to see how the differences could impact your business and your bottom line.


  1. Picture Quality

HD Analog cameras have come a long way, and can now often match the high resolutions that IP cameras can provide, however, IP cameras offer additional settings that can impact picture quality. These can include things like auto-focus, contrast, white balance, and WDR (Wide Dynamic Range) which allow for a better picture in low light settings.

HD-Analog OR IP Cameras

  1. Camera Features

IP Cameras allow for the ability to add many additional features to your camera. This can range from features like PTZ (Pan, Tilt, Zoom) and audio, all the way to features like motorized lenses and built-in heaters that can allow for easier configuration and maintenance of your cameras.

  1. On-Board Analytics

If you only need to track customer or employee movement, or keep an eye on specific areas of your store, analytics won’t impact your camera choice. But if you need to deep dive into the daily operations of your front end, or if you need oversight of your operational processes, you’ll want to go with the option which will save you time and effort each day. And IP cameras, combined with the right analytics software, will do exactly that.

  1. New Installation Costs

If there isn’t any existing camera infrastructure in place, IP cameras are often less expensive to install. You can save on cabling costs because only one cable needs to be run instead of two. With minimal technical knowledge you may even be able to setup the IP cameras yourself, which could help offset installation costs.


  1. Recabling Costs

If you are looking to install new cameras in a location with existing analog infrastructure, it can be quite expensive to recable your location to allow for IP cameras. This can include the cost of the cabling, the labor to recable, and the possible interruption to your business during the installation process.

If existing analog infrastructure is already in place, it can be much less expensive to add HD Analog cameras, and still get very high camera resolutions.


  1. HD is a Difference Maker

As recently as 3-5 years ago, most analog CCTV systems didn’t even offer an HD option. In fact, there are major retailers who still use standard-definition analog systems in stores and they manage just fine. Now that HD cameras are available (and easily interchangeable), an HD-Analog camera is one more weapon you can add to your anti-theft and fraud arsenal.

  1. Recabling Costs

A major advantage of HD over IP is that you do not need to run new cabling. The cost and labor of running new CAT cable is significant and can often bust your budget, before even starting. But with HD, you can reuse the co-ax cable you have in place, and save big.

  1. Ease of Maintenance

HD-Analog cameras are more affordable, yes. But just as important as that is the ease of which you can replace one, if needed. Just plug it in and go.

HD-Analog OR IP Cameras


  1. Lack of Features and Analytics

There’s no replacement for wasted or lost time, and sometimes using an HD-Analog camera to review an employee’s shift is exactly that – a waste. What denomination was the bill it looks like they might have removed from the till? What register command did they use to open the drawer? There’s no doubt that with enhanced picture quality, analytics, and the available additional features IP cameras give you a serious boost when it comes to video review, and HD-Analog cameras just can’t compete.

  1. New Installation Costs

If there isn’t any existing camera infrastructure in place, analog cameras are often more expensive to install. You have additional cabling costs because you need to install both co-ax and power cabling, as well as power supplies. Professional installation is also usually needed to install analog cameras and cabling for the first time.

Download the full Buyer’s Guide: HP Analog or IP Cameras