Network Video Recorder (NVR)

The Network Video Recorder, also known as the NVR, is another essential element to any I.P. camera system. Connected to the same I.P. network, you can install the NVR virtually anywhere in your building. The NVR allowed you to record and store video on a hard drive, snap images and transmit them to your computer or remote device for living and recorded viewing. Network Video Recorders usually have multiple channels for inputting security camera feeds and are an all-in-one place for combining feeds and keeping a comprehensive eye on your surveillance provides. NVRs and DVRs may be placed on a shelf or desk, wall-mounted, or mounted behind a false wall.

NVR’s differ mainly from DVRs. They record video from I.P. cameras, while DVRs specifically record analog-based video to a digital format. Standard DVR recorders use coaxial cables, while many NVRs connect through Ethernet cables, such as a cat5e or cat6.

Which is Better, DVR or NVR?

At the core, both NVR and DVRs are responsible for video recording. DVR stands for Digital Video Recorder, whereas NVR stands for Network Video Recorder. The difference between NVR and DVR is how they process video data. DVR systems process the video data at the recorder. In contrast, NVR systems encode and process the video data at the camera, then stream it to the NVR recorder, which is used for storage and remote viewing. As DVRs and NVRs handle the video data differently, they require different types of cameras. Most NVRs are used with I.P. cameras, whereas DVRs are used with analog cameras. It’s important to note that a DVR-based system is a wired security system. In contrast, NVR systems can be wired or wireless systems.

DVRs with coaxial cables generally have image quality that deteriorates after around 300 feet. With an NVR system, you can get around this by using a POE extender, POE injector, or POE switch to extend cables over long distances while maintaining high image quality. NVRs offer high flexibility — connected to the same I.P. network, can install NVRs virtually anywhere in your building.

Since NVRs use a software program to record video in a digital format automatically. They can easily transmit data over computer networks and even remotely stream security footage on a mobile device in real-time. NVRs are also typically newer and more advanced systems that offer higher video quality, compatibility with more cameras, and more flexible features.

Installing a DVR is the best bet for business security systems with existing coaxial wiring and analog cameras. For commercial security camera systems starting from scratch, NVRs are a great choice, which offers higher-resolution IP cameras and remote video feed access.

DVR Security System – Pros & Cons

Advances in analog high definition within the last five years have reduced the gap in resolution between the two systems. You’ll probably notice that DVR-based security systems are priced lower than NVR systems. The lower price point is an attractive advantage of DVR systems, but what are the tradeoffs? To answer this, we need to break down each of the components of a DVR system.

Camera Type – Analog

The cameras used by a DVR system must be analog security cameras, better known as CCTV cameras. Most of the cost savings found by using a DVR system are due to the camera. While you can mix and match cameras in your property security system, there is less flexibility in the type of cameras you can use with DVR systems.

In a DVR system, the analog cameras stream an analog signal to the recorder, processing the images. The advantage of this system is the reduced complexity required of the camera compared to an NVR system.

Cable – Coaxial BNC Cable

The camera connects to the DVR recorder via a coaxial BNC cable. Although the use of coaxial cable may not seem significant, it does have some limitations:

  • As the coaxial cable doesn’t provide power to the camera, two threads are included within one covering – a passion and video cable. The lines separate each end to give separate functions. As such, you’ll need to install your DVR recorder near a power outlet.
  • The size and rigidity of coaxial cables can make installation more challenging. The coaxial cable is more comprehensive in diameter than Ethernet cables used with NVR systems, making it more challenging to run lines in tight spaces. Coaxial cables also tend to be more rigid, compounding this problem.
  • However, suppose your property has existing coaxial connections for a previous security system. In that case, you can use the same cable to connect your new system.
  • Standard coax cables do not support audio. A variant with an added RCA connection is needed. Still, a DVR has a limited number of audio input ports, so only a small number of cameras can record audio.
  • The image quality on the coaxial cable will begin to degrade after about 300ft/90m, limiting the ability to extend your security presence outward. The lower quality cable will result in a signal loss at shorter distances.


DVR recorders rely on a hardware chipset known as an A.D. encoder responsible for processing the raw data streaming from the camera into legible video recordings. DVR systems also have different requirements when it comes to the recorder. Specifically, in a DVR system, the user must connect every camera directly to the writer. In comparison, an NVR system only requires that each camera connects to the same network. Also, in a DVR system, the recorder doesn’t provide power to the cameras. Each camera connection will need a splitter that supplies power to enable cameras to function.

System Flexibility

DVR security systems are less flexible than their NVR counterparts in terms of camera type and mounting options. Whereas NVR based systems can integrate wired and wireless security cameras, DVR systems can only use wired security cameras. DVR systems also have less flexible mounting solutions because routing coaxial cable can be more difficult in tight situations. A power outlet is required for each camera.

Image & Audio Quality

As we’ve discussed, the cameras transmit analog video via the coax cable directly to the recorder in DVR systems, and images process at the recorder level. The analog signal results in a lower quality image compared to NVR systems. Coaxial cables also don’t natively transmit an audio signal. DVR recorders usually have a limited number of audio input ports.

NVR Security System – Pros & Cons

NVR security camera systems incorporate the newest technology to provide an enhanced, feature-rich security system. Also known as POE security camera systems, NVR based systems are more flexible and complex than DVR systems.

Camera Type – I.P. Camera

As NVR systems process the video data at the camera rather than on the recorder, the cameras in NVR systems are much more robust than their DVR counterparts. NVR systems use IP cameras which are standalone image capturing devices. I.P. cameras each have a chipset capable of processing the video data, then transmitted to a recorder. Unlike analog camerasIP cameras are typically all capable of recording and sending audio and video. The more powerful hardware on IP cameras also enables improved smart functionality and video analytics, such as facial recognition.

Cable – Ethernet

Like DVR systems, NVR systems connect the camera to the recorder. However, how they connect the camera to the writer is entirely different. NVR systems use standard Ethernet cables, such as cat5e and cat6, to transmit data. Professional installers prefer ethernet cables due to the number of advantages compared to coaxial cables:

  • Ethernet cable powers the camera using Power over Ethernet (PoE). That means your camera needs one cable running to capture video, audio and control the camera, thus eliminating the need for messy splitters like a DVR system.
  • Ethernet cable tends to be easier to route and terminate because it is thinner and has a smaller connector allowing for less drilling.
  • Ethernet is cheaper than coaxial cable and much more readily available, making cable replacement or system expansion more accessible and affordable. Many modern homes and businesses are being built wired for Ethernet, making installation even more accessible.
  • An added advantage of Ethernet cable is that every camera on the system can transmit audio since Ethernet can send audio data natively.
  • Cables do not need to run between every camera and the recorder. They need to be on the same wireless network. Installation is more straightforward and cleaner as multiple cables aren’t required.
  • Despite a shorter max Ethernet cable length, 328ft or 100m, network switches can extend total distance without impacting image quality.


Unlike a DVR system, the recorder in an NVR system doesn’t process video data. That step is completed at the camera before it is transmitted. NVR recorders are only used for storing and viewing the footage.

System Flexibility

NVR systems are inherently more flexible because security cameras don’t necessarily have to be physically connected directly to the recorder. Instead, IP cameras only have to be on the same network. As such, you could feasibly have cameras worldwide on the same network that connect to your NVR can then be viewed as a comprehensive system.

Image & Audio Quality

As NVR recorders receive a pure digital signal from the cameras, video quality is better than a DVR at the exact resolution. In addition, as Ethernet cables carry audio, all cameras with microphones could record audio to the NVR.

Hard Drives

An NVR makes it easy to record video surveillance footage, but you will need connected hard drives to store this footage. Choosing the right amount of storage for your surveillance camera installation can seem like a confusing gamble, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s simply a matter of calculating the video length you need to store by the bitrate and resolution your camera shoots at. When recording 4k security camera video, this can end up being a large number requiring terabytes of footage. For lesser archival needs, you can usually get away with much less.


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