NVR vs. DVR – Which to Choose?

NVR or DVR – the choice you have to make before CCTV installation. It’s important to know what type of video recorder is right for your specific situation. Besides, it will affect the installation time and video quality. 

In this Linked Security blog post, you’ll find everything you need to know about an NVR and a DVR:

  • What is the difference between the NVR and the DVR?
  • What are the pros and cons of the NVR and the DVR?

What are NVR and DVR?

NVR stands for a Network Video Recorder. As evident from the name, it records video directly from the network, utilizing Ethernet cables with RJ45 connectors. The system works with IP video cameras. 

There are two kinds of network video recorders: 

  • Models with PoE that have Ethernet ports for the PoE cameras. 
  • Wi-Fi-based network video recorders without camera connections. 

DVR decodes as a Digital Video Recorder. DVRs take videos from cameras through coaxial cables and then process them for recording. Digital video recorders usually assume CCTV cameras that are analog resolution. 

There’s also HVR – Hybrid Video Registration, a combination of DVR and NVR that works with analog and IP cameras. 

As a rule of thumb, you will see 6, 8, or 16 ports showing how many cameras can be connected to the recorder. For instance, a 16-port model can accommodate 16 cameras. 

How NVR and DVR Work

A Network Video Recorder stores the coded video from IP cameras from the network. In a nutshell, it doesn’t have to employ a separate device to process the video – it happens in a camera. 

On the other hand, a Digital Video Recorder has a small hardware chip to process the analog signal into the digital format and store videos coming from cameras.   

Both are used to record and store data. Once connected to the screen, cameras from either device can be easily accessed for configuration and online viewing. 

What is The Difference?

The biggest difference between an NVR and a DVR are cameras and cables used. A Network Video Recorder captures an IP camera wirelessly or via Ethernet, whereas a Digital Video Recorder takes the signal from analog resolution through a coaxial cable. 

Network and Digital Video Recorders Without Internet 

Both recorders don’t have to be connected to the Internet to view recordings. Cameras can work within their local network once turned on. 

You need the Internet to view the video in real-time and send alerts outside installation areas. 

Which to Choose

Now, you know what the NVR and DVR are. Next, let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of the two recorders, so you can figure out which one meets your video surveillance needs.

NVR  

Network Video Recorders are mainstream today. More companies and homeowners opt for NVRs instead of DVRs. And for a reason. Here are apparent NVR advantages: 

Records high-quality video 

Network Video Recorders are connected to IP cameras with a resolution ranging from 2MP to 12MP (or higher), which is impossible for analog cameras in the DVR security system.

That is why many users and technical experts believe that NVR is outpacing its predecessor, given that you need enough resolution to recognize the person or the intruder’s car number. 

Some brands produce 4K DVRs. However, with improved video quality, the DVR system will likely increase in price because of the need for expensive video processor chips to achieve high-quality images. 

Easy to connect  

Cables are a real headache when it comes to wiring and connecting video systems. But the network system makes the installation job easy even for the beginner. A Wi-Fi NVR connects to cameras through the network without cables, so you don’t need to worry about connecting cables to the recorder. 

Conversely, a DVR requires a precise connection between cameras and a digital recorder, while analog CCTV cameras need two cables for power and data transmission. 

Wireless NVRs are also easy to connect. As mentioned earlier, some NVRs have a PoE connection, meaning only one cable is required to support power, audio, and video.   

NVR can be installed anywhere 

Since NVRs use network cameras, you can install them virtually anywhere, whereas a coaxial cable limits DVRs up to 500 meters of maximum transmitting distance. 

Therefore, you can place your network video recorder at any spot. For example, at the entrance, backyard, garage, etc. It can be easily hidden in less accessible places like a storage room, attic, or wall-built cabinets. 

In fact, it’s highly recommended to fix your NVR or DVR in secret places to protect them from damage or theft.

Easy to use and set up

You may get the impression that NVR devices involve multiple network configurations. But that isn’t the case. 

P2P safety cameras enable you to set up the system from zero configuration. You only need to upload a software app for your model, and IP cameras will automatically appear in the local network list. Then, you need to add devices and change passwords on cameras. That’s it. The installation is done!

No complex forwarding or port settings

You can also get access to a camera via mobile phone. You just need to enter the network video recorder’s UIN (Unique Identification Number) and its password in the NVR camera application. 

What Else to Know About NVR

  • NVRs don’t need the Internet to record and store images. They will use bandwidth only when remotely accessed via mobile phone or PC.  
  • Buy the NVR and video cameras from one manufacturer to avoid compatibility issues. 
  • Not all IP cameras work with a network video recorder of a certain brand. Choose the same manufacturer if you want to add more cameras. 
  • If you are interested in a Wi-Fi NVR, go for a system with a dual-band signal. 

DVR

The DVR isn’t so pricey but is less competitive these days due to some obvious disadvantages.

Complex cable wiring 

This is perhaps one of the biggest drawbacks. 

Each camera comes with two cables – one for power and the other for the a/v signal transmission. So it can be very inconvenient to control spots outside a coaxial cable reach. 

DVR CCTVs don’t provide high-quality video footage 

Although AHD technology has improved video recording, it can’t be compared to NVR IP cameras. Plus, they are expensive. 

Limited installation range 

DVRs should be placed within no more than 500 meters. Otherwise, a signal through a coaxial cable will start disappearing. 

Higher maintenance cost

Over time, coaxial cables become more vulnerable to environmental changes like rain, snow, or storms. 

Conclusion: What to Consider 

It all boils down to the connection and installation or cable preferences. 

The DVR system will be an optimal solution if you have analog systems and coaxial cables installed. 

Those ready to switch from the older DVR for higher resolution should go for the NVR, providing a higher security video system for homes and offices. 

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