You probably know a DVR or NVR kit is the best to monitor a large property. But as an owner of one, do you really need to re-hire an installer when you want to fill the remaining slots with cameras? Also, are all security cameras compatible with all DVRs in case you don’t find the exact brand of your system?
Well, first things first, an expandable security camera system with DVR or NVR is the best choice when you have a large area to monitor. You can connect multiple cameras, as many as 64 in some models, and manage them from one console.
Nonetheless, manufacturers sometimes offer these DVR kits with few cameras to keep the price as low as possible. In other cases, those cameras will even have lower resolution than that of the recorder unit. Hence, giving you a chance to upgrade with high-resolution cameras later on when you’re ready financially.
But now the question is, can you add any security camera to your DVR and it still works? For example, can you use the Lorex LAB243 (HD-analog) cameras on Swann 83425H DVR (960H-analog) system?
DVR vs NVR Technologies
In truth, the debate on which is better between NVR and DVR is not something new. Also, many people tend to use the two terms simultaneously, yet they’re totally different when it comes to technology.
First up, a DVR (or digital video recorder) is much easier to get as it’s more affordable. It was also the most accessible before the 2000s, especially between 1980 and 1990, though the users were mainly government agencies.
In any case, DVR kits are still relevant today, even though wireless security cameras have dominated the industry, for sure. It usually uses analog cameras, which capture the video signal then send it over the coaxial for processing. Once the recorder receives the video signal, it (DVR) process, compress, record, and save it (footage) in digital format.
*In other words, a DVR system is the brains of your entire analog security camera system.
On the other hand, an NVR kit usually receives a video signal that’s already in digit format. The IP cameras that it uses are usually more technologically advanced in that they can process, compress, and record the video signal in digital format.
*In other words, the IP cameras are the brains of the whole NVR security camera system. Hence, the reason some of the cameras even come with built-in local storage to directly save the footage.
Note, some hybrid DVR systems in the market today can process both analog and digital video signals. The ANNKE 8 Channel Security camera kit is a great example, whereby you can use the Lite DVR with 5MP TVI/ AHD/ CVI/ CVBS/ IP cameras.
When You May Need to Add Security Cameras to Your DVR
Well, there are various reasons you may need to get an add-on security camera/s for your DVR kit. The five most come ones include to:
- Fill Up the remaining slots: if your DVR has more channels, you can get extra cameras to add to the remaining ports.
- Improve the video quality: this simply means adding cameras of higher megapixels if the current ones are lower resolutions.
- Replace damaged cameras: this should be self-explanatory as it just means adding cameras to your DVR to replace the damaged ones.
- Expand the coverage: Most of the DVRs are compatible with a PTZ camera, which enables you to cover more grounds at less.
- Make the most of your system: if your DVR has 4K technology, you’ll be making the best of it if you added 4K cameras. The same applies if it supports advanced features like IVS (intelligent video technology).
Are All Security Cameras Compatible with All DVRs?
Well, the quickest answer here’s a NO. The first obvious reason is what we’ve mentioned not long ago. That’s there are different types of DVR systems- traditional analog kit and the latest hybrid models.
More on that, let’s go through the two main factors that determine all the security cameras compatible with your DVR system. They include:
Type of the Security Cameras
In this one, your DVR can only work with security cameras based on their respective technologies. We have about four of these types in particular, including:
As was mentioned, DVR kits are largely based on analog security cameras that transmit the captured video signal via the coaxial (RG59 or RG6) cable. However, there are various analog technologies in play today, such as
- CVBS (or composite video base band signal): has capped video resolution up to 960h
- HD-SDI (or High-definition serial digital interface) supports up to 1080p video signals
- TVI (or Transport video interface) adopts analog high-definition video signals as well
- CVI (or composite video interface) also gives you an analog signal in high-definition
- AHD (or analog HD) helps achieve your analog video signal in high-definition.
In general, any of these video signals can communicate with the DVR over the coaxial cable. However, each tends to have a different digitization technology. Thus, even your add-on security cameras may not work with your DVR if the technologies don’t match.
IP Security Cameras
Again, IP security cameras usually process and encode the video signal into a digital format before sending it over to the NVR. It usually uses a network (Ethernet) cable to transmit that signal to the receiver for streaming, storage, and remote viewing. So, one can’t connect directly to the BNC ports.
Nonetheless, Hybrid DVR systems will often bring you the benefits of the world of analog and IP cameras. That’s you can use the kit with the five analog technologies we’ve mentioned above, as well as PoE security cameras.
However, the DVR system must have the extra channels to hook up the IP security camera. Otherwise, it won’t work.
Note, some of the Hybrid DVRs have the option to replace the analog channels with more IP cameras. In other cases, you can even upgrade the processor of your console to extend the support of more IP cameras.
PTZ Security cameras
Other than the analog and IP video signals, some DVR kits do support a PTZ security camera as well. However, PTZ cameras are also internet protocol cameras. So, you can add them to the extra (IP) channels of a Hybrid DVR.
Nonetheless, Many DVRs in the market usually have a separate channel for the PTZ cameras. They’ll have a built-in RS485 port, which you’ll use to connect the RS485+ and RS485- control cables of the camera.
Sadly, your DVR won’t be compatible with a PTZ camera if it has neither the RS485 control port nor the IP support. Otherwise, how will you be controlling its up-and-down or side-to-side movements?
ONVIF Compliance Protocol
ONVIF (or open network video interface) is another crucial aspect when you’re thinking to get add-on security cameras for your DVR. In simple words, this technology usually focuses on standardizing IP-based surveillance cameras. Hence, enabling you to use a recorder and cameras from different brands successfully.
However, every manufacturer usually creates their DVR and its cameras with firmware that will ensure maximum compatibility. So, when you pair systems of different brands based on ONVIF compliance, you might not be able to use some features.
Also, it’s good to check with the manufacturer of the DVR or camera you want to buy is ONVIF compliant or not. And since some companies tend to lie about it, you might want to research from the past buyers of the system you want. That includes reading customer reviews, as well questions-and-answers sections on the subject.
CCTV technology is no longer something for only the rich, but anyone who wants to keep a close watch on his property. And at the rate they have flooded the market, it’s a choice if you don’t have one already on your property.
Usually, a DVR kit is relatively cheaper when compared to an NVR kit. Thus, it can be a great way to monitor your property in crispier quality at less. Of course, the PoE cameras do give more vibrant videos than their analog counterparts. But considering the case of a Hybrid DVR, you can use the few IP channels for most areas and the analog cameras for the other places.
However, do remember different DVR systems have varying digitization technologies. Thus, you should make sure the add-on security cameras you pick match to ensure they’re compatible.
As for the ONVIF compatibility, the feature only matters if you’re planning to connect a network camera with your console. If not, it necessarily doesn’t matter much.