Quick-Start-Guide on different CCTV technologies

Australian based supporting the world-wide needs of Small to Medium Businesses.
imageCCTV is multi-platform, giving you many choices, so please make sure you understand what is best for your needs.

If you aren't sure what's best, just talk to friends that know, or call us, or check our FAQ section - all are free options.

CCTV choices today are mostly between IP, AHD, XVI, TVI (Hikvision), CVI (Dahua) and Analogue, each 6 technologies have their own advantages and disadvantages, but there is no need for you to become confused, it is fairly simple to understand the benefits once you know the "polotics" involved.

N.B. While some Recorders can often run and record any of the 6 different technologies, you can not just swap cameras of different technologies, so please decide your preferred type and stick with it, for example, IP cameras have a very different connection type (RJ45) to CVBS camera connection (RCA). Below is a brief outline of the different technologies currently on the market


IP (Internet Protocol) is favoured by many and some say "it is the future" but it comes with some expected knowledge and often has lag-time, so if you are not into IT or need absolutely lag-free monitoring, then maybe IT is not for you, but if you or a friend are IT enthusiasts, it is a great solution, additional costs for PoE-Switches, network bandwidth allocation etc usually never dampen an enthusiast, that's a positive fact.


AHD stands for "Analogue High Definition" and is by far the most popular technology for now, it out-sells IT by about 500% because it is also more affordable than most other types. AHD is developed and owned by NEXTCHIP and they have allowed free access to the technology, so no Royalties are involved, making AHD by far the most popular technology at this point in time. It is based on the original well-tried and proven Analogue technology and modified to avoid the restrictions of PAL and NTSC's limited resolutions, delivering High-Definition images over existing cable-types (Coaxial) or over Cat-5e or Cat-6 cable through the use of Baluns.

Almost all technologies can be delivered over Cat-5, Cat-5e and Cat-6 cables through the use of Baluns (devices designed to convert the signals at very thrifty prices). The type of cable used is flexible, you can use Coaxial or Category-x for any technology, but (naturally) the choice of cable is still a very important decision and may need "converters".


XVI is the newest technology on the market, it can be considered as "AHD on steroids" because it not only offers all the features of AHD it also allows on-line upgrading of the cameras as later more advanced versions are released (all technologies evolve and improve).


stands for "Transport Video Interface" and is a proprietory product owned by Hikvision meaning there is most likely a "patent fee" built into the cost of this type of system. Hikvision is a very popular brand, it is available to anyone and has a good reputation, we recommend you do a price-to-feature check to be sure.


CVI stands for "Composite Video Interface" and is a proprietory product owned by Dahua and up until AHD shook up the market, CVI was charging extra for their patient, but latest information to hand they waived that fee to better compete with AHD, the difference appears brand-perception; CVI enthusiasts appear similar to followers of Holden/Falcon/Toyota etc.

N.B. Both TVI and CVI are popular and many do not mind paying the (usually) extra cost to have a "Brand" and the benefits depend largely on your belief, just as some people prefer a particular brand of TV; however, all TV's are expected to receive all broadcasted channels, where proprietory type CCTV is often fixed to that particular brand and can not always be mixed with a competing brand; what we believe you need to look for is the quality of the product and the resolution (High or Low Definition) of the video recording and reproduction - weigh up cost to feature value.


Analogue (also known as CVBS*), is the original infinity-resolution* technology, the problem is that using Analogue, the video has to be converted to run on PAL and/or NTSC systems for recording and play-back, this restricts the resolution to the limitations of those platforms. Analogue is considered a "spent" technology and is unlikely to ever be reproduced in the origional format because it's just not capable of giving a resolution good enough for today's expectations. CVBSis a 1950's technology introduced when Black & White-TV changed to Colour-TV - it's old.
* Composite Video Broadcast Signal

Good news:
The ever-evolving and never-resting design engineers have developed cameras and XVR's (a XVR can be used as either NVR or DVR) that can be switched to record & read all technologies, so if you want to play safe in deciding, just ask for a 4-in-one (or 5-in-one, or 6-in-one) XVR (X = Choose the Technology, VR = Video Recorder); massproduction has made such solutions often more affordable than the single-technology type solutions.

* If you ask anyone about photography, they will confirm that a analogue photo can record infinity-resolution, the limitations are in the way the image is captured & reproduced, but a perfect image is possible and can be "blown-up" to masive sizes such as a small 35mm photo can be projected to cover an entire Movie-Theatre Screen with clear image - but converting such images to electronic format is where we loose the detail; this is why AHD appears to have the best long-term advantage.

Choosing a IP system, you will be deploying Network Video Recorders (NVRs) and IP-Cameras starting at megapixel resolution.
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