Security Digital Video Recorder (DVR) vs Network Recorder (NVR)

There is a widespread confusion between security Digital Video Recorder (DVR) and Network Video Recorder (NVR) hugely due to the fact that both are software applications for recording video images from video security systems.

Many people will swear by their breakfast that both NVR and DVR are same.

However, our main goal in this post is to dispel this confusion by providing simplified explanations that everyone can understand.

Configurations Of DVR Systems & IP-Enabled NVR Systems

cctv security digital video recorder

 Simple Question: What is the difference between security digital video recorder (DVR) and an IP-enabled network video recorder (NVR).

Simple question…. right?

One starts with the word digital while the other starts with the word network. Excellent!

But that’s not the only difference…. Point is, answer to this question is not quite obvious.

Perhaps, we can re-phrase and ask this question in another way by saying: What is the main difference between CCTV security systems and IP Surveillance System?

We can start by understanding that DVR is the key element in CCTV security systems, while NVR is the key enabler of IP Surveillance system.
The fundamental security equipment in the wiring and configuration of these two systems are quite different.


nvr surveillance network video recorder

CCTV Security Systems

CCTV digital security camera systems basically include the following equipment: Analog cameras, coaxial cable, camera monitor, a matrix (if needed) and more importantly, PC-based or standalone surveillance video recording software commonly called digital video recorder (DVR).

IP Surveillance Systems

IP-based video surveillance security systems on the other hand consist of IP-enabled video camera, Cat 5 internet cable, switch or router as well as PC-based video management and recording software commonly called Network Video Recorder.

It is important to mention that hybrid IP-DVR system for single site installation that can be remotely monitored from any location are widely marketed today. These types of DVR systems function like NVR systems except that they cannot be used for multiple locations.

As shown in this diagram above, the main engine of a CCTV system is digital video recorder for the security camera while the main driver of IP video surveillance system however is the network video camera recording software. 


Hybrid Systems: Combining Both DVR & NVR Solutions

hybrid DVR and NVR video surveillance interface.

Hybrid IP DVR security systems requires another interface to convert analog to digital.  This interface is built into your security system package.

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While both software applications are popularly used for recording videos in digital formats to storage media, the difference, however, between DVR and NVR is best understood by explaining what NVR can do but DVR cannot.

Security Digital Video Recorder In Simple Words

Simply put, security digital video recorder (DVR) is a digital video surveillance system with control management software that is primarily used in a single site recording.

When the attached security camera captures an image, it transmits it over the coaxial cable. The DVR video recording software then captures the video images sent over the coaxial cable, digitalizes it into a format computer can store and understand, and then compress the video into smaller size to economize storage space.

When To Use DVR Security Camera Systems

Hence, if you need to monitor intruders on a single site, such as, your home, lawns, warehouse, business premises, or outdoor gate, then, your best option is a video security digital video recorder.

If you want to be able to get a glimpse of what’s going on in your home while you are at work or anywhere in the world, then you need another type of surveillance camera called IP security camera. For outdoor monitoring, we usually advice IP cameras with night vision capability.


What You Should Know About IP Network Video Recorder

Now, let’s switch gear a little bit and discuss something a little more advanced but very versatile.

If you have multiple business offices, homes or physical assets which you want to instantly monitor, then, you cannot use digital video recorder (DVR) security system (with lots of limitations even if possible), your best choice will be a multi-purpose network video recorder.

When To Use IP-Based NVR Security Systems

The IP-based network surveillance camera monitoring software in NVR system will allow you to stay in one location, (say, on an Island in Thailand) but effortlessly connect to any of your IP security cameras located in any of your numerous stores or offices located in New York!

You can preview every activity in your numerous offices as it happens, you can pan, tilt, zoom, control, tune or configure any of the network cameras, and above all, you can record all these events and video recording on one single location.

That’s not all; you can use the system in your home or office and then use your PDA or smart phone with web browser to monitor everything while on the road.

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Sweet right? I Know…

So if we look at this in another light, we can say instead of having local DVR security solution in each of your locations, IP-based NVR video surveillance provide a cost-effective, highly convenient and expandable option to secure or remotely monitor your valuable assets in any part of the country.

Again, we will not leave you stranded searching for network video recorder. We have identified a superb easy-to-install, Internet-Ready, Network Video Recorder with Day and Night, Wireless IP Security Cameras.

One More Difference Between DVR & NVR To Remember

Something more I need to tell you about these video surveillance recorders. In DVR-based security camera system, the job of the indoor and outdoor security cameras are to simply capture images of intruders, thieves or burglars and send it to the computer… nothing more!

However, in NVR-based IP surveillance system, the main job of the attached IP network security camera is to capture those video images, convert them into a format computers can understand, compress the videos into smaller size and then send them over the internet.

Now, think about it, unlike the DVR which requires high-capacity coaxial or fiber optics cable, NVR is more flexible. Once the remote IP video surveillance camera prepares the small-sized video images, it can be transmitted over the wired internet cable, WiFi or even WiMAX broadband.

Considering the growth of WiMAX wireless broadband, we can confidently say the future of home and business security solution is IP surveillance system. Nothing less!

Side Note: While it is true that LTE Advanced has enjoyed better winner-takes-all reception than WiMAX, the All-IP broadband system has carved out niche application areas for itself. Here is a review of the marriage of IP-based wireless video surveillance and IP-based WiMAX broadband wireless access.

Read about Samsung DVR Security Camera Solutions »

Do You Know Other differences Between NVR & DVR?

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It breaks my heart to see people robbed of their hard-earned money and properties that took years of hard labor to acquire. So, I designed SmartFoxSecurity.Com to educate people on how they can protect their valuables by using video surveillance systems.

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