An Internet protocol camera, or IP camera, is a type of digital video camera commonly employed for surveillance, and which unlike analog closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras can send and receive data via a computer network and the Internet. Although most cameras that do this are webcams, the term “IP camera” or “netcam” is usually applied only to those used for surveillance.
There are two kinds of IP cameras:
- Centralized IP cameras, which require a central Network Video Recorder (NVR) to handle the recording, video and alarm management.
- Decentralized IP cameras, which do not require a central Network Video Recorder (NVR), as the cameras have recording functionality built-in and can thus record directly to digital storage media, such as flash drives, hard disk drives or network attached storage.
IP (Internet Protocol) CCTV systems are gaining in popularity because of the advantages they offer over their analogue equivalents.
Probably the most obvious advantage is that, while CCTV cameras transmit internally, directly to a recording device, IP cameras connect via a network, so that the images they produce can be viewed by means of the Internet. Therefore you can monitor what is happening while you are away from your home or business, which results in a quicker response should there be any suspicious activity.
IP technology also enables you to have a larger, clearer picture because of its high megapixel resolution, which means that a larger area is covered, the image is clearer and you can see more details, not to mention the fact that you can also zoom in if necessary.
Another advantage is that, while CCTV cameras connect to a device which converts and compresses analogue signals to digital format for recording, IP cameras capture pure digital information, which is then recorded via computer or other digital recording device.
Finally, analogue cameras capture images by means of inter-laced scanning where the camera breaks the image into odd and even lines and alternates between them when it refreshes the image. Using this method a fast-moving object will be blurred and distorted, whereas IP cameras utilise progressive screening, constantly scanning the area and producing a clearer and much more detailed image regardless of any object’s speed.
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