What's the difference between a DVR and an NVR?

So you've made the decision to purchase a camera system and inevitably you are faced with the decision of choosing a DVR or an NVR for your head end unit. It's important to know the differences in these two types of systems before making your decision.

DVR - Digital Video Recorder

DVR stands for digital video recorder. DVRs record all video footage to a hard disk drive allowing for continuous unattended operation. They typically are designed for analog cameras which limit you to resolutions of D1 or 720x520. Newer HD-CVI and HD-TVI DVRs allow you to capture 720P HD and 1080P HD video. These units have been around for many years and come in three main types: Embedded DVRs, Hybrid DVRs and PC-Based DVRs.

Embedded DVRs

These units are an all in one solution that are designed from the ground up to be a CCTV recording device. They are usually very reliable because the manufacturers test and use equipment that they know will work well for this exact purpose. These units usually come in 4, 8, 16 and 32 Channel models. If you have a 4 channel unit you are limited to only 4 cameras, an 8 channel unit limits you to 8 cameras and so on. This type of design is a great choice for many applications because of the ease of setup and reliability of the unit. 

Hybrid DVRs

Hybrid DVRs are relatively new to the CCTV industry. They are designed similar to an embedded DVR but the allow you to add IP cameras as well as traditional analog cameras. These systems can be a great fit for someone who already has analog cameras and would like to add a few of the newer style IP cameras.

PC Based DVRs

The name says it all with this unit. It is a desktop or server based PC that is fitted with a video capture board and surveillance recording software. These units offer you the ability to customize the system to your exact needs. However, they can sometimes need more service because the device was not designed from the ground up to be a dedicated security DVR.

NVR - Network Video Recorder

NVR stands for network video recorder. These units are designed to accept video inputs from network/IP cameras. NVRs also come in embedded and PC-Based formats. An NVR gives you the ability to use much higher resolution cameras. 

Embedded NVRs

Embedded NVRs are much like the embedded DVRs in that they are designed from the ground up to be a video recording device. The NVRs also typically come in 4,8,16,and 32 channel versions. The embedded NVR offers the advantages of a more simplistic installation and reliable operation.

PC Based NVRs

PC Based NVRs are desktop or server based computers that are loaded with your choice of recording software. These systems require a higher level of technical expertise but offer a much wider range of options. Users can choose to mix and match different resolutions of IP cameras. Cameras can be added in the future as long as the NVR has the proper processing power to handle the additional load. NVRs offer the ability to add video analytics, redundant servers, and many other options.

With so many options available to consumers it's best to contact a knowledgeable security company that can discuss your exact needs and choose the appropriate system type for you.