Surveillance cameras have come a long way since they were first used in the 1940s. Although the primary function of capturing footage remains to be the principle behind the technology, specialized cameras have upped the game of monitoring and surveillance in various ways.

From appearance and features down to coast, video cameras continuously evolve to provide the best security possible to users, including business owners and organizations. How much you know about the different types of surveillance and monitoring cameras—from the conventional analog to the more advanced SDI—will be crucial as you evaluate your facility’s ideal network security camera system.

This article will walk you through SDI vs. Analog Cameras and their pros and cons.

SDI vs. Analog Cameras

Analog Cameras

Analog cameras are commonly used for closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras. Older surveillance monitoring systems typically use analog cameras, recording images and videos directly onto a digital video recorder (DVR). The DVR converts the signals from analog to digital using a video capture card to save the recordings to a PC, hard drive, or storage server.

With analog cameras, videos can be viewed in two ways. First, you connect the DVR to a receiver or playback device such as a TV or a monitor. The second is by hooking up the DVR to a router and modem for broadcasting over the internet using an internal network.

Some of the best-use cases of analog camera monitoring systems are for homes, retail shops, and small- to medium-sized enterprises.

The Pros

  • Lesser cost: Compared with digital cameras, analog cameras have lower price points, and you might even get them at a discounted price if you purchase a set system with multiple units. Even if you consider the additional costs for cabling, the per-camera cost savings you get make analog cameras generally cheaper.
  • Simple and easy to operate: Once you’ve set up the DVR—which is relatively straightforward—you can leave the work to your camera to record the video and the DVR to digitize the recording.
  • Availability of installers and vendors: Analog cameras are among the earliest available surveillance cameras, so it’s easy to find companies that sell and install them up to this day.
  • Low bandwidth requirement: Analog files don’t use up too much of your network’s bandwidth because of their relatively minimal requirements. Plus, DVRs only transmit signals while viewing video without using bandwidth continuously.

The Cons 

  • Low image quality: Due to their low resolutions, images captured by analog cameras tend to blur or appear grainy. If you’re monitoring areas that contain a lot of movement, you may not get high-quality, detailed recordings.
  • Positioning limitations: Connecting an analog camera to a DVR means both devices have to be near each other. This setup might not be favorable if you want more freedom in choosing where to install the cameras.

SDI Cameras

SDI or serial digital interface, is a type of cable that delivers high broadcast quality. SDI cameras serve as video sources that provide inputs to video processors like video switchers and production systems, making them prevalent in TV production, live streams, etc.

When it comes to surveillance and monitoring applications, SDI cameras are high-definition CCTV video solutions; as such, they are a viable alternative to Wi-Fi or IP cameras, which can be costly and complicated to set up. SDI cameras are also typically used to replace old analog camera systems from their existing coax cable installations. 

The Pros

  • Cost-effective: You won’t need a new installation system when upgrading from an analog to an SDI camera. You can simply tap the same coaxial cables that have already been laid down, replace your cameras and recorders, and run the new system right there and then.
  • Provides real-time HD: SDI cameras support full 1080p resolution, which is the same high-def resolution that we see in cinemas. Zooming in on the footage will still let you view the images in great detail, since the video data remains uncompressed as it’s transmitted from the camera to the recorder.
  • Suitable for extensive use: The SDI’s capability for true high-definition video transmission remains intact for long-distance cabling, which can be as far as 50 feet without any need for extensions.

The Cons

  • Limited camera types: SDI cameras typically come in either box or dome style, and some don’t have infrared capabilities.
  • Special considerations: When installing your surveillance system using SDI cameras, you should look into factors like the type and length of cable and DVR compatibility. Ensure that your DVR has an HD-SDI input to read the video signal.
  • More bandwidth requirement: HD video uses more bandwidth, so you’ll need to pair your cameras with coax cables that have excellent signal transmission capabilities.

Go for What’s Best for Your Business

SDI vs. Analog Cameras which one to choose, is a common question for many industries. Both analog and SDI cameras can be used for your business monitoring or surveillance system, but determining the better option should be a matter of weighing the pros and cons. Bookmark this article to get you started in evaluating your alternatives.

Should you need more insights in making a decision, you can approach the experts at IVC Co. We specialize in industrial video solutions and can fine-tune them according to your specific needs. So, inquire now and get the best quote!