Analog vs Digital Security Cameras: When and Where to use them in your business (2024)

December 13, 2023

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Table of Contents

Analog security cameras are often considered an obsolete technology. However, that doesn’t mean that businesses need to immediately replace them with digital security cameras. When considering new analog vs digital security cameras, Solink recommends using the newer, digital type of business security cameras, but most analog cameras are still compatible with our cloud video monitoring system (cloud VMS).

See how Solink maximizes the security value of your analog and digital security cameras.

What is an analog security camera?

Analog cameras have been the backbone of video surveillance systems for decades. For that reason, there are millions of analog security cameras still operating today. This is why the Solink platform is designed to be compatible with analog cameras. 

Analog cameras transmit data using one of two technologies. 

The most common transmission cable is CVBS. These are the yellow cables in the yellow/white/red RCA cabling system. While cheap and easy, CVBS cables have a short maximum transmission distance and limit analog security cameras to standard definition quality. 

The other system, TVI, are the black coax cables used in analog cable television networks. These cables have a much longer maximum transmission distance, even longer than power over Ethernet (PoE) cables, and allow for high-definition (HD) analog security cameras.

Even though existing analog security cameras can still be connected to Solink’s cloud video surveillance, when purchasing new security cameras, most companies should purchase digital cameras. 

Analog security camera pros and cons

While analog security cameras are an outdated technology, they still have some advantages over digital ones.

Analog security camera advantages

Here are the main advantages of analog cameras:

  • Analog security cameras are usually cheaper.
  • Modern analog security cameras come in high definition.

Analog security camera disadvantages

Here are the main disadvantages of analog cameras:

  • Lower frame rate than digital cameras.
  • Lower maximum video quality.
  • Requires two cables, one for power and another for transmission, to install analog cameras.
  • Usually requires more cameras to achieve adequate surveillance coverage of a business.
security camera illustrations in row

What is a digital security camera?

Digital security cameras are designed to capture and transmit video in digital format. This modern camera variant offers considerably higher resolutions compared to analog counterparts. Beginning with HD, digital cameras can scale up to 4K and even higher.

Digital cameras efficiently transmit both data and power with power over Ethernet (PoE) cables, streamlining the connection process by necessitating only a single cable for network integration and power supply. This practice often reduces installation expenses, which can balance out the relatively higher cost associated with digital cameras in comparison to analog alternatives.

It’s important to note that, while most digital security cameras employ PoE for data and power transmission, alternatives include solar- and battery-powered security cameras, as well as wireless variants utilizing WiFi for data transmission.

Digital security camera pros and cons

Digital security cameras are superior to analog cameras in nearly all respects. However, they do still have some disadvantages.

Digital security camera advantages

Here are the main advantages of digital cameras:

  • Digital security cameras come in a variety of different styles, such as pan-tilt-zoom, bullet, dome, and fisheye cameras.
  • HD, 4K, and even high resolutions available.
  • High frame rate.
  • ESingle PoE cable makes installation easier.
  • Can cover large areas with fewer cameras, offsetting the higher price tag.
  • Easier to connect to an advanced cloud VMS.
  • Modern, futureproof technology.

Digital security camera disadvantages

Here is the main disadvantage of digital cameras:

  • Digital cameras are usually more expensive than analog counterparts.

Are analog vs digital security cameras better?

Digital security cameras can be considered superior to analog security cameras. Here are all the locations you should install analog or digital security cameras in your business.

Where should I use analog vs digital security cameras?

You should not install new analog security cameras anywhere in a business. While you can still use your existing analog cameras with the Solink platform, the technology is obsolete and you shouldn’t further invest in it.

Where should I use digital vs analog security cameras?

Digital cameras are the better option for a commercial security system

Whenever possible, source business-quality digital cameras when building your security system to ensure that they are compatible with your VMS and other AI video analytics systems.

Solink is your all-in-one provider of business security cameras and video surveillance. We can source commercial-grade security cameras at competitive prices and then have them installed.

Our cloud-based security camera system comes with helpful features that lower costs, save you time, and improve revenue. 

If you are looking to install or upgrade your security cameras, sign up for a demo today.

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Timothy Ware is Solink’s Content Manager. He brings over ten years of writing and editing experience to the job. When he isn’t writing about security, loss prevention, and asset protection, he’s enjoying his newest board game. His work has appeared on many B2B SaaS websites including Baremetrics, Security Today, TeamPassword, Cova, and SignTime.