NVR or DVR: Which Video Surveillance System is Right for You?

Published on Updated on May 14, 2024

The usage of video surveillance systems has become an important requisite at the commercial and residential level. They play a vital role in several critical as well as domestic applications to deter and prevent crime and keep a given area secure. Many businesses even now refuse to implement a video surveillance system in and around the location. However, it is essential in recent times to ensure overall safety and security of employees, the privacy of data, the safety of possessions, and many more aspects.

A video surveillance system is a keystone for running a safe and secure business. With a variety of security systems out there, it is crucial to choose the right system for your business, with the right type of camera and related equipment. Network video recorder (NVR) and digital video recorder (DVR) are the two types of video surveillance systems commonly in use today. Both the systems have gained acceptance owing to their beneficial features, but this largely depends on your application requirements. Regardless of the type of system you choose, it is quite difficult to deny the growing interest in these devices. This post discusses the NVR and DVR systems in detail.

Difference Between NVR and DVR Systems

Difference between NVR and DVR

The main difference between NVR and DVR is in how they handle and process footage. DVR systems process footage at the recorder itself, while NVR systems encode and process footage at the IP camera before transmitting it to the recorder for storage and remote viewing.

Apart from the processing methods, another significant difference lies in the type of cameras used. DVRs are predominantly compatible with analog cameras, while NVRs are designed to work seamlessly with IP cameras. Additionally, it's worth noting that DVR-based surveillance systems are typically wired, whereas NVR systems offer the flexibility of both wired and wireless setups.

NVRs are commonly used with IP cameras connecting through Ethernet or wireless means while DVRs are designed for analog cameras with cable connections. When it comes to video quality, NVRs support frames per second (FPS) and resolutions like 5MP or 4K whereas DVRs typically provide FPS and resolutions. NVR technology is more modern and advanced compared to the CCTV systems that use DVRs. NVR setups include RJ45 ports for IP cameras while DVR setups feature ports for analog cameras. NVRs often record video with audio included by default while DVR setups may need RCA connections for capabilities. Moreover, NVR systems offer storage options on servers whereas DVR systems are limited to storing data on hard disks. While NVRs are generally more expensive, they are considered affordable for the features they provide, on the other hand DVR systems tend to be more budget friendly.

Also read: Step-by-Step Guide for NVR Configuration

NVR Systems – Basics, Components, and Benefits

NVR is a network-attached computer system that includes a software program for recording video in a digital format to storage devices such as a disk drive, USB flash drive, SD memory card, and many more. Popularly known as POE security camera systems, it is more flexible than DVR systems. The following components are required to set up an NVR system.

IP Cameras:

  • NVR system uses IP cameras, which act as standalone image capturing devices. These cameras are capable of processing video data before sending it to the recorder. IP cameras are robust, and capable of recording and transmitting audio in addition to the image. Advanced hardware on these cameras improves intelligent video analytics such as license plate and facial recognition.

Ethernet Cables:

  • The NVR system makes use of standard Ethernet cables such as Cat5e and Cat6 to connect the camera to the recorder. They are easier to set up owing to their thin size and shape and cost-effectiveness and easy availability compared to coaxial cables.


  • The NVR recorder is only responsible for storing and viewing the footage. The system doesn’t process video data.

Benefits of NVR Systems

Here are some important advantages of the NVR system:

  • Better image quality
  • More system flexibility
  • Easy to install

DVR Systems – Basics, Components, and Benefits

The DVR system is designed for recording video in a digital format. These security systems are priced lower than NVR systems, and this is one of the advantages of DVR systems, especially for small or domestic applications which do not encompass long-distance data transfer or remote viewing.

Analog Cameras:

  • As discussed before, the DVR system uses analog cameras. The camera is responsible for streaming an analog single to the recorder, which then processes the video data. Unlike NVRs, most DVR cameras are less expensive.

Coaxial Cables:

  • The coaxial cables connect the analog camera to the DVR system. The use of coaxial cable may not seem significant due to their limitations; however, ultimately data is transferred over this cable type. Coaxial cable does not support power supplying devices on the same line. Thus, another cable is needed to carry electrical signals, while the other cable carries data signals for video transmission. These cables are stiffer and wider than Ethernet cables, making installation a challenge. Also, audio is a limitation as the standard coaxial cable may not support audio transmission.

AD Encoder:

  • DVR recorders heavily rely on AD encoders, which is responsible for processing the raw data streaming from the camera into viewable footage. Thus, every security camera system needs to be connected to both the recorder and a separate power source.

Benefits of DVR Systems

There are a few noticeable benefits of a DVR system, making them increasingly attractive. 

  • Minimal bandwidth usage
  • Signal stability
  • Low cost

NVR vs DVR: Comparison Summary

NVR (Network Video Recorder) and DVR (Digital Video Recorder) are two types of video surveillance systems used for recording and storing footage. Here are the key differences between the two:

Feature DVR NVR
Technology Analog cameras and recorders IP cameras and recorders
Network Standalone system Connected to a network, allowing for remote access and control
Video Quality Lower resolution video Higher resolution video
Scalability Limited scalability More scalable, can handle a larger number of cameras and support multiple locations on a single system
Storage Lower storage capacity Higher storage capacity due to the use of network-based storage devices
Cost Less expensive More expensive due to the use of advanced technology and higher-quality cameras
Installation Less complex More complex as it requires a network infrastructure and IT expertise

In essence, both NVR and DVR systems record video footages onto a hard drive. What differentiates them is their design and implementation, how they are set up, how they process raw data, and more. Regardless of what you choose, it is important to employ an industry-leading supplier who has a team of networking experts. VERSITRON offers NVR switches that ensure the highest performance for the most demanding applications.

Rich Tull

Rich Tull
R.W. Tull is the President of Versitron, a leading technology company specializing in data communication and networking solutions. With expertise in Guiding network switches and media converters, R.W. Tull has played a pivotal role in driving Versitron's success. His deep understanding of these technologies has enabled the company to provide innovative and reliable solutions to clients. As a visionary leader, He ensures that Versitron remains at the forefront of the industry, delivering cutting-edge networking solutions that enhance data communication efficiency.
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