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When choosing a video recorder for security purposes, you have a lot of choices as to which format you could use for wired cameras. There are the older CCTV Standard definition (SD) analog formats, or the newest Internet Protocol based formats, but they tend to be more expensive. Rather than using IP cameras and installing new Ethernet cabling, you can re-use your existing CCTV camera wiring with the new High Definition (HD) analog video formats.
In HD analog video, there are four competing video formats:
HD-TVI (Transport Video Interface)
AHD (Analog High Definition)
HD-CVI (Composite Video Interface)
Note, no matter which format you choose, you will need a corresponding video recorder that can process the particular video format.
HD-SDI was created by the broadcast industry and broadcasts 720p and 1080p resolution. It uses traditional coaxial cable (RG59 or RG6). HD-SDI will not run on Cat5 or Cat6 cables. Further, the range is shorter before requiring a repeater and the cable has to be copper core and not copper plated. This makes it a more expensive solution. You will need a HD-SDI DVR.
HD-TVI addresses the shortcomings of HD-SDIs short range and need for higher quality cable. With HD-TVI, your coax cable can run for 1600 feet or 600 feet for Cat5/6. HD-TVI also offers 720p and 1080p resolution. The video is uncompressed and offers no lag. Further, data can flow in both directions. You will need a HD-TVI DVR.
AHD also attempts to addresses the HD-SDI cable lengths and quality cost issues. AHD uses coax or Cat5/6 wat the same ranges as HD-TVI – 1600 and 600 feet respectively. However, if you are operating a mix of SD analog and HD cameras in 720p hybrid mode, then you need the same format of cameras on the 2 consecutive channels i.e. SD cameras on channels 1 and 2 and HD on channels 3 and 4. Alternating SD and HD will not work in 720 p, but it will work in 1080p. Seems weird, but true. But the good news with the AHD format is that you can use the AHD cameras on analog recorder so long as it supports 960H. You can update later to a AHD DVR. This format is a good choice for a security system on a budget.
HD-CVI is also available in 720p and 1080p and can run over RG59 cable and Cat5/6. Some users reported issues with twisted pair cabling. Camera choice is limited with CVI because there is only one manufacturer. You will need a HD-CVI DVR.
Best Choice based on Major Selection Criteria: When you compare resolution and image quality, the choice is HD-SDI or HD-TVI. When you compare transmission distance, the choice is HD-TVI. When you compare camera flexibility and configuration flexibility, the choice is HD-TVI; other formats have significant limitations in camera compatibility and channel setup. When you look at the expense of the various formats, the choices are HD-TVI, HD-CVI, and AHD. HD-SDI is significantly more expensive. HD-CVI is only made by one manufacture. HD-SDI is not being carried by many distributors because of its high cost compared to TVI or CVI. So by default, HD-TVI looks much more attractive for its sustainability.
Overall Best Choice: The best solution for maximum resolution, video output quality, transmission distance, DVR input compatibility, DVR hybrid capabilities, and format compatibility is HD-TVI. HD-TVI offers:
960H/720P or 1080p resolution
Very good video output quality in 1080p true colors
Has a coaxial cable range of 1600 feet or twisted pair (Cat 5) range of 700 feet
Supports all analog cameras on any channel and in any configuration
Supports all SD analog/HD analog cameras on any channel in any configuration, and IP cameras on 2 channels in any configuration
Has unlimited configurability for DVR hybrid capabilities
Is an open standard format utilized by over a 100 manufacturers.