NVR vs DVR Pros and Cons

Security cameras come in a wide variety. The various different types of cameras can be used to cover just about any area. A security camera system is no good without something to record. This is where the NVR or DVR comes in for your system. Let’s take a look at the difference between the two.


NVR stands for Network Video Recorder and it utilizes digital network signals to transmit the images from a camera to the hard drive. Each camera on the network has its own IP address. This address is unique to that camera. The NVR looks out onto the network to locate the IP addresses it is told to record and takes the signal back to the device.

An NVR can also use a wireless network or existing wired network. This depends on the NVR and the system that you are hooking up to.

Typically, NVR cameras and systems are harder to setup. Each camera needs to be assigned the IP address to locate it. Then those IP addresses need to be programmed into the NVR. With this in mind, it is easier to program the system if you have a keyboard hooked up to it. Some NVR systems will allow you to perform the programming from a mobile or remote device if you set that up first.

While both systems can record high definition video, an NVR can get even higher quality video. The image is better, and more can be transmitted. That means you can transmit more features. Features like HD night vision.

One of the things that people love about NVR is that it is networked. That means that cameras can be placed just about anywhere. Networks can be extended through wireless range extenders, ethernet over IP, or simply adding more wired network points further away. You can cover a full facility.


A DVR is different than an NVR. The name is just the start, DVR stands for Digital Video Recorder. Network cables don’t connect a DVR system, instead it uses analog cables such as coax. This is because of the signal type sent over the cables. Despite using older technology, DVRs are capable of receiving HD signal.

Each camera will need to have a coax outlet installed near it or to have a cable wired around the house. We highly recommend running the wire inside the wall to prevent tampering. This makes the installation of a DVR system harder, but nowhere near impossible. Most homeowners working on their own system will find coax more frustrating to work with, it needs to be screwed on.

The older technology that makes up DVR systems is still highly reliable. A DVR based system isn’t the most versatile but they come at an amazing price because of that. Cheaper than a NVR. Coax cable does have a distance restriction of around 1,000 feet before the signal in the cable starts to degrade.

A big concern when choosing between an NVR and a DVR is the common misunderstanding that a video recorder of either type needs an internet connection. While some features might need to connect to the world wide web, almost every system will work without an external connection.

Need a security camera system? Now you know the difference between a DVR and an NVR. The difference can help you to pick out the right system for your home. Each system has its own pros and cons, that make it right for some scenarios while wrong for others. For example larger businesses or those who want a better image quality will do better with an NVR. Which one will you choose?

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