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Death of Analog

reel to reel

In the closed circuit television (CCTV) or surveillance industry, we are seeing some major changes that are causing an older technology to become antiquated and obsolete.  This is kind of sad day in the market since it was the industry’s first technology and what helped it to grow and develop the way it did.  The technology is Analog and with it you can only get a max resolution of 960h, but this is still only a 480i type of resolution.  In today’s modern world, people expect their security systems to produce an image that is similar to the videos they get on the news stations and normal television.  While true analog can not produce this type of a resolution, it did pave the way for more modern advanced technologies like HD-CVI (High Definition Composite Video Interface), HD-TVI (High Definition Transport Video Interface), and AHD (Analog High Definition).  Now although some of these newer technologies refer to the analog technology, in all normal sense the true analog technology is dead.

Brief History of Analog

The first use of CCTV dates all the way back to 1942 in Germany and was used to watch some rockets take off.  At that point in time, there was no way to record the data, so it was only good for live viewing.


This led to the reel to reel recordings, but this had many shortfalls and helped to hamper the use of CCTV.  In the 70’s came the invention of the VCR and this allowed for the recordings to be captured easier with less human interactions.  This turned out to be the first major advancement in helping the use of CCTV to become more mainstream.  One of the main downfalls to the “tape” backups was the amount of VHS tapes you needed on any given system for backup.


In the 90’s things started to ease up a little with the development of digital features in the DVRs (digital video recorders).  This allowed you to record more than one channel and at the same time, the development of motion based recording cut down on the amount of storage needed.  All of these systems utilized the coaxial cabling to transmit the video signal to the recorder.  This is where the term analog stems from as the information is sent over the cable in a very archaic method, not the traditional zeros and ones that is known in the computer world or the high definition world.



The Future 

The newer technologies that have come out to replace the analog surveillance systems, have taken the basics from analog and built a far superior product platform.  With all of the newer technology you can now essentially send the information down the coaxial cable in a zero and one format, this opens up the amount of data that can be transmitted down the cable.  This larger tunnel, if you will, will allow for the higher definition video to travel over the standard cable.  Before, if you wanted to send information in the amount required for the high-definition video, you would have needed to step up to IP (Internet Protocol) cameras and an NVR (Network Video Recorder).  This technology has been out of the price range for many customers and that is where the newer High Definition over coaxial cable comes into play.  With any of the newer technologies you can get a minimum of 720p high-definition video out of the cameras and DVRs.  Now only with HDCVI (High Definition Composite Video Interface) and HDTVI (High Definition Transport Video Interface) you can get up to 1080p resolution over your existing coaxial cable installations.  With AHD (Analog High Definition) they have incorporated the name analog into the title as a reference to the fact that it transports the video over “analog cable” or coaxial cable.  The other two do as well, but didn’t want to reference analog as it has an antiquated association with it.

I really like the HDCVI and HDTVI technologies for newer installations over the IP camera setups for a couple of reasons.  The first and one of the biggest in my opinion is the fact that there is almost no latency in the video at all.  This is mostly due to the fact that the DVR is doing all of the encoding of the video signal, where as in the IP realm the cameras do the encoding of the video and then transmit the information over the Category cable to the NVR and it displays the video.  This slight delay is known as latency and can cause some who need immediate response from their systems a hard time.  Another reason that I like the newer technologies is that you can utilize existing cut to length cable infrastructures and upgrade just the cameras and recorders to gain the high definition picture quality. The last major reason that I prefer the new technologies is that you are not adding additional traffic to your network like you can when going with an IP camera system.  There is development occurring currently that will eventually allow you to get up in the 3mp and 5mp range on the newer equipment.  This will help to keep it in line with IP camera systems, although development within the IP camera realm will always advance in megapixel quality at a faster pace since the transmission is more natural than sending HD over coaxial cables.



I have been trying to get factories to still make analog cameras so we can still supply existing end users with cameras that will work on their systems.  The reality is that almost every factory overseas has found that it is now more expensive to make an older technology than it is to produce a camera with the high-definition technology.  To combat this issue, we have been having our factories make all of our HDCVI and HDTVI camera with an analog output on the pigtail to help compensate for this issue.  This is nice, because if you don’t have the money to do a complete replacement immediately, you can just add a few of these cameras to your system and when the recorder finally goes down, just replace it with a new Tribrid DVR and then utilize the HD capabilities of the cameras you had previously replaced.  I hope this was an insightful article and please give us a call if you have any questions 1-866-573-8878.