No matter the type of business you have, it is essential to have a quality security system if it is located in a brick-and-mortar facility. Security systems are vital in many ways and understanding the difference between a Digital Video Recorder (DVR) and a Network Video Recorder (NVR) is the topic of this article.


  • Monitor customers and employees
  • Help prevent theft, vandalism, and other crimes
  • Provide 24/7 monitoring that ensures rapid police or fire department response
  • Minimize fire and theft damages with alarms
  • Keep you connected to your business via remote monitoring 

When shopping for a security system, you will need to choose between two basic security system types: CCTV or PoE. Both systems perform the same function but do it in different ways using distinctly different cameras and video recorders.

So, let’s get started!

What is a DVR security system?

First, DVR security systems are less expensive than NVR systems. They are a wired system that processes the video data at the recorder.

Camera Type: Analog

Analog cameras, also known as CCTV (closed-circuit television), must be used with a DVR security system. The analog camera records digital videos on the DVR’s hard drive. The video data can then be accessed from the hard drive by a computer.

HDVR-1635 DVR Features

Cable Type: Coaxial BNC

The analog camera connects to the DVR by a coaxial BNC cable. However, it is important to note that coaxial cable has some disadvantages, such as:

  • Coaxial cable does not provide power to the camera; therefore, the DVR will need to be located close to an electrical outlet.
  • Coaxial cables are large and quite rigid, which makes installation a challenge. In particular, running these cables in tight spaces tends to be difficult. One positive note: If there is already existing coaxial cable on-site, it can be used to connect your new DVR system.
  • Standard coaxial cable does not support audio. You must purchase coaxial cables with an added RCA connection to get sound. However, a DVR has a limited number of audio input ports, so only a few cameras will be able to record sound.
  • The image quality begins to deteriorate with coaxial cable after approximately 300 feet (90 meters).

Recorder: DVR

Every camera must be connected directly to the recorder with a DVR system. Also, as this type of system does not supply power, all cameras will need a splitter to provide electricity for them to function.

What is an NVR security system?

NVR security systems use cutting-edge Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology.  Also called PoE security systems, these enriched setups are more flexible and complex—and, yes, more expensive than DVR systems.

Camera Type: IP Camera

NVR systems process the video data at the camera rather than at the recorder, as DVR systems do. Internet Protocol (IP) cameras are robust, standalone image capturing devices. They are equipped with a chipset that processes the video data and then transports it to the recorder. In addition, IP cameras are typically able to record and transmit audio as well as video. Finally, these cameras are smart devices capable of video analytics, such as facial recognition.

NVR-2500 NVR Features

Cable: Ethernet

NVR security systems connect the camera to the recorder just as DVR systems do. However, they connect in an entirely different way. Cat5/6 Ethernet cables are used to transmit both power and data, and they have a number of advantages compared to the coaxial cable used in DVR setups. The main benefits of Ethernet cabling are:

  • Ethernet cables use PoE. This means the IP camera needs only one cable to power it up and process the data (e.g., the image and audio). There is no need for splitters like in DVR systems.
  • Ethernet cable is thinner and more flexible than coaxial cable; thus, it is easier to install and route.
  • Ethernet cable is cheaper and more available than coaxial cable. In addition, many business buildings are being built wired for Ethernet. Therefore, installation, replacement, and expansion are easy.
  • As Ethernet cables are innately capable of transmitting sound, every IP camera in the system will be able to capture and transmit audio.
  • Every camera in an NVR security system does not have to have a cable connection to the recorder. However, they must be on the same wireless network. This makes installation cheaper, easier, and cleaner as the need for a multitude of cables is eliminated.
  • Even though the maximum Ethernet cable length is 100 meters (328 feet), network PoE switches and PoE extenders can be deployed to extend the distance without affecting the image quality.

Recorder: NVR

In contrast to a DVR system, an NVR system recorder does not process video data. The IP cameras do this before the data is transmitted. NVR recorders are used for storing and viewing the data only.



  • DVR security systems can only use wired security cameras.
  • Coaxial cable is difficult to handle, especially in tight spaces.
  • An electrical outlet is required for each camera.
  • The analog camera has lower image quality than that of an NVR system.
  • Audio capabilities are limited.


  • IP cameras do not have to be connected directly to the recorder; they only need to be on the wireless network. This makes NVR security systems much more flexible than DVR systems.
  • Video quality is better due to pure digital camera signals.
  • All cameras with microphones can carry sound on Ethernet cables.  


Both DVR and NVR security systems are reliable. Although the image quality of DVR systems has lagged behind NVR systems, it is important to point out that today’s DVR system quality has improved significantly, and the gap between the two systems is negligible.

NVR systems are easier to install, more flexible, and have more audio capabilities; however, they are notably more expensive than DVR systems.

A DVR security system is a reliable, straightforward solution for business security requirements for the budget-conscious. In contrast, if you want a top-of-the-line security camera setup, an NVR security system will surely meet your needs.

Planet Technology USA is a US-based distributor of Planet Technology, Inc. Planet USA maintains a large inventory of quality PoE networking equipment, such as PoE switches, PoE extenders, PoE industrial-grade equipment, and much more. We invite you to visit our website by clicking here.