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What is NVR? 5 Features of Network Video Recorders Your Business Could Benefit From

If you’re searching for the right video surveillance system, you have likely run across the network video recorder (NVR). Similar in application to the digital video recorder (DVR), it does include a range of unique features that your business could potentially benefit from. 

So, what is NVR? How does it differ from DVR? And why has it become such a go-to product for businesses on a mission to gain visibility into site operations and improve safety, security, and efficiency?

Let’s get straight to the first question. 

What is NVR?

A network video recorder is a computer that records video and stores it on one or multiple storage devices on or off-site, such as on a hard disk or solid-state drive or in the cloud. Combined with digital internet protocol (IP) cameras, NVRs can create a video surveillance system. 

Wired or wireless: NVR systems encode and process the video data from the camera, then stream it to the recorder, either wired or wirelessly. In a wired system, a POE (Power Over Ethernet) cable is connected directly to the recorder, transmitting video and supplying power to the camera. Neither power splitters nor wall sockets are required. 

In a wireless system, the wireless IP cameras need an internet connection to transmit data. Once the footage from IP cameras reaches the NVR, it can be stored or viewed remotely, online or offline.

One or hundreds of cameras: An NVR camera system may consist of one camera or hundreds in countless locations around the world. NVRs contain several Ethernet ports, allowing you to hook up multiple cameras. For example, an 8-channel NVR can support eight cameras. You can place them indoors and outdoors around a property, and they can run for 24 hours a day. 

5 NVR features your business could benefit from

In light of the above facts, it’s hardly surprising that many businesses have switched to NVR. While everyone’s needs are different, a few features, in particular, have made NVRs a dominating force in the video surveillance market. 

  1. High-quality, detailed footage

The superior image quality is a big selling feature of NVRs. And the resolution just keeps getting better and better. Typically offering between 2MP (1080p) to 16MP with a frame rate of 30 fps (real-time video), NVRs can capture details down to license plates and facial recognition features. IP cameras also store footage at a higher frame rate. You can get resolutions and aspect ratios customized to your needs. 

  1. Storage and scaling flexibility 

Businesses that use IP cameras can store video locally and in the cloud. Saving footage to the cloud makes for quick access — you can log in from anywhere to watch the footage. Cloud access also makes for ease of scalability. But since the price tag for additional storage may be too high for some, there are other options, like recording and storing footage locally through an SD card. Either way, the fact NVRs contain several Ethernet ports means you can hook up multiple cameras and gradually grow the scope of your surveillance, should you need it. Once installed, you can remotely control the zoom and focus from wherever you are; just tap your phone to log in. 

  1. Ease of installation

Ethernet cables do double-duty, powering the camera and transferring data to the NVR. Using only one cable per IP camera means you don’t need power at the camera site. This fact alone makes setup much easier and more flexible than analog systems. Wireless cameras or POE extenders also facilitate placement; you can simply pick the location you want without concern for power sources or weather-related obstacles. 

  1. Remote viewing and audio input

A network connection comes with a distinct benefit — you can access your live security footage remotely. Whether you access the footage from your phone or desktop, you can view, save, and manage your security video. This is now a must-have feature of video surveillance for most business owners. Another benefit: audio. Since Ethernet transmits audio, each camera can deliver an audio stream to the NVR system in addition to video. 

  1. Intelligence and analytics

IP cameras can do more than compress and store video. As small computers, we can program them with analytics so they can track certain details, like the number of people and specific colors or trigger alarms if someone, for example, crosses a certain line on your property. 

How does NVR differ from DVR?

Although both perform the same function recording security camera footage and allowing you to play it back there are a few key differences. 


Cameras Uses HD or analog CCTV cameras, which pass a raw video signal to the recorder.   Uses IP cameras, which come equipped with a processing chip that streams the video to the NVR system for storage, locally or in the cloud.
Cables Connects each camera to a central recorder via both power cables and coaxial cables, which are wider and more rigid than Ethernet cables, making them harder to install.  Connects each camera to the recorder via a single Ethernet cable, which provides power, video, and audio.
Video quality and features Transmits lower-quality video and includes fewer features than IP cameras. Transmits high-resolution video, capturing details down to license plates, and stores footage at a higher frame rate. Allows for customized resolutions and aspect ratios.  
Power Source Requires a power source, typically a power splitter.  Requires no wall sockets or power splitters. 
Internet and Audio Cannot be connected to the internet and typically cannot record audio. Can connect to the internet and is able to record audio. 
Remote Viewing Does not accommodate remote viewing. Does accommodate remote viewing with a network connection. 
Price Comes at a lower price since CCTV and DVR setups are less expensive.  Comes at a higher price because of the range of additional features and capabilities. 

Hopefully, this post straightened out the answer to the question, “What is NVR?” Do you have questions for our security professionals about which business security cameras are right for you? We are here to help. Contact us today.

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