Green Line Systems

Security Camera NVRs vs DVRs

Posted by Gregory DeRouanna on Oct 16, 2019

nvr vs dvr camera types

When shopping for a security system for your business or property, you’ll have to compare these two options: NVR vs DVR recorders. Comparing both network video recorders (NVRs) and digital video recorders (DVRs) and choosing one is critical before setting up a surveillance system. This will help you determine the overall cost of your surveillance system, the installation and setup process, and the video quality you’ll get from your security system.

In this guide, we’re going to look at the main differences in NVR vs DVR security systems, and what makes each of them unique as we evaluate the pros and cons of each. This will help you make an informed decision when choosing the right recorder for your surveillance system. 

Understanding the Differences - NVR vs DVR Recorders

One of the main differences between NVRs and DVRs is the security cameras and the cables they use. Network video recorders use  Internet Protocol (IP) cameras and ethernet cables, while digital video recorders use analog or coax-based cameras and coaxial cables. Keep this in mind if you’re looking to upgrade your system.

NVR Ethernet Cables


  • Ethernet cables easily power security cameras by use of Power over Ethernet (PoE) capabilities. This means that with an NVR, your security camera will only need one ethernet cable to capture and transmit audio, video, and power.
  • Ethernet cables are much easier to route and terminate because they’re thinner and have smaller connectors.
  • Ethernet cables for NVRs are more cost-effective vs coaxial cables for DVRs as they already exist in most houses and businesses as network wiring. This means that installing new cameras, replacing existing ones, and even upgrading an NVR system is easier.
  • You only need security cameras to be on the same network with the NVR for the installation and setup to work. No need for multiple cables for each recorder and camera.
  • Ethernet cables are much shorter and average 328 ft, but can be extended using network switches without impacting image quality.


  • You need the right infrastructure in place, including the NVR and ethernet cables (CAT5/6) so you can install the security system.
  • Comparing NVR ethernet cables vs DVR coaxial cables, you may need network switches to extend the range of your home or business surveillance system.

DVR Coaxial Cables


  • When comparing ethernet cables for NVRs vs DVR coaxial cables, these cables have sufficient frequency range to support many channels in a single security system.
  • They offer greater capacity and support for a wide range of functions in each individual channel.
  • Coaxial cables have greater bandwidth for each channel and can support a greater range of services.
  • Coaxial cables perform better than many other cables and have lower noise levels and error rates.
  • As the older technology, many buildings may be pre-wired with coaxial cable. A modern CCTV Security Pros DVR can provide most of the same features, like remote viewing.


  • Coaxial cables don’t provide any power to your recorder or cameras, so the recorder has to be near a power outlet.
  • The rigid size of the DVR coaxial cables makes them a challenge when it comes to installation in tight spaces vs NVR ethernet cables that are more flexible and easier to install.
  • DVRs often have a limited number of audio inputs. Not every camera on your system may be able to provide audio, but you may not need audio recording capabilities everywhere.
  • Image quality can significantly degrade when these cables go beyond 300 ft, which limits your surveillance capabilities. Low-quality coaxial cables can also result in poor signals.

The Pros and Cons of NVR vs DVR Security Systems

security camera remote viewing

Network Video Recorders (NVRs)

Over the years, NVR recorders have become a popular surveillance system option, with even more manufacturers, homeowners, and businesses switching from producing and using digital video recorders to network video recorders.

Pros of NVRs

  • Higher Quality Videos - Comparing NVR vs DVR recorders, NVRs are usually paired with IP security cameras that support resolutions ranging from 2MP to 12MP and higher. NVRs cameras typically record resolutions of 1080p HD, 2K or even 4K. Higher resolution helps in identifying license plate numbers and people’s faces.
  • More Convenient - An NVR system is more convenient compared to the DVR system, especially when it comes to connectivity. The fact that NVRs connect to security cameras using an IP protocol makes the system easy to install. Wi-Fi NVRs are even easier to use as they connect with cameras wirelessly.
  • Flexible Placement - Considering that NVRs use IP network cameras, the recorder can be placed virtually anywhere so long as the network is available. Placement of an NVR is more flexible vs a DVR recorder.
  • Easy to Use and Configure - Thanks to IP network systems, your recorder can locate and connect to connected cameras automatically. Then when you want to connect with your smartphone, simply scan the QR code on the unit using the free mobile viewing app.

Cons of NVRs

  • Costly - If you compare NVR vs DVR security systems, NVR systems are more expensive to install than DVR systems, especially when you’re planning a new installation or upgrading from an analog system. However, they’re more cost-effective in the long run.
  • Compatibility Issues - Not all IP security cameras are compatible with NVR systems from a certain brand, so take your time when deciding what system to use. Purchase your cameras and recorder from the same manufacturer to avoid compatibility issues.

Digital Video Recorders (DVRs)

Pros of DVRs

  • Cheaper - When you compare NVR vs DVR recorders, DVR systems are much cheaper to install.
  • Super Compatibility - Digital video recorders are compatible with HD over coax cameras as well as other DVR recorders.

Cons of DVRs

  • Image Quality is Lower, but Improving - Compared to NVR recorders, DVRs deliver lower quality images. The good thing is, with the emergence of megapixel cameras and improved recording capabilities, users can enjoy up to 1080p resolution.
  • Higher Maintenance Cost - DVRs transmit signals via coaxial cables, which are more vulnerable to environmental factors. The maintenance costs of running a DVR system may be higher.
  • Equipment Must Be Close - With a DVR, security cameras must be placed within a distance of 300 ft from the location of the recorder. Otherwise, the signal will be weaker, and the image produced will be of lower quality.

Compare NVR vs DVR Recorders and Shop Online

Both of these recorders can help you record surveillance video but have significant differences in terms of cost, video quality, ease of installation, and scalability. Choosing NVR vs DVR security systems should not be taken lightly. If you’re looking for commercial-grade network video recorders or digital video recorders to create a complete custom surveillance system for your business or home, start with  CCTV Security Pros.

Shop  video recorders by technology at our online store or contact us to speak with a surveillance expert.