DVR & NVR — The common types of Video Recorder

Rounak Dhillon
6 min readOct 22, 2020


Posted On: October 22, 2020

According to International Data Corporation (IDC), the worldwide video surveillance camera market will grow to $44 billion by 2025. The popularity of security cameras has witnessed a steady increase in the last decade due to the advancement of technology and the entry of new players in the market.

Have you ever thought about how does surveillance cameras work?

The answer to this lies in your video recorder! But, there are multiple options when it comes to video recorders, so how do you know which one is right for you?

Let us understand how does a video recorder works and the types of video recorder available in the market.

The video recorder is the central processing unit of the surveillance camera. All the cameras in a given system require a central video recorder to view, process, and store all the footage in the system. The two most common types are Digital Video Recorders (DVR) and Network Video Recorders (NVR).


DVRs (digital video recorder) and NVRs (network video recorder) are what you use to view, manage, process, and store footage videos. Both DVR and NVR are responsible for video recording from one central location. The difference between DVR and NVR is how they process and analyze video data. Digital Video Recorder (DVR) uses analog cameras to process the video data in the recorder.

On the other hand, NVRs (network video recorder) use IP cameras to encode and process the video data in the camera, then stream it to the NVR recorder which is used for storage of videos and remote viewing. DVRs and NVRs require different types of cameras as they process the video data differently.

Most DVRs are used with analog cameras, whereas NVRs are used with IP cameras. It is important to understand that a DVR based system is a wired security system, whereas NVR systems can be a wired or wireless system.


Digital Video Recorder (DVR) based systems are the most common form of the video recorder in the industry for a very long time. These system records via coaxial cables and uses wired security cameras for recording. These are also reliable and the oldest type of video recording.

Here are some additional details to get a better sense of how these systems work:

Cost-effective system

Price is usually an important factor while making a purchase of camera systems. DVRs are economical than NVRs, so if budget is your primary concern, then a DVR system is the way to go. The NVR system is cost-effective in the long run because of the reduced need for IT staff to handle and run the system. And the fewer components lead to less replacement cost.


The biggest advantage of DVR security system is that it works on its own. It can give you live video feeds without any break-ins for round the clock safety and offers a much more reliable connection as they transmit a signal via a wire. On the other hand, the NVR setup at any given time may suffer from signal loss, resulting in downtime or low-quality footage.

Image Quality

In DVR systems, the cameras transmit analog video via the coax cable directly to the recorder, and images are processed at the recorder level. The analog video results in a lower quality image compared to NVR systems. Thus, the DVR system does not offer the sharpness of image details.

Instant Access

DVR systems are wired so they can directly connect to CCTV cameras. This means the video is instantly stored on a hard drive and is easily accessible. When surveillance staff is on-site; they can watch the footage as soon as it has been recorded.


Network Video Recorder (NVR) based system has become extremely popular in the business environment. This is due to their remote accessibility and easy installation setup. NVR recorders are used for storing and viewing the video footage and they make the use of Ethernet cables for recording. Today these systems are widely used in homes, offices, restaurants, hospitals, and retail stores.

Here is a list of some of the important reasons as to why the market is shifting to NVR based setup:

High-Quality Video

As NVR recorders receive a pure digital signal from the cameras, video quality is comparatively better than DVR at the same resolution. Besides, all cameras with microphones could record audio to the NVR via the ethernet cables

Remote Access

NVR camera systems are usually connected to the internet, footage can be accessed remotely via mobile devices and desktop applications.

Ease of Installation

NVR systems are wireless, thus installing this system is relatively simple. Camera manufacturers have recently come up with features like universal plug-and-play camera recognition to make NVR installations as simple as possible. Besides, as manufacturers design new cameras, ease of installation is a primary feature to be available.

Regulatory Compliance

Due to security concerns and a higher compliance environment on a global level, tighter regulations have been imposed on a variety of industries. A company may face considerable surveillance video retention demands depending on an industry’s regulatory standards. That can be costly with an onsite analog approach to video surveillance. It’s easier than you think to utilize local and remote network storage for retention requirements and peace of mind


NVR systems are inherently more flexible because security cameras don’t necessarily have to be physically connected directly to the recorder. Instead, IP cameras only have to be on the same network. As such, you have the feasibility to view multiple cameras all across the globe on the same network that connect to your NVR can then be viewed as a comprehensive system. IP cameras, which rely on network video recorders (NVRs) to retain video footage, present businesses with more flexibility in terms of mounting locations. Depending on whether cameras are installed near or far from the local on-premise recorder, businesses can determine whether wired wireless installation makes more sense.


The NVR systems are also cloud compatible. Cloud storage means that, with the appropriate setup and permissions, business owners and surveillance staff can view footage remotely using their preferred devices-any time, any place, on-demand. This allows companies to operate security and surveillance systems 24/7 without needing to worry about running out of space.


It is important to invest in technology that will grow with time. Choosing the wrong CCTV system for security carries risk and trouble for your business. Some of the risks are mentioned below:

Video Quality

Many companies require high-resolution video to ensure compliance to maintain efficiency across operations. This video acts as proof of evidence to aid an investigation against any security-related incident. Thus, a wrong system may prove to be ineffective if the quality of the video is low.

Low Scalability

Most camera systems today have the provision to expand them as per the business needs. If you select a wired system that is difficult to add cameras to, you may have to install a completely new setup in the future.

Wasted Time

Any system that takes a lot of time to select, configure, and install can be a waste of time. Additionally, several systems offer different features and programming options for optimizing their camera system and having those features, wrongly programmed can lead to false alarms, or not able to playback the video. Choose a system based on your business requirement.

Before installing security camera systems, it is better to be equipped with complete knowledge about them, as that will enable you to make an informed decision. Choosing the right security camera system is crucial as your needs grow.

Both DVR & NVR system boasts a variety of pros and cons. It is generally agreed upon that NVR systems are considered superior to the DVR system due to better image quality, tighter security measures, and easier installation.

Be wise in choosing the right setup that best suits your business needs, requirements, and budget. We have given a detailed function and the difference between DVR and NVR system in this article, if you further have any queries, do let us know!

Originally published at on October 22, 2020.