IP vs CCTV: What’s the Best surveillance cameras choice for your business or home?

When choosing the right security camera system for your business, your two options are either CCTV (Close-Circuit Television) or IP (Internet Protocol) cameras. In functional terms, both systems use a camera to transmit a video signal to another storage or viewing device in real-time. However, that is where the similarities end and it becomes a matter of choice. Hopefully this article will help you make sure that your choice is the right one.

What’s the Difference?

As mentioned before, both systems have a different way of transmitting a video feed. CCTV cameras transmit their footage by changing the video signal into a signal that can be picked up by a standard TV, hence the name Closed-Circuit Television. On the other hand, an IP camera acts like its own computer and wireless sends the video data to the storage or viewing device the same way you would watch a YouTube video.

Video Quality

Designation H x V
CIF 352 x 240
2CIF 704 x 240
4CIF 704 x 480
D1 720 x 480
720p HDTV 1280 x 720
1.3MP 1280 x 1024
2MP 1600 x 1200
1080p HDTV 1920 x 1080
3MP 2048 x 1536
5MP 2592 x 1944

General Overview

Both systems come with their benefits and shortcomings, and these few bullet points will do a quick rundown of both systems’ pros and cons before going into greater detail.

Let’s start with CCTV:


  • More vendors and installers available
  • CCTV systems are rather simple to install
  • Cheaper than IP in many cases


  • Lower frame rate and image quality
  • Smaller field of view
  • More cables

Moving on to IP:


  • Higher image quality and field of view
  • Remote viewing and controlling
  • Less wiring and no bulky terminals


  • Greater initial cost
  • HD video footage needs more storage space
  • Learning curve with interfaces and configuration


For the longest time, CCTV systems were the cheapest form of video surveillance and they still hold that title for the most part, especially in regards to initially purchasing your system. However, these costs don’t stay low when you account for all the necessary video and power cables for each camera you decide to purchase. IP cameras on the other hand, while some higher end model cameras are more expensive than CCTV, many IP cameras are reaching the price range that’s very similar (albeit a bit more pricey) than CCTV systems. And because each IP camera can transmit video data individually, there is no need for video cables, saving you money and time. And a final note, IP systems tend to last longer than CCTV systems if you’re willing to put in the extra money; you get what you pay for.


When it comes to features, it seems as though IP cameras pack a greater punch than CCTV systems. To begin, an IP camera’s resolution is much greater than the average CCTV camera, being able to have a field of view that’s six times larger. A greater field of view means that fewer cameras are needed to cover the same area, further reducing setup costs. Because IP cameras are connected through WiFi, the owner is able to not only view a live playback of the footage, but also digitally zoom in to catch important details like facial features or license plates in case of an incident.


Finally, the most important aspect to video surveillance: storing the videos. CCTV systems store their footage on a DVR just like any home TV, which can limit the number of cameras you can own before needing to purchase another DVR. On the contrary, an IP system stores its footage as digital files, meaning that a more compact hard drive can hold more footage than a DVR. And if more storage is needed, hard drives are easy and cost-effective to expand, especially with the decreasing costs of hard drives and digital storage.

In Conclusion…

IP surveillance cameras systems are truly the best way to go. The versatility gained from them outweighs their greater setup costs and also outweighs the advantages of a CCTV system. In all honesty, an IP system should be purchased only if it is the very first surveillance system you are installing or if you want an upgrade. Otherwise, if the CCTV ain’t broke, no need to fix it.



Choose Chicago Security Expert for you security cameras installation

The best option for your business will depend on your company. The good news is that a unique and customized solution is available through the knowledgeable professionals at Chicago Security Expert, who are experts in business security systems and CCTV. Conveniently located in the Chicago area, we work closely with you to determine what your company’s security needs are and how best to meet them within your budget, and we offer a FREE consultation as well. To schedule your consultation, give us a call at (773) 987-5994 or contact us online.
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