Surveillance – VCR Vs DVR – Time To Upgrade
If your one of those people still clinging to the past in hopes that your surveillance VCR will last you the next decade. You need to really look at the market and realize it may be more costly to continue that route than it would be to just upgrade to a DVR (Digital Video Recorder). Your old time lapse VCR has served you well in the past and its been a solid companion, but like your grandparents old manual blade lawnmower its past its prime.
To begin lets take a look at our old friend the VCR and its downfalls. A time lapse VCR was quite a handy recorder for your surveillance system there is no doubt, but with issues such as tapes, lack of features, and shorter recording capabilities it is quite a outdated technology when put up against a DVR.
Lets address the first downfall and that’s the need for a large supply of cassette tapes. When you had a large surveillance system it wasn’t uncommon for people to have to buy mass quantities of VHS tapes just to keep all of their recorded footage together. This could be a very problematic situation especially when you had to consider the room necessary for storage of the tapes, the fact that they could very easily be damaged resulting in loss of footage, and the time lost having to change the tapes rather often. Now if you only had a small system with a few cameras you may be thinking to yourself that storage was never a problem, and this may be true; however the other problems with VHS tapes were still very prevalent to almost all VCR equipped surveillance systems. On the flip side of things however with a DVR most of these problems were eliminated. A DVR uses a hard drive instead of tapes thus making the need for multiple storage mediums beyond backing the footage up moot. A hard drive is also much less susceptible to damage as a VHS would be; such as dust and improper care via storing the tape since a hard drive is contained within the DVR itself.
Second on the list of VCR pitfalls is the most prevalent of them all, and yet the easiest to sum up; the feature differential. A DVR by far has a wide and superior list of features to enhance your surveillance equipment and recording capabilities. From motion activated recording to time out buffers and remote viewing capabilities a DVR has a long list of features. Now this is not to say that a time lapse VCR didn’t include some of these features as well, but in comparison it was a much shorter list. For example if you wanted to view your surveillance system on your smart phone while remotely accessing it from 3 states over, and all you have is a VCR; well you might as well stick your feet through your car and drive home Flintstones style, because it isn’t going to work. In fact beyond just the features aspect the DVR was also able to help in the elimination of different cctv accessories such as quads and multiplexers which were needed when using VCR technology.
The final downfall faced by a VCR surveillance system is storage. Lets face it as each month goes by our technology gets smaller and smaller and yet stores more and more information. This is no less true in the surveillance world when it comes to DVR’s. Every year we see larger hard drive capacities that can enable some DVR’s to record months of surveillance footage on end without even filling the hard drive to maximum capacity; a VCR couldn’t even comprehend this amount of storage.
Now that we’ve dogged on VCR’s for a while lets give them a little boost of confidence. Simply put a VCR is a very simple piece of technology to use, and for some this is still a very attractive quality. People with very little technical know how can still easily operate this piece of equipment as it is rather straight forward to use. A DVR on the other hand can be quite a world of difference with their large array of options and features, and to some people this is a daunting task to undertake. Furthermore there is the price differential; a VCR is quite an inexpensive piece of technology now that it is mostly obsolete, but lets not be fooled. As time goes on DVR’s are becoming rapidly cheaper for the more basic models and the difference in price isn’t as great as it used to be.
In the end DVR’s are the future of surveillance recording for the time being; however this doesn’t mean you have to throw away your perfectly good VCR’s for a DVR enhancement just yet; no fiscal responsibility is still very respected and encouraged. If you are in the market for a new surveillance recorder however it may be a good time to look into the DVR market and step into the future.
For an example of the surveillance technologies discussed here take a look at our recording equipment section: http://www.cu1.com/digvidrec.html
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