Most of us involved in video security are somewhere in the transition from analog (DVRs) to IP (NVRs). Existing installations with internal-storage DVRs begging for retirement are migrating to multi-channel encoders recording on off-the-shelf NVR PC servers and RAID storage. At the simplest level this delivers more viewing options of better video, which can be recorded for longer, on storage that is much less likely to fail and lose all your video. You can record nearby or remotely in some secure data center, or maybe mirrored in two secure locations to survive a really bad day.
The encoder/NVR-based video system opens other doors too. Because we’re streaming digitized video it can be treated like any other network data – being viewed by many people across the LAN or WAN, on PCs, analog monitors or giant plasma displays driven by workstations with relentlessly more powerful graphics cards. As the market becomes more experienced with the concept and viewing flexibility of the Virtual Matrix, many are also freeing up rack space by removing ‘Old Reliable’ – their analog matrix switch.
The analog matrix switch served us well, but there are 3 major limitations: (i) first of all, it’s based on a 1941 (color TV hadn’t even been invented yet!) NTSC video standard which precludes High Definition video; (ii) it constrains the number of cameras and monitors you can have, and finally; (iii) it doesn’t do the recording, so you need more equipment for that, and if you add that equipment then you can do camera switching without the analog matrix switch anyway – so it’s redundant.
No matter how you look at it, the era of the analog matrix switch is coming to an end, and with it DVRs are being replaced by hybrid recorders, encoders and NVRs. For new sites and expansions IP cameras rule.