CCTV and security camera

Surveillance technologies have drastically evolved over the years. While terms like CCTV and security camera are often used interchangeably, they have distinct features and applications. Let’s get a better understanding of these systems.

Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) is a system where the circuit in which the video is transmitted is closed and all the elements (camera, display monitors, recording devices) are directly connected.

On the other hand, a security camera, also known as an IP camera, is a digital video camera used for surveillance that can send and receive data via a computer network and the internet.

Detailed Comparison: CCTV vs. Security Camera

When we talk about the differences, there are several key aspects that distinguish a CCTV camera from a security camera.

Technology Utilized: CCTV systems are usually analog systems that send signals through a coaxial cable to a specific location where they can be viewed and recorded. Security cameras, however, are digital and operate over an internet protocol (IP) network.

Connectivity: CCTV cameras, being analog, require a direct wired connection to the recording device. Security cameras use wireless data transmission, although wired versions are also available.

Monitoring and Recording

One of the main differences between the two systems lies in the way the data is transmitted and recorded.

The Case of NVR vs DVR

Security cameras typically use Network Video Recorders (NVRs) which record video in a digital format to a disk drive, typically in proprietary formats. In contrast, CCTV cameras use Digital Video Recorders (DVRs), which convert the video into a digital format but record in a proprietary format. While NVR vs DVR serve the same purpose, NVRs are typically more flexible and offer higher quality video.

CCTV cameras are generally more difficult to install and maintain than security cameras due to the wiring involved. On the flip side, IP cameras can be easily set up and managed remotely.

While CCTV systems are generally cheaper upfront, they can cost more over time due to maintenance. Conversely, security cameras may cost more initially, but can be more cost-effective in the long run due to lower maintenance costs and superior features.

Choosing the Right Surveillance System

Before choosing a system, you should analyze your security needs. Do you need a sophisticated system with high-resolution video and remote access? Or, do you need a basic system for a small area?

The size and nature of the installation site can also influence the choice between CCTV and security camera systems. Large-scale businesses may benefit from the advanced technology of security cameras, while small businesses or homes may find a CCTV system more than sufficient.

Cost is also a major deciding factor. It’s important to compare both upfront costs and long-term costs when deciding which system is the most economical for your specific needs.


CCTV and security cameras serve the purpose of surveillance, but they differ in technology, connectivity, recording mechanisms, installation, and cost. Understanding these differences is crucial in choosing the best system for your needs.


What is the main difference between CCTV and security camera?

The main difference lies in the technology and connectivity. CCTV uses analog signals and requires a direct wired connection, while security cameras use digital IP networks and can be wireless.

Which system is better for large-scale surveillance, CCTV or security camera?

Security cameras are generally better for large-scale surveillance due to their superior features like high-resolution video and remote access.

Which system is more cost-effective, CCTV or security camera?

While CCTV systems are cheaper upfront, security cameras can be more cost-effective in the long run due to lower maintenance costs and superior features.

What is NVR in security cameras?

NVR stands for Network Video Recorder, which records video in a digital format to a disk drive, typically in proprietary formats.

Can CCTV cameras be wireless?

Traditional CCTV systems require a wired connection. However, advancements in technology have led to the development of wireless CCTV cameras.