Comparing DVR and NVR

If you are considering a home security system, you’ll have to choose between a DVR and NVR when buying one. Whatever you select impacts your user experience, video quality and other aspects.

Understanding the differences

A network video recorder or an NVR works with IP cameras, expanding their storage capabilities and allowing you to manipulate them. As for DVR, it connects with analog cameras, but it doesn’t only store videos; it also converts them into a digital format. So while both of them record and store videos, they are used with different kinds of cameras and devices.

DVR takes information from the connected cameras, encodes the video and then processes it. If you only had the cameras, they wouldn’t be able to function until you install a DVR as well. On the other hand, an NVR is more like a software program which uses videos, available on the network. These videos are encoded and pre-processed within the camera itself but stored on the NVR.

The two are different in the sense that they utilize different video processing mechanisms. A DVR is integrated with analog cameras, connected to the system through coaxial cables, whereas an NVR is integrated with IP cameras which are connected together using network cables.

So which choice is better?

We’ll go through the pros and cons of both DVR and NVR, and then help you decide.



  • You can virtually place the NVR anywhere but the LAN network to which the cameras are connected should be the same. This means that you can hide an NVR from prying eyes in the attic, closet or crawlspace.
  • NVR systems use Wi-Fi so camera placement is easy.


  • If you use an NVR with other wireless devices, then the reception may be poor or signals may be lost.  This can be prevented by choosing a quality NVR system, featuring dual band Wi-Fi signals.
  • Not every IP camera would be compatible with a particular NVR. This means that you should buy both the system and the cameras from a single manufacturer rather than multiple ones.



  • The biggest benefit of DVR is probably the price. DVRs are more affordable than NVRs even if you choose a 4MP camera.
  • A DVR doesn’t use any wireless networks, so signal loss is never an issue. Thus, quality is always the maximum possible.


  • Cable connections required with DVRs may be problematic, making it difficult for you to install the system especially if there are too many cameras or if your house occupies a larger area.
  • Generally, all the cameras should be within 1000 feet of the DVR. You may find it difficult to decide suitable locations, and placement would also be more complex.

In a nutshell, the choice between the two boils down to the money you are willing to invest in your home security system. DVRs don’t involve a significant amount of costs; without spending too much, you can get a high-end affordable system. NVRs offer much better resolution, but they are priced significantly higher than the DVRs. So decide your budget first, and then choose between a DVR and NVR system.

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