16 April 2024

How to Upgrade An Analogue CCTV System With Cost-Effective Hybrid Solutions

We’re often asked, how to upgrade an analogue CCTV system without needing to replace the entire setup. The good news is that there are a wide range of solutions to help extend the life of a traditional analogue set-up.

Whilst the majority of new video surveillance systems are likely to be IP network based, analogue CCTV currently continues to be favoured by many installers, system designers, specifiers and consultants. There are a number of reasons for this, not the least of which is the perception that a ‘closed circuit’ solution is less likely to be hacked and the latest generation of high definition analogue CCTV cameras are also more often than not, considerably cheaper to deploy.

This is particularly beneficial when an existing analogue system needs to be upgraded because the cameras are out of date in respect of the resolution and functionality of the cameras, as the latest generation of high definition analogue cameras come with a wide range of advanced features, including AI.

Cost-Efficient Expansion with XVR Recorders and PoE Ethernet Extenders

When you upgrade an analogue CCTV system, the addition of XVR recorders and PoE Ethernet extender devices enables both new IP network and analogue cameras to be installed using existing cabling. Extra IP cameras can be added using the location of one of them as a network hub. This means that only short new cabling runs will be needed for each of the new cameras. As a consequence, the time and cost savings in not having to lay entirely new network cabling (which might also involve engineering work), can be significant and the system can be affordably expanded or upgraded.

When you add one of more XVR recorders and/or PoE Ethernet extender devices to an analogue CCTV system, you create a highly flexible hybrid solution. This gives you the freedom to introduce new IP cameras into a system whilst continuing to use existing cameras which are still fit for purpose. You can also add or replace cameras with a mixture of network and the latest analogue models equipped with edge based ANPR, facial recognition, people counting and heatmaps, as well as a wide range of other functionality made possible by AI.

System Upgrades and Expansion

The latest generation of high-definition analogue cameras offers significantly improved image quality and advanced features like AI. This allows you to upgrade an analogue CCTV system without replacing all the cameras.

With an existing 16 channel analogue CCTV system, for example, some or all of the old legacy cameras could simply be replaced by HD analogue cameras, thus enabling an end-user to benefit from much clearer and sharper images.

However, by adding a PoE Ethernet extender device to existing coaxial cabling at any of the 16 camera locations, it becomes very easy to expand or upgrade the system to a far greater degree. The 601PoE, for instance, will allow an end-user to deploy 2 new ANPR equipped cameras in order to monitor a new gate or barrier in a remote location.

How to Upgrade An Analogue CCTV System With XVR Recorders and PoE Ethernet Extenders

By utilising a hybrid XVR to record and store images captured by both the existing analogue cameras and the new ANPR cameras, the end-user is provided with a cost-effective solution which meets their expectations.

It’s worth noting that aged legacy systems are likely to have old power supplies which may be close to failing. However, what might not be commonly known is that most new analogue cameras and recorders now come with power over coax (the equivalent of PoE) as an option, thus negating the need to rely on using existing power supplies or having to install new units.

Hybrid XVR recorders

Also known as Pentabrid video recorders, XVR’s facilitate the recording of images captured by a mix of analogue and IP cameras and this means that you can upgrade an analogue CCTV system to record images with a resolution of up to 4K.

Until recently, the number of channels which could be allocated to IP cameras on a 16 channel machine, was typically limited to just 2. The latest generation of hybrid XVRs, however, now offer a far greater level of flexibility. With the use of a relatively low cost switch, the available number of channels on these NVRs can be configured to meet the user’s immediate needs, e.g. 4 channels allocated to IP cameras and the remainder for analogue cameras, but with the option to change the mix as and when requirements change.

Upgrading provides More choices than you might think

This mixture of technologies, which offers the best of both worlds and is by no means a compromise, can be used in a virtually unlimited number of ways to efficiently create a cost-effective solution. The following are just a few of the potential scenarios.

Retail: Most CCTV systems in retail environments were originally installed simply to capture and record video of any suspicious activity. In a tough economic environment, retailers understandably now want to achieve so much more from their systems, including obtaining business intelligence which will allow them to have a greater understanding of their customers. This can be achieved by deploying open platform IP network cameras equipped with people counting and heatmap applications and the good news is that there is no need to replace the whole system in order to do so. Connecting the new specialist cameras via a 601PoE means they can be used alongside existing cameras which do not yet need to be replaced.

Petrol forecourts: It is not unusual to find that the coaxial cabling for an existing CCTV system installed at a petrol station has been cemented over, making it extremely difficult and expensive to make any changes to the system. The use of a device such as the 601PoE will negate the need to dig up the forecourt in order to install additional cameras for ANPR purposes.

Residential: Asbestos can still be found in many apartment blocks and it cannot be disturbed except by authorised experts. Apart from the cost, the inconvenience to residents who will need to be temporarily re-housed, should not be underestimated.   When additional or new types of cameras are required in these types of environments, the use of a 601PoE will negate the need to access any existing cabling which may be laying close to asbestos.

Perimeter protection: Working in partnership with an installer, Smart R recently provided 4 perimeter protection IP network cameras as additions to an existing PTZ camera which had been installed on top of a high pole some years ago.  Smart R supplied a 601PoE in support of the 4 new cameras installed along a fence and in doing so, avoided the need for the installer to lay new network cabling between the cameras and the end-user’s control room.


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