IP CCTV Recorder Buying Guide

The IP CCTV Recorder (also known as an NVR or Network Video Recorder) will be the heart of your IP CCTV system. The recorder manages and records the cameras, as well as adding additional features to your CCTV system.

This guide will help you decide what specifications and features your recorder has to have. Once you have decided these, simply go to the IP CCTV Recorder section and use the filters to find the ideal recorder.

Choose by Brand

To use all of the features an NVR offers, it is recommended that the brand of cameras and NVR that you have on your system is the same. If you do need to mix brands then please contact us so we can advise you on what features will be supported.

Choose by ONVIF profile
If you are using a different brand of camera/s to the recorder you choose, then depending on the ONVIF profile supported by the recorder (and camera) the features that are compatible will be different. See this link for detailed information on what each profile supports. Below we have listed the most common differences. For further help with ONVIF comaptibility please call us.
Profile G - For edge storage and retrieval
  • Configure, request and control recording
  • Receive audio and metadata stream.
Profile M - Metadata and analytics for smart applications
  • Analytics configuration and information query for metadata
  • Configuration and streaming of metadata
  • Generic object classification support
  • Metadata definition for geolocation, vehicle, license plate, human face and body
  • Event handling interfaces for object counter, face and license plate recognition analytics and for sending ONVIF events in JSON format over MQTT
  • Rule configuration for events
Profile Q - For quick installation
  • Easy setup
  • Discovery, configuration and control of conformant devices
Profile S - For basic video streaming
  • Video streaming and configuration
  • PTZ control
  • Audio in
  • Multicasting
  • Relay outputs
Profile T - For advanced video streaming
  • H.264 / H.265 video compression
  • Imaging settings
  • Motion alarm and tampering events
  • Metadata streaming
  • Bi-directional audio
  • PTZ control
  • PTZ configuration
  • Motion region configuration
  • Digital inputs
  • Relay outputs
Choose by Resolution:
The NVR determines the resolution and quality of your recordings. The recorder can support higher resolutions than your cameras, however the cameras will still record at the maximum resolution they can output.

      • 5MP - These NVRs will record cameras in up to 5MP resolution.
      • 8MP (4K) - These NVRs will record cameras in up to 8MP (4K) resolution.
      • 12MP - These NVRs will record cameras in up to 12MP (4K) resolution.
Choose by Camera Inputs:
The number of camera inputs your NVR has will be determined by 2 factors:

      1. How many cameras are you connecting to your NVR?
      2. How much spare capacity do you need for adding additional cameras to your system?

In our experience it is always good practice to have 2 channels spare for every 2 cameras you have on your system. So for example if you will be connecting 4 cameras buy an 8 camera NVR so you have room to expand your system in the future.
Choose PoE (Power over Ethernet) or Standard camera support:
NVRs are available with PoE enabled camera ports. These PoE enabled ports will power the cameras directly through the same cable that carries the data between the camera and the NVR.
PoE ports are available in 4 different types:
PoE types
The PoE type must match the cameras requirements or their will not be enough power to power the camera.
The maximum cable run for a PoE camera is 100m from the NVR. If you wish to extend this it can be done either by adding a PoE Network Switch inbetween the camera and the NVR (which will allow you to run the camera 100m to the switch and then another 100m from the switch to the NVR), or by adding a PoE Extender.
Choosing Storage Space:
There are four factors that will need to be considered when you choose the hard drive size in your NVR.

      1. The video codec type of the NVR - Older NVRs use the H264 codec which does a great job of compressing the video file size so extended recording times are possible even on smaller hard drives. However the very latest codec, H265, offers comparable picture quality but with half the file size.
      2. The recording fps of each camera - The higher the fps each camera is recording at, the more storage space it will require.
      3. The recording resolution - The higher the resolution the more storage space is required.
      4. The activity level if recording on motion only - All of our NVRs have motion detection as standard, this allows the NVR to record only when there is movement in the camera scene. For example a motion activated camera used in a business environment typically has motion for 50% of a 24 hour period, so it will be recording for 12 hours compared to 24 hours continuousolly. A camera in a residential application will typically record for 25% of a 24 hour period.

On the product information page of all of our NVRs you will see a Storage Space Requirements Table which will show you how many TB of recording space is required depending on the above factors.
Choose by NVR Bandwidth:
When looking at NVR specifications you will notice that they show Bandwidth as one of the specifications. The bandwidth of an NVR is showing the maximum amount of data it can receive from the cameras connected to it.
Every IP camera will be sending data to the NVR, the amount of data it is sending is called the bit rate, the bit rate will use up some of the available bandwidth of your NVR.
The bandwidth you need will depend on the Resolution and Frame Rate each camera is set to.
The table below shows the amount of bandwidth needed on the NVR, based on the number of cameras connected to the NVR, and the resolution and frame rate they are set to.
You will see that both H264 and H265 codecs are listed, if both the camera and the NVR support H265, then you can use H265, if not then you will need to use H265.
 Choose by Concurrent Playback requirements:
An NVR will record and display live multiple IP cameras as a split screen view, and allow you to playback recordings from each camera one at a time or as a split screen view. When it plays back the cameras as a split screen view, the maximum number of cameras it can show you on one split screen view will also be limited by the bandwidth of the NVR and the resolution the cameras are set to. 
      • 1 camera at 8MP (4K) - 1 camera recorded at 8MP (4K) or lower resolution can be played back.
      • 2 cameras at 4MP - 2 cameras recorded at 4MP or lower resolution can be played back together.
      • 2 cameras at 6MP - 2 cameras recorded at 6MP or lower resolution can be played back together.
      • 2 cameras at 8MP (4K) - 2 cameras recorded at 8MP (4K) or lower resolution can be played back together.
      • 3 cameras at 5MP - 3 cameras recorded at 5MP or lower resolution can be played back together.
      • 4 cameras at 2MP (1080P) - 4 cameras recorded at 2MP or lower resolution can be played back together.
      • 4 cameras at 4MP - 4 cameras recorded at 4MP or lower resolution can be played back together.
      • 4 cameras at 8MP (4K) - 4 cameras recorded at 8MP (4K) or lower resolution can be played back together.
      • 5 cameras at 3MP - 5 cameras recorded at 3MP or lower resolution can be played back together
      • 5 cameras at 6MP - 5 cameras recorded at 6MP or lower resolution can be played back together
      • 6 cameras at 5MP - 6 cameras recorded at 5MP or lower resolution can be played back together
      • 8 cameras at 2MP (1080P) - 8 cameras recorded at 2MP or lower resolution can be played back together.
      • 8 cameras at 4MP - 8 cameras recorded at 4MP or lower resolution can be played back together.
      • 9 cameras at 1MP (720P) - 9 cameras recorded at 1MP or lower resolution can be played back together.
      • 10 cameras at 3MP - 10 cameras recorded at 3MP or lower resolution can be played back together
      • 16 cameras at 1MP (720P) - 16 cameras recorded at 1MP or lower resolution can be played back together.
      • 16 cameras at 2MP (1080P) - 16 cameras recorded at 2MP or lower resolution can be played back together.
      • 32 cameras at 1MP (720P) - 32 cameras recorded at 1MP or lower resolution can be played back together.
      • 64 cameras at 1MP (720P) - 64 cameras recorded at 1MP or lower resolution can be played back together.
Choose by Remote Access compatibility:
All the NVRs we sell offer some type of remote access features, the devices that can access them will vary.

      • Multi-Site (DVR) Monitoring from a Windows PC - Optional software is available that allows multiple cameras from DVRs in different locations to be viewed simultaneously on a single PC. Recordings can also be played back remotely and backed up on the PC. DVRs can also be cofigured remotely.
      • Multi-Site (DVR) Monitoring from an OSX PC - Optional software is available that allows multiple cameras from DVRs in different locations to be viewed simultaneously on a single Mac. Recordings can also be played back remotely and backed up on the Mac. DVRs can also be cofigured remotely.
      • iOS/Android App for Remote Access - Offers live view, playback and configuration of multile DVRs from anywhere in the world, using an iOS or Android smart phone or device.
Choose by Intelligent Features Support:
If you will be using the Intelligent Features on your IP cameras then you will need to make sure that the NVR supports these. Please note these features will normally only work in situations where cameras and recorders are of the same brand. If this is not the case, please contact us to check compatibility.
      • Active Deterrence - Active Deterrence cameras go one step further than standard cameras by proactively responding to what they see. They will detect movement using an integrated PIR detector. Once detected they can turn on or flash a white light, sound a siren or play a recorded message. The camera can also alert you via an APP or Email.
      • Active Deterrence TIOC (White Light, Blue/Red Visual Alert & Audio Alert) - Active Deterrence Three in One Cameras (TIOC) detect movement using AI to detect breaches of perimeters, humans and vehicles. Once detected they can turn on or flash a white light, turn on blue and red strobe lights, sound a siren and play a recorded message. The camera can also alert you via an APP or Email. There are many applications that this technology can be used for, here are some examples below:
      1. Vehicle Detection - for example you could detect vehicles entering a No Parking area. If a vehicle enters this area have the camera sound it's built in siren, play a recorded message and flash a strobe light, alerting the driver that they cannot park.
      2. Human Detection - for example you could have the camera detect intruders entering your driveway or garden. If they do enter the camera can alert you on your Smartphone/tablet and also sound it's built in siren, play a recorded message and flash a strobe light, scaring the intruder away.
      3. Perimeter Detection - for example you can draw a perimeter around a pond and have the camera alert you on your Smartphone/tablet if anyone crosses this perimeter. At the same time it can sound it's built in siren, play a recorded message and flash a strobe light, warning the person to stay away from the potentially dangerous area.
      • Advanced Motion Detection - Whereas motion detection will detect every motion in the cameras view as motion, Advanced Motion Detection uses AI to ignore "noise" in the scene, such as lighting changes, natural tree movements etc...
      • Capacity Control (Queue Management) - The camera will detect how many people enter and exit a premises entrance. The number of people left in the premises can then be displayed on a monitor connected to a PC that is connected to the camera. The camera will also display a Stop or Go traffic light on the monitor if a maximum capacity for the premises has been set. The relay output on the camera can work in tandem with the stop and go to control access.
      • Face Detection - The camera will detect faces in the scene and a recorder and monitor connected to the camera will then display these as they are detected and also allow you to playback all recordings where a face was detected.
      • Face Recognition - The camera will detect and recognise faces in the scene. You can then search for a face from the recorder, or have the camera alert you if a recognised or unknown face is seen. These alerts can also control a relay output.
      • Heat Map - The camera will show you a heat map of where motion occurs in the camera view, on an hourly, daily or monthly basis. This is very useful for example for Retail Stores, allowing them to see where customers spend the most time in a store.
      • Human Detection The camera will detect humans in the scene. You can then search the recordings for human movement or have the camera alert you if a recognised or unknown face is seen.
      • Line Cross Counting - The camera will detect objects crossing a user defined virtual line and report the number crossing in either or both directions.
      • Loitering - The camera will detect people loitering when they are in a defined area for a specific amount of time. The camera will alert you when loitering occurs.
      • Missing Object (Object Removed) - The camera will detect when an object is removed from the scene. The camera will alert you when this occurs.
      • People Counting - The camera will count people crossing a user defined virtual line and report the number crossing in either or both directions.
      • Perimeter (Line Cross) Detection - The camera will detect objects crossing a user defined virtual line or perimeter. You can then search the recordings for line crossing or have the camera alert you when a line or perimeter is crossed. 
      • Region Entrance/Exit Detection - The camera will watch a user defined region in its view and alert you when a person or object enters or leaves that area.
      • Stationary/Left Object Detection - The camera will detect when an object is stationary/left in the scene for a specific amount of time. The camera will alert you when this occurs.
      • Tamper Detection - The camera will alert you if the camera view is obstucted or moved.
      • Vehicle Detection The camera will detect vehicles in the scene. You can then search the recordings for vehicle movement or have the camera alert you if a vehicle is detected.
Choose by Special Features support:
If you will be using the following Special Features on your IP cameras then you will need to make sure that the NVR supports these. Please note these features will normally only work in situations where cameras and recorders are of the same brand. If this is not the case, please contact us to check compatibility.
      • 180°/360° Fisheye (Panoramic) - Fisheye cameras provide the ability to view very large or wide areas with a single camera, and curcially without blind spots. A 180° camera is ideal for mounting on a vertical surface, and will provide complete coverage of the area directly in front of it, from edge to edge. 360° cameras are designed for vertical or horizontal surface mounting, for example on a ceiling. They provide complete coverage of the area in front of them without any blindspots. 
      • 24 hour Colour View (White LED) - White LED cameras incorporate discreet White LEDs which come on at night and illuminate an area so that the camera can see in colour. The White LEDs are visible but have a lower brightness then floodlights for example, this is because the camera incorporates a high sensitivity imaging sensor which requires very little light to provide a colour image. These cameras are a good alternative to IR cameras as they will provide colour images at night, providing additional information such as colours of vehicles or clothes. The White LEDs could also replace the need for a separate light source such as a floodlight.
      • Number Plate Recognition - In addition to number plate recording we also offer number plate recognition, the difference is that using recognition number plates are recorded and converted in to a text so that they can be stored in a database, allowing you to search by numberplate, open and close access control equipment according to number plate and raise alerts according to number plate.
      • PIR Movement Sensor - The camera has a PIR sensor that will detect movement. PIR sensors are less prone to false alarms than Motion Detection, as they will ignore minor movements of trees etc...