Analog Video: Still King of the Hill?

IP Video products continue to receive the lion’s share of attention in trade magazines, trade shows and new product introductions from security manufacturers. Relative to its older analog CCTV sibling, IP video seems to be more sexy and fashionable...


IP Video products continue to receive the lion’s share of attention in trade magazines, trade shows and new product introductions from security manufacturers. Relative to its older analog CCTV sibling, IP video seems to be more sexy and fashionable. By all accounts, IP video sales are growing faster than traditional analog sales.

However, despite the growth and fanfare, sales of analog video cameras still outnumber IP video camera sales. Why?

Defining IP Video and Analog
In some respects, the distinction between analog and IP video is becoming less clear. Most DVRs support Ethernet connectivity. The DVRs use the network for remote video monitoring and video playback with PC-based video management software. There is a growing class of DVR products that support “hybrid” recording of both analog cameras and IP cameras. Likewise, some video encoders now support storage, further clouding clear distinctions between an NVR, DVR and video encoder.

The best definition of IP video seems to be around the camera. Let’s call it “IP video” if the camera has an Ethernet port that streams compressed video.

Growth Trends: Analog Video Holding On
In June 2008, IMS Research predicted that network video surveillance “will grow well above 30 percent in 2008.” The 2008 third quarter report from Axis Communications seems to support this trend. Axis, one of the market leaders in IP camera sales, reported third quarter video sales growth of 32 percent over the same period last year.

Despite this growth, traditional analog cameras and DVR sales seem to be holding their own. Analog sales are at least flat, if not growing at Pelco, GE Security and Samsung/GVI:

• According to Craig Dahlman, Pelco’s Director of Technology Synergy, the company is seeing growing analog sales in 2008. According to Dahlman, Pelco’s “fastest growth areas in cameras, as a percentage, have been in IP, even with analog still growing faster than industry growth.”

• SAMSUNG | GVI Security’s core analog business is growing by at least 15 percent, according to GVI Chief Operating Officer Joe Restivo.

• GE Security reports that analog sales are flat.

The reported death of analog video may be inevitable, but it is certainly premature.

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