Our comprehensive buying guide features everything you need to know about analog security cameras, so you can make an informed buying decision.

Analog CCTV Security Camera Buying Guide

Who's Using Analog Cameras?

  • Convenience Stores
  • Retail Stores
  • Small to Large Businesses
  • Offices
  • Gas Stations
  • Banks
  • Hotels
  • Shopping Malls
  • Apartment Complexes
  • Homes

Benefits of Analog CCTV

Benefit #1

Benefit #1 Analog cameras come in a variety of designs and form factors

Benefit #2

Benefit #2 Analog cameras are easy to install

Benefit #3

Benefit #3 Analog cameras are generally less expensive than IP and megapixel cameras

Benefit #4

Benefit #4 Analog cameras provide excellent interoperability and brand compatibility. (With the ability to mix-and-match camera brands)

Crime in America

Crime in America

Top 5 Locations for Your Home Security Camera

Top 5 Locations for Your Home Security Camera
  • Pointed at your front door
  • Above garage doors with a view of your driveway
  • In the backyard and above patios
  • Any room where valuables are stored
  • Living rooms or family rooms, or any room that is inside a main entryway

Surveillance isn't just for security.

Surveillance isn't just for security

Find out how surveillance is making a difference in astronomy on our blog.

Protecting Your Investment

Protecting Your Investment

Once you purchase security cameras for your home or business, you'll want to make sure you protect your investment with a regular maintenance schedule to ensure your cameras will function optimally and last a very long time.

  • Periodically check to make sure your cameras lenses are clean (indoor and outdoor)
  • Check any exposed wiring to make sure you there is no damage and you have a good connection

Get more tips on our blog.

Retail Theft is on the Rise

Retail Theft is on the Rise

Security cameras are instrumental in helping retailers tackle theft. It's estimated that retailers lose 220-300 million dollars annually to shoplifters. Learn more in our retail theft survey infographic.

Our comprehensive buying guide features everything you need to know about analog security cameras, so you can make an informed buying decision.

What is Analog CCTV Technology?

Let's start with a little history. Analog Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) technology was the first video security camera technology.

Analog CCTV has long been a trusted and reliable security solution for a variety of surveillance applications, and many homes and businesses have a legacy analog security system in place. Analog security cameras provide an easy-to-install, cost-effective, reliable video surveillance solution.

How Does Analog CCTV Technology Work?

Analog cameras process and transmit analog video signals within a specified 'closed circuit' area to a monitor for local central viewing from one location. Analog cameras can be connected to a digital video recorder that enables the analog signal to be converted to a digital video signal.

A DVR takes in analog camera signals from point-to-point coaxial cables, converts the analog signals over to a digital signal, and records it to a hard drive. The encoding and processing of the video signals happens in the DVR versus the camera.

Analog Camera Considerations

Before you purchase an analog CCTV security camera, it's important to determine your needs:

  • What's your security application?
  • Will you be monitoring indoor or outdoor environments?
  • Do you want a wired or wireless camera?
  • What level of detail do you need to see?
  • How many cameras will you need?
  • What camera form factor is best for your application?

Do You Need an Indoor or Outdoor Camera?

Do You Need an Indoor or Outdoor Camera?

If you plan on monitoring outdoor locations, you'll need a camera with a weatherproof enclosure, one that has an appropriate IP weather rating and is able to withstand extreme temperatures and element such as rain.

If you need to target high crime areas that are prone to vandalism, you'll want a vandal-proof camera. Take a look at the security camera specifications to make sure you get the appropriate camera for your application.

Do You Want a Wired or Wireless Solution?

Do You Want a Wired or Wireless Solution?

Is the area you are going to be monitoring already wired? Or do you need a wireless solution that doesn't require you to run cables? A wired solution is great choice for your home or business if the structure is already wired and if you are looking for a reliable, long term solution.

Wireless cameras provide flexibility because they do not require the area to be wired with cables, and you can move the cameras around if you need to place them in different areas. Wireless solutions are also great for large areas that require coverage and areas such as parking lots and campuses, where running cables are not an ideal option.

What Level of Detail Do You Want to See?

What Level of Detail Do You Want to See?

When selecting a security camera, it's essential to know what level of detail you need to see in your video because your video quality will vary depending on several factors: resolution, lux and field of view. Will you need to monitor large crowds? Then you'll want to choose the appropriate field of view.

Do you need to see faces in great detail? Then you'll need a high resolution camera that allows you to zoom in on video. Are you going to monitor entryways and doorways in low light environments, or do you need to see what's going on outdoors? Then you'll want a camera with a low lux light rating.


Analog camera resolution image quality is measured by the number of horizontal TV lines of resolution (TVL). A greater number of TVL produces higher quality images. For example, an analog camera that produces 650 TVL of resolution will deliver a crisper, more detailed image than a camera that produces 420 TVL of resolution.

Light Sensitivity (Lux)Light Sensitivity (Lux)

A camera's sensitivity to light is measured in lux. Lux is a measurement of the available amount of ambient light in a given area, and a camera's lux rating indicates the minimum amount of light that will produce images. Lux is the International System (SI) unit of illumination in which a meter is the unit of length.

One lux equals one lumen per square meter. A camera with a lower number lux light rating has greater sensitivity to light. (The lower the lux rating, the less light is required for a clear picture.) Lux rating is important because it lets you know if your camera has enough light to shoot clear video footage in low light conditions.

Black and white security cameras usually have lower lux light ratings than color cameras because black and white cameras will produce a more acceptable image in lower light conditions than color cameras.

Most video security cameras operate with a low lux light rating of 1.0 or less. The lower the number of the lux rating, the better the camera will be able to see at night. For example, a camera with a 0.01 lux low light rating will have greater light sensitivity than a camera with a 1.0 lux low light rating.

Field of ViewField of View

The field of view (FOV) is the viewable area of a given scene captured by the camera. It is also referred to as the angle of view or angle of coverage.

FOV is determined by three elements: the lens and sensor element within the camera and where the camera is positioned in relation to the scene.

A large FOV generally results in the target object being relatively small compared to a camera with a small FOV.


How far you need your camera to see determines what camera lens to use for your application. An analog camera can have a fixed lens or varifocal lens.

Fixed LensFixed Lens

A fixed focal lens does not allow the FOV to be adjusted; the camera's focal length is permanently set. Since the FOV cannot be adjusted, it's important to choose a camera lens with the appropriate FOV for your security application.

Varifocal LensVarifocal Lens

A varifocal lens provides flexibility because it allows you to manually adjust between different focal lengths with a single lens, to adapt to your needs. A varifocal lens is a good choice if you don't know how far you need to see, because it provides the ability to zoom in or zoom out and focus the camera to get a crisp image.

How Many Cameras Will You Need?

Survey your site to determine which areas you will need to put a security camera and then calculate the number of cameras needed. This is important, because if you are going to record video to a DVR, then you need to make sure your DVR has the appropriate number of channels to support the number of cameras.

How Many Cameras Will You Need?

Which Type of Analog Camera is Right for You?

Analog cameras come in a variety of form factors from bullet and dome cameras, to C/CS mount and PTZ cameras. The variety of options provides true flexibility for your security needs, and each type of camera has benefits:

C/CS Mount Cameras

  • The most versatile security cameras because you can put on any lens of your choice
  • Can easily upgrade camera viewing capabilities by upgrading the lens

Dome Cameras

  • Less conspicuous than other security cameras
  • 'Smoked' dome option allows for the lens angle to be obscured making it difficult for would-be thieves to see which direction the lens is pointing at
  • Good choice for high-risk, short range or vandal-prone areas

Take Your Analog Capabilities to the Next Level with HD-SDI

Take Analog to the Next Level with HD Analog

HD-SDI is a standard for high definition analog-based closed circuit television technology. HD Analog cameras use HD-SDI technology to provide high quality live HD video with exceptional resolution and image detail. You can upgrade your analog capabilities by switching to HD-SDI technology.

HD-SDI technology delivers image quality that is far superior to analog CCTV and provides a cost-effective video surveillance solution that's easy to install and integrate with existing CCTV systems. Before HD-SDI, the only way to get HD resolution was through a megapixel IP camera. HD-SDI is the future of analog and an alternative to IP.

With an HD-SDI DVR and cameras, you can send HD video over existing coaxial cable (RG/59, RG/6 and RG/11) without an adapter. HD-SDI cameras require no camera boot-up time: they are point-to-point and plug-and-play. Just like a standard analog CCTV system.

HD-SDI DVRs are compatible with HD-SDI cameras only. You cannot plug regular analog CCTV cameras into an HD-SDI system unless it is a hybrid system. An HD-SDI hybrid DVR allows you to connect both HD-SDI and analog CCTV cameras. Check to see if your DVR is a hybrid model with both HD and analog inputs.

Learn more about HD-SDI solutionsLearn more about HD-SDI solutions

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Benefits of HD-SDI

  • Unparalleled HD live video resolution
  • Uses existing coax cabling
  • Produces zero latency live video
  • Easy to install as analog CCTV
  • 100% plug and play