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What is an IP Network Camera?

IP Network Cameras are the new and improved, digitized version of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV). CCTV used coaxial cables to link video tape recorders to analog cameras, which was efficient, but provided far less quality video than what came next – charge-coupled image devices, or CCD sensors. These made any camera image digital, and were a step up, but still relied on costly coaxial cables and analog VCR's. Digital Video Recorders (DVR's) were invented to make storing, locating, and retrieving video easier and faster. DVR's connected directly to analog cameras. To streamline the process even more, DVR's were connected through a modem or network to personal computers (PC's) in order to display these images.

Some IP Network Cameras are literally updated CCTV installations – Video Servers added to existing CCTV devices to convert signals from analog to digital. This allows companies or owners to get the most out of costly analog cameras purchased before newer technology came out that otherwise would render them obsolete. Video Servers contain built-in processors and web server-compatible software that enables each analog camera to communicate via IP.

IP Network Cameras are video cameras that show live, clear, high-quality moving videos without the hindrance cables or wires, via a Local Area Network (LAN) or Wireless Area Network (WAN) connection. These cameras completely bypass the expensive process of acquiring and setting up costly coaxial cable networks. They have the ability to broadcast this full-motion picture over any computer/IP network, including the Internet, via a standard web-browser. Additionally, such a browser allows any IP Network Cameras to be managed from absolutely anywhere. If recording the video output is a problem, IP Network Cameras offer the convenience of being able to record directly onto any hard disk on the network. Everything recorded by IP Network Cameras can be stored in a remote location, impossible for hackers or other intruders to access.

These cameras are different from regular web cameras in that they come with their own built-in web server chip, which means that they can be connected to a network without being connected to a PC. A web camera must be plugged in to a computer, and cannot be connected to a network, as an IP Network Camera can.

While IP Network Cameras are ideal for providing remote security for buildings such as banks, stores, casinos, and other high-risk locations, they can also fulfill a variety of other purposes. IP Network Cameras are ideal for supplying a news website with video clips, providing real-time video images of protected sites, allowing entertainment sites to incorporate film trailers or music videos, and giving Online educational sites a way to offer course material in video form. They can also be used to attract more attention to a certain website or outside advertisement display, since people are more inclined to show interest in and pay attention to real-time video. The uses of IP Network Cameras for security, educational, and entertainment purposes in today's society are practically endless.