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Can DVR and NVR be used interchangeably?

I’ve noticed lately that some of my colleagues use the terms DVR and NVR interchangeably. Most of those that do have been around for a while. I’m not saying they are old, but if the shoe fits! The question remains…should these terms be used interchangeably?

It turns out that the Video Surveillance industry technically defines a DVR as a video recording device that has analog inputs for connecting analog cameras and which contains codecs to convert the analog video from the cameras into a digital format for saving on some type of storage media. As a result, DVRs were introduced many years ago as an upgrade to CCTV systems that used VCRs to store analog video from camera feeds.

An NVR, by contrast, is a video surveillance system recording device that has a LAN interface and accepts and stores digital video transmitted by IP cameras (rather than analog cameras). Each IP camera has a built-in codec for compressing the video in various formats.

What happens if you have both analog and IP cameras in your video surveillance system? Well, then you need a Hybrid Video Recorder or HVR. I haven’t met too many people that use that term in casual conversation (yes, I tend to discuss video surveillance systems in my casual conversations!).

So, what’s the answer? Can DVR and NVR be used interchangeably? Well, in my experience, most people understand what you mean if you say “DVR” in conjunction with IP cameras. I suppose someone might try to correct you if you do, but as long as you know that it is “sort of”, technically, wrong, you will probably be okay.

As for me, I like saying “DVR”. So I’m going to stick with that. Let me know what you think!