A Network Video Recorder or NVR is an internet protocol based device that sits on a network. Because they are IP based, Network Video Recorders can be managed remotely via a LAN or over the Internet giving greater flexibility. The basic function of an NVR is the simultaneous recording and remote access of live video streams from an IP Camera.
One the trademarks of Network Video Recordersis their ease of use and installation. Typically, a Network Video Recorder will feature flexible recording and playback capability, an optional intuitive remote control unit, a user-friendly GUI, Intelligent Motion Detection, and PTZ camera control.
In relation to recording and play-back, an NVR has some similarities to a Digital Video Recorder. An NVR is a true digital system that receives digital images/video streams over the network and records them on a hard disk in a digital format. Where as a Digital Video Recorders is in fact a hybrid system that can accommodate analog cameras and store the video on a hard disk in digital format. where as Some DVRs have a rudimentary interface to the network that offers remote viewing capabilities. An NVR does not have a dedicated monitor and keyboard. All viewing and management of the NVR takes place remotely over the network via a PC.
An NVR is designed to offer optimal performance for up to a set number of cameras, which makes it less scalable than a PC Server platform system. This makes the unit suitable for smaller system configurations where the number of cameras stays within the limits of the NVR design capacity. An advantage is that an NVR is less complex to install in comparison to a PC Server platform.
New generation of NVR hardware are now open platform systems. They are NVRs that allow the user to run any IP Recording software on the market. They usually support a Windows or Linux environment. They are now rack mountable units that are at a minimum of 1U in size. These open platform NVRs allow for flexibility and scalability when deploying an enterprise level camera system. Each NVR unit can support up to 50 cameras, a number much higher than traditional NVRs. The restriction on dedicated hardware are lessened in this new generation of NVRs so that maintenance is kept at an affordable price.