Analog Video Capture Card Choices – Converting Analog Video Signals to Digital

With the new digital age being in full swing those who have analog video capture equipment seek a means of salvaging the hardware they already have in place. Lets face facts, there are still many analog surveillance cameras out that do their job very well, simply discarding them for digital alternatives would be a waste.

In a situation where multiple analog surveillance cameras are in place overhauling the system and replacing each analog camera with a digital one could cost a lot of time and money. Thankfully there are many devices available that enable you to convert the analog signal from surveillance cameras into a digital one preventing the need for the devices to be immediately replaced.

Today’s video capture cards are capable of processing the video signal from both analog and digital security cameras, typically they are known as DVR cards, internal DVR cards can be attached to a free PCI slot, these are commonly found on the inside of most personal computers.

The differences between low specification cards and the newer high end models are significant, you will find the very cheap cards accommodate four cameras, on top of this the low end cards tend to capture video at very low frame rates. Low frame rates can be of benefit if you need to ensure the video you record only uses a small amount of storage space however the resulting video exhibits choppy behaviour during playback.

Another feature to look out for when considering a DVR card is how well it goes about the job of processing audio, low end cards may have audio capabilities but you may find you are not able to record the audio feed from every camera attached to the card. High spec DVR cards can be attached to the PCI Express slot found in modern PC’s this slot is not as commonplace as the standard PCI slot but the interface is superior as it enables the PC to transfer data more quickly between an attached piece of hardware and the systems motherboard. DVR cards that are designed for attachment to PCI Express slots usually have an improved frame rate because the PCI slot can handle more data over a shorter period of time than its PCI counterpart.

It’s quite surprising to see the just how many functions are integrated into the newer DVR cards on the market, many of them share the same functions as conventional security recorders. It’s not unusual to come across DVR cards that have multiple alarm inputs, alarm outputs and motion detection capabilities. Features such as these allow users to save on video storage space as the card will only trigger your system to capture video when motion is detected or when an attached alarm is activated.

Even the low cost DVR cards include software that allow you to view the feed from surveillance cameras on your PC monitor, depending on the software you may find it can be configured to email you when the DVR card detects motion or when a system alarm is activated. When considering a DVR card check the manufacturers guidelines on what type of PC is needed to accommodate the card, also look out for the number of security cameras that can be attached to the card and also the take note of how many frames per second the card is capable of capturing while processing video.

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