One of the frequently asked questions we receive is which is better, a NAS (Network Attached Storage) or an NVR (Network Video Recorder). Both are designed to store data and both (say, for up to 8 cameras) are roughly in the same price range, so which one is the right option for you?
PROS: NASs are designed to store a wide range of data from simple text documents to files, including video and audio recordings from cameras, which makes them more multi-functional.
CONS: NVRs is a dedicated system that is designed to store only video and audio (in some cases also biometric and ID) data but not any other type of information.
Better Video Management System
PROS: NVRs are designed specifically to store and manage IP video data, which makes the set-up and integration process very straightforward and simple (especially if the camera and the NVR are by the same manufacturer). Things like scheduling recoding times, PTZ-control, alarm notifications are also much easier to set up on an NVR.
CONS: The fact that NASs are used to store all sorts of files is also a weak point as storage of video footage is not a priority and VMS and software used in a NAS may be clunky and rough around the edges when it comes to video footage storing. For example, a range of Synology NAS devices are notorious for not supporting all Pan-Tilt-Zoom functions on Hikvision PTZ cameras (especially, in our experience, Hikvision DS-2DE4A225IW-DE model), which significantly limits their functionality.
PROS: There is much a much wider variety of NVRs for all types and sizes of IP video surveillance and CCTV systems. Say, you need a simple NVR for 4 2 megapixel cameras to keep an eye on your house whilst you are in the office – no problem there is a specific solution for that. Oh, your business requires an extensive video security system with 120+ cameras to monitor your business premises day and night, here is a 48TB NVR for that.
CONS: A NAS device can get very expensive where quickly with the increase of the number of your cameras and storage capacity as well as being quite large and cumbersome. The other cons is that vendors such as QNAP and Synology (in our view the most reliable NAS manufacturers) require that you have a licence for each connected IP camera, so if you exceed the number of ‘free’ licences that come with your NAS by default, you may be hit with another extra cost per each additional camera, which can be a ‘one-off’ licence price or a monthly subscription.
PROS: Most new NAS devices have ‘hot-swappable’ HDD bays, meaning that you can take an HDD out and replace it with another without turning the NAS down – handy right?
CONS: While some Hikvision NVRs allow for HDDs to be ‘hot-swapped’, quite often if you need to replace or remove one of the HDDs for any reason, you will need to turn off your NVR and only then proceed with the replacement. This leaves your home / office with no video security for as long as the NVR is offline.
PoE, Alarm I/O, Audio I/O, HDMI Output
PROS: NVRs often have a range of additional advanced features for enhanced video security, such as Power-over-Ethernet and I/O terminal for integration with access control or other external devices. Say, you need a few cameras to keep an eye on your caravan or trailer. All you need to set this up a PoE NVR (say, Hikvision DS-7604NI-K1/4P) and a couple of IP cameras (a 4K Hikvision Darkfighter series would be a good option) – no PoE injectors or switches or separate power supplies.
CONS: Because video surveillance is not a priority for a NAS manufacturer, it would rarely have a PoE functionality or any other extra feature (e.g. an alarm I/O port) to bolster your security.