All About Network Video Recorder [2023 Full Guide]

This post is focused on the Network Video Recorder. What is the NVR? What can it do? What are its main features? You can find all information about Network Video Recorder you want to know here.

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Updated on Nov 30, 2023

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What Is Network Video Recorder

NVR, also known as Network Video Recorder, is part of a network video surveillance system and is responsible for storing and forwarding tasks. It can record secure video surveillance recordings on a hard drive. 

However, due to the lack of video capture capability in NVR, it typically works in conjunction with video encoders or network cameras to process and encode the video, which is then transmitted to NVR for storage through Ethernet or WiFi networks.

network video recorder

After entering the 21st century, there is an increasing demand for storing video data through the network with the development of network technology. The monitoring system with DVR (Digital Video Recorder) as the core has further developed into an NVR system with network functions. 

Compared to DVR, NVR has a relatively single function and does not have analog-to-digital conversion and encoding functions. But NVR can provide 1080P high-definition video quality and has more powerful system flexibility than DVR.

The Product Forms of NVR

NVR has different product forms, and although its core function is the capture, storage, management, and forwarding of network video streams, different companies have different designs to complete these functions and have their own characteristics. There are 3 main forms of NVR products.

  • The first type is a PC server-based NVR software product (Software Only), which is provided by the manufacturer with NVR software plus licensing mode and can be installed on any standard PC or server that meets the requirements.
  • The second type is an NVR-integrated solution provided by the manufacturer, which integrates software and hardware. The manufacturer installs the NVR software on their customized PC server, known as the Turnkey Solution.
  • The third type is embedded NVR products, which are embedded devices based on embedded hardware platforms and operating systems; In addition, there are storage management integrated devices developed by storage device manufacturers, which are not the mainstream NVR form.

Network Video Recorder Main Features

Video Browsing

Usually, on the NVR software platform, all video or audio channels in the system can be added and displayed. Create a structured channel resource directory tree on the page to facilitate real-time video browsing operations for users.

Recording Mode

For different channels on the same NVR, users can choose from multiple recording modes, including alarm start-stop recording (pre-recording function before and after), recording according to schedule, manual start-stop recording, and other modes. They can also set different recording parameters for various recording modes.

Storage Function

NVR usually supports multiple storage architectures, and can use the standard hard disk built into the server, standard external RAID of SCSI or FC interface, or network storage device for storage. At the same time, NVR also has a video backup function. It can utilize an Archive Server to back up alarm videos or important videos over the network. Especially in large-scale projects, this feature mainly focuses on the centralized archiving of important channel or alarm recordings in NVR, mirroring, and backing up videos from NVR devices to another storage server.

Playback Function

NVR has multiple video modes, which can be playback in different time periods, quickly playback alarm videos, and playback in reverse at any time. It also supports multi-channel playback, which can comprehensively understand the scene's situation around the monitoring point after some on-site events occur and display the entire event process through multi-channel video synchronous playback.

Snapshot function

When investigating an event, if the duration of the event is long, a fast-forward or rewind function can generally be used. The NVR video snapshot function can segment videos into iconic segments and assign each video segment a 'representative image', known as a 'video snapshot'. This way, operators can click on the corresponding 'snapshot' to replay the video segment represented by the snapshot, greatly improving efficiency.

The Applications of NVR

The application function mode of NVR technology is relatively flexible and can largely meet the functional requirements of today's video surveillance systems. The small NVR solution has the advantages of small scale, flexible operation, convenient use, and economic practicality. It is extensively used in the field of centralized video surveillance in small areas such as companies, factories, family villas, office spaces, shops, supermarkets, etc.

On the basis of the secondary network structure, a large NVR high-definition video system can be built by converging into the primary network through private networks, fiber optic networks, and public service networks. The large NVR solution can provide flexibility, multifunctional performance, sharing, emergency handling, and other functions required for urban safety video surveillance.


As mentioned earlier, the Network Video Recorder is a part of the network video monitoring system that is responsible for storing and forwarding recordings. Driven by various factors such as market and technology, NVR has become the mainstream technology in the field of urban security high-definition video surveillance and still has strong theoretical research and practical application prospects.

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