An Internet Protocol camera, or IP camera, is a type of digital video camera commonly employed for surveillance, and which, unlike analog closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, can send and receive data via a computer network and the Internet. Although most cameras that do this are webcams, the term IP camera or netcam is usually applied only to those used for surveillance that can be directly accessed over a network connection.
An IP camera is typically either centralized (requiring a central network video recorder (NVR) to handle the recording, video and alarm management) or decentralized (no NVR needed, as camera can record to any local or remote storage media). The first centralized IP camera was Axis Net eye 200, released in 1996 by Axis Communications.
IP cameras are typically available at resolutions from 0.3 (VGA resolution) to 29 megapixels. As in the 21st century, there has been a shift in the consumer TV business towards high-definition (HD) resolutions (e.g.. 1080P (Full-HD), 4K resolution (Ultra-HD) and 16:9 widescreen format).