License Plate Reader Cameras vs License Plate Capture Cameras

Watch this video to learn about the difference between license plate reader cameras and license plate capture cameras. The term LPR camera is often used generically to describe a security camera that is capable of recording license plates. However, not all license plate cameras are created equal. You can find the license plate reader camera and license plate capture camera that we used to record the above demo videos here.

What is a license plate reader camera?

A license plate reader camera, LPR for short, is a specialized surveillance camera that can capture video of license plates on moving vehicles. LPR cameras are capable of compensating for vehicles moving at a high rate of speed and also the reflective materials used on some license plates. They have headlight compensation and tail light compensation. In addition, LPR cameras have built-in software that automatically recognized license plates. This is why LPR is sometimes referred to as license plate recognition.

Some LPR cameras also have automatic number plate reader software (ANPR software) built into them. ANPR software can read the letters and numbers on license plates and record them to a database and / or compare license plate numbers with plates in a database. License plate recognition cameras can also be integrated with gated entry systems that are used at the entrance of some HOA communities and commercial properties.

The above screenshot shows the Viewtron LPR-IP7 license plate reader camera display from the HDMI video output of the Viewtron IP camera NVR that it is connected to. On the NVR, the event detection window is displayed on the right. License plate detection and automatic license plate reader are events are displayed via thumbnail images in this area. You can also see the license plate numbers and letters clearly on the video playback area.

License Plate Recognition Search

license plate recognition search

The license plate recognition function on the Viewtron LPR-IP7 and Viewtron NVRs makes it very simple to run a search on the NVR for all LPR events. The results are displayed via a thumbnail image of the license plates. This is a big time saver when compared to manually playing back hours or days of videos to find license plate capture events.


This is the Viewtron LPR-IP7. It is a network IP camera that connects to the PoE ports on the back of Viewtron NVRs using CAT5e or CAT6 network cable.

What is a license plate capture camera?

A license plate capture camera, LPC camera for short, is capable of recording license plates clearly but does not have any LPR / ANPR software built into it. Like LPR cameras, LPC cameras can also capture license plates on vehicles moving at a high rate of speed and they also compensate for reflective plates, headlights, and tail lights.

license plate capture camera

The screenshot on the left was recorded with a Viewtron LPR-AHD5 license plate capture camera.  You will notice that there is no license plate detection or automatic number plate recognition displayed on the screen. That does not exist on the LPR-AHD5. It is capable of recording license plates clearly, but there is not automation software. The screenshot on the right shows a regular security camera (non-LPR) for comparison. You can see that the traditional security camera does not compensate for the vehicle’s high rate of speed or tail light glare.

LPC camera

The LPR-AHD5  camera is connect to a Viewtron CCTV DVR using RG59 Siamese coax cable. It is also compatible with any other DVR that supports AHD, HD-TVI, or analog CVBS video formats. The LPR-AHD5 is an excellent choice if you already have coax video cable in place that you must use.

CCTV Camera Pros LPR Recommendation

The only time that CCTV Camera Pros recommends the LPR-AHD5 CCTV / BNC camera is when a customer already has coaxial cable in place and they must stick with a coax CCTV camera system. If a customer is installing a new system, has network cable in place, or is upgrading their system from coax cameras to IP cameras, we always recommend our Viewtron LPR camera system. The LPR-AHD5 does a great job at capturing license plates clearly, but there are big advantages of using a license plate recognition camera with automatic plate detection and automatic number recognition software.

IR Night Vision LPR / ANPR

Check out this night time LPR / ANPR testing using the built-in infrared illuminators of the LPR-IP7 camera. The IR night vision of these cameras works great.

Additional License Plate Camera Videos

LPR Camera Videos

You can watch additional LPR camera video demos here.

Video Transcript

Hey guys, Mike from CCTV Camera Pros here. In this video, I’m going to compare the difference between a license plate reader camera, and a license plate capture camera. So first off, let’s start with what is a license plate capture camera. Basically a license plate capture camera, or LPC camera is a specialized camera that can capture license plates clear enough on video so that a human can go back and identify plates on the recorded video. So it’s a manual process. The video is crystal clear to capture plates, but you have to go back and review that video and identify the plates manually.

Now, what is a license plate reader camera? Well, a license plate reader camera can also record plates clear enough so that a human can see them when reviewing recorded video. But in addition, a license plate reader camera, or LPR camera also can identify the plates. It can detect a plate when it’s coming into the viewing area and bookmark those events on the recorder. In addition, our Viewtron LPR cameras have built in ANPR software in them. ANPR software stands for automatic number plate recognition. So in addition to being able to record the plates crystal clear, in addition to be able to detect the plates when it comes into the viewing area and bookmarking those events on the recorder, the recorder also has that ANPR software that can identify the letters and numbers of the plates, and it can even compare those license plate numbers to a database or multiple databases or the recorder. So if you want to have an approved list of plates that can open up a gate or something like that, it can do that. These Viewtron LPR systems can integrate with a gate system. So let’s take a look at some demo video. I’ll show you demos of both a license plate reader camera and a license plate capture camera.

Here’s some video surveillance footage that was recording using our LPR-AHD5 license plate capture camera. These videos were recorded with the camera connected to a Viewtron hybrid BNC DVR. The video on the left is the license plate capture camera, and the video on the right was recorded using a standard security camera that has no license plate capture capability. Also note that this is a 1080p or two megapixel resolution BNC camera that connects the DVR using RG59 coax cable. You will notice that the LPC camera is compensating for the fast rate of speed that the cars are traveling. The standard camera does not do that. In addition, the LPC camera also compensates for vehicle headlight and taillight glare. The LPC camera also compensates for the reflective materials that some license plates are made from.

I’ll let this play for a little longer while I mentioned that in the security industry, the term LPR and LPC are sometimes used interchangeably. A lot of security camera suppliers use the term LPR or license plate recognition generically for any security camera that can read plates clearly. So once again, this is a video recording using the license plate capture camera. We are manually playing back the video footage on the DVR. There is no automatic plate detection or automatic number plate recognition software.

Next, here is the license plate reader camera. This is a live view on the Viewtron NVR that the LPR camera is connected to. Watch as the car approaches, the LPR software is going to detect the license plate and automatically recognize the numbers and letters on it. This is displayed on the event screen over here on the right. I’m going to drive by one more time going the other direction so that you can see the LPR camera detect the rear license plate also. Watch how easy it is to search and play back all of the license plate recognition events on the NVR.

I’m going to select intelligent analytics from the menu over there on the left. And then on this screen, I’m going to select the Viewtron LPR camera and select okay. And then, for the event, I’m going to select plate detection. I already selected today for the date, and then I’m going to click search. Here’s all the license plate recognition events that occurred today. So you can see the thumbnail of the plates here. And if I click on these three dots, that’ll show you a bigger image of the thumbnail and you can verify that the characters on the plate were recognized properly here.

If I wanted to, I could register this plate in the database. I’m not going to do that in this video, but you could just click register and then add that to a group in the database like for authorized plates. If I check this box over here and then click playback, that’ll start playing back the recorded video surveillance. On the player, I could play back the video in forward, in reverse, in regular speed or sped up.

Guys, I want to mention a couple things before we wrap up. CCTV Camera Pros carries both a LPR camera, a license plate reader camera, and a license plate capture camera. Why do we carry both? Well, there’s a couple reasons why. Our LPC camera, the license plate capture camera, that’s AHD BNC camera, so it runs in AHD and HD-TVI format, and it is a coax camera or a closed circuit television camera CCTV. So if you have existing coax cable in place and you’re not ready to upgrade to an IP camera system, or you can’t run new cable and you want to leverage your correct cable, that BNC LPR camera that we demonstrated, the LPC camera, is an excellent choice. We’ve been selling it for years. We have hundreds, if not thousands of them out there being used in the field and they work excellent.

If you are installing a new system and you do not have cable in place, I highly recommend that you install high quality CAT5E or Cat6 cable and go with our IP LPR camera, which is the license plate reader camera that I demonstrated in the video. That’s a Viewtron LPR IP camera, and that one does the license plate capture crystal clear. It has the LPR, the license plate reader, as well as ANPR software so that it can detect the numbers and letters on the plates.

Even if you don’t need a license plate database, just being able to bookmark all of the license plate reader events on the NVR is a huge time saver. If you ever need to go back and review footage, it’s no longer a manual process of looking through hours or days of video. You can jump to all of the LPR events on the NVR. It’s a huge advantage.

If you have any question about license plate reader cameras or license plate capture cameras, feel free to reach out to me anytime. I can be reached directly at If you want to learn more about LPR and LPC cameras, please visit Thank you for watching.