A good baby monitor gives you piece of mind as you get on with jobs around your house. As a parent or guardian you may be asking which baby monitor to buy?
There are quite a few baby monitors available on the market. Analogue vs digital baby monitor is one question you maybe thinking about.
The majority of baby monitors available are digital. However, there are some good quality analogue baby monitors available too.
A range of aspects will influence your decision when considering what type of baby monitor to buy. They will most likely include:
- What budget you have available
- Do you need a video or audio only monitor
- Size and layout of your home
- Proximity to neighbours (who may also have a baby monitor) – potential interference issues
- Reliability and reviews available from friends.
Knowing the pros and cons for analogue and digital baby monitors will help you consider the right baby monitor for you.
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How does an analogue baby monitor work?
An analogue baby monitor transmits an analogue signal as a continuous audio (or video) signal. The signal is transmitted into a series of electronic pulses by a sending station or sending unit. The receiving unit picks up the signal and translates it into an audible and / or video signal.
The analogue signal is broken into smaller ‘chunks’ as it’s transmitted by the sending unit. The analogue signal will include any sound the signal has picked up. It is then put back together by the receiving unit.
Analogue baby monitor advantages
Analogue monitors are less expensive compared to digital monitors. It is cheaper to manufacture the technology required to send and receive an analogue signal.
Analogue monitors are considered to be safer to use in your baby’s room. An analogue signal is not as strong as a digital signal.They are less harmful to your baby or young child. Have a look at this website for more information.
Analogue baby monitor disadvantages
Analogue monitors use the 49 MHZ frequency band. Static and interference are picked up more easily by an analogue signal. Other analogue devices, such as cordless phones, can cause signal interference. Living in a built up area can cause static and crossover of signals from other analogue devices. An analogue baby monitor can pick up conversations from cordless phones, and taxi cabs.
Most analogue baby monitors come with a channel selection option to help prevent interference. The most recent monitors will automatically scan for a channel with least static. Others require manual channel selection. This will minimise static and interference problems. However, it won’t eradicate them entirely.
Another disadvantage is that analogue signals weaken quickly. They do not travel long distances well. An analogue signal will degrade quicker when having to travel through walls and floors. An analogue signal has a lot to cope with to get to its intended target.
How does a digital baby monitor work?
A digital baby monitor works exactly the same as an analogue monitor. It transmits a signal over a radio frequency. The main difference is a digital signal is sent using a different frequency – 2.4 MHZ. It’s also sent encrypted, and then decrypted when it’s received.
A digital signal breaks sound into binary code – ‘1s’ and ‘0s’. The digital signal is dis-assembled and transmitted to the receiving device. The signal is then re-assembled from the 1s and 0s into the original signal.
A digital signal knows that it should be re-assembled into a certain order. This helps correct errors that may occur while in transmission. This means digital signals are clearer compared to analogue ones. Check out the BBC site for a description of analogue and digital signals.
Digital baby monitor advantages
A digital baby monitor uses the 2.4 GHZ frequency. This frequency is rarely used by analogue baby monitors. This means there is less scope for interference and static.
A digital signal is not continuous, they pick up less noise and static. As a result, they are:
- able to transmit better quality data
- travel further before the signal degrades, and
- have increased signal capacity per second.
Compared to an analogue signal, a digital signal can travel further, transmits less noise and transmits more data.
Digital baby monitor disadvantages
Digital monitors are generally more expensive than analogue units. Newer technology and manufacturing involved means they cost more. However, the price of digital baby monitors has come down over the past few years.
While digital baby monitors are less prone to interference, they can still be affected. Wireless routers, mobile phones, microwaves and other electronic gadgets can cause interference problems. Automatic and manual channel selection is available on the majority of digital monitors.
Some parents are concerned about digital signals and the impact they may have on a baby. There is little scientific evidence to prove this. However, it’s advisable to place a baby monitor away from your baby’s cot. Place it a metre away from your baby’s cot or bed. Remember to tie down the cord securely when doing this.
Digital Enhanced Cordless Technology (DECT)
The vast majority of everyday digital baby monitors use 2.4 GHZ frequency to transmit sound and / or video signals. Baby monitors with DECT use the 1.9 GHZ frequency. This frequency is reserved for sound signals.
Few digital baby monitors use the 1.9 MHZ frequency. This means less interference, extra security and privacy for you. You may have to search a bit harder to find a DECT baby monitor. They tend to be more expensive as well. However, for the minimal interference they offer and extra security, the extra expense is worth it.
How to Choose the right baby monitor
I have listed the main advantages and disadvantages for analogue and digital baby monitors above. You should have a better idea of what one is right for you and your baby. You will also need to consider other factors before you decide to buy. I have put them in the order I think they are important. You may feel differently. But, I hope they help when choosing what baby monitor to buy.
Where you live makes a difference
Where you live, and the layout of your home will affect your choice of baby monitor. If you live in a built up area you would be wise to consider a digital baby monitor. The security of a digital encrypted digital signal will minimise interference. Other electronic gadgets around your home and from neighbours are the main culprits.
If you live in a large house, with two or more floors, a digital baby monitor is recommended. A digital signal is able to transmit further than an analogue signal. There is less chance of signal drop out and from interference. If you live in a small house or apartment, and neighbours aren’t in close proximity, you should consider an analogue baby monitor.
If your home has two or more floors, a baby monitor with a good signal range is a must. If you buy an analogue monitor and it can’t cope with the layout and size of your home, you will be wasting your money.
Portability is important too. A monitor with a portable parent unit is extremely helpful. You can go about your business knowing you can hear your baby if they need you. A baby monitor with parent unit that is tied to a power socket, or has poor battery life, won’t be much use.
There are a range of other features you should consider. There is a good selection of video baby monitors available. They are a little more expensive than audio only versions. However, the ability to see your baby, especially at night, can be useful to most parents. Being able to see your baby or toddler, awake or asleep, can help understand their bedtime routine.
Another feature to consider is a temperature sensor. The parent unit will show how hot or cold it is in your baby’s room. Knowing if they are too hot or cold can help your baby sleep better. This means you will sleep better too!
There are other features that you may feel are not needed. Although, others swear by them. They include built-in night lights, lullabies, two way-talk facility and light shows.
Analogue vs Digital Baby Monitor Summary
A baby monitor is a great piece of technology. They help you get on with jobs around the house, or rest, while your little one is asleep. A baby monitor gives you piece of mind. One of the first things to consider is what type you need. Do you need an analogue or digital baby monitor? The challenge is knowing what one to buy.
Choosing the right type of baby monitor will make sure you get one with a reliable and trusted signal. Then there’s the other features to consider. Such as, do you need a video baby monitor or audio only version? Do you need one with a temperature sensor, two-way talk back facility and built-in night light? There’s other features as well, but you get the idea.
I hope after reading the above on analogue vs digital baby monitor, you will have a better idea about what type of baby monitor you need.