The Evolution of Backup Cameras: From Wired to Wireless


It’s 2023 and cars can drive themselves, charge themselves, sound an alarm when you cross a line, beep repeatedly when someone’s in your blind spot, and slam on the brakes for you if you get too close to the vehicle up ahead. Many of these features have garnished some pretty polarizing opinions, but when it comes to automotive technology there’s one thing we think most people are pretty on-board with and that’s the invention of the backup camera. Could you imagine trying to explain to someone from 100 years ago that we’d be able to record what’s happening ahead, behind, and around us while we’re driving? That we can look straight ahead but see hundreds of feet behind us without looking in the rear-view mirror? Let’s talk about it.

Early Days
At first, people were a little skeptical about trusting a small tv screen on their dash but now we think it’s fair to say that backup cameras have revolutionized driving since gaining popularity in the 2000s. What started as a concept in the late ‘50s became an expensive luxury option in high-end cars by the ‘90s and has now become a mandatory safety feature in all new vehicles. The future of safety is here, however, the evolution of backup cameras hasn't stopped.

Like most things, we humans tend to want to make what’s available bigger, smaller, louder, quieter, and overall just better so why would backup cameras be any different? At first, just having a backup camera meant you had the means to afford something so ground-breaking, but over time they became more compact, more jam-packed with features, more affordable, more widely available, and most recently there has been a shift from wired to wireless and even solar-powered backup cameras, bringing even more convenience and ease of use to drivers.

Wired vs Wireless

Wired backup cameras were the OGs of this tech, consisting of a camera mounted on the rear of the vehicle and connected to a monitor inside the car via…well, wires. While they may offer high-quality video and reliable connectivity, they can be time-consuming, and difficult to install. It’s worth mentioning that having your backup camera installed at an audio shop can be very expensive, especially if you add the infotainment receiver/ touchscreen panel. There’s also the risk that the wires could get damaged causing the camera to malfunction, and cable management isn’t historically everyone’s favorite pastime. If you know, you know. You may be thinking none of this really applies to your vehicle because it came with a backup camera from factory, but did you know that up until 2017-2018 ish, factory OE backup cameras didn’t display in HD quality? So even if you have a vehicle that is already equipped with the technology, if it was built more than a few years ago, you should take a look at our lineup of backup cameras and consider upgrading for a better, quality experience. 

Enter the era of wireless backup cameras. They burst onto the scene offering DIYers and wireless lovers a solution to all their tangled problems and have only grown increasingly more popular. As the name suggests, wireless technology is used to transmit the video signal from the camera to a monitor in the car as opposed to direct line communication, eliminating the need for running wires and playing around with the electrical system of your vehicle.

The installation process is much simpler too, making wireless backup cameras a great option for those who want to install a backup camera themselves in the driveway, without the need to ask or pay for professional installation. Wireless cameras are also more flexible than wired cameras, as they can be easily moved without too much of a hassle, making them the preferred choice for people who lease, rent, or own multiple vehicles. 

It’s also important to note that most wireless backup cameras are far more compact and dare we say, discreet, than wired cameras. Since there’s no need to leave room for bulky cables. it’s possible to mount them in a variety of locations which can help maintain the aesthetics of your car if that’s something you care a whole lot about. We don’t judge. 

Potential Pitfalls

Honestly, we can talk up wireless cameras all day and maybe we’re a little biased but we have a duty to discuss the downsides too. Like anything, quality plays a role so when you’re looking for a backup camera be sure to consider the video quality along with the price point. You can find some pretty fantastic deals but your footage might look like it was filmed with a potato and that’s arguably worse than not having a camera at all.

Most wireless backup cameras offer great video quality, but it’s important to note that it may not be as high as its wired counterpart depending on the brand or models you’re comparing. There is also a greater risk of interference or dropped connections, which could lead to a delay between the camera and the monitor making it a challenge to judge distances accurately, especially in critical situations. We understand that everyone has a budget, but when it comes to added safety, we suggest you buy the most reliable backup camera you can afford. 

End Results

At the end of the day, whether you go for a wired or wireless backup camera depends on your individual needs and preferences. Be sure to carefully consider the benefits and the drawbacks of each type before making a decision, but whatever your choice, the convenience, and safety that a backup camera provides are invaluable- there’s a reason they were made mandatory after all.

You don’t need to have a brand-new ride to benefit from the added safety of a rearview camera though since TYPE S has you covered with our range of front, rear, and 360-degree cameras that offer crystal clear images, reliable connectivity, are affordable for almost any budget and most importantly- easy to install. With a clear view of the area behind your car, you can avoid potential obstacles and hazards, reducing the risk of accidents and making driving a safer and more enjoyable experience for everyone on the road.

If you want to keep your dashcam or backup camera monitor securely in place, head over to the accessories page on our website and grab a suction cup mount or windshield mount and be sure to check out the suit of backup cameras TYPE S has to offer with views ranging from 110° to 160°.