Video Surveillance

‘Mega’ Hit? More than More Pixels

January 1, 2011
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+

Bigger isn’t always better and less can beat more. Important keys to the video kingdom now include aspect ratio, actual resolution, frame rate and color rendition. Standards are essential except when they are not. Some images look spectacular on the exhibit floor but seem to wilt under the parking lot lights on Green Street. Especially when a pixel count gets higher, the lens can make trouble. Driven in part by live football games on home HDTVs, expectations of enterprise security leaders may be nearly impossible to meet in their security world or the price tag can significantly fall outside the budget. And when you bring in certain types of cameras, the dominoes – expensive, expected, complex and unanticipated – can start falling.

Enough said about megapixel and high definition (HD) cameras. Or is it?

If you start with the main differences between HD and megapixel, some answers are up for debate or stuck in marketing muck. All digital HD cameras are megapixel; some megapixel cameras are HD; some cameras with megapixel resolution have HDTV capacity; and, by the way, in today’s truthiness world, some HD cameras may not be HD but only “in the style of.”

Got a headache yet? Hang on.

Basically, knowledgeable integrators, who handle numerous security camera installations and camera brands, don’t look at “megapixel” as a recognized standard but rather an adaptation of the industry’s best practices, specifically referencing the number of image sensor elements of the digital camera. A megapixel camera doesn’t necessarily guarantee high image quality.

 

Motion Imaging Standards In Play

A camera that complies with any given HDTV standard ensures video quality at all times. And speaking of standards, just as consumer camcorder developments many moons ago brought CCDs to security cameras (an ironic twist on “down the tubes”), the consumer-oriented broadcast industry is today’s standards enabler thanks to the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, a technical society for the motion imaging industry, and its SMPTE HDTV standard.

Of course, there is no single type of camera that is appropriate for all applications, according to James Marcella, director, technical services, Axis Communications. His suggestion: Only by carefully analyzing the goals of the video surveillance installation can the right requirements be defined. Often the answer lies in combining HD cameras and megapixel cameras with a selection of standard resolution cameras that are optimized for other needs. By balancing different types of network cameras, a solution can be designed that is effective, reliable and cost-efficient and fulfills the desired image usability.

No doubt, the bottom line on megapixel and HD cameras is increasing the resolution when viewing, storing or retrieving and viewing video, adds Marcella, who identifies complementary elements such as intelligence at the edge or at the server, bundled into network cameras, tamper resistant, video motion detection, people counting, the control of bandwidth and the need for more and different storage.

Testani emphasizes that standard HD is 720 and 1080 pixels with a 16:9 aspect, but realize that the higher the resolution, the higher the bandwidth and the overall cost of ownership will be higher at this point.

 

What About the Storage?

Then there is increased cost of storage when moving to megapixel and HD cameras.

Combining megapixel cameras with a powerful video management system and flexible storage, Boch Automotive, the number one Toyota dealer in New England and the number one Honda dealer in the U.S., had an analog surveillance system that no longer was able to meet the demands of the high-profile auto dealer. New technology including storage from Intransa was installed. “With one comprehensive solution, we were able to immediately address the growing risk of theft and loss, while providing increased coverage, improved image quality, longer retention times and greater reliability,” says Ernie Boch, Jr., the CEO and president.

For many buyers, there is a transition from analog to digital, which can include megapixel cameras and networking.

For example, Merced College in Merced, Calif., has deployed a HD surveillance system from Avigilon as part of its proactive crime prevention strategy that includes advanced image clarity and to ease the transition from analog to HD performance as budget allows. “A key differentiator is the fact that it enables us to zoom in to examine specific details of an event while it is still recording, a feature we initially thought was too good to be true,” explains Deputy Sheriff Wilde of the Merced College Police Department.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Security Magazine. 

Recent Articles by Bill Zalud

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

ASIS 2013 Product Preview

ASIS International 59th Annual Seminar and Exhibits, September 24-27 in Chicago, Illinois, will include an exhibit hall packed with innovative security solutions. Here are some of the products that will be shown at ASIS this year.

Podcasts

Virtualization and Data Center Security: What You Need to Know for 2014

Data centers are increasingly becoming the center of the enterprise, and data center and cyber security is following the same path for security departments. According to Justin Flynn, a consultant at the Burwood Group, the virtualization of data centers allows enterprises to scale more easily and faster, with a smaller footprint.

However, hosting enterprise data in the cloud can make intrusion detection more difficult – how can enterprise security leaders team up with other departments to keep aware of cyber risks and traffic, and physical and data compliance during the virtual transition? How can CISOs and CSOs discuss cyber threats with the C-Suite to get the resources they need? And how can the proper infrastructure test and verify possible malicious attacks? 

More Podcasts

Security Magazine

August 2014

2014 August

In the August issue of Security Magazine, read about the public-private partnerships and the future of DHS with Frank Taylor, sneak a peek at the ASIS 2014 security products, and read a special report on cyber risk and security. Also in this issue find out why America is in desperate need of a CSO and the most common mistakes in Cyber incident response. The security game has dramatically changed since September 11th, read about what enterprises are doing to keep Americans safe and sound.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Adopting New Technology

How long do you wait before adopting a new technology?
View Results Poll Archive

THE SECURITY STORE

comptiahighriseproductphoto
CompTIA Security+ Certification Study Guide
CompTIA's Security+ certification is a globally-recognized, vendor neutral exam that has helped over 60,000 IT professionals reach further and higher in their careers. The current Security+ exam (SY0-201) focuses more on being able to deal with security issues rather than just identifying them.
More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

Vertical Sector Focus: Critical Infrastructures

criticalhomepagethumbFrom terrorism to vandalism, it’s preparedness, response, training and partnerships. Learn about some of the critical security issues facing this sector.

Visit the Critical Infrastructure page to read more.  

STAY CONNECTED

Facebook 40px 2-12-13 Twitter logo 40px 2-12-13  YouTube  LinkedIn logo 40px 2-12-13Google+