Security Blog

Live from ISC West 2014: How 4K Resolution Impacts End Users

April 3, 2014

The phrase of the day at ISC West 2014 is “4K.” No, that’s not our casino winnings, but the latest innovation in video surveillance resolution. But what does it mean for enterprise security end users?

First off, the basics: 4K resolution is a generic term for display devices or content with horizontal resolution at the 4,000-pixel level. You’re most likely to have experienced 4K resolution on new ultra high-definition TVs, but content at this resolution is currently limited.

How does it compare to 1080p? Well, Full Ultra HD is 33.2 megapixels, and Ultra HD is 8.3 megapixels – twice the horizontal and vertical resolution of the 1080p HDTV format, with four times as many overall pixels.

Now, that’s all well and good for 3D-like media content, but what about security?

So far, the use of 4K for security applications has been hampered by the availability of lenses that can handle that level of resolution. But now that the glass has caught up to the camera capabilities, we’ve seen 4K news, releases, announcements and demonstrations from Axis Communications, Bosch, Arecont Vision, IQinVision, Sony and more. And while picture quality produced by these cameras is indeed astoundingly clear, it’s currently very much a niche product on an end user side.

One of the hang-ups of adopting 4K is that end users would require new 4K monitors to handle that resolution level. While these monitors are dropping in price (a quick consumer search produces results varying in price from less than $1,000 to $30,000), it would be a necessary cost of ultra HD.

Another is the application space: for most installations, 33 megapixels is overkill – that much detail just isn’t needed or usable in the average bank, retail location or office building, per se. However, for larger applications (I’m thinking stadiums, smart cities, airports or busy train stations, etc), this could be incredibly useful as both a technology reducer (it covers a lot of ground, and could potentially replace multiple cameras) and a force multiplier for investigations or virtual patrols.

Similar to existing megapixel technology, IQinVision used an example of a high school with an on-premise football field that might be located across a parking lot or far from the building. A 4K camera could be connected to the building, using existing cabling and reducing the need for trenching or other infrastructure investments, while still having a clear view of events on the field.

Bosch gave a different example, perhaps more tailored to ISC West – casinos could use this resolution on gaming floors to see the cards as they are laid on the table to help with investigations and to catch cheaters faster.

What do you think of 4K technologies? Is it just a buzzword or a new wave of HD solutions for your enterprise? What other applications could you think of for this resolution of surveillance camera?

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



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.


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

Security June 2015 issue cover

2015 June

In this June 2015 issue of SecurityIs the security director business’s new “corporate rock star?” Find out how CSOs can become the new leaders of their enterprises through mentorships, partnerships and creatively adding business value. Also, learn how security professionals are training employees in cyber security through games. And why are deterrence and detection so important when it comes to thwarting metal thieves? Find out in this issue.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Body Cameras on Security Officers

Body cameras are being used increasingly by police in cities across the U.S. Will you arm your security officers with a body camera?
View Results Poll Archive


Effective Security Management, 5th Edition.jpg
Effective Security Management, 5th Edition

 Effective Security Management, 5e, teaches practicing security professionals how to build their careers by mastering the fundamentals of good management. Charles Sennewald brings a time-tested blend of common sense, wisdom, and humor to this bestselling introduction to workplace dynamics. 

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.


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

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.