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What's CCTV/IP camera resolution?


Like a lot of things involving technology, the world of CCTV is a little confusing if you do not educate yourself on how this stuff works. This can be a major problem when you are ready to have a surveillance system installed because you won’t know what to buy, what’s best for you or who to trust. This only causes headaches, stress and will cost you lots of money in the end. One of the single most, if not the most important aspect of CCTV you need to know about is RESOLUTION. Resolution can be summed up as the recording quality from the cameras and DVR or how clear the video will be. You need to know this before you have a system installed. CCTV resolution is measured in horizontal and vertical pixels and is only limited by the quality of both the cameras and the DVR that you are using. Below are a list of CCTV resolutions and definitions.

CCTV Resolutions

  • CIF - 352 x 240 (VHS quality, old and outdated)
  • D1 - 704 x 480 (DVD quality)
  • 960H - 960 x 480 (wide D1, highest analog CCTV resolution, DVD quality)
  • HD-CVI -1280 x 720 and 1920 x 1080 (720p and 1080p hi-def)
  • IP - 1280 x 720 and 1920 x 1080 (720p and 1080p hi-def)
  • HD-SDI - 1920 x 1080 (1080p hi-def)

CIF Resolution

CIF (pronounced “sif”) recording is an old, outdated recording resolution (352 x 240) and is really only used today for the “extra stream” video for DVR remote viewing (when you view your system over the Internet, iPad or Smartphone this is what you get). Some DVRs still offer one or even several channels of CIF recording because the DVRs are not hi-quality or because, I guess, to use for “less important” channels/cameras. This way, the “more important” (higher res) channels can be used and this saves on hard disc space. Older systems use CIF recording because they had to, but with today’s technology, stay away from this if possible. 420-480 TVL cameras.

D1 Resolution

D1 (720 x 480) DVRs have this resolution and only the best recorders can record D1 at 30 fps (frames per second). Many DVRs are advertised that they support “D1 real time recording” or “full D1” (30 fps), but if you read the DVRs small print, they are only recording at a much reduced frame rate, or at an outdated VHS quality CIF resolution (360 x 240) on many of the channels. D1 camera resolution maxes out at around 600 TV lines. D1 has about 400% the resolution than CIF.

Features of D1

  • D1 has about 400% more resolution than CIF
  • Less expensive than hi-def systems
  • Highest quality standard CCTV resolution
  • Very good record and playback, DVD quality video
  • Very good quality-D1 will protect you and your business

960H Resolution

Also known as WD1, 960H is the name given to a series of CCD image sensors developed by Sony in 2009. These CCD image sensors are capable of capturing video images at a resolution of 960 x 480. The 960H CCD sensor is often used with Sony's new DSP (Digital Signal Processor) known as Effio, which further enhances the quality of the video image. Traditionally, the maximum resolution from an analog CCTV camera was around 600 TV lines. With the use of Sony's new 960H CCD and features from the Effio DSP, resolutions of 700 TVL can be achieved with 960H DVRs (beware of DVRs that have 960 in the model name because this often refers to the total frames the DVR can support, not the resolution).

Features of 960H

  • 960H has about 34% more resolution than D1
  • Less expensive than hi-def systems
  • 34% more image size and wider resolution than D1
  • No re-wiring work required for existing coaxial cable
  • Cheap upgrade path from D1 systems

HD-CVI Resolution

1280 x 720 (720p) and 1920 x 1080 (1080p) hi-def systems. This is very exciting news: Dahua Technology has developed HD-CVI (high definition composite video interface) technology that gives users affordable hi-def video systems. HD-CVI can use standard coax cable that can transmit audio, hi-def video and data signals together. Higher end coax will allow runs over 1500 ft. without interference or degradation. This is the best of IP and HD-SDI without the cost and tech issues found in both formats. 1.3MP (720p) and 2.2MP (1080p) HD-CVI cameras are used.

Features of HD-CVI

  • 720p has about 200% more resolution than 960H and about 300% more than D1
  • 1080p has about 200% more than 720p, 400% more than 960H and 600% more than D1
  • 720p and 1080p hi-def systems
  • Mega pixel (MP) cameras means hi-def images means less cameras
  • Clean, crisp hi-def video
  • 2-way audio and transmit 3 signals over one cable (video, audio and data)
  • The best option (over IP and HD-SDI) for upgrading from standard-def to hi-def
  • Less complex than IP based systems

Network IP Resolutions

IP hi-def 1280 x 720 (720p) and 1920 x 1080 (1080p) are probably the most common formats. An IP (Internet protocol) camera sends and receives data via a computer network and the Internet (the term "IP camera" usually only applies to surveillance cameras). Centralized IP cameras require an NVR (network video recorder) to handle the recording. Decentralized cameras have recording functions built-in and can record directly to a flash drive or hard drive. IP cameras vary in pixel resolutions (measured in millions or MP) from 1 MP (1200 x 900), 2MP (1224x1632), 3MP (1536x2048), 4MP (1704x2272) and up to 29MP. With a “true to spec” high MP camera, higher resolutions and much larger video images will be recorded. With this, a user can zoom in on the digital images to pull up a person’s face or license plate from across the street.

Features of IP cameras

  • 720p- 200% more than 960H, 300% more than D1
  • 1080p- 200% more than 720p, 400% more than 960H, 600% more than D1
  • 720p and 1080p hi-def systems
  • Mega pixel (MP) cameras means hi-def images means less cameras
  • Wide variety of MP cameras
  • Clean, clear, crisp images
  • Larger MP cameras can produce large images for easier identification from far away
  • Images can be viewed, saved, downloaded over local networks

HD-SDI Resolution

1920 x 1080. HD-SDI is the name given to hi-def CCTV systems. HD-SDI CCTV cameras are capable of hi-def 1080p resolution. The technology behind HD-SDI cameras is the same as the cameras used for hi-def movies. Until a few years ago, the only available option for hi-def systems was to use network IP cameras. With HD-SDI, users can now capture 1080p resolution surveillance video. One of the most impressive features is the DVR digital zoom. Like IP and HD-CVI, you can zoom in on recorded video (faces, license plates) to make positive IDs without loss of quality. In most cases, the same RG59 coaxial cable already in place can be used to upgrade to HD-SDI as top shelf (i.e. not junk) systems can be expensive. In other words, you save money on the installation. 2.2 MP HD-SDI cameras are used.

Features of HD-SDI

  • 1080p-200% more than 720p, 400% more than 960H, 600% more than D1
  • Mega pixel (MP) cameras means hi-def images means less cameras
  • Stunning, sharp image quality
  • Less complex than IP based systems
  • Easy upgrade from standard CCTV to HD-SDI
  • Digital zoom function can be used on “live” or saved images

1080p record/monitoring

To sum things up, below is a diagram that illustrates the differences between CIF, D1, 960H, 720p and 1080p pixel dimensions and image sizes. This translates to not only an increase in pixels and size but in image detail, resolution and clarity.

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Article details
Article ID: 28
Category: Knowledgebase
Date added: 2014-08-22 12:08:30
Views: 5249
Rating (Votes): Article rated 4.8/5.0 (55)

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