Consumer HD Use Fuels Security Camera Innovation While Driving Down Costs

In our discussions with several Tyco global account customers, the question was raised regarding the emergence of high definition (HD) technology for video surveillance cameras and how it compares to megapixel technology. We asked a few of Tyco’s technology experts how they view the future of HD cameras and how our global account customers may benefit from this new trend.

“All HD cameras are megapixel but not all megapixel cameras are HD,” said Bill Lawrence, Director, Video and Applied Technologies.

HD is a type of megapixel camera with a maximum resolution of 2.1 million pixels (1920 x 1080) and must conform to certain video standards regarding frame rates, image size and aspect ratio. Non-HD megapixel cameras are not required to conform to these standards, and while the image resolution may be much higher in terms of pixel count, they often deliver video at much slower frame rates, according to Lawrence.

Jay Hauhn, Vice President, Technology and Industry Relations, said that the high use of HD in the consumer arena is driving innovation in security applications. Non-HD megapixel, while impressive, is still somewhat proprietary technology for each manufacturer, so innovation will not be as brisk.

“With HD being the video broadcast technology used in the consumer arena, it has quickly matured as a technology and is based on open standards.  The use of standards will eliminate issues early adopters had with non-standardized IP video products,” said Hauhn. “Non-HD megapixel is not currently as standards-driven as HD.”

Hauhn and Lawrence expect that HD’s value will eventually surpass megapixel technology.One reason is simple economics: The price of HD components continues to drop in the consumer world, and those savings will help make HD a more affordable technology for use in security.

Megapixel, however, is expected to remain the technology of choice for applications that require extra detail for forensic and other purposes.

“Certain applications require image detail that is not available with HD cameras because of their pixel limitations,” Lawrence said. “For these types of applications, higher resolution non-HD megapixel cameras would be a better choice. For normal video surveillance applications – particularly where live video is being viewed – the higher frame rates of HD provide a more familiar context in which to view a situation as it develops.”

Global customers should keep their eyes on the future of HD. Prices are predicted to continue to trend down because of HD’s hold on the consumer market.

“Soon, extremely high quality video will be available for even basic applications,” Hauhn said. 

Consumer HD Use Fuels Security Camera Innovation While Driving Down Costs

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