X
Get all access to the world's best video surveillance information.
Logo
Free-book-promo-680-70

What's the difference between HD and Megapixel Cameras?

by John Honovich, IPVM posted on Jan 29, 2009 About John Contact John

While 2009 was the year of megapixel surveillance cameras, it was also the year where confusion between HD and megapixel cameras began. Historically, everyone who sold cameras with 1 million pixels or more called them megapixel cameras. However, in the last 6 months, a number of manufacturers have begun touting their new megapixel cameras as HD.

Indeed, Axis emphasizes HD, rather than megapixel in its marketing, causing many to ask what is the difference and which is better?

HD vs. Megapixel

HD is a type of megapixel camera.  All HD cameras are megapixel but not all megapixel cameras are HD.

While standard definition cameras (e.g., analog cameras and 4CIF IP cameras) have no more than 400,000 pixels, all megapixel cameras (including HD) have 1,000,000 or more pixels.

HD's Key Features Compared to Typical Megapixel

The key features of HD for video surveillance is:

  • Maximum HD resolution is 2.1MP, maximum megapixel resolution is 20MP or more with 5MP cameras are common from numerous vendors
  • HD video format is 1280 x 720 or 1920 x 1080 (megapixel cameras can offer many more formats)
  • HD aspect ratio is 16:9 (compared to 5:4 or 4:3 in other surveillance cameras)
  • HD frame rate is 30/25 (where megapixel cameras are often 3 - 15 frames)
  • HDTV has quality compliance standards (where megapixel simply specifies the number of pixels)
Which is Better?
 
This is not a clear cut case - it will depend on applications. Some applications really need more than 2.1MP (the maximum for HDTV today) and do not need high frame rates (those should choose non-HD megapixel cameras). Other applications will care more about high frame rate and maximum image quality (where HD cameras will be best).
 
However, since Axis has put its marketing efforts behind HDTV, expect HD's importance to increase significantly. Indeed, I see this as a cunning competitive move on Axis' part to generate perceived differentiation over incumbent megapixel providers such as Arecont Vision, IQinVision and Mobotix. It also leverages the consumer interest on HDTVs. This aspect may not improve security but it sure does increased perceived quality.
The complete report is available only to PRO Members.
Inside the Pro Section

In the premium section, we will explore in-depth:

  • When to use HD vs non-HD megapixel Cameras
  • The importance of aspect ratio and frame rates
  • Comparison of Axis, Cisco and other HD cameras
  • Contrasting costs of cameras

Want to read the rest of What's the difference between HD and Megapixel Cameras? and get immediate access?






Most Recent Industry Reports

The New Generation of Security Startups on Sep 02, 2014
New entrants to the security market are few and far between. However, there is one area that is clearly driving new security startups - crowdfunding. Crowdfunding has grown from a curiosity ...

IP Camera Firmware Upgrade Directory on Aug 28, 2014
Updating firmware can be one of the most tedious tasks involved in any IP camera system. It is not always clear what version is latest, what has changed or been fixed, and where to even download it...

Testing Hikvision High End Camera on Aug 27, 2014
Chinese manufacturer, including the two mega ones, Dahua and Hikvision, are best known in the West for super low cost, entry level cameras. However, how well do their 'higher end' ones one work? ...

A Major Flaw in Long Lenses and PTZs Found on Aug 26, 2014
Theoretically, long lenses should let you capture faces and license plates very far away. For example, over 900 feet away from a 1080p camera one should get over 40ppf from a 100mm lens. But how ...

Camera Calculator Adds Personal Scenes on Aug 25, 2014
By popular request, now you can visualize and optimize your own applications with your own images. The IPVM Camera Calculator has added personal scenes to our 6 pre-set ones. You are going to love...

Manufacturer Salary Results 2014 on Aug 19, 2014
IPVM has determined how much sales people, engineers, developers, and tech support are earning in our 2014 Manufacturer Salary Survey. This is the companion to our Integrator Salary Survey 2014 ...

Testing HD Lipstick Camera on Aug 15, 2014
Miniature IP / HD cameras are a growing trend. One of the downsides has been the addition of a 'head' or 'base' unit to do the encoding, often large or cumbersome enough to create installation cha...

Lockitron Tested on Aug 14, 2014
Lockitron is one of the most hyped products in years and maybe the most well known access control product ever. Ever since their crowdsourcing campaign began, this red-hot startup has won mill...

Integrator Salary Survey 2014 on Aug 13, 2014
IPVM has determined how much sales people, senior technicians, and entry level technicians are earning in our 2014 Integrator Salary Survey. Key highlights include: Good: Technicians can expe...

Testing IP Video - Super Low Bandwidth on Aug 08, 2014
Even today, there are remote locations, especially in security applications, where extremely limited bandwidth is available. Despite that, users want to be able to monitor video live. In a world ...