What's the difference between HD and Megapixel Cameras?

Author: John Honovich, Published on Jan 29, 2009

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.

***** **** *** *** **** ** ********* ************ *******, ** was **** *** **** ***** ********* ******* ** *** ********* cameras *****. ************, ******** *** **** ******* **** * ******* pixels ** **** ****** **** ********* *******. *******, ** *** last * ******, * ****** ** ************* **** ***** ******* their *** ********* ******* ** **.

******, **** ********** **, ****** **** ********* ** *** *********, causing **** ** *** **** ** *** ********** *** ***** is ******?

HD **. *********

** ** * **** ** ********* ******. *** ** ******* are ********* *** *** *** ********* ******* *** **.

***** ******** ********** ******* (*.*., ****** ******* *** **** ** cameras) **** ** **** **** ***,*** ******, *** ********* ******* (including **) **** *,***,*** ** **** ******.

HD's *** ******** ******** ** ******* *********

*** *** ******** ** ** *** ***** ************ **:

  • ******* ** ********** ** *.***, ******* ********* ********** ** **** or **** **** *** ******* *** ****** **** ******** *******
  • ** ***** ****** ** **** * *** ** **** * 1080 (********* ******* *** ***** **** **** *******)
  • ** ****** ***** ** **:* (******** ** *:* ** *:* in ***** ************ *******)
  • ** ***** **** ** **/** (***** ********* ******* *** ***** 3 - ** ******)
  • **** *** ******* ********** ********* (***** ********* ****** ********* *** number ** ******)
Which ** ******?
**** ** *** * ***** *** **** - ** **** depend ** ************. **** ************ ****** **** **** **** *.*** (the ******* *** **** *****) *** ** *** **** **** frame ***** (***** ****** ****** ***-** ********* *******). ***** ************ will **** **** ***** **** ***** **** *** ******* ***** quality (***** ** ******* **** ** ****).
*******, ***** **** *** *** *** ********* ******* **********, ****** **'* ********** ** ******** *************. ******, * *** this ** * ******* *********** **** ** ****' **** ** generate ********* *************** **** ********* ********* ********* **** ********* ******,********************. ** **** ********* *** ******** ******** ** *****. **** aspect *** *** ******* ******** *** ** **** **** ********* perceived *******.

[***************]

Aspect *****

*** **** ************ ************, *** **:* ****** ***** ** ** cameras **** ** **** ********* ** *** *:* ****** ** traditional ********* *******.

** ************, *** ********* **** ** **** *** ***** **** you **** ** *** ****. *** ****** ** **** ****** and ******** *** **** ** **** *** **** *** ** anywhere ****** * **** ****.

*******, **** **** *** **** *** **** ** *** * HDTV ******. *** ********, ** *** *** * *** ****** (2048 * ****), **** *** ****** *** *** *** **** the **** ********* ****** ***** *** ********** ** * ***** HDTV ******. ************, **** ****** *** ** **** ** **** expensive **** * ***** **** ******.

Frame ****

**** ************ *** **** **** ** ****** ** ****, ***** is ***** ******* *** *** *******. ***** * *** ** attention **** ** ***** ** '**** ***** ****', *** ******* is ************ ************ **** ************* **** *** ***** ****** *** second *** **** ********** ** *****.

** *** ***** ****, ***** **** ** ******* ************ (**** casinos ** ***** ********) ***** ************ *****. * ** ***** per ****** ****** ******** ** ***** ***** ** ************; * 30 ***** *** ****** ****** ***** ** ************. ** **** camera **** *** ** **. **** ** ************* ***** **** fast **** ********* *** *** **** **** **** * **********.

Video ******* - ********* **** ** *****

*** ****** **** ******** ** *** **** ***** **** ********* is *** ******** ****** ** ** ** *******. *** ********, I *** *** **** ** ****** ** ******** *** *** image ******* *** *********. ** ********, * *** *** ***** 1080p ** ****** ** **** *** ** ****** **** * webcam. ** ******, **'* **** ***** ***** *** **'* ********** to ****** **** *** *** ********* *** ****** ** ******* are ***** ** ******* *** **** *******.

****

** *** *** ***** ** ******* *** ***** ****** ** a *********** ******* ** *********** *** *******. **** **** ** $1495. *****'* ** ****** ** $****. ******** **** ** ** Arecont *** *.*** ***** ***** ** *** ******** *** **** than $*** *** ******** ***** ** ** ******* **** $****. Is * **% ******* ***** **?

Marketing ** ** ******* **** ** ****

***** ****' ****** ***** *** *** ******* ****** ** ****, the ******** ** ** ************ ******* ** ****** ********* **** to ****. ****** ** **** ********* ***** *********, ******** ** going ** **** ***** ** **** *** ********, ****** ******* matching ** ******** ** ******** ********* ** *********/************.

Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts unique testing and research funded by member's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.

Other Reports on Megapixel Cameras

TVI Launches 3MP, 4MP, 5MP Analog Cameras on Oct 29, 2015
One key barrier to HD analog is about to fall. This is a live report from China's CPSE show in Shenzhen where the company behind TVI, Techpoint,...
Camera Course Summer 2015 on Jul 08, 2015
This is the only independent surveillance camera course, based on in-depth product and technology testing. Lots of manufacturer training exists...
Beware: The Magical HD Analog Converter on Jul 07, 2015
What if there was a small device that could instantly convert / translate between AHD, CVI and TVI? Gone would be any compatibility issues between...
HD SDI / HDcctv Tutorial on Aug 20, 2014
Want megapixel but don't want IP? That's the promise of HD SDI / HDcctv. In this tutorial, we examine what it is, how it differs from IP Megapixel...
New Multi-Imager Panoramic Competitor to Arecont on May 19, 2014
Arecont has held a near monopoly on multi-imager panoramics, an important niche within surveillance for covering wide areas. Now, Secubest, a...
720 Degree Camera - IC Realtime on Mar 25, 2014
Now that essentially every IP camera manufacturer has 360 degree cameras, are you ready for a 720 degree one? Well, that is what IC Realtime is...
Camera Test: PPF Needed For IDs, Text, Money on Feb 19, 2014
Need to see the fine print of a dollar bill, euro, driver's license or text on a document? We tested 3 different types of print. Currency, both...
Why Megapixel Mis-Marketing Works on Jun 08, 2013
Both megapixel and video analytic manufacturers routinely mis-market their products, vastly overstating their capabilities. One market, analytics,...
Dallas Airport: The Massive Cost of JPEG2000 on May 01, 2013
The Love Field Modernization Program (LFMP) is an ongoing $519 million dollar project to upgrade Dallas Love Field Airport that has received...
Megapixel Man of the Year on Apr 04, 2013
A brilliant marketing move or a bizarre waste of time? One manufacturer is sponsoring the 'Megapixel Man of the Year' award, causing a small...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Panoramic IR Illuminator Tested (Axton Nano) on May 04, 2016
The Axton Nano is designed to illuminate large areas from above, aiming to cover much wider areas, up to 4,600 square feet, unlike typical...
Integrator Competitiveness Survey 2016: Mass Market Worse, Higher End Robust on May 04, 2016
150 security integrators told IPVM about competitive trends in the security industry over the last 3 years. Overwhelmingly, integrators feel...
Camera Innovation is Amazing on May 04, 2016
The innovation in the video surveillance camera market has never been higher or faster. While there is much negativity about the race to the...
One Day Left - Camera Course Spring 2016 on May 04, 2016
Tomorrow is the last day to register for the Spring 2016 camera course. Here is what is new for the 2016 course: HD analog: Expanded coverage...
BCDVideo Company Profile on May 03, 2016
BCDVideo claims better value and servers specifically selected for video surveillance, an improved experience versus working with a server...
Avigilon Is Cash Strapped, Commodity Company, Charges Analyst on May 03, 2016
Avigilon has come under attack by an analyst in SeekingAlpha charging that the company is 'cash strapped', 'becoming a commodity', with...
Software House Access Control Company Profile on May 02, 2016
In our 12th access company profile, we examine Software House's C-Cure access control platform: Comparing Software House to their...
Micropower Fails on May 02, 2016
Wireless video surveillance is a tough business. Micropower sought to deliver a wireless, turn-key, professional video solution. The most famous...
FLIR Latitude VMS Test on May 02, 2016
FLIR spent nearly $100 million on DVTel, primarily for one product - DVTel's enterprise VMS. Though FLIR has killed the DVTel brand, they are...
Ubiquiti Cloud Video Tested on Apr 29, 2016
  The cloud continues to expand in video surveillance. Ubiquiti's newest release offers a free upgrade adding cloud capabilities. In this test,...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact