Analog 960H - Should I Be Using It?

Analog camera manufacturers are claiming 960H is better than regular D1. What do you think?

960H should be better than analog. However, you need new DVRs to take advantage of it.

It's supposed to be like SVGA was to VGA IP cameras - modestly higher resolution. The pitch for 960H is that it's cheaper than MP IP or HD SDI.

We are tracking it but have not seen much movement.

I could see it at the consumer / big box retailer level. I actually think I saw one kit a few weeks ago that was 960H so perhaps it will replace 'regular' analog at that level. For bigger analog users, the problem is the need to switch DVRs. Once you are doing that, you might as well seriously look at MP IP (or even HD SDI).

We have installed have one Speco DS 960H DVR with 10 Bosch analog cameras for a local retail store. Two of those cameras had the new 960H chip in. I was able to view the cameras at the DVR and remotely via the web to compare the video quality. I did notice the regular 540tvl cameras looked a lot sharper on live view through the web and on an HDMI monitor than the old non-960H DVRs did. I wasn't really to tell the difference between the 720TVL and 540TVL cameras. Since I quote both IP and analog to our prospects, I have been quoting them nothing but the 960H DVRs because of the improve video quality. I would like to see more 720TVL cameras out in the field before I make a sweeping statement though.

Steve, do you capture the 720TVL cameras at a higher resolution than you do others? I've seen 960H DVRs claim that you can capture at 960x480 or some such resolution, since they're "more clear".


We tested a Vitek 960H camera with a "test sample" inMotion 960H encoder before we decided we would need 720p cameras for certain areas. The results were underwhelming, to say the least. Resolution on a table game was no better than 4SIF/D1.

Help me. The limit for D1 is 540TVL correct? For DVRs, this limitation is in the recording and live view? In live view I have the actual resolution of the camera? Ex: 600TVL, 700TVL, etc...

960h is nothing at all to get excited about. To be honest its just another marketing whopper. I did a test on it when it first came out and took a regular D1 and 960H image, and compared them side by side. This was from a Dahua DVR as they were one of the first to adopt 960H, in a matter of fact, I think they were the first. At any rate, the 960H image (sometimes referred to as Wide D1) simply looks like a D1 image that has been stretched wider. There is extremely little added prosecutable evidence at all, if any, over a D1 image.

The one advantage that I did notice was that the live image did look a little sharper on a large flat screen compared to a D1 image. Not a huge difference but it was noticeable, But big whoop, the live image isnt really what matters in surveillance most of the time.

Some marketers have claimed that this approches 720p quality. Not even close. We are still talking about interlaced analog video, the image still looks very sub-par compared to a 720p IP camera or SDI camera.

The prices though, are starting to come down to where normal D1 analog DVR's are at. I imagine it will become norm for analog. I think we still start carrying a line soon ourselves.

They keep trying to get as much performance out of analog technology as possible. I even heard that they will be coming out with a 900 TVL CMOS soon. Yeah I know this is not possible, but people are going to see 900 TVL and jump all over it. Its amazing the power of marketing in this industry.

Sean, thanks for the detailed feedback, very helpful!

Eduardo, as Sean and others have mentioned, the 540TVL+ camera options, like 600TVL, 700TVL, 900TVL, etc. are mostly marketing attempts that are quite unlikely to make a major improvement in actual image quality.

Ethan, let me check on that, I have to quote the client add-ons and I want to double check the install anyway.

960H is supposed to be a widescreen format. Despite whatever funny misinformed/deceiving marketing is out there - 960H is about seeing more picture/wider picture the normal - NOT a sharper picture:

(in the above image - notice how the 960H image can see a bit of a parked car on the side, but the normal one can't)

From Lorex's 960H FAQ:

--> this quote from above link sums it up: "True to Life: 960H creates a wide-screen picture that does not need to be stretched to fit wide-screen TV's and monitors."

A real 960H DVR records in widescreen format and the extra horizontal pixels are at the sides of the image (960H vs normal NTSC 720H - 100 pixels extra on each side of the image).

There is not supposed to any improvement in picture quality - just that you see more picture/wider FoV.

Steve - Your Speco DS 960H is just a superior DVR then what you used - it has nothing to do with the 960H specification.

Ethan - 720TVL, 600TVL analogue cameras are all fluff. Pixim and others found using resolution charts years ago that PAL/NTSC analogue transmission standard limitations mean that 540TVL is the most you will ever resolve across the cable.

When I did my test, I did not notice any more width in my field of view at all. It showed the same exact field of view but the 960H image was just a "wider" image. What I mean by wider, is that if you set the images on top of each other, the 960H was just bigger looking in width. It did not increase the field of view at all, nor did it add any more objects in the field of view. When testing, you have to use the same exact camera, the same exact DVR with the same exact field of view to get a true test. The 960H DVR should allow you to encode at D1 as well, so what you can do is first take a snapshot with the encoded image at D1, and then switch to 960H and take a snapshot. You will notice there is no increase in field of view. Here are my findings:

Exported D1 image

Exported 960H image:

Please note that this image was taken from a 700 TVL camera with a Sony Effio-E chip in it, which is what these DVR's were designed to accommodate.

Maybe it's just me, but in the thumbnail versions, the 960H image looks like it has a sharper, clearer image. The calanders looks clearer and sharper. That doesn't transfer when I view the full size image though. Weird.

Sean - If you use a real 960H camera you will definitely get a wider FoV compared to a camera in the same product line with the same lens that is a 700tvl camera.

From your test images - I can see that the 960H image looks stretched and distorted aspect ratio wise compared to the natural D1 image. That is not a true 960H camera.

Whats a real 960H camera? A 700 TVL Effio-E processor combined with Sony Exview HAD II CCD is capable of doing this and this is exactly what I used on the test above.

I recommend that you test this yourself. If you have a Dahua DVR that is capable of doing 960H, please attach your best analog camera to it. On that particular channels encoding section, change it to D1, take a snapshot. Then change it to 960H, take a snapshot, post them on this forum. Unless they changed something in their firmware, I think you will have the same exact results as I did.

The image you posted above appears to be coming from 2 different cameras as they have slightly different angle and the colors are different. You have to use the same exact camera on both snapshots to get a true test.

Sean: You cannot use the exact same camera - just like when you compare a 1MP camera and a 2MP camera - you have to use different cameras! we are comparing 960H cameras to 700TVL cameras - you must use different cameras!

There are real 960H analogue cameras out there - they are not the same as 700TVL and they output a different signal ONLY 960H DVRs can decode.

I agree that you 960H DVR (Dahua?) is COMPATIBLE with 700TVL cameras - but it is meant to be pairsed with 960H cameras.

As an example: Dahua recently developed a analogue 1080p HD standard called HDCVI. Its still NTSC based analogue video travelling down RG59 up to 1000+ feet but its not the same analogue signal as current DVRs and you need a HDCVI compatible DVR to use it!

960H camera + 960H DVR == 960H widescreen CCTV solution.

Another example: Many HD-SDI DVRs also support analogue camera input - now you cannot expect to plug in a 700TVL analogue camera and cry "I am not getting my Full HD picture - give me my money back!" - you have to pair the DVR with its native

Sorry, but that is incorrect. 960H is not a special type of analog camera. Its simply referring to the Horizontal pixel count that some of these higher resolution analog cameras can put out. Most 700 TVL cameras have a pixel count of at least 960 horizontal pixels. For example, I go back to the Effio camera I keep referring to. Most cameras with Effio combined with Exview HAD II CCD are rated at 700 TVL, but their exact rated pixel count is 976H X 508V

In other words, a 960H camera can also be a 700 TVL camera. A 960H camera, as you are calling it, is not a different species of equipment like SDI and HDCVI. Its just a higher resolution analog camera, nothing real special about it.

And yes you can take the same camera, and notice a difference. For example, take an IP camera and put it in 720p mode and compare it to 1080p mode. The 1080p image is noticeably better.

What I am saying is 960H compared to D1 is not noticeable better at all.

Dear Sean Nelson,

I think you should have compared a 760H sensor with a 960H sensor in order to compare D1 with 960H.

Sony's sensor part number for SUPER HAD II NTSC 1/3"with 768x494 effective pixel is ICX638BKA (I guess thats what you used)

Sony's sensor part number for SUPER HAD II NTSC 1/3" 976x494 effective pixel is with ICX810AKA

I don't think that the Effio DSP matter here.

This discussion and the confusion as to what 960H actually means is one of the reasons we have not tested it yet. What everyone seems to agree on is that it's not that big an improvement.

960H simple means 960 Horizontal. I think some people get hung up on thinking that 960H means a 960 TVL rating.

Sure I agree with you there. Obviously the 760H camera may be slightly cropped compared to a 960H camera. But my point is just because a 700 TVL camera is 700 TVL doesnt mean its not a 960H camera. And yeah I agree with you, there are several other sensors that are rated at 960H or above as well.

My other point was to show when putting a so called "960H" camera encoded at D1 and putting the same "960H" camera and encoding it at 960H shows no significant improvement in image, not only that, but it also does not give you an increase in field of view either. So that brings me back to my point, that 960H is a big over marketed hype.

@ Andre: No I did not use the sensor you are referring to. I used the Exview HAD II, which this particular sensor paired with the Effio-E gives a rating of 976H X 508V. I do know that just because you have an Effio-E DSP, that does'nt mean you get a 960H pixel rating, I do know that it has to be paired with a particular sensor as well to achieve this rating, which my example did.

I could be wrong on all this, but again, I challenge anyone to get their best, most awesome high resolution analog camera, put it on a 960H DVR, encode at D1, and encode at 960H and take snapshots of both. Please show the images here and let us know if there is a noticeable difference in anything. My guess is that it wont be. There wont be any significant improvement in image quality nor will there be any increase in field of view.

Unfortunately I do not have a 960H DVR at hand right now to do the testing. I am still unsure wether you used

the 760H 1/3" Exview HAD II sensor (ICX658) or 960H 1/3" Exview HAD IIsensor (ICX872AKA,ICX672AKA,ICX678AKA)

Would you mind confirming your sensor part number for us?



NB: both sensors can be paired with Effio E

ICX679AKA with Enhanced Effio-E

Great, so that means that upgrading to 960H DVR should not be so relevant with what oyu have demonstrated. Thx for cleary this out.

Yes its not relevant, atleast from my findings. Even when using a "960H" camera like what I used, there was no "real" improvement of the image when switching from D1 to 960H. As you can see from my images.

This was just my observation when using a Dahua DVR. There are many other brands out there. I plan on testing a Hik soon, I am guessing though, that I will get similar results. But like I said, pricing is getting to be almost the same as regular D1 DVR's, and it just makes sennse to go with the 960H. Plus we are pretty much being forced to sell it, as everyone is asking about it. Gotta give the customer what they want!

Sean - curious if you ever ended up testing the HIK 960H and if the results were similar to the conversation above?

I never did. I cant imagine it being much different though.