How Interested Are You In 4K Ultra HD IP Cameras?

Early this year, there was a lot of talk about the move from 1080p / 2MP to 4K / 8MP cameras (with Bosch making a marketing push for 4K and then later delaying release).

Is getting a 16:9 8MP / 'standardized' / 30fps camera that interesting to you? Or are you happy with 1080p, 5MP, 10MP?

Also, we are trying out a new polling feature which we have developed ourselves to more seamlessly track and issue polls. In the future, we will allow members to launch their own polls, which we believe will be a powerful tool to gather market feedback.

Depends on what I get out of it and how much it costs.

...or how much I can mark it up by using the latest consumer electronics buzzword?

Good question. My thinking on this is once 4K becomes mainstream for consumers in the livingroom, the expectation for having it supported in surveillance cameras will follow. Whether it is necessary or an improvement for our industry is the real question. In a business often driven by glossy specs, 4K is better than 1080p, 3MP or 5MP. Higher seems to always be percieved as better. Its a good thing for the storage manufacturers.

I think increasing resulution is a good thing. But this is not enough. Often when resolution is increasing, on the first generation of sensors the low lux sensitivity is poor, WDR also, and etc...mainly due to pixels size.

I think also DSP capabilities to compress well without quality loss is necessary.

So increasing resolution yes, but without degrading performance. If lux sensitivity, WDR, bandwith... is degraded, i prefer keep good 720p/1080p products that are mature now.

Do you think i'm wrong John?

I'm still new to this (hense me being in IP Camera Fundementals), but with how much coverage/detail one would need, but 4K seems like overkill. I agree with Joel and thinking that as it becomes the standard in the living room, the unknowing decision makers will want it. With more detail, what's the purpose? What do we gain is an advantage over what we have available to us now? If we faced a 4K camera at a crowd of people at a concert, could we get facial recognition on all of them?

If "Life Imitates Art" then consider we have considerable resolution and fantasy zoom function to make reality of before we approach the 'CSI Effect'.

At some level, until camera resolutions reach critical mass compared to consumer expectations, it won't stop the path its on. The 'megapixel race isn't over' by some distance yet.

I would have to agree with some of the above posts, that although the practical use isn't really needed, the consumer always wants the bigger and better bang for their buck.

I would like to go further on Kevin's point. The overkill with the 4K isn't really worth it when we are typically just monitoring our campus' or work places. We need enough to identify who the subject is that we are targeting but having that much does not justify the price that this could be. I know that from a security stand point with my company we want enough to see who it is, be able to give a pretty detailed description but I could not justify this or get it approved.

This is a great topic. I tend to disagree with Joel about the adoption rate going main stream in the consumer market prior to the surveillance industry. In surveillance we care about evidence and don’t need to display 4k resolution on a 55’ monitor. In consumer market monitors are starting at 50’ + because a 32’ 4k monitor will not bring the wow factor to the home. That combined with price, lack of options, content, delivery method (compression), capturing devices and many more are way more hurtles for consumer mainstream than surveillance. The general consumer doesn’t have the real estate for a 60+ inch television that combined with the price leaves a challenge. Manufacture’s from the consumer side of 4k are arguing the opposite here’s a recent article I think is a stretch but interesting.

I feel it’s fair to say that manufacturer’s coming out with 10MP & up resolutions are still considered niche applications or the sales guy’s call ‘sizzle that sells the steak’ which is 1080p on 95% of jobs sub 5% on ultra HD but, if 4k can be delivered at a reasonable cost and clear integration path I feel it has a stronger chance for mainstream in the next 2 years. Of course at the end of the day it’s still all about evidence so what Vincent mentions about WDR, low-light performance will be critical with any new 4k camera.

I'll wait for the 8k IP camera for my soon to be delivered 85" 8k Sharp 85" TV for the office

I think I had heard Todd Rockoff chatting about it showing at ISC West 2014 for the HdCCTV Alliance ;)

Now we have added a new mix into the puzzle. A high MP camera needs a display that can match it and vice versa. How much was the 85" 8K TV?

I think ultra HD is more interesting to increase image quality of zooms during playback rather than displaying live streams.


I never saw a price I think Sharp was just demo'ing it CES this year. Probably just a mere $20k ;)

Maybe I'm just being overly cynical, but is there really any difference between "4K" in cameras, and 8MP? Or is this just another example of surveillance manufacturers jumping on "hot" buzzwords? Like, 2MP cameras had been around a while before everyone started touting them as 1080p... exact same thing, but "1080p" is a term more consumers are familiar with that they automatically associate with "High Def!!!"

8MP? Yeah, nice stuff... but nothing really new and innovative, just the ongoing constant progression of the technology.

The difference is aspect ratio, frame rate, and marketing. And if they really want to follow SMPTE specs (some do, some don't), there are a lot of color and image quality things to account for as well.

Well yeah, aspect ratio, SORT OF... like, 2MP could be almost any combination of aspects adding up to approximately 2 million pixels, whereas 1080p is defined as 1920x1080... of course, that only serves to open up the old "what is the best aspect ratio" debate. I believe "1080p" as a spec also defines things like framerates and other aspect that surveillance cameras don't necessarily follow.

So... yeah. Marketing.

I think the key here is that the 4K sensors will be mass produced and drive the cost of the cameras way down. When a 8MP camera costs less than a 3 or 4MP camera, which do you think end users will want?

They'll always want the highest resolution..... until you hit them with the storage costs and tell them about any possible low light issues.

No, scratch that, they rarely listen to the drawbacks. :)

Anyways, seems like we are always pushing the limites of prcoessing power and storage. Just as terabyte drives are getting bigger and cheaper (who would have thought about terabyte drives 10 years ago), we throw higher resolution cameras in the mix before we can make the best use of the gains. We (security industry) drag our feet on so many areas of technology, except when it comes to camera resolution.

I am not at all excited about 4K. 8 MP and up have been around for a while (if you are talking in a technology time frame). Woopty doo about aspect ratio and high frame rate, who cares, this is video surveillance, we are not trying to watch Avatar on a huge screen. How much you wanna bet that most people who have these in their system wont have a 4K monitor? Yeah I know you can still digitally zoom in. But if you arent going to use a 4K monitor, I cant see much reason to get all excited about a 4K camera compared to an 8MP camera thats at a different ratio.

But yes, if they are mass produced like a previous poster said, then it only makes sense to carry them as opposed to a more expensive 5 or 8 MP camera. All I am saying is I am not all excited about the "technology" part of it. woopty doo!

Really? 8MP or higher is available from who? There a just a few vendors that are H.264 and none that have an fps over 10. Options are quite limited.

Also, those 4K cameras will typically come with a 12MP 4:3 mode, for those that like higher pixel counts.

I never get the camera resolution is higher than the monitor resolution argument, considering 90% of users rarely watch video live, and the remaining typically watch multiple cameras at once simultaneously. Despite that, the evidentiary benefit is still what drives higher resolution adoption.

I agree that it's not revolutionary but it's more than woopty doo.

For those that are negative on 4K, you will enjoy this critique from Consumer Report's Labs, arguing that the visual differences between 1080p and 4K are minor and hard to tell unless you are really looking closely or right next to the screen.

This makes total sense to me (1) because films typically use narrow FoVs so you are not going to gain much details by jumping resolution in a 5, 10, or even 20 foot field of view (20' wide FoV on 1080p is already 100ppf). (2) because people are rarely, if ever, interested to digitally zoom into films to see fine details (the point of movies for most is to sit back and relax, not investigate the set used).

While I do not think this has any bearing on the application benefits of 4K to surveillance, if consumers are underwhelmed by 4K, the 'halo' effect that helps push surveillance sales will be minimized.