Multiple Compression Formats On The Same Video Management System

Will it be a problem running cameras with H.264, MJPEG & MPEG4 formats on the same VMS?


No, not generally. There will be differences in relative bandwidth / storage consumption, which could impact throughput (i.e., recording or displaying more MJPEG cameras).

But, besides that, from a user perspective, it should mostly appear seamless, with a user not knowing which camera uses which codec unless they check settings.

Btw, is this because you are using older cameras or? In new cameras, I do not believe anyone has used MPEG-4 for years. Some still use MJPEG for niche reasons.

Thanks for the comprehensive comments.

This is a legacy system with some older MPEG4 Panasonic & MPEG IQinVision cameras, to which we're adding a few new Axis units.

Should be fine.

I would check the version of the VMS software, i.e., is it up to date? Almost all VMSes have supported H.264 for more than 5 years so that should not be an issue but it might not recognize / support newer cameras if the VMS software is out of date.

I would also check the load / availability on the hardware. If it's older hardware, it might become overloaded. This is not an H.264 issue per se but a general expansion concern on legacy systems.

Will follow-up on your excellent suggestions. TYVM!

Of course, a smart question to also ask is if they will be supporting H.265, as those cameras will start coming to the market soon. This way you won't be stuck with another legacy system. Once it gets adopted, all future cameras, IMHO, willl go to H.265, except for the ultra price competitive models, which will take a few years longer...

Will you be doing server side motion detection, or monitoring directly on the server?

As others have said, most systems should not have a problem with this. Some newer ones may not support older practically-obsolete formats like MPEG-4 or almost-obsolete ones like MJPEG, which is something you may need to look at.

You'll also want to ensure that the VMS has specific support for those cameras models in place, as it's unlikely any of them support ONVIF, and each will have a different URI for pulling a stream. If the VMS allows custom URIs to be entered manually, you're probably okay, but having those models on the supported list will be a lot more reassuring.

As far as mixing and matching codecs, I can tell you that on Vigil DVRs, I've actually recorded multiple different formats from the same camera, each on its own channel... for testing purposes, of course, comparing bandwidth and storage requirements.

You'll also want to ensure that the VMS has specific support for those cameras models in place, as it's unlikely any of them support ONVIF, and each will have a different URI for pulling a stream.

I think the cameras to be added should be ONVIF, since they are new Axis models. Whether the VMS supports those cameras directly or has ONVIF support itself may be the issue.

For any new cameras, yes, but old cameras aren't likely to have that capability... hence, you need to be sure whatever VMS is chosen does have specific support for those cameras.

The old ones are already working with the legacy system:

This is a legacy system with some older MPEG4 Panasonic & MPEG IQinVision cameras, to which we're adding a few new Axis units.

Negative.

So Matt; How did the bandwidth measure up between multiple different formats from the same camera?

Don't recall exact numbers, but in general, H.264 was better than MPEG-4, though not by a lot.... I think MPEG-4 did a little better in certain circumstances.

Both were far better than straight MJPEG, but my testing was mainly to compare H.264 to 3xLogic's AZTECH codec for recompressing MJPEG for storage. In that case, the two averaged out very close - in some cases the H.264 took less disk space, in some instances AZTECH took less, sometimes substantially less. Of course, the inital MJPEG stream still took a ton of network bandwidth, but storage requirements were vastly reduced with the recompression.

I never did do any in-depth comparison of image quality between the four options (including MJPEG with and without recompression).

Generally speaking, no, you won't have a problem. Most VMS support multiple compression protocols and can set the compression protocol independently per camera. In the case of exacqVision, we support all three of those formats, however the support varies by camera.

New cameras don't use MPEG4, but there are some older ones exacqVision supports that use it.


Most new cameras support both h.264 and MJPEG. In fact, you could use one protocol on the primary stream and connect a second stream to the VMS using a different protocol.

Disclaimer: I am the product manager for exacqVision.

We have some Canadian prisons running H.264, MPEG4, and MJPEG on the same VMS (Genetec). We are not doing any analytics, but have no problems with the resordings and viewing.