Subscriber Discussion

Uncompressed HD Video To VMS?

Can't find this in my VMS research. I would like to run digital uncompressed very HD video throughout a system as much as possible (i.e. camera stream, live viewing, storage, etc.), but what is required for the VMS? 1) Can the software work using an HD uncompressed stream? 2) Must it be compressed? 3) Must it be IP encoded? 4) Is there a certain format required? And does that also apply to analytics software? Thanks for the help.

Well, IP cameras, by definition, are compressed. You could use GigE machine vision cameras but then you need to figure out what to do with all that bandwidth. VMSes typically have bandwidth limits per machine so even if you could theoretically connect uncompress video feeds, each VMS server would probably only manage/store a few cameras.

Let me turn the question around: Why do you want / need uncompressed HD video? You can still go for minimally compressed HD video if you wanted to absolutely maximize quality and almost certainly not have any noticeable quality degradation.

For instance, if you really want it as uncompressed as possible, use MJPEG with a very low compression level.

This is for a new product in design and development which is differentiated by having as much HD incompressed streaming as possible, and advantages over compressed, even low compression, would be image quality for live viewing on large screens, hyper resolution for forensics analysis and legal of playback/stored files, facial and other recognitions, etc. This would not be IP from the camera output, just at some point IP encoded in the server to enable network connection. I understand the VMS bandwidth limitations as you mention (although getting the specs is difficult) but can't seem to find if they can take uncompressed streams at all, and if they need them IP encoded, etc. Thanks

In terms of VMS limitations, we have cataloged bandwidth / throughput constraints for different VMSes here.

Sarit, can you ask a few VMS companies how they would handle this?

Btw, my gut feel is that the cost tradeoffs are so enormous in going to uncompressed, or even minimally compressed video, that the product will have difficulty in gaining broad acceptance.

Thanks I'll check that report. We are leveraging our technology and feel we can keep costs competitive. If you get a response from VMS companies that would be great, let them know we are looking for a partner and already have some end users waiting. John if you would like to speak about this offline feel free to contact me through my member info. Brad

I haven't seen one yet. And John pointed out what's sometimes overlooked, some people think MJPEG is uncompressed while actually it is a compressed format.

What your asking for seems to be more what's found in the realm of machine vision application, requiring mahcine vision cameras and protocols, and you may have to develop your own VMS or work with a current VMS provider who can and will do modifications that you want. Or maybe a machine vision camera manufcaturer might know of software. SenTECH and Basler are two manufacturers I know of right off hand.

Uncompressed video is about 100x the bandwidth of H264 main profile. This means you would need about 400Mbps per 2MP camera for 25fps. This means you would need 1 Gigabot NIC for every 2 cameras.

I am not sure what the exact bit rate of 1080p / 30fps HD video is but here's the calculation from the Wikipedia page on uncompressed video:

  • "24bit @ 1080p @ 60fps :24*1920*1080*60=2.98 Gbit/s."
  • "8 bit @ 1920 x 1080 @ 24fps = 95 MB per/sec" or 760 Mb/s

Even taking the low number (760Mb/s), that's still like 38x greater than the 20Mb/s one commonly sees for 2MP MJPEG in surveillance. And that's still 4 to 5x more than H.264.

I think the bandwidth from the camera to the server is doable using our tech, and building out the server and backend hardware is just a matter of capabilities, but I'm afraid the constraint will be the VMS if it can't handle the multiple HD uncompressed inputs. Maybe the VMS will have to receive compressed...don't know? I'm somewhat familiar with Vision Cameras but will look into that as you advise.


Even the highest definition video available has some sort of compression. Believe it or not, digital theaters use JPEG2000 at bitrates ranging around 200Mb/s. BluRay movies use one or the other flavors of h.264: AVC or VC-1, typically at 20-30Mb/s. MJPEG is very similar to JPEG2000.

I believe your best bet is to use very low compression levels of a standard codec.

Do you have to use IP cameras? Have you looked at HD-SDI cameras?

These are not IP cams, they are digital HD with our proprietary interface out to the VMS server. IP encoding will take place in the server for connecting to the etwork or as neccessary for the vms to function.

Have you thought much about the backend disk? Let's say you stack your server with multiple 10Gbit NICs. You would need some serious drives to pull off that kind of I/O. Not to mention the cost of storing it for any real duration. Unless your cameras have dedicated built in disks.

Good points. We are spec'ing the backend reqs now and storage will offer HD short term and compressed long term, and have found end users who need the uncompressed storage for future forensics. But yeah the hardware reqs are meaty. Still working on VMS stream requirements as you can tell by my original post. Great feedback from everyone.

I would be interested to see how you plan to handle the hard drive issue. If you're talking about 800 Mbps stream, that's 100 Megabytes per second. Average write speeds of enterprise hard drives are 130-150 MB per second.

The only way to pull this off would be a huge raid 10 array or leverage ssd. Maybe a hybrid design like Tegile or NexSAN. Even they can't sustain the writes needed because of the need to flush the SSD cache to spindles. Tegile maybe because of their inline compression. All SSD would work but that is big $$. I'd be interested in the design requirements. What level of sustained throughput are you taking? Plus to compound the issue you are not looking at sequential writes but random, unless you can somehow queue it in the sysrem memory then do one big sequential write.

Uncompressed HD video will be 0.5..3.0 GBit/s per stream as John gave the math above. For VMS software the uncommonly high figures are perhaps not a fundamental problem: computer can capture this type of feed, it can transmit data, it can visualize. This raises other questions: how to store it in real time, how to transmit over LAN if required, perhaps also how to compress in real time if compreession is necessary along with uncompressed. I believe these are essentially limiting use of uncompressed video in VMS, in other aspects VMS would deal equally well with compressed and uncompressed video.

Roman, thanks. As a VMS developer, do you know of any uncompressed streams being used with your VMS? How does one connect an uncompressed stream to your VMS?

Uncompressed video hardware was always there in VMS world. Frame grabber boards were originally converting analog SD video into uncompressed video on PC system side. Then more sophisticated frame grabbers started offering onboard compression as an option. HD video, however, is typically compressed in hardware. With HD resolutions, PC specs let you connect only few video streams before you start hitting other hardware bandwidth limits - this figure is typically far smaller than average/typical number of cameras per VMS host.

To give an example of HD uncompressed video with Luxriot... I just checked before posting: have a [non-surveillance] Blackmagic Intensity Pro board in my system with HDMI input, with 720p 50 fps signal on it. As Blackmagic supplies a driver to make the video feed available as DirectShow API video, and Luxriot accepts generic DirectShow API inputs, all this connects and uncompressed video is on Luxriot and it is possible to record it uncompressed. The stream inflates the storage very quickly, of course, however basic view-record-playback is okay. Honestly, I suppose there might still be some side issues, esp. with network transmission, but in general this uncompressed stream is nothing special for VMS, excluding its unusual size.

Roman appreciate your input. That sounds positive, at least we are now hearing VMS can deal with uncompressed in some way, and of course we are trying to pursue with a few VMS suppliers to confirm. We are just looking to live view and then store a limited amount of uncompressed video, so any network or remote viewing can still happen via a subsequent compressed stream

"We are just looking to live view and then store a limited amount of uncompressed video, so any network or remote viewing can still happen via a subsequent compressed stream"

You are describing a technology that basically already exists, no? HD SDI.

Ours is a very hi-res or ultraHD, and not limited by coax. By remote viewing I'll clarify my statement and say ...through the IP network for those that need it and need it compressed to do so within their IT requirements, but uncompressed for the primary viewing station and also as an option for other stations where uncompressed hi bandwidth is allowed via our technology.


what kind of output (interface) you camera has ?

Please be specific


Sorry to be mysterious as you are all so helpful, but that gets deeply into our proprietary technology and we don't get into that yet. It is a high-bandwidth digital interface/interconnect solution and it will be in place as needed whenever a point A to point B uncompressed stream or data transmission is needed.

Why are you looking answer here ?

Don't you think that companies who produce machine vision cameras have complete solution

The way I understand IPVM has lots of integrators

who are kinda end users for manufactures

just curios

Integrators have the most experience designing and setting up surveillance systems with VMS

Brad, we're an integrator who primarily deals in and promotes Geutebruck's GeViScope VMS, which is based out of Germany. I asked one of their SDK team members about integrating GigE cameras into the VMS and they said it should be doable with their SDK. What also makes me think of Geutebruck is they already have integration with and have a close relation ship with Basler and their IP cameras, and Basler also does machine vision cameras. So mabe it's not too far of a leap to do. And if anyone can pull it off, I think the Germans can.

Thanks for the suggestion, we will check that out. Maybe that is the way to work with other VMS as well.

Next question - remote monitoring. You have this beautiful, uncompressed HD stream and its being recorded by Luxirot or Geutebruck, etc.

Now, how do I view that feed from a computer in another room or another building or other city? Is the VMS transcoding to stream out? If so, how much load does that consumer? What impact?