Why You Should Avoid 960H Cameras

By John Honovich, Published on Aug 20, 2014

960H promises to increase analog resolution by 34%, transforming the traditional 4:3 aspect ratio image into a widescreen 'hi def' one, like this marketing image from one manufacturer:

Presumably, that is his yacht from selling so many 960H cameras.

But look above and notice that the 960H yacht is far longer than the D1 one, even though the FoV is the same.

Here's another marketing demonstration of 960H vs D1:

Now, it is possible that the man above 'won' an all you can eat buffet in between taking the D1 and 960H shots. It is clear, however, that the man is much wider in the 960H shot.

Stretched Analog

As one honest distributor commented last year:

"960h is nothing at all to get excited about... 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."

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As skeptical as we are in general, even we were surprised that anyone would market such a strange and obviously flawed 'feature'.

960H Tested / Stretching Confirmed

So we tested this in our Shootout: Megapixel vs Analog Cameras.

Here is what 960H vs D1 analog, head to head, same FoV, same time, looked like:

Zooming in however, we can see that this "additional" resolution offers no increase in detail, with no more lines visible in the 960H image than in D1. Some characters actually become more difficult to read due to distortion:

960H Product Upsides

Anyone hoping for a significant increase in resolution or FoV will be disappointed.

However, 960H is basically becoming the new low end analog, with it available seemingly everywhere from e-tailers to big box retailers and distribution.

The price point of 960H is typically close to analog and the imagers used tend to newer / better than ones from years ago, delivering moderately better details (when not stretched).

Finally, many consumers like 16:9 aspect ratios now, so 960H offers that, at the cost of significantly stretching subjects recorded.

Ultimately, though, because of its limited upside and the emergence of 'true' Analog HD options, we are skeptical about the value and future of 960H.

1 report cite this report:

The Worst HD Quality Camera Ever (Samsung 1280H) on Oct 15, 2014
Samsung, what are you doing? Their new 1280H offering significantly...
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