Beautiful - the New Surveillance 'Standard'

By: John Honovich, Published on Apr 04, 2012

Crappy video quality is expected with surveillance. Grainy, fuzzy, pixilated, blurred images are the norm. In the UK, the common refrain is even that "80% of CCTV is not fit for purpose."

Megapixel adoption, over the last few years, deliveres more details but still produces poor video in many conditions. Arecont cameras are a great example of this. Outstanding when lighting conditions are perfect but they fall apart in a hurry when subject to sun or darkness.

However the situation is improving for manufacturers across the board, Arecont included. With a new generation of sensors and software improvements, beautiful is now becoming the new surveillance standard.

Historically, surveillance video frequently looked like this:

Now, new surveillance cameras routinely deliver beautiful images. Indeed, as we walked the show floor at ISC West, with a new generation of HD cameras being released, 'beautiful' seems to be expected. Images like the one below will increasingly be taken for granted:

What's Driving This

We see two key factors:

  • Improved Sensors: On the consumer side, sensors are getting much better and less expensive simultaneously. Now, multimegapixel sensors that support streaming at 1080p/60fps are increasingly commonplace. They also often have improved WDR capabilities. A recent good example is Aptina's 1/3" sensor release.
  • Better Firmware Optimization: As vendors get more experience with HD and the market becomes more competitive, development is shifting to optimizing image quality processing. The biggest name example is Axis Lightfinder (1602, 1604, etc.) but we are hearing this from many vendors (e.g., Arecont's WDR offering).

The Impact

Over the new few years, beatiful video quality is going to become the norm. This is going to be a big shift for the industry:

  • Better WDR / Better Low Light: The two weak points of HD video are rapidly being resolved.
  • Competitive Expectations: Having beautiful video quality will be accepted as tablestakes for new cameras. Today, you can still blow people away with surveillance video that looks like a movie but that is going to fade away.
  • Pressure on SD: Improvements in overall HD quality will make the gap between SD and HD even more significant. Last year, we called 'SD the new VHS.' This year's improvements make the gap even bigger.
  • Better Industry Perception: As 'beautiful' HD cameras are deployed, the long standing negative reputation of the industry delivering low quality video will change. Of course, this likely take the rest of the decade as it takes time to roll out new deployments. However, this is inevitable as adoption spreads.
Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports on WDR

Verkada Video Quality Problems Tested on May 23, 2019
Verkada suffers from numerous video quality problems, not found in commercial IP cameras, new IPVM testing of Verkada vs Axis and Hikvision...
Axis ~$150 Outdoor Camera Tested on May 21, 2019
Axis has released the latest in their Companion camera line, the outdoor Companion Dome Mini LE, a 1080p integrated IR model aiming to compete with...
Panasonic 32MP Multi Imager Camera Tested (WV-X8570N) on May 16, 2019
Panasonic has released their first multi imager models including the 32MP (4x4K) WV-X8570N, claiming "Extreme image quality for evidence capturing...
Bank Security Manager Interview on May 15, 2019
Bank security contends with many significant threats - from fraudsters to robbers and more. In this interview, IPVM spoke with bank security...
Verkada Cloud VMS/Cameras Tested on May 02, 2019
Verkada is arguably the most ambitious video surveillance startup in many years. The company is developing their own cameras, their own VMS, their...
Dahua Repositionable IR Multi-Imager Camera Tested on Apr 16, 2019
Dahua has released their first repositionable multi-imager camera, the Multi-Flex 4x2MP, claiming integrated IR, true WDR, and flexible...
Axis ARTPEC-7 Chip Release Examined on Apr 08, 2019
For years, Axis essentially de-promoted their own chips. Now, they are reversing course. Axis has announced ARTPEC-7, their latest chip, which...
Axis 5MP P Vs Q Camera Shootout (P3227-LVE vs Q3517-LVE) on Apr 02, 2019
While Axis' Q3517-LVE tested well, it is one of Axis' most expensive dome cameras, over $1,000 USD. Because of this, members asked us how it...
Covert IP Camera Shootout - Axis, Hanwha, Hikvision, March, Vivotek on Mar 20, 2019
Covert cameras were one of the last holdout areas for analog cameras. However, in the past few years, IP / HD covert cameras have become...
Pelco GFC 4K Dome Camera Tested (IMP831-1ERS) on Mar 12, 2019
Pelco has finally released their first 4K IP camera, after years of competitors' releases. Is this move too late? Or is their new GFC Professional...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Kidnapping Victim Rescued With Video From Ring Doorbell Camera on May 24, 2019
A kidnapping victim was rescued within 24 hours, with the police crediting video from a Ring Doorbell camera as key to solving the case. A girl was...
NJ Law Requires Apprenticeship For Public Works Integrators on May 24, 2019
Few integrators do a formal apprenticeship program. However, now a NJ law is requiring any integrator on public works projects (such as state...
Security / Privacy Journalist Sam Pfeifle Interview on May 24, 2019
Sam Pfeifle is best known as the outspoken former Editor of Security Systems News. After that, he was publications director at the International...
Verkada Video Quality Problems Tested on May 23, 2019
Verkada suffers from numerous video quality problems, not found in commercial IP cameras, new IPVM testing of Verkada vs Axis and Hikvision...
Average Frame Rate Video Surveillance 2019 on May 23, 2019
What is the average frame rated used in video surveillance systems? In IPVM's 2011 statistics, the average was 6-8fps increasing to ~10fps in...
Dahua USA Celebrates 5 Years of Errors on May 22, 2019
Dahua USA is, in their own words, 'celebrating' 5 years in North America or as trade magazine SSN declared: Dahua Technology finds success in...
Access Control Job Walk Guide on May 22, 2019
Significant money can be saved and problems avoided with an access control job walk if you know what to look for and what to ask. By inviting...
ASCMA / Monitronics Declares Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Plan on May 22, 2019
Monitronics is entering into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company, also called Ascent Capital Group Inc., aka ASCMA, aka Brinks Home Security,...
US Considers Sanctions Against Hikvision and Dahua on May 22, 2019
The US government is considering blacklisting "up to 5" PRC surveillance firms, including Hikvision and Dahua, Bloomberg reported, with human...
Axis ~$150 Outdoor Camera Tested on May 21, 2019
Axis has released the latest in their Companion camera line, the outdoor Companion Dome Mini LE, a 1080p integrated IR model aiming to compete with...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact