Exploring Details on H.264 Megapixel Cameras

Author: John Honovich, Published on Jun 22, 2008

H.264 megapixel camera support may be the hottest topic in all of video surveillance today. Nevertheless, details on how H.264 megapixel cameras will work have been somewhat hard to find.

Of the megapixel H.264 offerings, Arecont Vision's H.264's cameras certainly have had the most buzz. Today, I spoke with Michael Korkin, the Director of Engineering at Arecont Vision to examine the details of how it will work and what the overall impact on video surveillance systems will be.

First, some highlights:

  • Single Sensor H.264 cameras from Arecont are now available.
  • Arecont's H.264 adheres to the H.264 standard
  • Decoding H.264 will not increase computing costs for clients
  • NVR manufacturers are just starting to add support for the cameras

The rest of the article is technical so please be aware of that.

Now Available

The cameras just started shipping to the general public very recently. Because the cameras were announced months ago, a lot of questions and some concerns were expressed over when the cameras would be available. The single sensor cameras are available now and the dual sensor cameras (the day/nights) and the quad sensor cameras (360s) will be available soon

Adheres to the H.264 Standard

Arecont's cameras do adhere to the H.264 standard and can be used with standards based decoders/media players like Quicktime. When Arecont refers to their H.264 as being proprietary they are referring to their implementation of the encoder/fpga. This is contrast to other manufacturers who are using third party chips from the HD camcorder market.

This is good news for customers, partners and integrators as it means that they do not need to worry about a strange proprietary codec that many feared.

No Computation Increase for H.264 Decoding

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

A big concern was the impact playing back H.264 video on end users PC would have. Dr Korkin informed me that head to head tests of the same settings for MJPEG and H.264 streams revealed that the decoding computation was equal or less for the H.264.

Given that H.264 was designed to work with low processing power hand held devices, this is reasonable. (Indeed H.264 decoding is less resource intensive than MPEG-4 decoding by design.) While H.264 does take much more computational power than MJPEG, the resources needed are mostly at the camera side for encoding (i.e., highly asymmetric). As such, that may not be a concern for users (nevertheless, this has been contested, see comments below).

NVR Manufacturers Are Working On Adding Support

Arecont Vision's own software supports the H.264 cameras as well as a few minor players. A number of the major NVR manufacturters are in development but have not released yet.

Given the demand for Arecont's products and that the codec is standards based, I would expect support to be added soon. That being said, obviously you need to verify with your NVR supplier.

The fact that Arecont's H.264 adheres to standards and if there is no decoding CPU penalty, this is good news for adoption of megapixel cameras (see comments below). Hopefully, some of the information shared can help you make better decision on designing systems and selecting products. Please share feedback or questions.


Related Reports on Standards

The IP Camera Lock-In Trend: Meraki and Verkada on Jan 18, 2019
Open systems and interoperability have become core features of video surveillance systems, as virtually all professional IP cameras integrate with...
Managed Video Services UL 827B Examined on Jan 09, 2019
Historically, UL listings for central stations have been important, with UL 827 having widespread support. However, few central stations have...
Genetec UL Cybersecurity Certificate (2900-2-3) Examined on Dec 19, 2018
Proving a company is cybersecure has become a major concern for security companies. But how trustworthy are these certificates? Earlier in 2018, a...
Directory of Video Intercoms on Nov 13, 2018
Video Intercoms, also known as Video Door-Phones or Video Entry Systems, have been growing in the past decade as more and more IP camera...
Contactless Access Credentials Guide on Oct 29, 2018
Contactless credentials are the most common component used in an access control system and while many look alike externally, important differences...
Higher Power PoE 802.3bt Ratified, Impact on Security Products Examined on Oct 12, 2018
Power over Ethernet has become one of the most popular features of many video, access, and other security products. See our PoE for IP Video...
Network Cable Testing Guide on Oct 02, 2018
Proper cable installation is key to trouble-free surveillance systems. However, testing is often an afterthought, with problems only discovered...
Central Stations Face Off Against NFPA On Fire Monitoring on Sep 18, 2018
Central stations are facing off against the NFPA over what they call anti-competitive language in NFPA 72, the standard that covers fire alarms....
IP Camera Cable Termination Guide on Sep 06, 2018
Terminating cables properly is critical to network performance, but it can be a tricky task with multiple steps. Fortunately, this task is easy to...
Backup Power For Maglocks Guide on Aug 20, 2018
When the main power fails, many believe maglocks must leave doors unlocked. However, battery backed up maglocks are allowed according to IBC /...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Testing Bandwidth vs. Frame Rate on Jan 23, 2019
Selecting frame rate has a major impact on surveillance bandwidth and storage consumption. But with smart codecs now common and cameras more...
Camera Course January 2019 on Jan 23, 2019
This is the only independent surveillance camera course, based on in-depth product and technology testing. Lots of manufacturer training exists...
Bosch Favorability Results 2019 on Jan 23, 2019
Bosch's favorability moderately strengthed, in new IPVM integrator statistics over their results from 2017, with 2019 results showing strong net...
Intersec 2019 Show Report on Jan 23, 2019
The 2019 Intersec show, held annually in Dubai, is now complete. IPVM attended for 3 days, interviewing numerous Chinese and Western video...
2019 Camera Book Released on Jan 22, 2019
This is the best, most comprehensive security camera training in the world, based on our unprecedented testing. Now, all IPVM PRO Members can get...
Milesight Company Profile on Jan 22, 2019
Milesight Technology, a Chinese company building an International branded business, says they are slowly building their presence through a series...
Cable Trenching for Surveillance on Jan 21, 2019
Trenching cable for surveillance is surprisingly complex. While using shovels, picks, and hoes is not advanced technology, the proper planning,...
Milestone Favorability Results 2019 on Jan 21, 2019
Milestone's favorability moderately strengthed, in new IPVM integrator statistics over their results from 2016. While the industry has been...
The IP Camera Lock-In Trend: Meraki and Verkada on Jan 18, 2019
Open systems and interoperability have become core features of video surveillance systems, as virtually all professional IP cameras integrate with...
NYPD Refutes False SCMP Hikvision Story on Jan 18, 2019
The NYPD has refuted the SCMP Hikvision story, the Voice of America has reported. On January 11, 2018, the SCMP alleged that the NYPD was using...

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