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

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 /...
Improved Security And Surveillance Bidding - 2018 MasterFormat Divisions Examined) on Jul 19, 2018
Navigating the world of system specifications and bidding work can be complex and confusing, but a standard format exists, and understanding it...
Replacing / Switching Access Control Systems Guide on Jun 28, 2018
Ripping out and replacing access control systems is hard for important reasons. Because users typically hold on to access control systems for as...
Free Online NFPA, IBC, and ADA Codes and Standards on Jun 27, 2018
Finding applicable codes for security work can be a costly task, with printed books and pdf downloads costing hundreds or thousands. However, a...

Most Recent Industry Reports

'Sticker' Surveillance Camera Developed (CSEM Witness) on Nov 16, 2018
The Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM) has announced what it calls the: world’s first fully autonomous camera that can be...
ISC East 2018 Mini-Show Final Report on Nov 16, 2018
This is our second (updated) and final show report from ISC East. ISC East, by its own admission, is not a national or international show, billed...
Facial Detection Tested on Nov 16, 2018
Facial detection and recognition are increasingly offered by video surveillance manufacturers. Facial detection detects faces in an image/video...
Throughtek P2P/Cloud Solution Profile on Nov 15, 2018
Many IoT manufacturers either do not have the capabilities or the interest to develop their own cloud management software for their devices....
ASIS Offering Custom Research For Manufacturers on Nov 15, 2018
Manufacturers often want to know what industry people think about trends and, in particular, the segments and product they offer.  ASIS and its...
Hikvision Silent on "Bad Architectural Practices" Cybersecurity Report on Nov 14, 2018
A 'significant vulnerability was found in Hikvision cameras' by VDOO, a startup cybersecurity specialist. Hikvision has fixed the specific...
French Government Threatens School with $1.7M Fine For “Excessive Video Surveillance” on Nov 14, 2018
The French government has notified a high-profile Paris coding academy that it risks a fine of up to 1.5 million euros (about $1.7m) if it...
Integrator Credit Card Alternative Divvy on Nov 13, 2018
Most security integrators are small businesses but large enough that they have various employees that need to be able to expense various charges as...
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...
Beware Amazon Go Store Hype (Tested) on Nov 13, 2018
IPVM's trip to and testing of Amazon Go's San Francisco store shows a number of significant operational and economic issues that undermine the...

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