HD Analog vs IP Guide 2017

Author: IPVM Team, Published on Dec 19, 2016

For years, HD resolution was IP camera's greatest advantage.

However, starting in 2013, analog cameras with HD resolution started shipping and, now, just a few years later, HD analog has become a significant force in the video surveillance industry.

In this report, we examine AHD, CVI and TVI, including their most recent 3rd generation advances, compared to IP cameras.

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Install **********

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Comments (23)

So is "HD" the new "SD"? It seems like 1080p/2MP is the new minimum standard to replace D1/4CIF. Maybe the IP centric players like Axis need to push anything above 2MP as the offering of choice, dropping any HD labels. They could consider HD as old tech. This might give them a little bit of life over the analog HD products, if for just marketing purposes.

"So is "HD" the new "SD"?"

Yes, HD analog is killing SD analog very quickly this year. We reviewed the numbers behind this here - The Company Behind AHD - Nextchip. While there will certainly be some who use NTSC / PAL for years to come, this will mostly come from maintaining legacy systems, not for any sizeable number of new deployments.

As for the IP centric players, they could push 3MP as the new minimum. Indeed, Omnivision has new 4MP sensors that are empowering a new generation of IP cameras, unfortunately for Axis et al, Dahua and Hikvision have taken the lead there (we have bought those 4MP cameras and Ethan is testing that currently).

Worse, the HD analog folks are talking about doing higher than 1080p next year, so if that comes to pass, the resolution advantage will be further deteriorated.

I know that SD is dead, but what I meant was more from a marketing aspect, the IP only guys /could/ treat HD as dead/old/ancient if they chose to. But since analog HD isn't going to be confined to 2MP, it may be too late for them to beat that drum.

The only time I feel compelled to offer IP on smaller projects these days is when a client /really/ needs ease of playback and HDCVI still is lacking here. If Dahua could just improve their interface/playback/backup to be as simple as a good VMS (i.e. Spectrum), I wouldn't need to leave the HDCVI world very often.

Well Spectrum, i.e., DW is just starting to release their own HD analog (AHD) offering, so there is that as well to consider.

Jon, I agree. I see a lot of manufactures still using the HD logo on their 720p cameras (even in 2016). Wow... Big deal... We need to stop using the HD logo to hide 720 making people think it is 1080. And don't get me started with calling a 1280x1024 camera 720p... You are dumbing down the image for 16:9, usually for no reason...

I do see 1080p as being the minimum resolution that most big manufacturers are putting out for IP or HD analog products.


I personally thing that 4Mp will be the "new" 1080, and then 5Mp > 4k > 12mp being the new premium standards...

720p should be called HD ready like 720p TVs. They will be dead soon I hope, like noone buys 720p TVs any more, only FullHD.

HD Ready doesn't mean 720p. It meant the TV was HD capable, but no HDTV Tuner was built in.

Ethan,

Thanks for posting this. It's very useful. One point: On the 960h just being a stretched out D1 picture, that is only true if one is using a D1 camera on a 960h recorder. If you use a camera that puts out a real 960h signal on a 960h recorder it is not stretched at all. Conversely, if you put a 960h camera on a D1 recorder the picture is squeezed and subjects look like the cowboys riding off into the sunset during the credits of an old western movie (tall and thin). With the HD analog formats this may not seem inportant but we have found that we have gotten a much improved picture with the 960h format when replacing old analog cameras and recorders. Plus legacy equipment such as a matrix and distribution amplifiers will pass the 960h signal perfectly. If the analog HD formats would pass through a matrix (they don't) I would be using them already.

If you use a camera that puts out a real 960h signal on a 960h recorder it is not stretched at all.

Believe it or not, at least in the early days of 960h some manufacturers actually screwed this up, and the picture would be stretched even when using 960h with 960h. Because of this sloppiness by a few, 960h has gotten a reputation as a scam and pure marketing.

When, IMHO, it's not. It's actually a quite clever way to get more resolution out of a limited NTSC signal.

It's often thought that 720x480 is a limitation imposed by NTSC on the upper bounds of resolution*. This is only half true, since only the 480 vertical limit is set in stone, originally indicating the number of electron gun sweeps necessary to render on a CRT. But the horizontal is bounded only by what ever you can modulate. In broadcasting no one actually ever did more because of the limitation of the color mask in CRT's, which physically restricted the resolution to accommodate color displays.

The absence of this mask is why some high end B+W CRT monitors can boast 1000tvl on 'real' NTSC.

Anyway, since there was unused available bandwidth in NTSC, but only in the horizontal analog signal, Sony created a sensor which took advantage of this by creating a sensor with 960 horizontal pixels but only half that many vertically, 480. Most importantly, they used the same 1/3" 4:3 sensor dimensions as the 720x480 sensors, in effect creating non-square pixels. Ones that are tall rectangles. This is easily verified by checking out a given camera sensors resolution vs it's physical chip size.

All this cleverness though has a risk that when displaying the raw pixels one must either 1) display them on a monitor with non-square pixels (no one does this), or 2) interpolate the pixels back to a squarer aspect ratio.

Failure to do this results in a stretched picture, as all the 960 horizontal pixels are displayed as if they represent the same amount of width per pixel as the vertical ones represent length.

It's all (almost) water under the bridge, but I think this was a neat trick in Sony's part, and should be remembered for what it was.

*720x480 is actually part of the agreed upon standard of how to digitize a D1 picture, namely ITU-R BT.601.

How does 960h give you a much nicer image? It may give you a little more width in your scene, but it doesn't add usable resolution over D1/4CIF?

On a purely quantitative basis, a 960h sensor typically has > 100,000 pixels more than a D1 sensor.

Correctly rendered it isn't any "wider", since the sensor is the same physical width in both cases.

Are you referring specifically to DW's implementation?

Forgive me if I'm wrong, but isn't 960h just a widescreen version of D1? 16:9 vs 4:3?

No. They are (AFAIK) both using 4:3 1/3" sensors. The FOV is therefore the same.

The thing is that 960H crams in 240 more pixels in the horizontal direction than D1, but having the same number in the vertical, 480.

The way they do this is by making the pixels themselves narrower, so they are elongated rectangles instead of squares.

If you then show such an image dot-for-dot on a monitor, it will appear wide. If instead you correct for the pixel aspect ratio by re sampling you get a final image of ~960x800, which has all the added horizontal resolution, but really only 480 scaled to 800 in the vertical.

This re sampling is what the 960H Dvr needs to do. But even in the wide "stretched" renderings of the image, the added resolution is still there.

Each pixel in the image represents one pixel from the sensor.

Check please 3 things:

1. AHD now support also PTZ and camera settings (OSD) over coax

2. Never met TVI cameras with support two way audio

3. AHD works well through UTP cable without baluns - checked with 5E cable, cross section 0.46 mm2, 200m length, 720p cameras, picture is suitable, almost without quality losing

I've added a point about AHD supporting up the coax control, thanks.

As far as TVI cameras with audio, I'll agree with you. I've never seen a camera that includes it, either, but it is technically supported by TVI. My guess is that audio is not a heavily requested feature in the segments TVI cameras are typically made for.

3. Curious, what do you mean "works well through UTP cable without baluns"? How are you connecting to the UTP cable without a balun? Does the camera have UTP output?

We have not tested any current generation AHD yet, so I can't comment on quality. I believe we may test Samsung's commercial AHD line when it arrives, but not sure on timeline.

How do you know that TVI technically supports audio over coax? Last CPSE 2015 we asked Hikvision engineers to prove it this point, but they failed. May be there is lack of technical datasheets and detailed specifications of any HD analog format, but it seems that some features exist only in advertisement materials.

Also, Nextchip engineer told about huge video quality losses and interference when they tested audio over coax in AHD. Transmission distance of suitable signal was dramatically decreased. It was over of the reasons why they declined this function.

3. To test audio through UTP we used usual BNC connectors with BNC male and screw terminal. It looks strange, but it works. This feature is also built-in technical opportunities of all HD analog formats.

CVI certainly has audio, like this model.

TVI may not have copied that part of the spec from Daniel/Dahua, but now with the reconvergance of HD 3.0, I would expect they will.

Related: The Real Inventor Of HD-CVI And HD-TVI?

AHD works well thru UTP cable without baluns - checked with 5E cable, cross section 0.46 mm2, 200m length, 720p cameras, picture is suitable, almost without quality losing.

Have you done a side by side of with and without baluns?

I would imagine that the signal would degrade noticeably by 200m. Even with baluns it is worse (slightly) than coax.

Category cable has a characteristic impeadance of 100 Ohm, RG-6 coax is 75 Ohm. That means a lot of reflections (ghosting) and attenuation thru cancellation.

Did you use one single pair, one split pair, or multiple pairs?

I know about impedance difference, and I know that we didn't use terminating resistors and other ways to match resistance up to 75Ohm

But I can share images of original signal and long distance one .

We tested all types: if use single pair, maximum transmitting distance is 100m. Is twisted pairs - 200m is suitable, but has noticeable losses. For multiple pairs (2x2) result was really fine for 200m for 1080p camera. For 720p and multiple pairs result also was suitable for usage.

Very informative with power over coax.

While you get longer transmission distances using coax, isn't coax cable much stiffer, thicker, more expensive, and more difficult to install?

It most often is; however consider the 'per unit length' cost of longer than 100 M, more expensive RG-59 is still less than a 'fully commissioned' cost of a UTP run to the same length, given UTP requires active 'hops' in the form of additional devices like switches, midspans, extenders, etc.

In some cases, existing coax cabling can be reused 'in-situ' for HD analog, while IP would require converters to use it, or likely just a whole new run of UTP instead.

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