Most Fooled by Resolution Myth

Author: John Honovich, Published on Jul 22, 2012

A common and important mistake confirmed: After years of manufacturer marketing that resolution equals quality, recent IPVM poll results of nearly 400 industry professionals confirms that most are fooled by this myth.

We showed 2 images side by side and asked readers in our Video Quality Training report, "Which image has higher resolution?" with no further details provided and an option for 'Cannot be Determined'.

a vs b

Disappointingly, a clear majority of respondents selected Image A even though Image A and B are the same resolution, just with different compression levels. Here is a breakdown of respondent's answers:

resolution trick

Gets Worse

The 'true' numbers are likely far worse. First, we revealed the answer in the following paragraph ensuring that at least some readers found the right answer below before taking the poll. Secondly, regular readers to IPVM have disproportionately strong technical backgrounds compared to the industry at large. With those factored in, 75%+ of the industry falling for this would not be surprising.

Resolution Does NOT Equal Quality

While resolution is a key component in video quality, many other important elements exist that often trump resolution. Three common ones include:

  • Compression: As our Video Quality Training report shows, manufacturers vary their compression levels and the impact can be significant.
  • WDR: As our WDR tests show, camera's ability to handle bright light varies widely.
  • Low Light: As our low light shootouts show, camera's ability to handle low light varies widely.

So when someone says a 5MP camera is 5 times better or replaces (5) 1MP cameras, simply because the resolution is 5 times greater, this is often false in practice.

Indeed, we ranked this at the head of last year's Top 10 Surveillance Myths.

The Impact

While manufacturers often acknowledge that resolution equals quality is a myth, they frequently downplay the impact by saying that people know this. The reality is that is wrong. Most people do not recognize and can easily be fooled into thinking that a camera is better simply because it has higher resolution. While it would be great that some simple magic number precisely defined image quality, there cannot be. Too many factors impact this and only a better understanding of them will lead to proper selection and the right results.


Most Recent Industry Reports

Avigilon CEO Attacks Asian Companies Cyber Insecurity on Aug 18, 2017
Avigilon CEO is taking aim at their Asian competitors. And he is going directly after these company's cyber security issues. In this note, we...
Sony Next Gen HD Dome Camera Tested (SNC-EM642R) on Aug 18, 2017
Sony has released their latest generation, claiming improved WDR and low light, increased IR range, and more. We tested the SNC-EM642R outdoor IR...
IP Networking Course September 2017 on Aug 17, 2017
This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance professionals plus it includes live training, personal help and...
Knightscope Raises $10 Million With $3,320 Average Per Investor on Aug 17, 2017
Congrats to Knightscope. And condolences to their legion of little investors. Knightscope has disclosed they have raised $10+ million from their...
Axis and Arecont Legal Conflict Over Multi-Imager Cameras on Aug 17, 2017
Arecont threatened Axis. Axis has responded by moving to invalidate an Arecont patent. It is an important contest. Multi-imagers are Arecont's...
Directory Of Consumer Security Cameras on Aug 16, 2017
The consumer camera segment continues to grow, with new startups and models from existing players released seemingly every month. In this report we...
Cat 5e vs Cat 6 vs Cat 6a Network Cable Usage Statistics on Aug 16, 2017
Cat 5e? Cat 6? Cat 6a? What do integrators use in practice, today? 140+ integrators told IPVM. Here are the results: For those who want to...
Hikvision Responds To Cracked Security Codes on Aug 15, 2017
Hikvision has responded to IPVM's report on Hikvision's security code being cracked, both with a 2 page update to dealers and communication...
Stolen Video NVR / DVR Statistics on Aug 15, 2017
"But what happens if someone steals my recorder?" Anyone who has done more than a handful of jobs has probably heard this question several times....
Hikvision Europe Cutting Out Unauthorized End User Sales on Aug 15, 2017
The days of anyone buying Hikvision from anywhere off the Internet are numbered, at least in Europe, if Hikvision's plan comes to fruition. In...

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