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

Hikvision H.265+ Bullet Tested (2035) on Jul 24, 2017
Continuing our tests of Hikvision's new low cost Value Plus line, we bought and tested the 3MP DS-2CD2035FWD-I, now including H.265+. We shot the...
Sports Stadium Security Design Recommendations on Jul 24, 2017
Sports stadiums pose many challenges for designing security systems. The facilities vary from being mostly vacant, to packed with tens of thousands...
Competing Against Convergint on Jul 24, 2017
No integrator is more aggressively expanding than Convergint Technologies. Owned and funded by private equity firm KRG, Convergint has acquired...
Security Robots Are Just Entertainment on Jul 21, 2017
Great entertainment, no real security value.  That is the happy (or sad) state of security robots in 2017. Knightscope robot's drowning, the...
Wireless Burglar Alarm Sensors Guide on Jul 21, 2017
Wireless sensors for burglar alarm sensors are an increasingly common option for the historical labor intensive wired alarm systems. However,...
Competing Against ADT on Jul 20, 2017
ADT is one of the biggest players in the security industry, with ~$4 billion revenue. In 2017, they were acquired / merged with Protection...
Hikvision Launching Deep Learning Recorders on Jul 20, 2017
Hikvision has become a common choice for super low cost NVRs. Now, Hikvision is aiming to move up market, with deep learning NVRs that claim far...
PR Campaign Exploiting Manufacturer Cybersecurity on Jul 20, 2017
Manufacturers increasingly have a bulls-eye on their back. As cyber security solutions providers grow, they realize a great way to get publicity...
Axis Door Station Tested (A8105-E) on Jul 19, 2017
Axis continues their push into niche markets, especially audio, with network speakers, an IP horn, and video door stations. We bought and tested...
Manufacturer Favorability Guide on Jul 19, 2017
This 120 page PDF guide may be downloaded inside by all IPVM members. It includes our 20 manufacturer favorability rankings and 20 manufacturer...

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