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

Hiring Camera Calculator Product Manager on Dec 12, 2017
We are working on making the Camera Calculator even better and hoping you can help us find the right person to join our team. IPVM is hiring a...
Testing $20 WyzeCam, The Money Losing Amazon Vet Startup on Dec 12, 2017
This startup is perfecting the old adage: We lose money on every sale, but make it up on volume But it is no joke. The company, Wyze Labs, is...
Xiongmai New Critical Vulnerability - Same Manufacturer Whose Products Drove Mirai Botnet Attacks on Dec 12, 2017
The Chinese manufacturer whose products were primarily responsible for the 2016 Mirai botnet attack has a new critical vulnerability, confirmed by...
Robot Vandalism on Dec 11, 2017
Vandalism of security systems is a common concern. It is so common that camera vandalism statistics show that designers routinely sacrifice camera...
Access Controller Software Guide on Dec 11, 2017
Properly configuring access controllers software is key to a professional access system. These devices have fundamental settings that must be...
2018 Video Surveillance Cameras Overview on Dec 11, 2017
This report concisely explains the developments for surveillance cameras offered in 2017 and the state of offerings going into 2018, including...
Imperial Capital Security Investor Conference Review on Dec 08, 2017
Investment bank Imperial Capital holds an annual Security Investor Conference where 60+ companies present, including this year: IPVM bought a...
Integrator GPS Vehicle Tracking Statistics and Success Examined on Dec 08, 2017
GPS vehicle tracking is a growing but somewhat controversial topic. On the plus side, tracking may increases productivity by providing greater...
Hikvision NA Biggest Sale of 2017 on Dec 07, 2017
Hikvision North America has been relatively disciplined the past 5 months, reducing the number of sales and the breadth of what is on sale. No...
Security Integrator IT Expertise Statistics on Dec 07, 2017
20 years ago, putting physical security systems on IP networks was just emerging. Today, almost every system is networked in some way, IP cameras...

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