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

Ladders For Installers Guide on Sep 25, 2018
Ladders are one of the most important pieces of worksite equipment for the surveillance technician. Too often, however, even highly experienced...
Favorite Access Control Reader Manufacturer 2018 on Sep 25, 2018
Favorite reader votes are in, and it is not close. A global access giant ran away with the votes in a one-sided contest. But for many, the...
Genetec Takes Aim At 'Untrustworthy' 'Foreign Government-Owned Vendors' on Sep 24, 2018
Genetec is taking aim at 'untrustworthy' 'foreign government-owned vendors'. This is not a new theme for Genetec as nearly 2 years ago, Genetec...
4MP Camera Shootout - Axis, Dahua, DW, Hanwha, Hikvision, Uniview, Vivotek on Sep 24, 2018
4MP usage continues to climb, especially for low cost fixed lens models. To see who was best, we bought and tested seven 4MP models from Axis,...
Alexa Guard Expands Amazon's Security Offerings, Boosts ADT's Stock on Sep 21, 2018
Amazon is expanding their security offerings yet again, this time with Alexa Guard that delivers security audio analytics and a virtual "Fake...
UTC, Owner of Lenel, Acquires S2 on Sep 20, 2018
UTC now owns two of the biggest access control providers, one of integrator's most hated access control platforms, Lenel, and one of their...
BluePoint Aims To Bring Life-Safety Mind-Set To Police Pull Stations on Sep 20, 2018
Fire alarm pull stations are commonplace but police ones are not. A self-funded startup, BluePoint Alert Solutions is aiming to make police pull...
SIA Plays Dumb On OEMs And Hikua Ban on Sep 20, 2018
OEMs widely pretend to be 'manufacturers', deceiving their customers and putting them at risk for cybersecurity attacks and, soon, violation of US...
Axis Vs. Hikvision IR PTZ Shootout on Sep 20, 2018
Hikvision has their high-end dual-sensor DarkfighterX. Axis has their high-end concealed IR Q6125-LE. Which is better? We bought both and tested...
Avigilon Announces AI-Powered H5 Camera Development on Sep 19, 2018
Avigilon will be showcasing "next-generation AI" at next week's ASIS GSX. In an atypical move, the company is not actually releasing these...

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