Resolution vs Compression Tested

Author: John Honovich, Published on Nov 24, 2014

They are not the same thing.

Unfortunately, too many industry people conflate them.

Worse, resolution and compression can silently undermine each other.

The Impact

Compare the two images below. The resolution (aka pixel count) is exactly the same but the compression levels (and bandwidth) are much different:

 

Because of the compression difference, even though everything else is the same, the visual quality is much different.

Resolution vs Compression

Resolution, in surveillance, means the number of pixels (1MP, 2MP, 5MP, etc.) See: IPVM's Resolution Tutorial

Compression, in surveillance, means how much the pixels / video is compressed. There is a scale from minimum to maximum. In H.264, it is called quantization, ranging from 0 (least) to 51 (most). See: IPVM's Video Quality / Compression Tutorial

Compression Defaults

All IP cameras compress video, typically in the middle of that scale. IPVM testing shows 28 is average though manufacturers vary somewhat. Moreover, manufacturers generally do not reveal the actual quantization level, displaying their own scale. To learn more, see: IP Camera Manufacturer Compression Comparison

Making Lower Resolution Look Like Higher Resolution

In this test, we took a series of 720p IP cameras, decreased the compression levels to see how far we had to go to make it 'look' like a 1080p camera with default compression levels. We then compared bandwidth consumption of each camera.

Making Higher Resolution Looks Like Lower Resolution

Also, in this test, we took a series of 5MP and 1080p cameras, increased their compression levels to see how far we had to go to make it 'look' like lower resolution cameras (1080p / 720p respectively) with default compression levels.

Why

Our goal is to understand and show you:

  • How much compression can impact visual quality?
  • What benefits are there to reducing compression levels?
  • What benefits are there to increasing compression levels?
  • Can you get better quality or bandwidth consumption from such changes?

**** *** *** *** **** *****.

*************, *** **** ******** ****** ******** ****.

*****, ********** *** *********** *** ******** ********* **** *****.

The ******

******* *** *** ****** *****. *** ********** (*** ***** *****) is ******* *** **** *** *** *********** ****** (*** *********) are **** *********:

 

******* ** *** *********** **********, **** ****** ********** **** ** the ****, *** ****** ******* ** **** *********.

Resolution ** ***********

**********, ** ************, ***** *** ****** ** ****** (***, ***, 5MP, ***.) ***: ****'* ********** ********

***********, ** ************, ***** *** **** *** ****** / ***** is **********. ***** ** * ***** **** ******* ** *******. In *.***, ** ** ****** ************, ******* **** * (*****) to ** (****). ***: ****'* ***** ******* / *********** ********

*********** ********

*** ** ******* ******** *****, ********* ** *** ****** ** that *****. **** ******* ***** ** ** ******* ****** ************* vary ********. ********, ************* ********* ** *** ****** *** ****** ************ level, ********** ***** *** *****. ** ***** ****, ***: ** ****** ************ *********** **********

Making ***** ********** **** **** ****** **********

** **** ****, ** **** * ****** ** **** ** cameras, ********* *** *********** ****** ** *** *** *** ** had ** ** ** **** ** '****' **** * ***** camera **** ******* *********** ******. ** **** ******** ********* *********** of **** ******.

Making ****** ********** ***** **** ***** **********

****, ** **** ****, ** **** * ****** ** *** and ***** *******, ********* ***** *********** ****** ** *** *** far ** *** ** ** ** **** ** '****' **** lower ********** ******* (***** / **** ************) **** ******* *********** levels.

***

*** **** ** ** ********** *** **** ***:

  • *** **** *********** *** ****** ****** *******?
  • **** ******** *** ***** ** ******** *********** ******?
  • **** ******** *** ***** ** ********** *********** ******?
  • *** *** *** ****** ******* ** ********* *********** **** **** changes?

[***************]

Lesson * - ************* ******** *********** ******

****** *.*** ****** *********** / ************ ****** ** * ** 51, **** ************* ******** *** ****** ** **** *** **** can ********.

** ****** * ************* ***** ****** ******** ****, **** ***** *** *** **** *********** ******** ** ********* what ***** *********** ****:

  • ******* ** - **
  • ********: **-**
  • ****: **-**
  • *****: *-**
  • *********: **-**
  • *******: **-**
  • ****: **-**

******, **** *** ******* *** **** *****.

**** ***********, ******** *** *** **** ***********, ******** *** ********* range ** *********** ******, ********** ******** **** *********** ******.

********: *** **** *** *** ************** (** *********************) ** ******** ********* (** ********** ***********) **** ** ******** by **** **** ****** ** ****** ******. ***** ****.

Lesson * - ****** ********** ******* *** **** **** ***** ********** **** *** **** *********

**** ***** ** * '****' ***** ***********. ** *** **** a ****** ********** ****** (*** *****), ******** *** *********** ***** (say ** ~**), ** **** **** ******* ** * **** camera ** ******* *********** ******, **** **:

*** *** ******* ** ***** *** **** *** ***** / high *********** ***** ***, ** *******, ** ** **% ***** bandwidth **** *** **** / ******* *********** ***.

** ***** **** ** ** *** **** **** ** **** scenes **** ********** *** ***, **** **:

*****, ********* *** *** ***** / **** *********** ******* *** 50 ** **% **** **** *** **** / ******* *********** one.

******* * *** / **** ****** ** * ***** ******* camera, *** **** ******* *******.

Lesson * - ****** *** / ****** *********** ****

** *** ******** ***** *** ***** ** ******* * ****** resolution ****** *** ******* ** ** * ****** *********** ** get *** ********* ******* ** * ***** ********** ****** ** a ***** *** ****, **** **** *** ****** ********** ****** still *** *** **** ******* **** ** *** ***** ********** ones.

** **********, ****** **** ** *** *** *** *****, *** and ***** ***** *** ******* ** **** ****** ********** ******* have *********** ************ *****.

Lesson * - ***** *** / ***** *********** *** ****

**** ****** **** *** **** ** ******** *** *********** ***** of * ****** ** *** ****** *******. *** ******* ***** this ** * *** ****, ******* ** ********* ****** *** difficulty ** ********** *******.

** * **** *** / ****** ***, *** ******* *** able ** *** * **** / *** *********** ****** ** 'look' **** * ***** ******* *********** ******, **** **:

*******, ** *** *****, *** ********* *********** ** *** **** / *** *********** *** ***% ** ***% ******* **** *** 1080p / ******* *********** *******. ** ****, *** ******* ** trying ** **** ** **** ******, **** ** ******* *** storage *****, *** ***********.

** **** *****.

** * ******** *** / **** ***, *** ******* *********** *** * **** / *** *********** ****** ** '****' like * ***** ******* *********** ******, **** **:

******* ***** ** ********** **** ******** *********** ** *** **** camera, ** *** ***** ******* ******** ******** ** *** ***** one.

***, **** ****** ***** ******* *** ***** ********, ********* ****** from **% ** ***% ******* *** *** **** / *** compression ****** ******** ** *** ***** / ******* ***.

*****

**** ** ****:

  • ** *** *** ***** ** **** *********** ** **** ******'* compression ******, ********** **** *** ***** **** ***** ** ***, because ************* ***** ***** ****. ********** * ***** ******** ****** *** ******* *****.
  • ** *** ****** ** ** **, *** * ****** ********** camera **** ****** *********** ******** ** **** ********* **** ********* quality *********.
  • ***** ****** * ***** ********** ****** *** ****** ** ******** its *********** *****. ******** ****** * ****** ********** ****** ***** may ** ****** **** ** ******* **** ******* ** *********** lower ******* / ******* **** **** ********** *********** ******.

Comments (19)

...*** ***************** ****** **** ****** *********** ******** ** **** ********* **** minimized ******* *********. ***** ****** **************** ****** *** ****** ** ******** *** *********** *****. ******** buying ***************** ****** ***** *** ** ****** **** ** ******* **** quality ** *********** ***** ******* / ******* **** **** ********** compression ******.

********** ****? **** ***** ******* * ****? ***** ******* * could ***?

********* ****?

*****, ** ********* ** *** ******** ********** *** **** ******.

****, **** ****** ** **** ********** ** ****** ********** *** relationship ******* ********** *** *********** ******** *** *** ****** **** a ***** ********* ********** ** ******* ******* *** *********. *******, the ***** ******* ********* ****** ** ****** *******. ** *** have * ****** ****** *** ************ ***** ****** ***** ***** not ** ** ********* **** ** **** *********** ********* ** higher ********** **** ****** ***********? ***** ***** *** ****** ** look ****** *** **** ******* ******, * * *** ********* at **** ********** ** ***** *** ** * * *** recording ** ***** ********** ** ***** *** ******** ** *** a ********* ** ***** ****** ** *** ******* ******* *******?

"***** ***** *** ****** ** **** ****** *** **** ******* stills, * * *** ********* ** **** ********** ** ***** CBR ** * * *** ********* ** ***** ********** ** 2Mbps *** ******** ** *** * ********* ** ***** ****** at *** ******* ******* *******?"

** *** *** ***** ***, *** *** *** ******* *** quality ********, ** **********. *** ****** **** ** **** ************* (i.e, ** ** **** / ******* *** ********* *******, ** will ******** *** *********** ***** ** ******** *** *** **** requirement).

** *** **** ** *****, * ***** ****** *** ***** to ******* **** ******* **** *** ****, **** ** ** had ********** **** *********** **** *** **** ** **** ***/* fixed ******* ******** (*.*., *** ********* ****** ***** **** **** offset *** ********** ****** ***********).

**** ******** ***** **** ** ****, **** *** ***** ** be **** ****. ** *** *** *****, * ******* ***** or ********* ****** **** **** ******* *** ***** **** ******** and ***** **** ****** ******* **********. **** *** ******* *****, it ***** **** *** **** ***** ****** *** **** **** the *****.

** * ***** *** **** ******** ****** ***** ** *** trade *** **** ****** ***/****** **** ** ***** ***/***** **** a *** **** ** * **** *** *** ** *** other. * ***** ****** **** ** * **** ********** **** and **** *****/******** ********.

**'** *** * **** ** **** ** ***** ** *** light **** *******.

****** ***'* *********. ** *** ***** ********* ****** ** ******, either *** ** ** **** ** ** ****** **** *** test *******.

***, ** ****** * ****** *** *** ******** **** ***** across *** ******, ** **** ********** **** **** ** '**** subjective' *** '*****/******** ********' **** **** **** ******** ** **** it **.

****,

** **** **** ********** **** ** * ******. ** ***** of ***** *** *** **** **** ***** ** ****, ********* speaking, ** ** **** ** **** **** ******** **** ***** in ****** ******, ** ** ***. **'* *** ** *** it ***'* ******** ** **** **** ********* *** ****** ***** settings ** **** *** ******* ** *** ** *** ***, but ***** ***** ** * *******. **, ** *** **** testing *** ***** *****, ** *** **** * ***** ********** 720p ***** ** * ****** ********** ***** *****, *** **** may *** ***. *******, *** ********* *** ***** ****** ***** provide **** ****** ** **** ***** ** ****** *****, ***** seems ** *** ******* **** *** ********. ** *** *** see *** ****** ** ** *********.

** *** ** *** ********** *******, * *** ********* ** the ********* ** *** **** ** **** ***** ***** ***** looks ******. ** *** ******* **** ******, **** ** **********, compression, ***., *** * ***'* **** ** * ************ ****** for ***** *******. * ***** ** ***** *** **** ****** agree ** *** ***** ** ******* ******, *** **** **** means ** *** ***** ******* **********.

"**, ** *** **** ******* *** ***** *****, ** *** have * ***** ********** **** ***** ** * ****** ********** 1080p *****, *** ****may *** ***."

****** **** ***********. ** *** ********* ******* **** ***** ***. We'll **** *** ******* **** ********.

"** *** *** *****, * ******* ***** ** ********* ****** will **** ******* *** ***** **** ********"

** * ***** ** *********, *** ******* ***** ** ********* camera *** ********** **. **** **** **% ** **** ***** and ********* ****** **** ********** **, ******** ** *** ***+ models ** ***** ** *** ** ****** ******.

** ** **** **** * ***** *** ********* ** ****** here.

******* ******* ** *** ******* ** *** *****. ******* ***** appreciate ***** ***** **** ********* **** **** ******** ********** *** with **** ***** ******. ****** ********* *** ****** ****** ** what *** **** **** ****** *** * ****** ** ******** to ********** *** ********* ***** **** ** ******* **** ******* play **** ******* *********** *********. ** ***** ** ***** ** establish **** ********** ** ****** *** ******* ******* **** ** Dahua *** *********.

"****** ********* *** ****** ****** ** **** *** **** **** should *** * ****** ** ******** ** ********** *** ********* frame **** ** ******* **** ******* **** **** ******* *********** artefacts."

**** ****** *** *** ******** (*.*. ***). *** *** ** ensure **** *** ** *** *** *********** *********.

** **** **** **** ********* ***** (**** ****** ***** ***** with ********* ***** ** *** ******). *** ***** ** ********* depends ** *** ****** ***** *** *** *****.

*** ******** ** **** **** ** ***** ********, *** ******** bandwidth ****** *** ********** ******. *** **** ***** *** * test *********** ********* ** *** *****(*.*., **** ***** **** **** ****** ** ****, ********* **** up *************, *** *** ******** ******* **** ****).

****, **** ** *** ******** ** *** ******** **** *** end ***** *** *********** ******* ********** ********* **** * ********** recording ********. ***** ******** ** ********* ******** ** *** **** a ****** *** **** ******* *** *** ******* ******* ******* (= *), ********* ** **-******** ****** *** ** ********** ** 6 ***, **** **********, *** ****** ** *,******* ******* ******* setting (= *) ** ** * ***, ***** **********, *** capped ** ******** ******* ******* ******* (= *). **** ****** allows ** ** ********* * ******* ********* ****** ** ** can ********* *** ***** **** ******* ************ *** *** ***** testing ******** ** ***** ******** ** **** ******* ******* *** don't *** *********** *********. *******, ******* *** "***** ****" *** camera ***** *** ******** ******** *** ******* ******* ******* **** complex ******** ****** *** ************ ********* ******** *** ********* ***** is **** ******** *** *** ******* ****** ** **** ***********. Dahua ***** ***** ***** *** **** ****** **** ** *** IPC-HDBW5202 ** **** ********* **** *********** *** *** ******* ******* with ********* *** *******. **** *** ** *** *** ** comparisons ******* ***** ********* ****** ******* ** ******* ** ***** claims *** ******* ** *** ******* *********** ******* *******?

** *** **** ********** ******* **** ********** ** ******* **** morning, ** **** *****, *** ** **** ** ************ **. *** ***** ********* **'** ******* *** ***** ** ************ *****.

** ****** ** ********* ********* ***** *** ********* ****/***** ** low *****:

  • ***** **** *** **** * ***** ********* **** **** ** low *****, **** ********. *** **** ******* *****. ******* *** only **** **** ******** ******** ** *** ***** ******. ************ on **** ** ***** ******* *** ~** ** ********* *** ~24 ** ***** (*** **** ****** ***** ******* "*" ****'* result ** *** ** ** ******** *** ** ***** ******, so ** *** * *** ***** **** *********).

  • **** * ***/* *** ***, *** **** ** ****. ************ is ****** ** *** ***** ****** **** **** (*** **. Q33 ** *********, *** **. *** ** *****), ******* ********* are ***** **** ********** *********.

*****,

****** *** ****** **** ** **** **** ***. **** ****, I ** **** * *** ********* ** *** ***'* **** me ******.

*) *** ******** ******* *** **** **** ***** ******?

*) *** *** ****** ** **** *** ********* ***** *** the ******** *****?

*) **** *** **** *** ************ ********* **** ** ** 30 *** *** ***** ****, *** **** **** *** **** 720p *** *****? **** **** *** *** **** ************ **** the ***** ***?

*****, ***** ****. **'* **** *********** ** ******* **** ** myself.

***** ** *** **** **** *** *****, *** * *** still ****** *** * ******** **** ***** *****.

****,

* ***'* ***** ****** *** ****** ****** ******* *** **** there, * ***** *** ** ***** ** *** ** * did *** **** *** :)

**** *******?

** ****,

** *** **** * ****** **** ************ ************ (***** ********* step)? **, ** ** ******** ** **** *****-*** ******* *********** and ***** *********, ******* *** **** ****** ******* ** **** bitate *** ********** ******* ** ******* ******?

** ************* ** **** ******* **** ********** / *********** / bitrate ** **** *** ********** **** *** *********** ***** ***'* provide ****** ****** ******* ** ** *********** ******* ******* ** encode *****. *** **-***/**-*********** *** * **** ****** ** ********** noise *********.

** ** *** **** **** ****** *** - ******* ** reducing ***** *************** ** ** ******** ** ****** (***-****, *** in **** ****) ***** **********, ** ********* **** *****. ** it ******** ** ****, *** **** **-***/**-*********** ** **-***/**-*********** **** behave ** *** ******** ************ * ** * *****?

*** *** **** * *** **** ****?

"** *** **** * ****** **** ************ ************ (***** ********* step)?"

** *** **** * ****** **** ****** ** ** ****** the *** *******? *.*., ***:****** *** (******* ***** *********) *****

***, ******* ****. ***** *** *** **** **** - **** is **** * *** ****** ***!

Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts unique testing and research funded by member's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.

Related Reports

D-Link ONVIF Switch Tested on Dec 04, 2017
D-Link's surveillance switches claim to "enhance ease of use and streamline management" for network administrators, with simplified UIs and...
Dahua Multi-Imager Tested (PDBW8800-A180) on Nov 28, 2017
Dahua has released their latest generation of multi imager models, including the PDBW800-A180, a 4x1080p dome model claiming 30m/~100' IR and Smart...
IP Camera Manufacturer Compression Comparison on Nov 27, 2017
Despite the use of standards-based video compression (H.264/H.265), our tests show that default image quality settings for different manufacturers...
Camera Multi-Streaming Usage on Nov 22, 2017
IP cameras typically support multiple streams, allowing a single camera to transmit multiple streams at different resolutions, frame rates and even...
CBR vs VBR vs MBR - Surveillance Streaming on Nov 21, 2017
How you stream video has a major impact on quality and bandwidth. And it is not simply CODEC choice (e.g., H.264 vs H.265). Regardless of the...
Hikvision 4K IR PTZ Tested (DS-2DF8836IV-AELW) on Nov 10, 2017
The IR PTZ trend continues, now with 4K resolution, with Hikvision releasing its DS-2DF8836IVAEL-W camera, a 4K 1/1.9" PTZ model specifying 200m IR...
ZoneMinder Open Source Profile on Nov 06, 2017
The first, oldest and probably the best known open source VMS is ZoneMinder. But where has it gone and is it still relevant today in a world of...
Smart Codec Usage Surges - 2017 Statistics on Oct 25, 2017
Smart codec usage has surged in 2017, new IPVM statistics show. Smart codecs are less than three years old, starting in 2015 with Axis. Now, smart...
Avigilon H4 IR Mini Dome Camera Tested on Oct 24, 2017
Avigilon has released their successor to the aging Micro Dome, the H4 Mini Dome, claiming easy install, a patent-pending surface/recessed...
Axis 'Sold Out' P3707-PVE Multi-Imager Tested on Oct 18, 2017
Axis faced significant product shortages over the summer. Perhaps the most notorious and significantly sold out model was the Axis P3707-PE 8MP...

Most Recent Industry Reports

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...
Lighthouse Deep Learning Camera Tested on Dec 07, 2017
A Silicon Valley startup, Lighthouse, with a Stanford PhD CTO, has released a deep learning AI camera with 3D sensors for just $300. The company...
Access Control Course Winter 2018 on Dec 07, 2017
Learn more below about the Winter 2018 IPVM Access Control Course. Register here. IPVM offers the most comprehensive access control course in...
Broken Hikvision App Exposes Hypocrisy on Dec 06, 2017
While Hikvision talks about a commitment to cybersecurity, their broken app and their insecure 'solution' exposes not only their engineering...

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