Samsung Launching 1280H Analog, Claims HD Quality

By Ethan Ace, Published Apr 17, 2014, 12:00am EDT

Is analog innovation heating up?

960H was the big analog jump over the last few years, offering 34% increase in 'resolution.'

Now, Samsung is launching 1280H, a nearly 100% increase in 'resolution' over traditional analog. Indeed, Samsung is touting 'HD quality video' with existing analog infrastructure.

In this note, we examine the claims and positioning of Samsung's 1280H offering.

Overview

Like the 'megapixel' analog 900TVL camera we tested, the key differentiator for Samsung 1280H is the use of a MP CMOS sensor. The output, however, is still analog, with both NTSC and PAL models being offered.

These 1280H cameras require special 1280H DVRs to deliver the max resolution of 1280 x 480. Connected to a traditional DVRs, it would be limited to their top resolution (SD and/or 960H as applicable).

The 1280 x 480 resolution is nearly 2x that of 'standard' D1 and comes it at a 8:3 aspect ratio which is significantly wider than conventional HD (i.e., HD = 16:9 whereas 1280H is 16:6).

Samsung has already announced box (SCB-5003 [link no longer available]) and dome (SCD-5003 [link no longer available]) models for 1280H and is planning two series of 1280H DVRs for June.

Resolution/Quality Increase

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We expect quality will increase relative to non MP sensor analog cameras for traditional aspect ratio display but that the 1280 x 480 recordings will be stretched / warped. This is in line with the results of our testing of 960H cameras, which employ a similar approach.

As we found, 960H cameras simply stretched a 4:3 NTSC image to a widescreen aspect ratio, introducing distortion into an otherwise clear image, seen here in this comparison of our subject in a ~15' HFOV:

This actually decreased usable image quality, as lettering and the subject's face became stretched:

However, Samsung disagrees and claims that there will be no stretching.

We remain skeptical as the transmission process (NTSC / PAL) undermines the capability to deliver a super wide aspect, nearly 2x increase in pixel count (all in the horizontal portion). Plus, we see no fundamental difference in what other 'megapixel' sensor / analog cameras are doing that would trigger such an increase.

Impact

Given Samsung's brand and the positioning tactic of claiming an even bigger number, we expect many to be attracted and likely an equal number to be fooled. We plan to test Samsung's 1280H line as soon as it is available.

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