What is the Impact of H.264 on NVRs and User's PCs?

By: John Honovich, Published on Jun 25, 2008

The biggest concern in using H.264 lies on the impact that H.264 video streams will have on NVR servers and client PCs. If H.264 video significantly reduces the number of cameras an NVR can support or undermines the ability of operators to view video, such losses could eliminate the overall storage and bandwidth impact H.264 promises. Please see a review of potential H.264 risks for an overview.

Today I would to share 2 pieces of information:

  • An explanation from Arecont Vision on why their H.264 implementation should not generate such problems
  • An announcement of an independent testing program for H.264 cameras that I will run to validate performance.

Arecont Vision's Explanation of H.264 Decoding Impact

Dr. Michael Korkin, Director of Engineering at Arecont Vision shared the following explanation:

"Arecont Vision's main goal was to minimize the cost of the H.264 encoder implementation on camera as much as possible while providing a fully compliant H.264 stream, and to also reduce the corresponding computational load on the H.264 decoder, typically implemented as software running on a client computer.

The H.264 standard is comprised of multiple computational tasks, each with different computational load. The standard leaves it up to the encoder implementation to pick and choose which options are used and which are not, while maintaining full compliance with the standard. The trade-off is the stream size at a given video quality vs. the computational load in the encoder and/or the decoder. Some options contribute 1-3% to reducing the stream size while requiring an extra 50% computational load. Other options reduce the stream significantly, while requiring very little additional resources. In the encoder the extra load translates into a more expensive hardware implementation, in the decoder it translates into a higher computational load on the CPU. Moreover, within each of these options there are multiple sub-options that could vary the encoder cost and the corresponding decoder load dramatically.

We have carefully selected a subset of H.264 options and features that are important for security and surveillance applications, and then optimized their implementation on top of that, so that the cost of the encoder is very low, while the corresponding CPU load of the H.264 decoder is no higher than the MJPEG decoder load. In our own AV100 software [link no longer available] we use an off-the-shelf software decoder known as FFMPEG which produces a CPU load slightly lower than when decoding an MJPEG stream from the same camera at the same image resolution, same frame rate and same video quality. In addition, our new H.264 camera models stream at full frame rate and full resolution into QuickTime and VLC media players running on regular off-the-shelf computers."

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

Related Reports

Glossary / Acronyms for Video Surveillance on Feb 10, 2020
This directory provides definitions and explanations for over 70 common video surveillance industry terms, including links to related IPVM...
Bandwidth Fundamentals For Video Surveillance on Jan 13, 2020
Bandwidth is the most fundamental element of computer networking for video surveillance systems. Because video surveillance can consume an immense...
2020 Camera Book Released on Jan 10, 2020
This is the best, most comprehensive security camera training in the world, based on our unprecedented testing. Now, all IPVM PRO Members can get...
IPVM Opens 12,000 Sqft Testing Facility on Dec 16, 2019
IPVM is proud to announce the opening of the world's first video surveillance testing facility that will allow us to significantly expand our...
Proactive CCTV "Only Affordable Video Archiving Solution" Profile on Aug 12, 2019
Proactive CCTV is claiming to offer "the only affordable video archiving solution on the market", reducing the storage typically required for H.265...
False Verkada 'Unrivaled' Low Light Performance Claim Removed on Jun 12, 2019
Verkada falsely claimed that it delivered 'UNRIVALED LOW LIGHT PERFORMANCE' until IPVM questioned. In fact, Verkada's low light performance is...
Smart CODEC Usage Statistics 2019 on Jun 03, 2019
Smart codecs are now nearly a standard feature in IP cameras, but our statistics show integrator adoption has not increased at the same rate. In...
Verkada Video Quality Problems Tested on May 23, 2019
Verkada suffers from numerous video quality problems, not found in commercial IP cameras, new IPVM testing of Verkada vs Axis and Hikvision...
Average Frame Rate Video Surveillance 2019 on May 23, 2019
What is the average frame rated used in video surveillance systems? In IPVM's 2011 statistics, the average was 6-8fps increasing to ~10fps in...
H.265 Usage Statistics on Apr 19, 2019
H.265 has been available in IP cameras for more than 5 years and, in the past few years, the number of manufacturers supporting this codec has...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Pivot3 Mass Layoffs on Mar 27, 2020
Pivot3 has conducted mass layoffs, the culmination of grand hopes, a quarter of a billion dollars in VC funding, and multiple failures to gain...
Athena CEO Criticizes 'Deplorable' 'Nitpicking', IPVM Refutes on Mar 27, 2020
Athena Security's CEO Lisa Falzone has strongly objected to IPVM's reporting on Athena, calling it 'deplorable' and repeatedly criticizing IPVM's...
Hikvision Admits Sanctions Harming Its Financial Performance on Mar 27, 2020
While Hikvision initially downplayed being sanctioned for human rights abuses, the company is now admitting a significant impact in a new PRC...
New Axis M30 Cameras Tested on Mar 26, 2020
Axis has released a new generation of, for them, relatively low cost M30 series cameras, claiming to deliver "sharp video quality even in poor...
Coronavirus Shuts Down ADT Door Knockers on Mar 26, 2020
Coronavirus has another victim - this time, alarm giant ADT has stopped all door to door sales. Door knockers are a critical but controversial...
Access Control Course Spring 2020 - Save $50 Last Day on Mar 26, 2020
Register Now - Spring 2020 Access Control Course. Today, March 26th is the last day to save $50. IPVM offers the most comprehensive access...
Convergint Coronavirus Cuts on Mar 25, 2020
One of the world's largest security integrators, Convergint, has made a major move to handle the impact of coronavirus, with cuts across the...
VSaaS 101 on Mar 25, 2020
Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS) is the common industry term for cloud video. But what does it mean? How does it all work? Inside this...
TVT / InVid Facial Recognition Tested on Mar 25, 2020
Facial recognition is frequently sold for thousands of dollars per channel but some China manufacturers are offering full facial recognition...
IPVM Launches On-Demand Courses on Mar 24, 2020
For nearly a decade, IPVM has been a leader in online live courses. Now, we have added on-demand versions for all courses. The same course...