Why Megapixel Mis-Marketing Works

Author: John Honovich, Published on Jun 08, 2013

Both megapixel and video analytic manufacturers routinely mis-market their products, vastly overstating their capabilities. One market, analytics, has suffered greatly while the other one, megapixel, has thrived and, perhaps even, gained from the misleading marketing. Both can be outrageous. Indeed, megapixel can be even be worse, with claims of replacing dozens of cameras. Why has one created such ill will for vendors and the other has not?

The key difference is the frame of reference.

Analytics *********

***** ******* ***** ******** *********** ** ***** ****** ** ***** intrusion ********* ******. ******* ** ****, **** **** ****** **** standards *** **** ** ******* ********. ******* **** ** ************ ***** ****** ******* ** *******, **********, ****, ***. *************, most ***** ********* **. *** **** ***** ** *** ****** and ** ******* *** ********* ** *** *** '******' *** analytics ***. **** ************** *** **********, "*** *** **** '***********' video' *** ******* **** **** ****** ** *** * ******?"

********* ********** **** ****** ***** **** **** **** *** ****** buying ****, ***** ***** ** ********** ********* ** *******.

Megapixel *********

** ********, ***** ********* ******* ***** ********* ******* ** **** they ********* **** - ****** - ***** ** ***** ********* at *** **** ***, *****, ********, *******. **** ** *** megapixel ****** **** *** '*******' ** '*****' * ***** ** their ******** *******, **** *** ****** *** **** *** *** cameras *** ************* ****** **** ***** *** *******.

***** **** *** ** ******** ************ **** ** **** *** deliver ********** *** ****** ********* *******, ********* ********* ***** ****** better **** **** **** *** ******, ***** ***** ** **** to ******* / ******.

Winners *** ****** ** ********* ***-*********

*** ********* *************, ****, ** ******* **** ** ********** *** performance ** ***** ********. ****** ***** ** * **** ** their **********, *** ******* ***** ******* ** ********. **********, *** loses ** *** ************* *** *** *** *********** ** ************ to *** ***** *******.

**** **** ** * ****** ** ** ************'* ******* ***** ***** ********* *** ****** ******* *********. ********* ***** ********* ******** *** ***** ***** ** ******** vendors.

Comments (13)

Bosch Rep - we fight this battle EVERY day. Add to this list the underestimation of storage requirements. End users and integrators can avoid falling into these traps by demanding demonstrations of the technology in real-life environments. Ask for an outdoor demo, ask for a night demo, ask to view the actual bit rate to create the image. Do the math on the storage required to capture these images for 30 days or more. Aside from seeing the reality of the technology proposed, you'll also see who is willing to support you with technical advice and local support before and after the sale.

"Underestimation of storage requirements".

Matt, you said a mouthfull. I finally wound up telling our prospective Integrators exactly how much storage we wanted so there would be no doubt. Even the term "net storage" had to be specifically defined so that they wouldn't include parity drives, hot spare drives and Windows overhead in the total.

Add bitrate to that list. Integrators have tried to convince me of misjudgement of my specific bitrate requests, claiming they used lower bitrates on other jobs and the end users were perfectly happy. After seeing the video quality at some of those properties, I have to wonder what they were comparing the quality to?

Carl, I suspect you, in a casino, need to identify finer details than the typical surveillance user. That's probably why they can get away with lower bit rates (at modestly higher compression levels) than you can. Yes/no?

Maybe, except the other properties we visited were also casinos ;>)

I did a full sequence of bitrate tests on both encoders and IP cameras during Phase 1 and Phase 2 evaluations over the last year.

For analog cameras, I varied encoder bitrates from 1.5Mbps to 5Mbps. I noted substantial increases in picture quality in the first steps, followed by lesser and lesser improvements at the upper range. The image quality increase from 1.5Mbps to 2Mbps was immense and the improvement by going from there to 2.5Mbps was very apparent, even to untrained eyes. The improvement was much more subtle when going from 2.5Mbps to 3.0Mbps - it consisted mostly of a reduction in I-frame "pulsing" and edge noise. Above 3.0Mbps, improvements were not apparent.

The same was true of 720p IP cameras. Although many would consider 3Mbps "suitable", I noted a substantial reduction in compression noise going from 3.0Mbps to 3.5Mbps; less noticeable but still apparent noise reduction going from 3.5Mbps to 4.0Mbps and much more subtle improvements thereafter.

The thing is, we could live with somewhat lower bitrates for recording, since those are viewed far less often than "live" monitoring in our application but, as I mentioned in another discussion, maintaining 30fps while dual streaming can be hit or miss. I absolutely refuse to provide what I consider to be substandard image quality to our users. They are used to analog via matrix and although IP cameras will provide better resolution, low noise is not typically their strong suit.

One of the weirdest issues I encountered was GOP size, aka GOV length. Manufacturers' defaults varied from one I-frame per second to one I-frame per every four seconds (assuming 30fps). In some ways, I can understand the argument because the less often the I frames, the less apparent I-frame "pulsing" is. Still, increasing GOP size/length had readily apparent downsides, including a substantial increase in motion artifacts, to the extent of causing extreme problems during PTZ motion, and an increase in the actual magnitude of pulse noise on each I-frame.

I specifically called for a GOP size of 15 (500ms) for all sources and an increase in bitrate from 2.5Mbps to 3.0Mbps on encoders and from 4.0Mbps to 5.0Mbps on IP cameras. This cut the pulsing substantially, which allowed the lower GOP size (circular logic be damned).

Carl, have you tried to analyze what the quantization level of each stream was? For any given scene, if all one changes is the bitrate, the camera will adjust the quantization level 'behind the scenes'. If you knew what the quantization level of each stream / camera was, it could help normalize the comparisons (i.e., this camera/stream was at q=27 but the other one was q=32, etc.).

No. I didn't have the tools or the time. The systems weren't here long enough.

Being a sales engineer, I often annoy our salespeople by pushing better sensor and low light performing 1MP cameras (that cost less), vs a 5MP to a customer. Its my opinion that with the right customer if you're explaining to them "why" youre doing this, they will appreciate that you're the expert and not just pushing boxes; and they'll actually trust you more in the future when you have a situation that would benefit from 5MP.

I think in many cases its manufacturers using marketing tactics to excite sales "opportunities" with salespeople who have enough technical ability to know that 1MP < 5MP (... therefore 5MP is better), and salespeople being programmed to just push the next thing, bigger number, higher margin box.

Yeah but then I need 5 of those 1MP cameras to equal a 5MP one!!!

OMG, thanks to IPVM, I learnt a lot in several days. I have handheld HD Sony camcorder at same resolution of most CCTV camera manufacturers. I am not worrying about the storage nor data transfer. I want to have a camera which can record the same quality like my handheld camcorder. CCTV cameras are not cheaper than camcorders but they providing much lesser quality than camcorders. Manufacturer says 30fps @ 1920*1080 or whatever. I am looking at the recorded footage, its skipping! One of the IPVM article measured 60fps camera which was recording max 30fps and 30 fps camera was recording at max 15fps, what a joke!

Should we start using camcorders instead of CCTV cameras??? What makes cctv cameras so special against camcorders? (I am well aware of differences) but just my body not accepting that misleading ads. That has to stop I believe.

Undisclosed, it's a good question that is raised every so often. I started a new discussion to address this: Why are IP Cameras Much More Expensive Than Camcorders?

When I click the above link (Why are IP...), it goes to the GoPro website...is that on purpose?

That's an error. Sorry about that. Fixed and discussion is here.

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 on Marketing

Rare Video Surveillance Fundraising - Verkada $15 Million on Apr 19, 2018
Fundraising in video surveillance (and the broader physical security market) has been poor recently. Highlights are few and far in between...
Best and Worst ISC West 2018 on Apr 16, 2018
ISC West 2018 had strong attendance, modest overall new products, and a surge in Artificial Intelligence marketing. First, here are 20+...
Hikvision Hires Ex-Herbalife MLM Scheme PR Director on Apr 09, 2018
Hikvision has hired Michael Gutierrez, a 'crisis management excellence' award-winning PR director for his work at Herbalife, as Gutierrez...
Hikvision Hires Ex-Milestone Head To Lead Global PR on Apr 06, 2018
Hikvision has PR problems. From its failed attempt at hiring a crisis communication writer to their failed anti-IPVM blog series to the increasing...
VMS New Developments Spring 2018 (Avigilon, Exacqvision, Genetec, Hikvision, Milestone, Network Optix) on Apr 04, 2018
What's new with VMS software? In this report, we examine new features and releases for Spring 2018 to track different areas of potential...
Stats: Disclosing Vulnerabilities Responsibility? Researcher or Manufacturer on Mar 30, 2018
Getting prompt and appropriate information on vulnerabilities is important for integrators and end users to ensure that their systems are best...
Hanwha / Kaspersky Vulnerability Dispute Examined on Mar 29, 2018
IT media ran numerous reports in the past month featuring two prominent companies - Hanwha (previously part of mega manufacturer Samsung) Techwin...
Destructive Video Analytics Hype Returns on Mar 27, 2018
It is not just Hikvision's false advertising campaign. With marketing money being pumped into deep learning, we are returning to the bad old...
Brivo 'Buy Now' Online Campaign on Mar 26, 2018
Brivo has a new marketing campaign running across the web: Are you ready to buy access control now? Brivo tells IPVM this is a new campaign,...
US / China Tariffs Impact on Video Surveillance on Mar 23, 2018
On March 22, 2018, the US issued a Presidential Memorandum on the Actions by the United States Related to the Section 301 Investigation, with 3...

Most Recent Industry Reports

The Yolo Bro And The Death of Journalism on Apr 24, 2018
There's an old quote: The job of the newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable Unfortunately, the opposite is more...
DMP Adds Ring Video Doorbell Integration on Apr 24, 2018
Video doorbells have become one of the hottest items for security systems. After several years with no doorbell, DMP has announced integration with...
Milestone 2017 Financials Examined on Apr 24, 2018
For ISC West 2018, Milestone released ... their financials, touting "strong revenue growth in 2017". However, there were discrepancies with the...
Chinese Manufacturer Kickstarter Campaign Huge Success (EverCam) on Apr 23, 2018
In a week, a Chinese manufacturer's expertly done Kickstarter campaign has received $1.4 million in pledges, an incredible amount for a video...
Favorite Biometrics 2018 on Apr 23, 2018
Biometrics are on the rise, or at least integrator opposition to them is declining, according to new IPVM integrator statistics.   Almost half of...
Dahua and Hikvision Win Over $1 Billion In Government-Backed Projects In Xinjiang on Apr 23, 2018
Dahua and Hikvision have won well over $1 billion worth of government-backed surveillance projects in China’s restive Xinjiang province since 2016,...
May 2018 Camera Course on Apr 20, 2018
Save $50 on early registration until this Thursday, the 26th. Register now (save $50) for the Spring 2018 Camera Course This is the only...
Global Real-Time Video Surveillance - EarthNow on Apr 20, 2018
A new company, EarthNow, with backing from Bill Gates, Airbus and more, is claiming that: Users will be able to see places on Earth with a delay...
Dedicated Vs Converged Access Control Networks (Statistics) on Apr 20, 2018
Running one's access control system on a converged network, with one's computers and phones, can save money. On the other hand, hand, doing so can...
April 2018 IP Networking Course on Apr 19, 2018
This is the last chance to register for our IP Networking course. Register now. NEW - 2 sessions per class, 'day' and 'night' to give you double...

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