January 27, 2016

IP Camera & CCTV

There are several parts to CCTV / IP Camera systems that are crucial to understanding the quality of video you will receive live and recorded. We’ll start off with one of the most common items and move into the most important.


The is critical in that it by definition is the amount of information stored in the image. As this image changes you view a video. The higher the resolution the better you will be able to make out an object whether it’s a face, license plate, animal, etc. The following chart defines resolution standards and will give you an idea of the sharpness to be expected.

From the chart you can see that a larger print will require a higher quality image to avoid stretching or otherwise distorting the image. While this is all very important we have a couple other things to consider that will prove to be more important than the resolution.High Resolution Outdoor PTZ IP Camera

Standard Name
D1 (Analog)
720 x 480
1600 x 1200
2048 x 1536
2592 x 1944
3072 x 2304
3264 x 2448
3648 x 2736
4000 x 3000
4288 x 3216
Max Print
4 x 3
5.3 x 4.0
6.8 x 5.1
8.6 x 6.4
10.2 x 7.6
10.8 x 8.1
12.1 x 9.1
13.3 x 10
14.2 x 10.7

WDR & Color:

Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) deals with shadowing. We have all looked a person with a bright light behind them (say the sun) and have a difficult time making features on their face or even telling who’s there. This is because our eyes are closing our pupils to prevent damage. Cameras work the same way using CCD or more commonly a CMOS to do the same work our eyes do. This CCD/CMOS must adapt to surrounding light to produce a quality image, however, if there is a large difference such as the one described earlier, the camera will act just as eyes do. There is a way around this though using WDR. WDR allows the camera to view the image in parts allowing bright parts to dim down and dim parts to brighten giving a more balanced photo. This segues into the color aspect of the camera since the WDR is responsible for brightening and darkening an image. The WDR process must also attempt to process color.

The key here is the amount of colors the unit is designed to produce without modification. Some vendors claim billions of color, however, the hardware can only produce a few thousand. These manufactures are using cheap CMOS chips and software to up the level to what they claim. By using quality hardware we can produce an image that is much greater in balance and tone then the resolution. A 2MP image can look better then a 5MP image if the CMOS is gather more colors and uses better WDR capabilities.

Bit Rate & Frame Rate:

This is probably the most important of all items in CCTV and it’s something most people don’t discuss… The Frame Rate (images per seconds – ips) is the amount of images taken per second by the CMOS. The Bit rate is how many bits there actually are in the frame. Using the chart from above we can determine a few things. If an image were to say have a 2MP resolution at a 30 ips rate with dynamic lighting and recorded over a period of 1 minute we would use a considerable amount of storage and bandwidth for that 1 minute video. Considering the camera has now taken 30 pictures in each second and we recorded a full 60 seconds we now have 900 images to store. The Bit Rate is extremely important here as we can use codecs (COmpressors and DECompressor (s)) to compress the images down. Much like MP3 has done for the audio CD. Bit Rates using .h264 are near identical to the original raw format with very little (I mean almost no) loss in video quality. This allows a DVR or NVR to reduce storage capacity dramatically without sacrificing quality.


While all 3 categories above are important there are several other factors to consider when installing, upgrading and/replacing a surveillance system. Some decisions are simple such as analog vs digital or maybe 2MP vs 5MP. We can work with you to make recommendations or consult on projects. With years of experience a quality support staff we can assist almost anyone with almost any kind of system.