There is a great deal of confusing information published regarding IP CCTV surveillance cameras.
Below we have tried to offer independent advice on the different technologies with some guidance on relevant performance.
IP CCTV cameras currently can be divided into two main technological groups.
The first is based on the traditional CCTV chip fitted with an IP encoder which can typically deliver PAL or NTSC type of performance. These traditional standards limit resolution to a maximum of 4CIF or D1 and allow transmission over a computer network type of infrastructure.
The second and newer type of camera is known as the HDCCTV or megapixel type of camera. Whereas standard cameras are considered to be the equivalent of 0.3 megapixels, the new cameras offer far high pixel counts and hence greater resolutions (and larger image size).
Currently the security manufacturers are delivering 1.3 – 5 megapixel cameras at full frame rates which operate very well for internal applications and if carefully selected and configured, with some success externally.
Very large imagers are now available which process 16 megapixel images with variations of the technology seeing 21MP line scan and full vision 180° or 360° immersive camera systems being offered.
Line scan images offer low frame rates with very large picture sizes suitable for external large areas of surveillance such as car parks, sports stadia etc.
Immersive security camera technology attempts to record short range wrap around images all around the camera location (with the camera sited at the centre).
These types of systems do not currently meet any standards being developed (as the technology deployed is manufacturer specific) and being designed for retrospective review only, are not easy to integrate with a larger system or easily allow for real time monitoring.
Larger megapixel cameras may have issues with delivering higher frame rates when in low light conditions, although this should improve with time.
Other factors which may limit the use of very large megapixel cameras will be the availability of sufficient network bandwidth and the meeting of any requirement for long term image storage, both issues due to the very large image file sizes produced (even after compression).
When planning a CCTV surveillance system, the selection of camera technology should be confirmed only after identifying the operational requirement (OR).
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