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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Megapixel Cameras

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had an enjoyable Christmas and New Year’s. I am looking forward to a fantastic 2010.

With the emergence of megapixel cameras and Network Video Recorders (NVR) capable of recording these cameras I get a lot of questions regarding the benefit and usefulness versus extra cost of deploying a megapixel camera system. The answer always seems to be: What level of detail do you require?

If the areas you are monitoring are all close to the camera and do not require fine detail then you may not require a megapixel camera system at all. However, if you are trying to monitor a parking lot, vehicle traffic, a warehouse, a high value area, drug dispensing area, cash registers, or any area requiring detailed images then megapixel cameras are your solution.

I compare megapixel video surveillance to your home theater system. When the home theater systems went from standard resolution to high definition it was a huge improvement to the picture quality. Particularly noticeable with sporting events you can now see the hockey puck – not just a blur. You can determine the brand of golf ball being played; see the blades of grass on the putting green. You can see the sweat dripping off the players. With high definition you can see details never noticeable before. You get the point.

The same has happened in the video surveillance world. You can now see details never available before, or only available with specialized well positioned and well focused cameras. With megapixel cameras you can make out vehicle license plates. Now you can clearly see what is being loaded or unloaded on that truck. You can clearly and positively identify a person. You are no longer limited to the 480 TV lines of resolution (.4 Megapixel) available on your analog digital recording system.

Cameras are available in 1, 2, 3, and 5 Megapixel versions. A 1.2 Megapixel camera will provide three times the resolution of your analog high resolution camera. The 2 Megapixel cameras will provide five times the resolution. With a 5 Megapixel camera providing twelve and a half times the resolution. As a further comparison, going back to our home theater example HDTV 720p is equivalent to .9 Megapixels and HDTV 1080p is equivalent to 2.1 Megapixel.

With these high resolution cameras and the NVR software you can digitally zoom deep into the recorded picture for better identification. A well positioned megapixel camera can replace several analog cameras viewing the same area, helping to offset the additional costs of the system.

A word of caution; these IP based network cameras transmit their video over your network or a separate video surveillance network, the larger the megapixel camera the more bandwidth required and the more storage required. We are no longer talking about gigabytes of storage; we are talking terabytes or more of storage needed for these network video recording systems. It can add up quickly.

The proper specification and deployment of these systems is critical to maximizing your return on investment. We at Protection Plus Security Services, Inc. are experts in video surveillance systems, both the analog / DVR systems and the IP network cameras / NVR systems. Let us help design and implement a video surveillance system that is right for you application and your budget.