HD, 3D and Beyond

Blog Date:  7/19/2011
Author:  Ray Coulombe

Don’t look now, but megapixel cameras are taking our industry by storm. According to many integrators I have spoken with, a great deal of their customers have moved to IP — primarily to be able to use megapixel cameras. Why? Greater fidelity, fewer cameras, digital PTZ — the reasons are numerous. IMS Research estimates that, by 2014, half of the network cameras sold will be megapixel. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
Megapixel cameras can be obtained that provide HD format, alternative formats or both. Pixel count is obtained by multiplying the number of pixels per line by the number of lines. If that result is more than one million, you have “mega-pixels.” While HD represents a 16:9 (1920 x 1080 or 1280 x 720) aspect ratio and is defined by SMPTE standards, there are plenty of megapixel cameras on the market delivering non-HD aspect ratios, usually 4:3. If the pixels are there, you can theoretically derive an HD-compliant image — say 1920 x 1080 from a 2048 x 1536 camera — by selecting a properly sized portion of the image, effectively trimming lines and line widths from the full image.
So what do you do with all these pixels? Clearly, the cameras give you better granularity, making digital PTZ more effective and enabling better image discrimination. Combined with the proper lens system, a camera can provide a variety of coverage options up to 360 degrees. A greater number of pixels provides more information for analysis, creating more opportunities for analytics to extract information from the scene. However, all this comes with a technical price — since it often means reduced frame rates at higher resolutions to limit bandwidth usage. The greater the information being analyzed, the greater the need for more processing power to analyze the scene. But as available network bandwidths and processor power climb, surveillance systems will take fuller advantage of these resolutions, likely at higher frame rates, analyzing and storing richer, fuller pictures.
Link to Complete Article as it appeared in Security Technology Executive Magazine


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