Author Bio ▼

Todd Rockoff is Chairman and Executive Director of the HDcctv Alliance, which is all about reliable, convenient transmission of unadulterated HD video within secured premises. Global adherence to the standard allows vendors to compete on performance and price in the largest possible total market.
August 29, 2014


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5 Reasons to Consider HD CCTV

Axis cameraWhy would a security customer want to upgrade their surveillance system?

Everyone has their own goals for investing in better surveillance. Whatever they’re after, chances are they’ll expect the benefits of high definition video on their mobile devices and in their integrated security systems.

Expectations for HD surveillance video are conditioned by our daily media experiences: TVs, PCs, phones and tablets all serve up HDTV content. Forensic analysis also demands higher-resolution video evidence, all else being equal.

Accordingly, HD security equipment became available as soon as SMPTE established the HDTV 720p25/30/50/60 1080p25/30 format group specification. The only reasons not to buy HD surveillance have traditionally related to reliability, convenience, cost, and the fidelity of the HD video realized as a function of the local-site video transmission infrastructure.

Originally, IP cameras leveraging Ethernet transmission were the only way to satisfy the enormous underlying demand for HD security video. Also, video usually arrives at mobile devices via IP transmission over the Internet.

As a result, most of the industry understandably considered migration to HD to be IP orientated. That’s only half right: Security has migrated to IP for remote access, but local-site transmission is an altogether independent engineering consideration.

In 2009, the HDcctv Alliance drafted HDcctv 1.0, the global standard for non-IP HD secured-site video signal transmission. HDcctv links instantaneously deliver highest-fidelity HDTV signals.

HDcctv links span hundreds of meters of conventional CCTV cabling, including coax, Cat5e/Cat6, and even telephone wire.

New security equipment available at the end of 2014 will be certified as compliant with the recently introduced HDcctv 2.0 standards.

2.0 introduce the added convenience of 100% multi-vendor plug ‘n’ play remote control. 2.0 compliance means that the surveillance installer/operator is able to modify camera settings from the comfort of the control room, on the DVR GUI. That ultimately saves money for the customer.

Where you might have previously considered using only IP cameras. I’d like to share five reasons why systems integrators, installers and end users should instead consider HDcctv cameras and DVRs.

1. Rapid migration to HD IP Video

High-quality IP networks are designed into the great majority of new buildings and facilities. That reduces one of the obstacles to adopting IP cameras: implementing and maintaining a surveillance-grade local-site transport:

Always on, delivering high-quality HD video without impeding IT functions within the secured premises.

However, converting HDTV signals to Ethernet packet streams inside the camera housing provides specific security value only in certain specialized applications.

Certainly, no security improvement arises from extending the local-site LAN all the way to cameras.

Meanwhile, HDcctv DVRs and IP encoders cost-effectively connect HDcctv cameras to IP networks. HDcctv thereby makes it easy for legacy CCTV customers to continue enjoying HD IP surveillance.

2. The same reliability as conventional CCTV equipment

HDcctv equipment has exactly the same architecture as the corresponding sub-HD CCTV equipment; the difference is that the individual components capture and process HDTV formats, rather than PAL or NTSC formats.

No matter the video format, Ethernet transmission requires the inclusion of  extra logic gates and extra lines of software code in the cameras. A principal of digital system integration is that more complexity usually means less reliability as they’re more error (read bug) prone.

In addition, IP cameras can never be more reliable than the local-site LAN, no matter how well-designed the IP camera might be. HDcctv equipment, over the same proven reliable home-run cabling infrastructure as conventional CCTV, confers exactly the same reliability advantages as conventional CCTV equipment.

3.  As easy to install as conventional CCTV equipment

HDcctv equipment works exactly the same as conventional CCTV equipment. The operational difference is that higher resolutions are available on the DVR GUI.

And while a lot of installation companies have IT and IP experts on staff, some don’t.

HDcctv equipment allows installers to play to the strengths of their trained, experienced engineers, without compromising HD picture quality results for customers. In this way, HDcctv equipment has unlocked HD for the vast existing base of security solutions.

4. Approximately the same lifetime cost as conventional CCTV equipment

Because HDcctv equipment has exactly the same architecture as the corresponding sub-HD CCTV equipment, the costs associated with installation, commissioning, and maintenance are exactly the same as for conventional CCTV.

These operational savings in turn translate to significant savings for implementers and customers alike – crucial in a challenging economic climate.

5. Highest-fidelity live views, with immediate, unadulterated HDTV signals

IP cameras apply video compression to reduce HDTV signal bandwidth to enable Ethernet transmission. This information-elimination process reduces video quality, while also adding potential delay to signal transmission.

Alternatively, HDcctv cameras generally provide the best live views of the footage, immediately delivering clear, crisp images. This advantage makes HDcctv cameras truly compelling for on-premises live monitoring, indispensable, for example, in casino operations.

Security operations personnel routinely check IP surveillance video on their mobile devices. Increasingly, the video source is HD.

The HDcctv Alliance was founded on the premise that as soon as the reliability, convenience and cost of HD surveillance come on par with sub-HD surveillance, the market will immediately shift to HD.

The predicted rapid shift to HD IP surveillance is now be upon us. HDcctv cameras deliver advanced HD surveillance capabilities with pre-existing and lowest-cost CCTV infrastructure while HD DVRs cost-effectively integrate the connected cameras ‘fields of view’ with advanced IP security system software applications.

As a result, more customers are enjoying HD surveillance benefits every day. The HDcctv standard is, therefore, helping to rapidly accelerate the migration to HD IP video surveillance.

There will always be many security applications for IP cameras. For example, video coding for Ethernet transmission runs ahead of SMPTE standards, and as a result IP cameras are the only way to get highest-resolution surveillance video signals into security systems.

However, the many advantages of diverse equipment already dictate that a significant number of performance-per-cost-optimized security systems installed next year will incorporate a mix of IP, HDcctv, and legacy CCTV cameras.

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John Lee
John Lee
September 17, 2020 10:35 am

High definition video contains more pixels, and a larger image size, than traditional cameras to ensure you get clear and detailed video.


[…] name pretty much speaks for itself, here. HD Cameras have become more widespread and affordable in recent years, as vendors have been able to integrate […]