Despite all the advantages that IP video lends to the security field, less than 15 percent of current video surveillance systems utilize this technology. Security managers are often leery to switch from a system, analog, that they are very comfortable with, to an IP system that is not only new to them, but also comes with some new vocabulary that often needs explaining.
So let’s shed some light on this mysterious technology with the help or this article from SecuritySales.com.
IP cameras can be described as a hybrid camera/computer. In order to better handle network communication, IP cameras have their own IP address and built-in computing functions. True IP-based digital surveillance includes cameras that use signal processing to send video streams over the LAN through a Cat-5e cable rather than a coax cable network. This provides greater bandwidth and standard TCP/IP communication.
There is currently no guarantee that IP video is the future of the security industry, so many end-users are leery to throw out perfectly good analog equipment for a new IP/digital architecture. In response to this, video system suppliers are beginning to provide products that “connect the dots” between current analog technology and digital equipment.
1. Leveraging UTP Cabling: The joining of analog and digital equipment is facilitated by the implementation of unshielded twisted pair (UTP) cable, which acts as the transmission medium. Since most people already use UTP cable for their phones and datacom needs, this solution offers a cost-effective alternative to complete IP integration. Or if you are interested in a more digital-ready structured cabling system, that supports a wide variety of analog products, a power-video-data (PVD) solution supports cameras and delivers a high-quality picture over the same infrastructure used by Ethernet datacom systems. The PVD solution provides a convenient, cost-conscious and future-proofed way to connect power, video and data from the camera to the control room.
2. Leveraging DVRs — If you are looking for a middle ground surveillance system that is not quite analog, but not quite fully IP-based, utilizing DVR might make sense for you. A DVR system uses the same camera and cabling as the older CCTV analog system, but the old VCRs and multiplexers have been replaced with a DVR storage system. This means that the quality of the image remains analog, but the information is converted to a digital format for easier storage.
In any application that converts analog video into a digital format, image degradation becomes a huge concern. While analog is interlaced, digital monitors and DVRs tend to use progressive scan. In order to use the image, it must be de-interlaced (converted from interlaced to a progressive scan format), which is accomplished in the DVR.
Unfortunately, not all DVRs are created equal. So it is important to research and even test potential DVR equipment before committing to any system.
It’s all about the pixels
Unlike analog systems, digital equipment’s resolution is solely dependent on the number of pixels in a given image. More pixels mean better resolution. It’s simple. The CCDs (charge coupled devices) used today are available in two resolutions. The lower resolution imager contains 510 horizontal rows and 484 vertical columns of pixels, or about 250,000 total pixels. The higher resolution imager contains 768 horizontal rows and 494 vertical columns of pixels, or about 380,000 total pixels.
Professional monitors provide advanced picture quality with SXGA (super extended graphics array) resolution greater than 1,000:1 contrast ratio, maximum of 5ms response time and minimum of 300 cd/m² brightness. They also feature a built-in durable power supply that provides continuous 24-hour operation as well as tempered glass, which protects the delicate LCD panels for long-life viewing.
When picture quality is the most important attribute in any system, digital beats analog every time.
Analog can simply not compete with IP’s ability to use network infrastructure instead of coaxial cable, meaning better bandwidth. In order for this to be effective, however, there needs to be enough bandwidth in the desired network to support the high-resolution digital camera. If there is not adequate bandwidth, the result will be less than desirable.
There are several video management companies working in conjunction with video surveillance manufacturers to better manage the capture and storage of video content, along with the transportation of IP images in the hopes it will yield clean, usable video.
In the end, no matter which way you look at it, the future of video surveillance appears to be headed to a digital format. For any questions on IP Video, simply contact ARK Systems at 1-800-995-0189 or click here today.