IP Video Security – Buyers Guide to High Definition Video Security

IP Network Cameras have to be considered in any CCTV Video Surveillance project today as high definition IP Cameras are being introduced in the market at a rapid rate. IP camera systems starting entering the market at a significant level 2 years ago and today we are benefiting from severe price reductions and better yet, High Definition Video Surveillance has arrived in full force. With resolutions reaching 2560 x 1920 in 5 megapixel cameras for video surveillance, real-time High Definition Video has Finally Arrived!

High Definition means massive video volume and Network integration. The evolution of Hard Drive Technology (i.e., cost and performance) and the simplicity of Network Architecture in today’s IP LAN world make IP Network Video technology a major step for Video Surveillance. The result is high definition video on Video Security systems just as you experience HD at home television. HD IP Video is the standard Video Surveillance system of choice for any mid to high-end professional CCTV deployment as we enter 2013.

The following is a basic recommendations and considerations you should have with Advanced IP Video Surveillance projects. The general design, integration, and installation of IP camera systems is very different than the old style analog systems. This guide objective is to highlight key considerations in IP Video Security technology.

IP Cameras

IP Cameras have the same fit and form as analog cameras. Basic camera types include dome, bullet-style, infrared, and Pan Tilt Zoom. The real difference is in the video resolution increase from 520 TVL (see old TVs) to 5 Megapixel Cameras that provide resolutions up to 2560 (H) x 1920 (V).

Consider:

  • In 2012, Network-based Camera system will be approximately 20-30% more $$ than a comparable Analog Video Surveillance System (In 2010 it was about 50% with only 1.3MP resolution)
  • IP Camera may replace up to 2 analog cameras dependent on the location
  • A Panoramic 360 Degree Network Camera can replace up to 5 Cameras
  • PoE Power Over Ethernet means standard Cat-5/6 cable and no more extra power supply boxes, thus reducing the installation time and difficulty by as much as 25%
  • IP Camera prices will probably fall 20-30% in 2013
  • IP Network Cameras will probably exceed 10 Megapixel resolutions in 2013
  • Many IP cameras do not have the same low lux rating as analog cameras, so be careful in selection considering low light conditions
  • Infrared is available in many IP Dome camera models
  • Look for IP Pan-Tilt-Zoom(PTZ) Cameras prices to fall in the coming months as more vendors are releasing more models on the market. Many analog PTZ cameras complement an IP system with approximately 50% less cost.
  • Audio is built-in to many Network camera models
  • You should consider 2 megapixel IP Network cameras at minimum today (cost/performance). In 2013 I would suggest that 4 MP Cameras will be the norm
  • Panoramic 360 Degree Cameras should be considered at any location that requires multiple cameras in target areas such as retail stores.
  • In 2012, although standards are in place, you still need to be aware of IP Server compatibility with specific Network camera models. Obtain a certified Camera list from the NVR Vendor

Digital Video Recorders and Network Video Recorders

IP Camera Video Recorders or Network Video Recorders (NVRs) operate without the massive DSP hardware that processed the old analog composite video. No DVR hardware required, but fast CPU processors and large Hard Drive requirements are with massive video files and multiplexing high definition video has taxed more than one system in the last two years of early adopters to IP can attest.

Choices include Standalone NVRs and Computer-based NVRs and each, like their analog brother, meets different requirements and your decision is based on several factors. Standalone NVRs typically offer Linux-based OS that are closed architectures in that there are limitations. Computer-based NVRs offer flexibility in the number of monitors, resolutions, video storage capacities, and in a general sense are open platforms that can expand and be refined over their productive life.

Hybrid Video Recorders that will operate both Analog and IP video systems should be considered as you upgrade or expand your existing CCTV system. A Hybrid Video Recorder allows you to keep existing analog and upgrade to IP Cameras. So the analog and IP cameras coincide in the same system with the same user interface and remote access, and save money not having to scrap existing analog cameras in place.

Consider:

  • NVRs typically require more Hard Drive Video Storage space. Calculating drive space as well as HDD allocation are critical decisions in the IP Video Security experience
  • DVRs and NVRs both offer Remote Internet Access and iPhone and Droid Access
  • NVR bandwidth problems basically occur in the HDD Write process. HDD allocation may require limiting high megapixel to 2-4 per HDD (Meaning you may need up to 8 Drives or more to operate and maintain 5 Megapixel camera video in a medium to large-scale CCTV Video Surveillance project
  • Use Hybrid Recorders and plug in IP Hi-Def CCTV cameras in critical areas and where you need high definition video
  • Be aware of recording speeds with IP Cameras. Although a camera may provide 5 Megapixel video feeds, it may only record at 5 FPS or so.
  • Use as many separate Hard Drives (HDDs) as possible. Computer Hard Drives are relative inexpensive, so load up with multiple drives when possible
  • Many IP Cameras have built-in micro storage devices that can record up to 10 GB of Video. Perfect backup on the device for temporary issues and/or problems with main Video Recording System
  • Be aware of 3rd party camera license costs and limitations
  • Require HDMI Output for any IP Video Surveillance system
  • The iPhone, iPad, and Droid Remote Access applications are excellent and offered for both NVR and DVR systems today.

These are just a few tips on approaching any CCTV solution with high definition video security. There are many details, but clearly IP Network Camera deployments are typically less difficult than analog if performed correctly.

The technology in Close Circuit Television (CCTV) otherwise known as Video Surveillance or Video Security is undergoing tremendous changes from Analog to IP Camera systems. In 2012, the Video Surveillance manufacturers have embraced standards early and adopted them allowing you, as a customer, to benefit from an open platform standard. This standard adoption means that you mix and match components and vendors and not be so concerned about compatibility. The IP technology changes in the CCTV/Video Market in 201X parallels the IP technology advancements in VOIP and the telecommunications market in the 1st ten years of this century. Video Resolution and Video clarity is increasing as prices decrease with new and advanced IP Network cameras and video recording systems entering the market every month.

IP Cameras have presented other issues with the typical CCTV installation and integration. No longer can the technician plug-in coax video and adjust the analog system. Today the CCTV provider and integrator needs to have extensive IT and LAN knowledge and the ability to setup and manage network devices and video transmission within the network. However the IP Network Camera project for Video Security is no more complicated than analog camera installations, it just takes a different skill-level to implement and manage.

The end result of IP Network Cameras which high definition is the ability to say Goodbye Fuzzy Video, Hello 1080p in the Video Security world.