High Resolution Security Cameras

By: Mel Joelle

Constantly improving technology is producing high resolution security cameras. A high resolution security camera is like watching your television in High Definition (HD). The higher the resolution, the better the detail and clarity of the picture. High resolutions cameras are generally more expensive than lower resolution cameras but even today’s prices are lower than a few years ago.

Unfortunately, this concept of resolution and high resolution can be confusing. So let’s take a look at a little background information that will help to understand the high resolution security cameras just a little bit better.

The term resolution can be confusing because it is used to mean different things depending on the device that it refers to. We are going to explain this by working backwards, that is talking about the resolution of the monitor and the Digital Video Recorder or DVR first and then talk about the high resolution security camera.

The DVRs primary responsibility is to store the digital video file on its Hard Disk Drive or HDD and to send it along to the monitor(s) for viewing. Prior to the “digital age” the camera signals were saved on magnetic tape in analog form (One interesting note is that even today the camera’s sensor creates the electrical impulses to create a video image but the data for this is initially analog. The camera uses a Digital Signal Processor or DSP to convert the analog into digital form.)

Today’s digital monitors produce pictures with tiny dots called pixels. There is no standard measurement for a pixel, but the larger the monitor and the larger the resolution of the monitor, usually the smaller the pixel size. The smaller the pixel size the greater the detail of the image. So quite often a smaller monitor will show an image at a bigger size then a large monitor (due to a larger pixel size). But if the image has more pixels than the size of the smaller monitor, you will lose some of the image.

When speaking in terms of analog picture resolution, most security camera companies default to the older analog measurements. Analog monitors are basically televisions. Televisions produce a picture by using a Cathode Ray Tube or CRT. The CRT scans the back of the TV viewing surface from left to right creating a horizontal line. This line is repeated every other line. The greater number of lines the greater the detail of the picture. A High Definition or HD TV or monitor can display up to 1080 Television Lines or TVL per image.

Analog television has its own terms for defining detail and clarity. They are CIF, 4CIF and D1. Without going into too much detail, here is there approximate size translated into pixels:

CIF = 360 x 240 pixels

4CIF = 704 x 408 pixels

D1 = 720 x 480

Now for the high resolution security cameras terminology. Slowly, as more cameras are used on the Internet and in strictly digital circumstances the resolution of the camera will be stated in digital (pixel) format instead of TVL. For example Security Camera King has available for purchase Product# IPBC-EL3MP 3 Megapixel IP Network Box Security Camera.

However, must of the digital cameras and especially the high resolution security cameras are still being marketed based on their TVL resolution. For example the Vandal resistant dome camera offered with the bundled packages, Product# OD-LX420IR50 is marketed as a 420 TVL resolution camera.

Generally speaking (there is no golden rule on this) to give you an idea of what the TVL resolutions mean we will try to categorize the cameras based on resolution. For example many hidden or disguised cameras produce a video image that has a resolution of 380 TVL. This camera is certainly not considered to be a high resolution security camera, but taking size and everything else into account it’s not a bad resolution.

Typical resolutions for standard cameras range somewhere between 420 and 500 TVL. High resolution cameras start at about 550 TVL and currently go as high as 700 to 750 TVL. Also the higher the resolution of the camera usually the higher the price.

If you have any other questions concerning high resolution security cameras or you are interested in purchasing a high resolution security camera, please contact one of our security experts today either by on-line “Live Chat” or by telephone at 866-573-8878 Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 6 PM EST.

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