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10 common misconceptions about megapixel network cameras

Since network cameras can provide many benefits that analog security camera can't offer. Megapixel resolution, high image quality and easy video stream broadcasting, megapixel network cameras became the prevalent solution in today's video surveillance market.

Although many users know the difference between analog cameras and IP cameras, some benefits the technology is still often misunderstood. Also the demand for HD video surveillance is strong for both commercial and residential security market. When comes to product selection, many users become overwhelmed because the wealth of choices. In this article, based on recent study, we list the 10 common misconceptions of megapixel network cameras.

#1. More pixels equal better picture quality

More pixels = better picture quality, looks correct, it’s a common misconception among users and even some security professionals. They are incline to think the image quality of 3 megapixel cameras must better than image quality of 2 megapixel camera. TVL of resolution of camera determines megapixel picture quality, not number of pixels. For example, according to the testing result of ASMAG magazine, Panasonic WV-SPN631 2 megapixel IP camera, its measured horizontal resolution is 1000TVL, and Hikvision DS-2CD4026FWD/D 2 megapixel IP camera, its measured horizontal resolution is 1100TVL.

Checking the Figure 1, both images are 3-megapixel resolution, however the image quality is different.

3-Megapixel Camera Resolution Comparison

#2. A 4 megapixel camera = 2 1080p megapixel cameras

Although a 4 megapixel camera covers an area 2x as large as a 2 megapixel camera, using HD megapixel cameras can reduce the total number of cameras. Any camera regardless of resolution will cover the same area, the viewing angle is determined by site survey and lens selection, but not the camera type.

#3. Megapixel cameras perform better in low light

The low light performance of analog cameras is better than megapixel IP cameras. The reason is most analog cameras adopt CCD image sensor which owns high low sensitivity, some CCD based analog cameras even can capture image under the 0.0001Lux extreme low light environment. On the other hand, the high sensitivity megapixel CMOS image sensor’s minimum low illumination is about 0.001Lux.

Typically, a 3 megapixel camera’s low light performance is poorer than the low light performance of 1.3 megapixel camera. So for poor lit environment, it’s recommended to use the 720p/1080p network cameras with star light performance (0.001Lux).

Megapixel Camera Low Light Performance

#4. All pixels are created equal, A brand 2MP products equal B brand 2MP products

The resolution of camera vary by manufacturer, and are also affected by: the type of image sensor that employed, CMOS image sensor S/N ratio, image sensor size and type, sensor’s sensitivity, the lens, and the processing capability of image signal processor.

#5. Network cameras require Internet connection to run

Network types include LAN, MAN, WAN (Internet). The network video surveillance system or IP cameras can run on both LAN and WAN network. When IP cameras connect to a local area network, the authorized users can access the cameras to preview and record video locally, no need to use ISP internet service.

However, if the IP cameras don’t connect to Internet, that means you can’t remotely access camera on Internet.

#6. Video transmission through network is not secure

Although primarily used as a domain for public information, the internet also is used to transfer all types of sensitive information, by implement necessary security measures such as password protection, https, encryption, vpn, firewall. Don’t forget the banks and financial institutions are using the internet as a medium for global money transactions, Internet is also a proven medium for other secure applications like video surveillance and alarm monitoring.

#7. The cost of IP camera system is higher than analog camera system

Today, analog cameras step forward to HD analog technology, there are several HD analog technologies emerged in the market, such as AHD, HDCVI, TVI. The cost of these products cheaper than its network cameras counterpart. Some HD analog cameras even sell at extreme low price because the Chinese manufacturers want to clean the inventory.

Despite the cost comparison of cameras, if we analyze the total cost of hardware and installation, actually the IP surveillance system is quite better. Firstly, network video recorders are not necessary to establish a set of IP video surveillance system, because IP cameras can work standalone. Unlike the analog cameras require to connect with DVRs for video recording and managing, users can use diversity devices to save the video footage such as TF card, computer, smartphone, NAS, remote server, NVR etc.

Additionally, the installation cost of IP surveillance system is much cheaper, since the IP based infrastructure is considerably less expensive than analog coaxial cabling. Additionally, the IP cameras can use the Ethernet cable to transmit all the data including video, audio, PTZ control signal, while the analog cameras require different cables to transmit these signals separately. Lastly, IP cameras can utilize the PoE (Power over Ethernet) and WiFi technologies to further lower installation and maintenance cost.

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