HD vs “High Resolution” Security Cameras

So many times I am asked what the difference is between HD cameras and “high resolution” (analog) cameras, other than price, that is. The other question I get is “who would buy the ‘regular’ cameras if they do not offer positive ID of an intruder.
In this blog, I will talk about the differences between HD and high res and I will explain “who” the typical customer is for each.

HD
I will avoid using a bunch of technical jargon since most of the people reading this would appreciate simple terminology.
In the case of video surveillance, HD cameras are measured in mega pixels. 1 mega pixel is equal to one-million pixels. When you compare a high resolution 540 TVL camera to a high definition camera, keep this in mind; 540 TVL = .4 mega pixels. This means, that the resolution of a 1 MP camera is 2.5 times greater than a 540 TVL camera! When you consider that most high definition cameras are at least 2 MP, there is a HUGE difference in clarity. The bottom line is, the images from an HD system are significantly better than those from an analog system. This means that you are more likely to be able to recognize/identify a person or vehicle via an HD system than a high resolution system.

So, who buys HD security camera systems? The price comparison is about as drastic as the quality comparison. An HD system will run you 2 to 3 times the price of a standard high resolution (analog) system. Needless to say, they are pretty pricey. Though historically, banks and detention facilities were the main user of HD systems, residential and small commercial use is becoming more prevalent. We install HD systems in homes, city government facilities and recently a multilevel parking garage in Bricktown!

High definition security camera image

This is a picture from a 2 MP HD camera. I pulled the camera up on my iPhone, and then took a screenshot of the image. (This may be confusing! If it is, feel free to come by the office an I will demonstrate.)

High Resolution (Analog)
Analog security camera systems are very common. As I stated above, they are much less expensive than an HD system. So, why (other than budget) would someone opt to purchase an analog system over an HD system? Standard high resolution systems are a cost effective way to “monitor” a location. When using security cameras only to monitor, the user does not need to positively ID a person. They may be monitoring their office,employees, pets or domestic help and they do not have a need to have facial recognition. Why? Because they KNOW who it is in the video. They are simply monitoring the activities. The problem is, when someone they do not know enters the picture, the images may be useless to the authorities. That being said, a good high resolution system is better than no system at all. Many a crook has been caught with this type of security camera!

Something to consider; The DVR that is used for HD is different from that of an analog system. But, sometimes both types of cameras are needed in order to have quality images as well as meet a budget. In this case, we install a hybrid DVR. This allows the user to have HD cameras in critical areas and have analog cameras in areas the wish only to monitor.

Who buys the analog security camera systems? Home owners and businesses who have a limited budget or who have little or no need to have very high quality footage.

Here is an example of an analog image. Again, this is a screen shot from my iPhone while viewing the camera on line.

Analog image from a 540 TVL camera

When deciding which type of system is right for you, consider not only WHAT you may need to see but also WHO. If there is an incident, how important is it for the police to be able to get a positive ID of the person?

I am happy to answer any questions you may have!

One Response to “HD vs “High Resolution” Security Cameras”

  • MJ:

    I am interested in finding out what is the pixel size, if any, of a 540 TVL cmos sensor. Any help would be appreciable. THANK YOU

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