Making the Most of Megapixel’s Marvels

Gang way, the Megapixel Revolution is upon us! No, it’s not the latest “Transformer” movie blockbuster but rather the coined phrase signifying the arrival of superior video surveillance technology. This, the first of a four-part series, has been designed to transform you into an expert on the topic.

Welcome to Part I of the latest in SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION‘s acclaimed “D.U.M.I.E.S.” series: “Megapixel Video for D.U.M.I.E.S.” Brought to you by Pelco, this four-part series has been designed to educate readers about megapixel cameras and video – the next phase of surveillance technology following the leap from digital to IP-based, or networked, CCTV systems.

“D.U.M.I.E.S.” stands for dealers, users, managers, installers, engineers and salespeople. Recently, the Megapixel Revolution has begun to affect all of us in the industry. First came the megapixel camera, then megapixel lenses and, of course, megapixel video recorders. Perhaps the megapixel coffee cup is next!

It’s for certain that this changing technology is on a very fast track, and a great deal of hype has surrounded the megapixel revolution. But what exactly is this so-called revolution all about? What is required to support megapixel systems and what are the main advantages of megapixel and IP cameras over analog cameras? The answers lie in this series of articles, which will cover the theoretical and practical technology and design theories required to intelligently sell, install or service megapixel solutions.

Advantages of Megapixel Cameras

Anyone following the megapixel movement has already heard the three main advantages for the incorporation of megapixel technology: 1. better image quality; 2. fewer cameras required; and 3. virtual pan/tilt/zoom (p/t/z). Let’s take a closer look.

Better image quality – The most noticeable advantage of megapixel cameras is image quality. In some cases, this advantage can be confusing or even misunderstood. For example, comparing a standard high-resolution analog output camera producing 580 TVL and a 3.1-megapixel camera can appear to have the same image quality when viewed on a standard monitor.

The real test is in the ability to zoom or focus on just a small area of that scene – this is where the megapixel camera will prove to be superior.

Fewer cameras required – When outfitted with high quality wide-angle lenses, megapixel cameras have the ability to cover a much wider area than analog CCTV cameras. It has been stated, “Comparing apples to apples, a 1-megapixel camera can cover more than four times the area of a standard CCTV camera with the same resolution. This means you can replace four CCTV cameras with a single megapixel camera.”

How can one camera replace a total of four standard cameras? The answer is all four would have to be in the same general area.

The statement means that when using a very wide-angle lens, a megapixel camera can electronically divide that area into four parts and display each of those sections with the same high quality as if using three or four cameras.

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