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CIF vs D1 vs 960H vs HD


There are six main resolution options in video surveillance recording


Standard Definition Cameras and DVRs: CIF, D1, and 960H

CIF DVRs: 360 x 240.

D1 DVRs: 720 x 480.

960H DVRs: 960 x 480.

HD-SDI or IP cameras: 720p, 1080p, and 3MP

720p is 1280 x 720.

1080p is 1920x1080.

3MP is 2048 x 1536.


Resolution is the most important decision you are going to make about your surveillance system.

Most people choose between CIF, D1/960H and 1080p, so let's focus on those.


Resolution is the difference between a conviction and a blurry image.


CIF About the Quality of a 1990's Flip-Phone

We don't carry any devices that record in CIF. This is what "Big Box Stores" sell.

The section below on facial identification will help to explain why CIF doesn't meet our minimum quality standards.


D1 / 960H Standard-Definition TV Quality

D1 is square and sized like (non-widescreen) Standard Definition TV. It is sometimes also called 4CIF since it has 4 times that resolution.

960H recording has the same height as D1 DVRs but are wider. They are properly formatted for wide-screen TVs and monitors

This video is 960H. D1 will be the same resolution, but will be shaped more like a square and you will lose the video on the sides.


View D1/960H systems »


1080P Beautiful HD Video Footage

Just like television has seen a major update in resolution over the last few years, so have surveillance systems.

There are two different HD technologies that we provide: HD-SDI and IP.


View HD systems »




Understanding Resolution: Identifying Faces at 10FT and 25FT with a Wide Angle Lens

This next example shows you faces with a fixed lens with a wide angle (3.6 mm - about 72 degrees). Zooming in more will help you identify faces. Most properly set up surveillance systems will use either HD cameras or a combination of wide-angle and zoomed in lenses to help identify faces.

The first set of faces is 10 FT from the camera; the second set is at 25 FT.


Analog: CIF

This is what you get in a big box store. We don't sell anything that is CIF quality. If you are looking for CIF quality, Sam's club or Costco usually has the best price, but there are a ton of installers and security camera company websites that still offer these outdated systems.

Visit Sam's Club »

Standard Definition: 960H

These are our budget systems. They record in what is about widescreen (16:9 aspect ratio) TV quality. They use all the same power, cable, and connectors as CIF systems, and you can even use your old cameras as you upgrade (but those cameras will still record in CIF).

View 960H options »

Digital: 1080P

We have two different technologies that shoot in beautiful 1080P video. HD-SDI is digital but uses all the same power, cable, and connectors as standard definition systems, while IP systems use Cat5 (computer networking cable) and can communicate with other digital devices.

View 1080P options »



Improving Facial Recognition with Analog CIF and Standard Definition D1/960H by Zooming

Despite delivering a clearer picture of the area you are zooming into, zooming will limit your viewing angle.


identifying faces with CIF at 25ft
CIF 3.6mm full shot

Click to for actual size.

CIF resolution, 3.6mm Lens. A Wide Angle Shot

This is CIF resolution. Notice how the lack of resolution makes everything grayer. This is because more details are being pushed into each pixel and then those colors are averaged. A higher resolution will produce more crisp lines because it will allow for more detail.

Q: Why didn't we included a zoomed in shot for CIF?

A: We don't know of any pre-made CIF level systems that have adjustable lenses.


D1 / 960H resolution, 3.6mm Lens. A Wide Angle Shot

Notice that in this shot, you can the access road, the parking lot, and the door to the warehouse.

identifying faces with D1 or 960H at 25ft
D1 or 960H 3.6mm full shot

Click to for actual size.


identifying faces with D1 or 960H at 25ft
960H 6mm full shot

Click to for actual size.

960H resolution, 12mm Focal Length. A Zoomed Shot

In this last shot, you'll want to notice that you can't even see the access road at all, despite getting a great shot of the man's face. This is why, in Standard Definition surveillance systems, Zoom cameras are also used in conjunction with wide angle lenses.



1080P resolution, 4mm Focal Length. A Wide Angle Shot

As you can see, 1080P give you the best of both worlds. A wide angle shot and the detail for facial recognition.

Q: Why didn't we included a zoomed in shot for 1080P?

A: HD cameras that have the ability to zoom in are often used for extremely large distances and thus do not fall into the needs of a majority of home users. Also, although fixed lens HD cameras are about the same price as Standard Definition cameras that have adjustable focal lengths, HD cameras with adjustable focal lengths are still expensive and are usually out of the price range of home users. They are used extensively by large industrial, commercial, and government security clients.

identifying faces with 1080P at 25ft 1080P 4mm full shot

Click to for actual size.


Why CIF and D1 aren't the only things that matter

A framerate below 30 will make your video seem to jump or strobe like this
Framerate

It is important to record at 30 FPS per camera

Video Quality is dependent upon two things: image resolution and frames per second. Resolution improves image quality (which is why the videos above show a color swatch that doesn't move) while frame-rate improves video quality by preventing motion blur and "jerkiness."

When purchasing a DVR it is always very important to also check the frame rate. Make sure it can record at 30 Frames Per Second (which is known as "realtime recording.")


Part of our 100% Satisfaction Guarantee is that All of our DVRs record at 30 FPS.



Both a Low Frame Rate (which causes motion blur) and the Low Resolution Make This Suspect Unidentifiable

Buyer Beware: Some companies sell inferior "D1 DVRs"

Each DVR has a recording resolution and a live video resolution. Many standalone DVRs are not able to record in D1 in realtime, which is 30 frames per second (FPS per camera). Because significant processing power is needed to record these high resolution images and it that much power wasn't available or economical then, D1 originally was not able to offer the same number of frames per second as CIF.


Nowadays with computing power being what it is, D1 DVRs can record at full 30 fps frame rates. However, some competitors obscure their frame rate by saying things like "FPS is 60" which makes their frame rate sound higher, however they often mean by that is "The Total FPS of all the cameras combined is 60." For example, if Total FPS is 60 than the frame rate is 15 per camera if there are 4 channels, or 7.5 FPS if there are 8 cameras.

Most people are unable to tell the difference between 30 FPS and above, so you don't have to go too much higher than 30 FPS, however, below 30 FPS can cause the video to be so "jerky" as to be unwatchable.





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8 Item(s)

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  1. Standard Definition - 8 Camera Systems

    Standard Definition - 8 Camera Systems

    Starting at: $1,149.92

    Resolution Features Quality Level:
    960H
    960 x 480

    TV Quality
    Intruder Alert Emails
    Motion Detection
    Footage Download
    Remote Backup
    Online Viewing
    USB Backup
    VGA and HDMI Out
    D1/960H Footage Video


  2. Standard Definition - 12 Camera Systems

    Standard Definition - 12 Camera Systems

    Starting at: $1,657.90

    Resolution Features Quality Level:
    960H
    960 x 480

    TV Quality
    Intruder Alert Emails
    Motion Detection
    Footage Download
    Remote Backup
    Online Viewing
    USB Backup
    VGA and HDMI Out
    D1/960H Footage Video


  3. Standard Definition - 16 Camera Systems

    Standard Definition - 16 Camera Systems

    Starting at: $1,730.79

    Resolution Features Quality Level:
    960H
    960 x 480

    TV Quality
    Intruder Alert Emails
    Motion Detection
    Footage Download
    Remote Backup
    Online Viewing
    USB Backup
    VGA and HDMI Out
    D1/960H Footage Video


  4. Standard Definition - 24 Camera Systems

    Standard Definition - 24 Camera Systems

    Starting at: $3,540.95

    Resolution Features Quality Level:
    960H
    960 x 480

    TV Quality
    Intruder Alert Emails
    Motion Detection
    Footage Download
    Remote Backup
    Online Viewing
    USB Backup
    VGA and HDMI Out
    D1/960H Footage Video


  5. Standard Definition - 32 Camera Systems

    Standard Definition - 32 Camera Systems

    Starting at: $4,142.72

    Resolution Features Quality Level:
    960H
    960 x 480

    TV Quality
    Intruder Alert Emails
    Motion Detection
    Footage Download
    Remote Backup
    Online Viewing
    USB Backup
    VGA and HDMI Out
    D1/960H Footage Video


  6. Standard Definition - 48 Camera Systems

    Standard Definition - 48 Camera Systems

    Starting at: $6,608.81

    Resolution Features Quality Level:
    960H
    960 x 480

    TV Quality
    Intruder Alert Emails
    Motion Detection
    Footage Download
    Remote Backup
    Online Viewing
    USB Backup
    VGA and HDMI Out
    D1/960H Footage Video


  7. Standard Definition - 64 Camera Systems

    Standard Definition - 64 Camera Systems

    Starting at: $7,819.94

    Resolution Features Quality Level:
    960H
    960 x 480

    TV Quality
    Intruder Alert Emails
    Motion Detection
    Footage Download
    Remote Backup
    Online Viewing
    USB Backup
    VGA and HDMI Out
    D1/960H Footage Video


  8. The Networker Series - 8 Channel 1080p HD Customizable Security System

    Resolution Features Quality Level:
    1080P
    1920x1080

    1080P HD Quality
    Intruder Alert Emails
    Motion Detection
    Footage Download
    Remote Backup
    Online Viewing
    USB Backup
    VGA and HDMI Out
    720P Footage Video

8 Item(s)

per page

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