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Exposing the Surveillance Industry Shortchange

The Top 8 latest ways that sneaky marketing execs in the surveillance industry get you to throw your money away and get nothing for it.


1. Cheap camera components that don't deliver true 1080P.


Cameras with cheap processors that require crazy compression

We often get asked why our cameras look so much better than other brands - even when both are 1080P.

The difference is that many cheap cameras require twice the compression to display at 1080P. Compression makes video look blocky and have what are called "artifacts" which look like multi-colored pixelated "edges."

EXPOSED - Compression: Not All 1080P Cameras are Created Equal

Looks terrible, but technically still 1080P!

2. Cheap no-name knock-off processors in the NVR.

NVRs with low bitrates

This shortchange is extremely pervasive. 90% of companies that sell NVRs hide the most important technical spec in their NVRs: the incoming bitrate of the processor. Incoming bitrate is the amount of video data that can be processed per second. Low bitrate NVRs can only record in 1080P when you connect a few cameras, when you connect all the cameras, you have to lower the resolution.

A "1080P" unit that can only record at 720P when all the cameras are connect is recording less than half the resolution it promised.

EXPOSED - Why a NVR's Bitrate is its Most Important Spec

3. Marketing claims using "New Math"


0.89% more is NOT "double the resolution"

Some companies make absolutely terrible, mathematically-impossible, marketing claims that are 100% opposite the facts. There's many different versions of this same "shortchange," but in this one , we highlight how an unnamed billion dollar company is trying to assert that 2K (in green) on the left is twice the quality of 1080P (in red).

EXPOSED - 2K is not 2x 1080P

4. People still Aggressively Selling Analog, while Desperately Trying to Make it Sound Like it's Not Analog

It's 2015. You should be done with analog. Retailers, it's ok to keep some in stock to help people with legacy systems, but it's time to stop marketing bunny-ears TV quality cameras like they solve someone's security threats.

But, it has "1000 TVL!"

TVL or television lines is usually a term reserved for an analog camera's resolution. A 1000 TVL camera has a better lens than a 700TVL camera, that's true. The problem with 1000 TVL is that an analog DVR can't record any higher than 976 x 582 resolution. That's a little around 700 TVL. 1000 TVL sounds like "better than 720 TVL," but it will produce the exact same recording.

EXPOSED - This 1000 TVL Nonsense


But it has "Ultra High Resolution"

"Ultra High Resolution" sounds a lot like a real industry term "Ultra High Definition," but "Ultra High Resolution" is a phrase without meaning.

EXPOSED - How the Surveillance Industry Made Up a Term that Sounds a Lot Like "Ultra High Definition" TV - to Sell Cameras Closer to 1990's Television Quality.

5. Selling HD-SDI or HD-CVI or HD-Analog products!

Most major manufacturers are abandoning the HD-SDI technology due to the high cost of production.

HD-SDI was replaced by HD-CVI and then HD-TVI replaced them both.

HD-SDI never delivered the promised results to begin with and HD-CVI was only ever made by one manufacturer. Avoid the "Betamax" of surveillance; don't box yourself in to failed standards.

EXPOSED - Why We Refuse to Carry Both HD-SDI and HD-CVI

6. Using pictures and video from DSLR cameras

Real surveillance footage has text overlays, like so:

Don't fall for images and video shot with a DSLR:

7. Calling a POE NVR a "HD VIdeo Appliance" and Then Charging Double for It

This shortchange mostly goes after enterprise clients.

The companies using these "video appliance" names want to charge these larger clients more money for their products, but they don't want people comparing features with other providers, so they ignore industry standards and norms and come up with their own lingo.

EXPOSED - How the only difference between a POE NVR and a "HD Video Appliance is price

8. Publishing Review Stats that don't Reflect their Actual Review Stats

Be careful when shopping online, some companies publish inaccurate review scores.

Rather than publishing live review stats that update automatically, these companies create an image of their reviews that doesn't match reality.

EXPOSED - Bullsh*t review stats