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IP Camera Bitrate and Compression: Not All 1080P Cameras are Created Equal

We often get asked why our cameras look so much better than other brands - even with similar specs.


The difference is that you can trust our components to perform according to their specs without having to deeply compress the video. Other than Aptina, who is privately held in San Jose, CA, all our major components are made by brands traded on a major US stock exchange: Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), Texas Instrument (NASDAQ: TXN), Ambarella (NASDAQ: AMBA), Western Digital (NASDAQ: WDC), and Sony (NYSE: SNE). With no-name knock-off parts, you often need to lower the bitrate of the video file feed (highly compress the images) to get the same resolution and framerate.

This example is extreme, but there are some really irresponsible sellers with cameras with these specs:

(click to enlarge the images)

This image is 1080P, but made by a video processor that can only handle 256kb of video data per second.



This image is also 1080P, but made by our cameras. It was set to handle 4Mbps (4096kbps) of video data per second.



The difference between the two images is compression. They are both 1080P and they both have the same number of pixels.

The difference is that the processor on the first camera was really, really slow and so it had to compress the file to keep up.

All video is compressed. Compression can be a good thing. Compression is the technological innovation that allowed you to fit every song you own on your iPod when only 10 uncompressed songs fit on a CD. Compression helps video files not take up too much space. Compression is ok when you don't notice it, the problem is when things get out of range.

Now that we Understand what Compression is, Let's compare our 4Mbps cameras to a 2Mbps camera

This image is 1080P, but made by a video processor that can only handle 2Mbps (2048kbps) of video data per second. Most cameras on the market can only do 2Mbps per second - part of which need to go to the substream. This is the quality with substream off for a 2Mbps camera.



This image is also 1080P, but made by our cameras. It was set to handle 4Mbps (4096kbps) of video data per second.



How to avoid getting a cheap processor

Ask the salesman, "Who makes the processor?" and "How many Mbps can it stream?"

If they don't know, it's probably some Chinese knock off component.

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