Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bosch's first H.264 PTZ

For those of you unable to visit us at ISC I'm pleased to announce Bosch's first true H.264 IP camera - the AutoDome Easy IP Compact PTZ Camera.

It's a small rugged indoor PTZ camera but with 100x zoom (10x optical, 10x digital). Delivers H.264 as well as JPEG for backwards compatibility to many head-ends.

It is well matched to Bosch's Divar XF hybrid H.264 recorder, which with v2.0 is now shipping with the option of RAID inside an embedded recorder, DVD burner and front-replaceable hard disks. A neat little all-in-one package for a technology that many are quick to claim as dead-end. Funny how our Divar XF and DiBos hybrid recorder sales do not seem to support that hypothesis - oh well :-)

For more information on the camera click here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Security Magazine Webinar

Security Magazine is hosting a webinar called Lighting the Way to High Quality IP Video, on Wed 3rd June, 2009 at 2pm ET.

It's actually a very simple topic, but it never ceases to amaze me how many people go 'wow' when I do a camera demo with the lights out and then switch on an IR illuminator. The majority of us have come to expect barely usable night-time video as the norm. Of course, it's more than just image quality, it's also bitrate (aka cost of storage) and its the make or break for most video analytics.

"One of the most important aspects that can make or break the success of your IP video system is the quality of images produced. While the right camera selection is important, the right amount of light at a scene can dramatically improve clarity of images and the efficiency of your system."

Hope you can make it. It's not manufacturer-specific so everyone's welcome.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Quadruple the resolution?

Just received an email from a global IP camera player reminding me that they've released their 1.25 megapixel IP security camera. What confused me was this statement "...the user can see an image at four times the resolution of standard IP network cameras."

Assuming that a typical NTSC IP camera is about 0.33MP (704x480=338,000) then indeed 1.25MP is four times this number. But four times the resolution? I thought they doubled the width and doubled the height. That's double the resolution (in both directions). In some people's apparent eagerness to put a bullet in the head of not only analog cameras but also NTSC IP cameras, let's not forget the basics.

I used to think that resolution was related to my ability to resolve two very close parallel lines. Evidently image quality is being taught to be nothing more than a function of the number of pixels. I guess cameras in PDAs and cell phones are helping to propagate this myth. Maybe there's an emerging market segment that doesn't know, or possibly simply doesn't care.

As Jack Gin of Extreme once put it, and I'm adapting it to suit my purpose - would you rather have 333,000 bright pixels or 5 million dim ones. Same light, less surface area. And please don't brainwash me with the AGC nonsense - you're adding more noise, driving up my bit rate and storage costs and my video analytics won't work any more because of all those nasty nasty ants crawling all over my screen. At least let's hope people use decent visible lighting, and if that's proving unacceptable consider IR - it works wonders.

Infrared for IP

In his December 12, 2008 posting, In the Dark, Dr. Bob Banerjee discusses the effect low light environments have on IP video surveillance, including increased bit rate, increased storage requirements and inconsistent video analytic performance.

At one of the Bosch breakfast sessions during ISC West last week, I presented on this topic and conducted a live demo that provided hands-on experience with this issue.

The white paper IR for IP is now available for download and provides an in-depth look at this phenomenon and how infrared lighting helps overcome these challenges.

Click here to read the white paper.

Willem Ryan