What you see is better in HD

The continued mass exodus from analog to high-resolution, high-detail megapixel cameras has prompted the security industry to take a look-literally, at how images are being viewed at the protected premises or the central monitoring station.
As such, high-definition (HD) monitors are a growing trend and challenge for the industry. In the past, customers and integrators dabbled in one or the other, but in 2010, that has changed and now the focus is on both cameras and monitors as a holistic approach.

"The higher the resolution, the better image quality you get," said Barry Lawson, product marketing manager for Viewing Solutions, Pelco, Clovis, Calif. "But a lot of that is overlooked because people focus on cameras. People invested a lot of money into camera solutions, but what gets lost is what to show the image on."
Capability is the key term used when specifying complete solutions. "[Integrators] should look at which type of camera they are using to capture images. If they are using an analog standard camera, then match it to the monitor that may not need high definition on the other side," said Mark Lakefish, vice president of Business Development, ToteVision Inc., Seattle. "If you are using a high-definition camera, then you need a high-definition monitor. The image being captured is only as good as what you are displaying it on."

The failed Times Square bombing in May 2010 is a great example of the importance of compatibility between camera and monitor. "There were great cameras to record the images but you need to show that image in its most accurate, truest form," Lawson said. "Monitors went from very passive to now looking for information: what eye color, color of the car. You want a high-resolution monitor to see the license plate."

Finding the right solution

When investigating complete camera and monitor solutions, there are few things to keep in mind. Keith Fulmer, president of Stevensville, Md.-based Video Mount Products said there are two specific considerations. "One is space requirements. What is it being used for? If you go into Walmart, you see monitors that show you or other areas of the store. But if you're in a central station, you want them to be larger because you will have a lot of picture speed-lots of monitors and bigger images," Fulmer said.

"The second - the application - is going to predicate the type of product. If you have a small business with shipping docks in the back, you won't need a big monitor. But central stations will want larger monitors," Fulmer added.

Geoff Anderson, former marketing and brand manager for JVC Professional Products in Wayne, N.J., agreed that knowing the ultimate goal of the application is key to finding the right product. "Ask a lot of questions up front. Make detailed notes on responses from the customer. If the customer said, 'I will be using the system to look at things after the fact and zoom in,' then that is a particular problem using megapixel technology," Anderson said.

Anderson added that integrators need to partner with a manufacturer that will act as their partner. "He needs to make sure the manufacturer can back them up. When there is a question, problem or design issue, it's hard for integrators to have all that information. They need to rely on manufacturers who can provide additional support either by phone or on-site," Anderson said.

Pelco recently started developing white papers to assist with the latest technology. To view the newest Pelco whitepapers, visit www.pelco.com and click on the Viewing Solutions section under the Products' tab. Other manufacturers have white papers on specific technologies which can provide installation assistance.
It's important to remember that one solution doesn't fit all. "There are budget constraints - make sure the budget matches the requirements. Integrators need to set proper budget expectations, provide solutions that if it is in a critical situation or environment, they have the proper equipment to capture and carry through to the monitor," Lakefish said. "It's all part of the package."
Bruce Tanaka, product manager, Sony Electronics, Security Solutions Group, Park Ridge, N.J., said there are three major factors to finding the right solution. "Length of time that the security operators will be watching the monitor; type of images that they plan to display; and location of use," Tanaka said.

Driving the market

Despite the economy, the security industry continues to grow. And fear is another factor that is certainly not leaving any time soon. "There is a desire to have really clean security camera images so if something happens, you can pick out the detail," said Robert Gailing, national sales manager, security division, Sanyo North America, Chatsworth, Calif.

Though budgets will always be a determining factor for choosing the right solution, it's getting easier as prices drop. "It's more efficient to make viewing panels. Panels are getting thinner, larger and more lightweight," Lawson said.

High-resolution cameras and monitors will only continue to become more important. "There will be a dominance of megapixel and HD formats from camera, recordings and display," Anderson said. "People are accustomed to it and know its value."

From HD to 3D?

Sony's Tanaka agreed that the market will stay focused on HD. "The security market remains focused on HD and how to better utilize the high resolution displays for clearer images in all applications," he said. "Since both the consumer and broadcast world have focused on 3D, it is going to be a hot topic for security users later on."

Surveillance will also continue to grow. "Eventually you will have cameras in almost every public area, or at least obtain images," Lakefish said. "Instead of a lot of cameras, you could have one camera doing the job zoom-in with incredible detail."

Nevertheless, it still falls on integrators' shoulders to know and understand the latest technology and how to present the best, full solution service for the user and their particular application. If high resolution viewing is called for, get on board with some of the new and more cost effective monitors now on the market.

Product Highlights

Pelco introduced a new family of monitors that delivers full high definition (FHD) with 1920x1080p resolution. A perfect companion for all Pelco and third-party megapixel cameras, this first family delivers optimal performance and the truest color reproduction available. When used with lower-resolution camera systems, Pelco FHD monitors can easily and seamlessly scale down to 720p, ensuring detailed and crisp images. The new monitors use the latest low-power components while providing the highest quality performance.

Designed for 24/7 operation, the JVC GM-F Series delivers native full 1920x1080 HD resolution and can be stacked in configurations up to 5x5 for multi-camera command and control operations. Available in three sizes, the monitors offer a 16:9 aspect ratio and up to a 178-degree viewing angle. Housed in sturdy, lightweight aluminium cabinets, the new monitors feature an ultra-thin bezel, which makes them effective for multi-screen displays and videowall application.

The SANYO VMC-L2617 (17") and VMC-L2619 (19") monitors are high-performance professional LCD monitors that feature 600 TV lines and 3-D Digital Noise Reduction. 3D audio is used to improve the quality of the audio output by spatial separation of sound. Monitor offers 1VGA input and 1 S-Video input as well as 2 audio inputs.

The FWD-S42H1 and FWD-S47H1 are 42inch and 47-inch LCD displays from Sony with ideal features for use with surveillance applications. Initially designed for the broadcast industry, both boast a combination of full high-definition resolution and high brightness output - helping to present the clearest HD images in super high contrast.

Tote Vision's MD-700 is the industry's first fully functional Windows-embedded mobile PC designed to focus and position IP-based network cameras. Running custom-built software developed by Video Insight, the MD-700 is the only mobile tool to support and manage more than 400 digital IP network cameras from top manufacturers in one device.

The versatile VMP LCD-PV Public View LCD Monitor Mount Kit is designed to hold most 10- to 37-inch LCD monitors, can hold up to 75 lbs., is modified with two mounting points for camera brackets, includes the ability to rotate 260 degrees, has an adjustable -5 degrees to +30 degree tilt, its mast telescopes 18 inches to 30 inches from ceiling, and comes in a black powder coat finish.

Maureen is the former managing editor of Residential Design & Build magazine and a freelance writer based in Wisconsin. She can be reached at malley13@gmail.com or www.maureenalley.com.