Eye Candy: The Rise of HDTV

How the consumer video standard has revolutionized the look of surveillance, and the reasons why it will continue

To achieve proactive video through analytics and data mining, surveillance technology has to deliver three things: high image quality, powerful local processing and customized intelligent algorithms. As of now, HDTV provides the exceptional image quality. Many HDTV cameras support local storage and high capacity in-camera processing; and, with open software platforms residing inside IP cameras — which have essentially morphed into computers that can see — more third-party developers will jump into the surveillance arena to custom design intelligent algorithms for specialized security needs and smarter surveillance for all.


Where Does HDTV Go from Here?

As HDTV cameras continue to gain a larger foothold in the security world, many have asked where the next big technology breakthrough will occur. There are some preliminary discussions underway in the consumer market about a higher 4K resolution — which is now designated by the Consumer Electronics Association as Ultra HD.

But even if Ultra HD reaches consumers in the next few years, any impact on the security industry is probably quite far down the road. The same could be said for 3D technology or any improvements in electronic color fidelity. First, we must find a relevant and practical surveillance use for a new technology, and then manufacturers must rigorously test it to ensure that it works for critical security needs. Remember, it took more than a decade for the first HDTV security cameras to cross over from the consumer world.

Next big thing ideas aside, the surveillance manufacturing industry’s continued focus will be on improving HDTV-quality surveillance in all lighting conditions. After all, television shows and movies are shot in absolutely ideal lighting conditions — real-world video surveillance is far from that. Processing power improvements inside IP cameras will become increasing important in deciphering details in low and varying lighting conditions. We saw dramatic improvements to WDR and low light video technology in 2012, and in 2013 we will see these features rolled out across different form factors (fixed box, fixed dome, PTZ) and price points.

Fredrik Nilsson is the general manager for Axis Communications in North America. He is the author of “Intelligent Network Video: Understanding Modern Video Surveillance Systems,” published by CRC Press. His popular “eye on Video” series can be found on www.SecurityInfoWatch.com. To request more information on Axis, visit www.securityinfowatch.com/10212966.