Should you choose a 4K camera system?
Source: Tim Chen
Needless to say, a major trend in video surveillance is 4K
, which has its pros and cons. Whether the user should choose or upgrade their security system to 4K really depends on the use case and requirements.
In video broadcasting, the concept of ultra-high definition
(UHD) video is gaining momentum, with manufacturers rolling out 4K and even 8K
solutions. According to a report by Market Reports World, the global 4K technology market had been valued at US$47.2 billion in the year 2017, which is expected to reach $150.2 billion by 2023, at a compound annual growth rate of 21.29 percent.
For video surveillance, 4K has also gained the attention of users. Offering resolution of 3840 x 2160, 4K allows the user to see details of the image, for example each individual on a crowded street or an intruder breaking into the house, clearer. However, when considering to purchase or upgrade to a 4K system, the end user should look at the pros and cons of 4K and consider their own environment and requirements, before making a final decision.
Pros and cons
As mentioned, clarity is a major advantage of 4K, which is particularly important when the user needs to identify intruders, pedestrians and bystanders, among others, in each individual frame. This can benefit a range of applications, from law enforcement to smart city to home security.
Yet 4K systems have disadvantages as well. Bandwidth and storage of course are issues that need to be considered, as the huge data generated by 4K cameras will inevitable occupy more bandwidth and storage space.
However, it should be noted that a lot of cameras out there are capturing 4K video at less than the full frame rate (for example at 25 or 20fps) to save bandwidth and storage. Most 4K applications, for example city surveillance
, do not really warrant the full frame rate as the user is more interested in looking at the details in each image.
Meanwhile, limited features as well as cost are also issues. “4K security cameras still have limited features. There is no optical zoom option for these security cameras – yet,” said a recent blogpost
by Camera Security Now. “4K security cameras are still a little more expensive than other security cameras. For many common applications, like point-of-sale in retail settings, 4K security cameras may be overkill.”
Factors to consider before choosing 4K
Therefore, 4K may not be the ideal solution for all use cases. According to Camera Security Now, purchasing or upgrading to a 4K system may be a viable option if the user meets certain criteria. One of them is if the user has a significant budget, as purchasing 4K cameras and the associated storage and display can be a costly proposition.
Also, the user can get 4K if they require highest resolution video surveillance and the cost will be justified by their usage. “If your security camera system needs to cover an entire car lot full of new vehicles, the cost of upgrading to a 4K security camera system can probably be justified by your usage, since you need to ensure that the expensive vehicles at your dealership aren’t stolen or vandalized,” the post said.
Further, if the user needs to monitor large areas with one single security camera, 4K can be beneficial. “With their superior resolution, a single 4K security camera can be used to cover a large area. If you work for a sports venue or event venue, 4K security cameras may be the right choice for covering large open areas of the venue without sacrificing image quality,” the post said.