Latest compression technologies bring new possibilities to UHD video surveillance

Latest compression technologies bring new possibilities to UHD video surveillance

With video surveillance moving toward ultrahigh definition (UHD), effective bandwidth and storage management becomes a key concern for operators who face network and storage constraints. How to effective compress video footages, therefore, has gained importance. Today’s cutting-edge compression technologies can help in this regard

Compression works by way of two methods: frame-by-frame and temporal. The former, for example MJPEG, is done by way of compressing each individual frame. In the latter, a sequence of images is analyzed to see which parts, for example a white wall or a still background, can be recorded at lower bitrates while the more critical contents, for example moving people, can be captured with greater detail. H.264 is an example of this.

With demands for superior compression technologies rising, several vendors have announced their solutions. While their names are different, their objective is the same: reducing the size of the video to utilize the network more effectively and free up more space in the NVR, all done without sacrificing the picture quality.

Zipstream by Axis Communications

According to Axis Communications, its Zipstream technology is a more efficient H.264 implementation, lowering bandwidth and storage requirements by an average 50 percent or more for many common 24/7 surveillance use cases.

Based on the H.264 technology, Zipstream uses an algorithm that makes critical elements in the video clearer. “Scenes containing interesting details are recorded in full image quality and resolution, while other areas are filtered out to optimally use available bandwidth and storage. Important forensic details like faces, tattoos, or license plates are isolated and preserved, while irrelevant areas such as white walls, lawns, and vegetation are sacrificed by smoothing in order to achieve the better storage savings,” the company says.

Zipstream can be used with the latest Axis cameras, Axis Camera Companion, and third-party video management software without additional investment.

H.264+ Smart Codec by Hikvision

Hikvision recently announced a series of 4K surveillance products featuring the company’s H.264+ Smart Codec that reduces bandwidth and storage requirements by 50 percent, compared to standard H.264 codecs.

According to Hikvision, the solution addresses concerns that UHD cameras and NVRs lacking dedicated 4K-compatible components exhaust network and storage resources. To overcome that difficulty, Hikvision came up with the H.264+ Smart Codec highlighted by such feature as background-based predictive smart encoding, enhanced noise suppression, and optimized bitrate control.

The technology is featured on Hikvision’s latest 4K surveillance series that includes 4K IP dome, bullet, and box cameras along with a variety of 4K NVR models.

Smart Coding by Panasonic

Panasonic has recently released Smart Coding, a new technology that enhances the encoding algorithm in standard H.264 video streams, yielding up to a 70 percent improvement in bandwidth reduction. It came as a firmware upgrade to new-generation Panasonic 3, 5 and 6 Series models.

According to Panasonic, the Smart Coding technology employs a variety of advanced noise reduction processes and algorithm advancements, including frequency divided filter (FDF), 3-D multi-process noise reduction (3D-MNR), and group of picture (GOP) control to achieve a lower bit rate for images without degrading the captured and transmitted video stream.

“Smart Coding provides up to 70 percent improvement in bandwidth reduction, depending on the scene and the amount of movement,” said Charlie Hare, National Category Manager for Security and Mobile Video Solutions at Panasonic. “This encoding technology will help users better manage network bandwidth resources, reducing storage requirements, and lower the overall total cost of ownership, while still providing the crisp, high-resolution images they’ve come to expect from Panasonic.”

H.265 and Beyond

With UHD becoming the inevitable trend, compression techniques that further reduce file sizes and retain picture quality are set to roll out. Already, both Ambarella and Hisilicon have unveiled their newest 4K H.265 SoCs, respectively S3L and Hi3519. These will further stimulate other vendors to develop H.265 chipsets for 4K cameras.

We can expect H.265 to become the mainstream compression technology for most 4K cameras in 2016. This, coupled with camera vendors’ own intelligent bitrate control technologies, is expected to make UHD video surveillance even more common and widespread.

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