Vehicle video surveillance has grown in popularity in recent years. Many fleet operators equip their vehicles with this technology to improve safety, support driver training and prevent false insurance claims. Surveillance systems on vehicles have even helped to reduce insurance premiums: in the event of contradicting statements, they provide irrefutable evidence and they act as a deterrent to criminal activity. Are you considering investing in a video surveillance system for your commercial vehicles? Finding out about the benefits of each system and understanding what works best for your vehicle can save you money in the long run. Here John Osmant from Brigade Electronics GmbH explains the differences between cameras in standard definition and high definition.
Vehicle video surveillance - high definition versus standard definition
The main difference between high resolution (high definition, HD) and standard definition (SD) is the number of pixels or dots in the displayed image. HD images contain more pixels per unit area than SD, which means that an HD system will provide much sharper images with greater detail. HD typically has a point density of at least 720p. Overall, HD is clearer and more detailed; Drivers can easily spot objects or people in their vehicle's blind spots and react quickly to avoid a collision.
HD formats - analog versus digital
The HD system is available in two different formats - analog or digital. These terms refer to the method by which visual material is recorded and played back. Analog cameras capture images and send the signal to a recorder or electronic control unit over coaxial cables (a type of electrical line). These images are then converted from the analog format into digital signals, compressed and either saved on a hard drive or displayed in real time on a monitor. Digital cameras or IP cameras (IP = Internet Protocol) capture images digitally from the start. You then transmit the data directly over a computer network, not first to a recorder or control unit.
Which format is best for my vehicle?
IP cameras deliver high-resolution recordings from a digital camera with its own IP address. Instead of sending images to a monitor via a video cable, IP cameras use a data connection, with the material being securely stored on the hard drive. This means that they can be easily connected to expansion modules via Power Over Network (PON) without investing in expensive additional devices. Due to video latency (the time it takes for images to reach the monitor), IP cameras should not be used to aid maneuvering or to monitor blind spots. However, they are an excellent choice for general vehicle surveillance, such as ensuring that all passengers on the bus are safely seated and that a vehicle's doors are closed before it leaves.
Analog HD cameras, on the other hand, have no video latency, making them ideal for providing drivers with a clear view in real time. On-screen menus are also supported, which enables a better user experience in operation. Analog HD technology can transmit video over distances of up to 500 meters using conventional cables - more than sufficient for any type of commercial vehicle.
Do I need a specific monitor to view HD recordings?
You need an HD-compatible monitor to display high-resolution images. Monitors that only support standard definition can also display images from an HD camera, but the sharpness of HD is lost. For example, if the images are in HD 1080p quality but the monitor only supports 480 pixels per square inch, you will only see an SD image.
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