Security Cameras - Resolution and Standards Explained

There are several popular security cameras video standards explained below:

For a brand new system we would recommend digital megapixel IP cameras, which can record up to 3MP resolutions and higher. Advantages include unmatched high-definition video, future proof wiring, microphone and speaker capabilities, and far greater flexibility for larger systems. For picture clarity, IP cameras are the superior choice. Recordings and live video use a PC or Network Video Recorder (NVR) which can be viewed on a monitor or remotely on a mobile device.

The type which has been on the market the longest are traditional analog CCTV cameras. This standard delivers a VHS tape equivalent picture up to D1 resolution. Recordings are stored on a digital video recorder (DVR) which can be accessed over the web or viewed on a monitor. CCTV cameras are ideal for budget-conscious security systems with 8 cameras or fewer where picture quality is not a priority.

An emerging style is analog high definition (AHD) which is ideal for retrofit applications where it's not feasible to replace existing coaxial (analog) cable with newer Ethernet (digital IP) cable. Recordings are stored on an AHD digital video recorder (AHD DVR) which can be accessed over the web or viewed on a monitor.

The chart below compares actual resolutions: (Click for full size)