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How to overcome Common Playback issues A lot of CCTV systems work really well on live view recording and give you decent quality live footage. However what happens when you try to play back archived footage? After all isn’t this the feature that most people want? They want to see what happened after the event. Traditional DVRs are mostly programmed to compress archived footage at a lower quality resolution than what they are set for live viewing. This is to save on disk space. Ordinarily, a D1 or 4CIF resolution analogue camera will give you a good quality live image. However try viewing archived footage on most analogue installations and you will find that the recorded footage has been set to 2CIF in order to maximise the length of the archive time and reduce the storage to the DVR hard drive.

readily identifiable. If you knew the person already, you would probably be able to verify their identity but by and large in an instance of crime you will not know the person. Remember these pictures are based on live view in 4CIF. In the third picture we can see footage of the same individual taken from the archive which has been stored at 2CIF. Because the number of pixels in the image has reduced considerably, the general overview for surveillance has become compromised and the individual appears further away from the camera and harder to make out. When the image is zoomed in to see the individual’s face, the picture becomes blocky and blurry – something that we were used to seeing

on the likes of Crimecall where poor video footage rarely led to capturing the bad guy. If you are installing or upgrading a video surveillance system, bear in mind that your clients won’t thank you if they can’t see the registration plate or see the robber’s face on playback of their recorded footage. With commercial crime on the increase – having increased over the past two years with 45% of businesses experiencing crime and carrying an average cost of €2,920 per incident. According to the Small Firms Association - businesses are spending on average €9,277 per company on security measures. For that kind of spend wouldn’t you want to be able to give your customer the best quality footage on playback?

See the example to the right. In the first image you can see a 1.3 Megapixel camera giving you the full view for general surveillance and then on digital zoom you can clearly identify the individual in either live recording or on playback. In the second picture using a camera set at a 4CIF resolution you can achieve a reasonably good overall surveillance view and when zoomed in you can see that the individual’s face becomes blurry and less

National IP Video Surveillance Survey - Results According to the results of the second annual National IP Video Surveillance survey carried out in January 2011, 50% of security installers used IP based security systems in 2010 on over half of all their CCTV installations. This is an increase of 25% on 2009. The overwhelming clear advantage of IP video surveillance is seen as Megapixel quality footage according to 66.7% of respondents. Interestingly, for all the doom and gloom recession talk, the main sectors that security companies have deployed IP video surveillance solutions are as follows:

• Commercial 81% of respondents • Retail 68% of respondents • Residential 50% of respondents In order to succeed further in the IP world, 63.6% of security companies said that training in IP networking would be the best sales tool to help them to sell and install more IP based security systems. Security installers are making more margins when using IP because it is saving them money on faster installation times and easier ongoing maintenance, coupled with

Resolution Comparison Table Resolution

Image Size



176 x 144



352 x 288



704 x 288



640 x 480



720 x 486



704 x 576


1280 x 1024


1.3 Megapixel

the fact that they can command a premium for installing a future proof system with better quality footage for their clients. And for this year? 95.2% of respondents said that they will use more IP cameras & security equipment in 2011. With IP security equipment sales set to achieve 50% of market share by 2014 in Europe, Ireland is well on course to achieve this. Are you IP ready yet?

Gordon Smith is Managing Director of GVD | making IP easy Specialist value added distributor of IP technology | We welcome your views and any applications you’ve encountered with IP technology. Email your questions and comments to GVD will be exhibiting at ISEC 2011 To Learn more about IP Technology visit Stand D12.


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Risk Manager Magazine Spring 2011  

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