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Glossary: Compression Formats on IP Cameras

When IP cameras transmit video they generally do not transmit uncompressed streams as this would generate huge amounts of data both in terms of storage of video and bandwidth throughput. Therefore, some form of compression is required to ensure efficient delivery of IP video across CCTV networks and, especially, the Internet.

The most common compression standards in use in network cameras are MJPEG, MPEG-4 and H.264.

By using compression it is possible to dramatically reduce the amount of data stored in each image or frame whilst retaining image quality. Each format has its own way of acheiving the optimum balance between framerate, quality, bandwidth consumption and processor use.

The most obvious compression standard may not neccessarily be the best for a particular security or CCTV installation so the pros and cons of each compression format should be weighed up when choosing a format, or camera model for an installation.

Published on July 4th, 2008 by Kevin Bowyer

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