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HDTV Network VideoWith the recent launch of the Axis Q1755 HDTV Network camera we suddenly thought to ourselves…  “What on earth is an ‘HDTV’ network camera“?

We know that HDTV is the latest in home entertainment technology delivering television pictures at up to 5 times higher resolution than standard definition (SD) television. However, with the introduction of SVGA resolution (800×600) in 1989 computer monitors have been able to display resolutions equivalent to HDTV for 2 decades on our computer screens, so aren’t all IP cameras HDTV cameras?

Well, no.

Even IP cameras which reach into the high megapixel resolutions cannot be classed as true HDTV cameras.  Of course, they produce amazingly detailed high resolution images but to be classified as an HDTV IP camera it must conform to the HDTV standards laid down by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE). This means that the output from the camera must conform to standardised resolutions and frame rates.


An HDTV IP camera must output natively at 720p (1280×720 SMPTE 296M) and 1080i (1920×1080 SMPTE 274M) resolutions.

If the camera provides an analogue output then it must be HD compatible (the Axis Q1755 includes a component (Y/Pb/Pr) out).  This allows a simple connection to a HDTV monitor or television for public viewing.

Frame rate

Most megapixel IP cameras on the market today do not deliver full resolution at full frame rate.  Typically the frame rate will start to drop past VGA resolution and continue to fall as the output resolution increases.

With the introduction of H.264 compression IP cameras now have an efficient video codec which can handle the vast amount of data required for HD broadcast.

So to be classed as an HDTV camera it must be able to output 720p ot 1080i video at 25/30 frames per second.


HDTV technology has been well recieved by consumers from the entertainment market where the technology is ever advancing and always in demand. This trend is now being felt in the CCTV industry where professional requirements of high image quality, good colour reproduction and full frame rate are at the forefront for modern IP CCTV applications.

Published on January 30th, 2009 by Greg

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