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Don’t Forget the Monitor

November 22nd, 2010 by Kevin Bowyer

Above: footage from an AXIS Q6034-E

Recent advances in IP video – HD resolution, H.264 video compression – are changing the way we think about implementing network security solutions. With extremely detailed images now communicable across networks, the monitors we use to view them are becoming more and more important.

Luckily, there are a few factors that work in favour of IP solutions. The first is HDTV itself, a ratified standard overseen by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE). The HDTV standard provides up to five times the resolution of traditional analogue systems, and covers aspects of image quality such as resolution, colour fidelity and frame rate. The standard HDTV resolutions – 720p, 1080i and 1080p, are now being introduced through IP camera ranges from several manufacturers. Because HDTV is a defined standard, this means that any HD-ready TV or monitor is now a potential solution for IP surveillance.

There are may advantages to IP surveillance technologies falling in line with mass-market technology. Firstly, for those looking for home security solutions, it is now possible to purchase a TV or monitor off-the-shelf at your local electronics store and guarantee compatibility with the camera you purchased simply by checking they both meet the HDTV standard set out by the SMPTE. Secondly, screen sizes have now reached a level whereby one TV or monitor can comfortably accommodate several simultaneous camera feeds while still providing a useable, detailed image for each. Thirdly, because it’s now possible to buy an exceptional screen from the consumer market, the amount of choice available to the industry is huge.

Perhaps best of all, we are now seeing IP camera manufacturers venture into adoption of touchscreen technology. This is being driven by the success of Apple’s iPad, iPhone and iPod touch and has been further bolstered by Google’s Android platform and Blackberry’s forthcoming ventures. With consumers and professionals alike adopting touchscreen technology as a ‘carry everywhere’ gadget, it now makes sense for manufacturers to offer browser-based or App-based interfaces and monitoring solutions for their cameras. The likes of Axis, Y-cam and QNAP are already providing tools for Apple’s touchscreen devices, with more undoubtedly to come soon. With advances in processing, graphics and connectivity on these devices, perhaps it won’t be long before such interfaces become one of the primary methods of interacting with IP security.

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