A third option for the security conscious
Old style security camera technology is becoming obsolete as it gets replaced by high-tech solutions capable of firing high quality images to anywhere in the world. For most businesses and homes upgrading their security, this means replacing analogue cameras with digital IP based systems. The benefits of doing so include the flexibility of data storage on remote servers rather than DVD or video, higher quality pictures, and time, motion, and audio sensors.
However, installation of IP camera solutions comes at a price: not only is there the equipment and cost of installation. While it is possible to add IP cameras to existing networks, many businesses still choose to keep their security network separate. Of course, employees have to be retrained to use the new technology.
This article looks at a further option for the security conscious: HD-SDI cameras.
What is HD-SDI?
HD-SDI is a relatively new technology, which gives many of the benefits of IP security cameras using much of analogue connectivity. For those technically minded, HD-SDI stands for High Definition Serial Digital Interface which complies with the SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) 292M standard, which allows transfer of pictures with bit rates of 1.485 Gbits.
For those less technically minded, HD-SDI technology sends high resolution images over existing coaxial cable. You get super sharp pictures through existing CCTV cabling. For many, this makes it an ideal solution to security camera upgrade requirements.
If you think this technology has been around for a while, you’d be right. It was developed in the 1990s and has been used in television studios since. But it wasn’t until 2009 that the SMPTE allowed it to be used in security camera applications.
How does HD-SDI compare with analogue?
When considering whether to install HD-SDI cameras, and especially if you already have an analogue CCTV system, you’ll want to compare the main features. Having connected the HD-SDI camera via existing coaxial cable, you’ll find that it operates in a similar way to analogue:
First, there is no time delay in image delivery. This is the same as analogue CCTV, but different to IP. IP cameras send a compressed file to the user, which means its delivery time is subject to the quality of the network on which it is travelling (similar to how streaming videos can be delayed and break-up).
Image quality is as good as IP, and better than analogue. Picture resolution is as good as IP and way better than analogue, with no jumping or distortion. The quality of HD-SDI security images is as good as those on your television at home.
HD-SDI cameras are easy to install. Using the existing cabling, it really is a question of plug-and-play. There is no need to have experience in networking or IT, as is often the case when upgrading to IP security cameras.
One disadvantage of HD-SDI when compared to analogue is that the maximum distance for delivery of pictures is 500 feet compared to 1,000 feet. This is being improved with every advance in the technology, though the distance of transmission can easily be lengthened by installation of HD repeaters linking lengths of coaxial between camera and end-user.
When comparing to IP cameras, more cabling is needed by HD-SDI (only one camera per cable) and storage of images will still be via DVD or video. IP technology also enables a more flexible use as well as remote monitoring not possible with analogue and HD-SDI CCTV.
Should you install HD-SDI cameras, your security personnel will encounter no difference in operations, except for the far better picture quality. Because the new camera simply plugs into the existing system, there will be no need for retraining. Upgrades from analogue to HD-SDI cameras are seamless and cost effective. If your organisation has previously made a large investment in analogue CCTV, it’s highly likely you can upgrade to high quality HD images without the expense of rewiring. For many businesses, the disadvantage of distance restrictions simply won’t exist. Where they do, the installation of an HD repeater takes only a few minutes and resolves the issue.
If upgrading an existing system or deciding the best security system for a small business, HD-SDI might be the ideal solution; both for ease of use and cost-effectiveness.