Largest-ever HD deployment?

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09/21/2009
IndigoVision is out with a release today touting the largest-ever deployment of HD surveillance cameras. Before I get started on this, may I ask why you would email a press release that you've posted to your web site and not provide the link? Links are the stuff of connectivity! Also, it's a pain to go hunt down the link so I can show people what you're talking about, rather than cutting and pasting the whole thing. And that way they come to your web site and might poke around a bit. Okay, on to the story:
Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has deployed what is believed to be the largest ever High-Definition (HD) IP Video surveillance system to monitor its customs operation on the US-Canadian border and at Vancouver Airport. ... Five-hundred IndigoVision HD cameras were installed alongside 500 of the original analog cameras, which are connected to the network using IndigoVision’s 9000 series transmitter modules. The megapixel HD cameras stream high-quality H.264 video at 15 fps. Due to its advanced H.264 compression technology and unique architecture, IndigoVision allows both standard definition and HD video to be streamed and recorded side-by-side using standard IP networks and storage. This has allowed CBSA to significantly improve its retention period for recorded video, even when taking into account the increased storage requirements of HD video.
So, 500 cameras? Is that that the largest? How many of the 5,000 IP cameras at the Macau City of Dreams casino are "HD"? Also, note that nowhere in the press release do they define HD. They also use the term megapixel. Well, how many megapixels? Just one? I don't think that would qualify as HD for a lot of people, because I don't think that's quite 1080p. Isn't HD a broadcast standard that we can all agree on somewhere? Are they talking about 1080i or 1080p or 720p? Here's what Wikipedia says on the matter. I know that surveillance is not television, but when a term is understood in the mainstream in a certain way, that's kind of how you have to use it. And this is how I understand it:
An aspect ratio of 16:9 was duly agreed at the first meeting of the WP at the BBC's R & D establishment in Kingswood Warren. The resulting ITU-R Recommendation ITU-R BT.709-2 ("Rec. 709") includes the 16:9 aspect ratio, a specified colorimetry, and the scan modes 1080i (1,080 actively-interlaced lines of resolution) and 1080p (1,080 progressively-scanned lines). The current BBC freeview trials of HD use MBAFF, which contains both progressive and interlaced content in the same encoding. It also includes the alternative 1440×1152 HDMAC scan format. (According to some reports, a mooted 750 line (720p) format (720 progressively-scanned lines) was viewed by some at the ITU as an enhanced television format rather than a true HDTV format,[8] and so was not included, although 1920×1080i and 1280×720p systems for a range of frame and field rates were defined by several US SMPTE standards.)
Anyway, I can forgive IndigoVision for using HD kind of loosely, but I think it behooves the industry as a whole to either use "megapixel" to describe multi-megapixel resolution, or "HD" to describe something that conforms to broadcast standards. If you want to talk more about this (hint, hint), check out the panel discussion I'm leading on Wed. at ASIS: solutions theatre, Booth 1861, Hall C, 2 p.m. Sorry to finish with the shameless plug there - couldn't help myself. And it's not like I get anything out of leading this panel discussion anyway. (Although tips will be accepted.)

Comments

Sam, I agree we should all be more precise with our terminology. in the event of "megapixel" deployments, I'd be surprised if this is the largest--our deployment of 900 Sarix megapixel cameras at the Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen airport will be larger. http://is.gd/3xlS3 Granted these could be ISX0 cameras (I don't know). The point being large scale megapixel deployments are becoming common. And while HD is a precise term in the broadcast world, it's of much less utility in our business because of the flexibility of frame rate and resolution configuration afforded to the end user.

Personally, I'd prefer that we speak in terms of megapixel resolutions, and leave HD for the entertainment industry.