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Tech Talk | Understanding Surveillance Resolutions

Tech Talk | Understanding Surveillance Resolutions

Updated August 2021

Tech Talk - Surveillance Resolutions Explained

Tech Talk - Surveillance Resolutions Explained


You'll still find CIF quality equipment available, but not nearly as common as it once was, as higher resolution equipment continues to fall in price. It provides 352 x 240 (0.1 Megapixels) resolution. We no longer carry any CIF equipment.


You'll find D1 resolution offered on a number of our low-cost solutions. It provides 704 x 480 (0.3 Megapixels).


Providing reasonable resolution but still in a value price range. 928 x 480 (0.5 Megapixels). 960H is the same vertical resolution as D1, however it has a widescreen aspect ratio, providing more pixels overall.

720P High Definition

720p was the first resolution classified as high definition, even for televisions. Now almost everything is full high definition, but high definition is still used in many surveillance cameras 1280 x 720 (1 Megapixel).

1080P Full High Definition

This is the most common TV standard, and is considered "Full High Definition". 1920 x 1080 (2 Megapixels). One major benefit of 1080p hardware is it matches pixel-for-pixel, many off-the-shelf displays designed for computers or TV.

4 Megapixel Ultra High Definition

Providing a marginal increase in resolution over Full HD 1080p, with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels. It provides a marginal increase in resolution over Full High Definition 1080p.

5 Megapixel Ultra High Definition

Super high definition, 2560 x 1920 resolution, very good level of detail from images.

4K Ultra High Definition

Highest resolution available today, 3840 x 2160 four times more pixels than 1080p, provides crystal clear video with very high detail.

What About TV Lines?

TV lines came about when most recording was done with analogue hardware, with tape-storage being the common method. The TV Lines / TVL standard is falling out of favour to Megapixel specifications, mostly because once we hit 1000TVL, it all started getting a little difficult to track. For a basis of comparison however, a 600TVL resolution is approximately 0.4 megapixels, or 1000TVL is approximately equal to 0.9 megapixels. So you can see once we enter high definition territory (2 megapixels or more), the TVL standard becomes a little difficult to manage.

In Summary

The quality of resolution you need is really determined by your own specific requirements. While "more is better" when it comes to resolution in many ways, consider your own budget and circumstances to find a balance between cost and quality. If you would still like to chat to someone very knowledgeable about surveillance and resolution, find one of our friendly team who can help you find what you need.