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Different sorts of compression are described as lossless or lossy.

In general, the less compression the better the playback and

recorded image, so naturally in that sense lossless is always better than lossy; however, less compression means more data to be

transmitted and stored, and thus incurs higher system costs.

Compression reduces the signal in three ways. The first is by various mathematical tricks that are lossless to the image, and can be

reversed at the time of display so that the full image is viewed. The second is to remove parts of the signal that are redundant to

human viewing of the image. The third method is to start to visibly reduce image quality definition, frames per second, and colour

range and it is this type of compression that is called lossy.

The compression formats used in CCTV vary by manufacturer and by product. But the four most commonly used compression

formats are:


Motion JPEG, also written M-JPEG or M-JPG


MPEG, also written mpg


H261 is a digitisation and compression scheme for analogue video. It is widely used in video conferencing and is aimed at providing

digitised video at a bit rate of 64Kbps-1Mbps, which is the bandwidth range of public data networks.

Compression rates as high as 2500:1 are achieved, but of course at the cost of quality. The format is good for high frame rates,

showing movement, but the resolution of those frames is not high. This is not good if, say, person identification images are required.

But if the application is a non-security application such as video-conferencing, the quality is likely to be adequate.

Uniquely among the compression formats discussed here, H261 encoded signals can also be decoded or decompressed by

reversing the process(es) from a valid reference or I-Frame. That means you can get back to the original high quality if you ever

need to.

Motion JPEG (M-JPEG)

Motion JPEG (JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group) is an adaptation of the popular JPEG image compression for still

digital photos. JPEG is a lossless compression technique, losing very little data in the image. Motion JPEG creates a video stream
from a succession of JPEG-compressed still photos. Because it is based on these high quality lossless stills, it delivers a much

higher quality image than H261. But at a cost it requires a considerably greater transmission bandwidth and storage capacity

compared to its H261 counterparts.

An advantage of Motion JPEG is that, because it is based on still images, it can produce any of its frames as a single image for

identification purposes. As we will explain, some compression techniques cannot provide such images.


MPEG (named after the Moving Pictures Experts Group) is purpose designed for moving pictures, rather than being based on still

image compression. This means that each frame is defined as the previous frame plus changes, rather than a full frame. The

advantage of this is that compression is more efficient the same quality can be displayed from less data. However, the method has

problems when there is extensive motion between one frame and the next there is a danger that the image gets blocky and

vague, losing some definition in the areas of the frame where the movement occurs.

There is not one MPEG standard but several , changing over time, of which only the first two are relevant at present.. MPEG -1 was

designed to output 15 frames per second video from limited bandwidth sources, such as CD-ROMs. MPEG-2, designed for high

bandwidth applications such as High Definition TV. (HDTV), delivers 30 frames per second video at full CCIR 601 resolution but

requires special high speed hardware for compression and playback PCs cannot handle this.

Wavelet Compression

Like Motion-JPEG, Wavelet compression delivers high-quality moving images by starting with still images, applying a compression

method to them, and putting them together to form moving pictures. It compresses images by removing all obvious redundancy and

using only the areas that can be perceived by the human eye. Wavelet is up to four times more effective in reducing the volume of

data than JPEG and M-JPEG.

Wavelet is also seen as offering superior development potential to current MPEG compression, giving a greater amount of

compression with equivalent quality. It transforms the whole image and not just blocks of the image, so as the compression rates

increase, the image degrades gracefully, rather than into the 'blocky' artefacts seen with some other compression methods.

Wavelet applications can have their preferred level of compression selected by the user higher or lower.

Thus, although Wavelet is not as established as some other compression techniques, it is growing in popularity.

It all depends on the application - Image Resolution

There is no good or bad in compression methods. The idea of horses for courses applies, and the table below summarises when

each method is best.

Method Compression Ratio Bandwidth and Storage Required Frames per second Quality

M-JPEG Low High 25 High

H261 Very high Low 25 Low

MPEG Low Very high 25 Very high

Wavelet High Low 25 High

Security cameras basically take digital pictures just like a standard digital camera.
Although cameras vary by construction, the concept is basically the same for each
type. A sensor takes a picture and instead of using film, creates a binary or digital
file of the picture and transmits it to the storage media. A still picture is basically
one picture or frame while motion-video is the same as a still picture, but there are
several pictures taken in rapid succession, generally up to 30 pictures per second.
The higher the quality (the more fluid) of motion video, the greater the frame rate
up to 30 frames per second (FPS). - See more at:
The problem with digital video is the incredibly large size of the files. A good quality snapshot may take
up to 500 Kilobytes (KB) to 1 Megabyte (MB) of file space. Therefore, a motion video at a frame rate of 30
FPS could take up to 30 MB for just one second of monitoring.

Up until just a few years ago, the digital file was usually stored on digital tape media, such as a standard
VHS tape. Some units used continuous loop tapes that just recorded over previous material after a period
of time. Other units may have used standard VHS tapes and automatically rewound the tape to re-record
over again, or owners may have had to insert a new tape each time the current tape reached the end.

Technological advances in the computer industry, especially those pertaining to storage technology and
file compression have had tremendous benefits for the security camera industry. Now, the most common
unit for storing is the DVR. Instead of saving image files to video or digital tape, images are stored as
computer files on a hard disk drive, similar to the ones found in personal computers.

Computer (and likewise DVR) hard drives have various storage capacities. Less than 10 years ago, 250
GB hard drives were extremely expensive and rare. Based on a 30 FPS uncompressed video using 1 MG
per frame, the hard drive would have a capacity of approximately 8333 seconds or 2 1/3 hours. This type
of storage and technology made DVR storage prohibitive for security camera use.

However there was an exception. If the file size of the frame could be reduced in size, then more frames
could be stored per unit of storage space on a hard disk. Reducing the size of the digital file is called
compression, and is usually accomplished by some sort of mathematical computation called an algorithm.
Typical compression file formats for still pictures include JPEG, GIF, and PNG. Each has a special set of
mathematical instructions that determine how the file can be compressed in size. Typical compression file
formats for digital video include JPEG2000, MPEG, and the newer H.264. Video compression formats are
called CODECs for COmpression/DECompression which refers to the process the file goes through to be
stored and when retrieved to be viewed. Unfortunately, hard drive storage capacity and file compression
formats did not develop overnight or at a synchronous rate.

By current standards it is not unusual for personal computers to have 750 GB hard drives or larger and
H.264 compression technology wasnt really used in the security camera industry until about 2007-2008.
The following list should give you an idea of the capabilities of the three popular compression formats
used most often in surveillance cameras.

- See more at:


Using a DVR with a hard drive capacity of 250 GBs, at a frame rate of 30 fps with a screen resolution or size of 720 x 480 the
following compression rates yield:

JPEG2000 can record for approximately 20 hours

MPEG4 can record for approximately 68 hours
H.264 can record for approximately 120 hours

These formats are available in most DVRs today with the H.264 being the newest and the yielding the highest performance.

There is one other item that needs to be mentioned concerning DVR compression methods. A DVR not only stores the digital video
files but it generally has a central processing unit or CPU, like a personal computer, which processes the CODEC to create the file.
High frame rates and high compression rates places a heavy load on the processor, and can actually inhibit performance if the
processors speed is not fast enough. To compensate for this, separate processing boards may be purchased that are added to the
DVR to alleviate the load on the CPU to ultimately provide high performance surveillance video.

- See more at:

Broadly there are two concepts which govern most of the Image
Compression techniques Spatial Compression & Temporal
Compression. In Spatial Compression all data compression is
done on a single image frame without touching other frames- eg
JPEG, Wavelet & M-JPEG, where as Temporal Compression deals
with the changes in the previous and subsequent frames during
transition- eg MPEG, H.264 etc.

Below are some more details on individual Compression

JPEG Image Compression:
Finds its application in still photographs or a video with very low fps
(Frames per second). The data is compressed of individual
M-JPEG is similar to JPEG, where images are at a very high fps to
give an illusion of a running video. The drawback here is that its
today not a standard, hence compatibility issues come into picture
with different manufacturers.
MPEG 4 (Part2):-
It is most acceptable image compression in industry with its different
versions. This technology focuses on the dealing with the change in
previous and subsequent frames rather than on each frame itself. It
saves only that portion of the frame which is changed from that of its
previous state. Hence each frame also called p- frame or predictive
frame is actually the composition of previous frame plus the
changes in same with that of current frame.

MJPEG Compression
MPEG 4 Compression

MPEG 4 (Part 10) or H.264:-

Also called Advanced Video Coding (AVC) is more efficient in terms
of maintaining the

Image via Wikipedia

quality of image as apart from P frames, it also has an I-frame or

intra frame which do not refer to any of the precious or future frames
but is independent of both of them and because of which it is a
frame with complete information. I frames can also be used to
implement fast-forward, rewind and other random access functions.
Its because of this reason bit rate is 50% lesser than MPEG 4
(Part2) and H.264 proves its utility while saving of storage disc
space is the main concern along with maintaining the quality of

Apart from the above, Wavelet Image Compression and Fractal

Image Compression are two more compression techniques on
images not followed as a standard practice.

Part 1 - An Introduction to POE

What is Power over Ethernet?

Power over Ethernet (POE) is a technology that lets network cables carry electrical

For example, a digital security camera normally requires two connections to be made
when it is installed:

A network connection, in order to be able to communicate with video recording

and display equipment

A power connection, to deliver the electrical power the camera needs to operate

However, if the camera is POE-enabled, only the network connection needs to be made,
as it will receive its electrical power from this cable as well.

Why use POE?

Specifying Power over Ethernet brings many advantages to an installation:

Time and cost savings - by reducing the time and expense of having electrical
power cabling installed. Network cables do not require a qualified electrician to
fit them, and can be located anywhere.

Flexibility - without being tethered to an electrical outlet, devices such as IP

cameras and wireless access points can be located wherever they are needed
most, and repositioned easily if required.

Safety - POE delivery is intelligent, and designed to protect network equipment

from overload, underpowering, or incorrect installation.

Reliability - POE power comes from a central and universally compatible source,
rather than a collection of distributed wall adapters. It can be backed-up by an
uninterruptible power supply, or controlled to easily disable or reset devices.

Scalability - having power available on the network means

that installation and distribution of network connections is simple and effective.

Devices that use Power over Ethernet

POE has many applications, but the three key areas are:

VoIP phones - the original POE application. Using POE means phones have a
single connection to a wall socket, and can be remotely powered down, just like
with the older analog systems.

IP cameras - POE is now ubiquitous on networked surveillance cameras, where it

enables fast deployment and easy repositioning.

Wireless - Wifi and Bluetooth APs and RFID readers are commonly PoE-
compatible, to allow remote location away from AC outlets, and relocation
following site surveys.

How to upgrade to POE

Adding POE to your network is straightforward, and there are two routes you can
A POE switch is a network switch that has Power over Ethernet injection built-in.
Simply connect other network devices to the switch as normal, and the switch
will detect whether they are POE-compatible and enable power automatically.

POE switches are available to suit all applications, from low-cost

unmanaged edge switches with a few ports, up to complex multi-port rack-
mounted units with sophisticated management.

A midspan (or POE injector) is used to add POE capability to regular non-POE
network links. Midspans can be used to upgrade existing LAN installations to
POE, and provide a versatile solution where fewer POE ports are required.
Upgrading each network connection to POE is as simple as patching it through
the midspan, and as with POE switches, power injection is controlled and

Midspans are available as multi-port rack-mounted units or low-cost single-port

It is also possible to upgrade powered devices, such as IP cameras, to POE by using
a POE splitter. The POE splitter is patched in to the camera's network connection, and
taps off the POE power, which it converts into a lower voltage suitable for the camera.

Want to know more?

To find out about the myths and misconceptions about Power over Ethernet, options for
high-power POE, and a little more about how the technology works, please continue
to POE Explained, Part 2.

Our Power Without the Struggle white paper makes the case for POE deployment in
more detail, and explains how POE can be used effectively.

We also have a POE Explained white paper, which describes the functionality of POE in
technical, but straightforward, detail.

Or simply contact Veracity or one of our representatives, to see how we can help you
make the most out of your POE application.