Recently, I was asked, “Can video security DVRs get any better?” Absolutely, and they have! The latest advancements in H.264 compression technology now deliver the best of both worlds – high quality video and a superb compression ratio.

In fact, H.264 compression technology works so well, that many big companies are quickly implementing H.264 technology, including Apple, Intel, Blu-ray, Sony and even Satellite providers such as Direct TV and Dish Network.

Specifically related to security DVRs, here is how H.264 technology benefits you:

H.264 video compression

Longer record times

As mentioned earlier, H.264 provides superb compression for security DVRs, in most cases more than doubling record times over previously popular compression methods.

Here is a quick chart comparing H.264 and other compression technologies, using a 160GB hard drive, recording video at 30 frames per second, at a resolution setting of 720 x 480.

H.264 records 77 Hours
MPEG4 records 44 Hours
JPEG2000 records 13 Hours

The advantages of H.264 are impressive! The ability to record longer periods of time on the same sized hard drive will save you money, and greatly increase the amount of video evidence you can archive.

Quality and speed does not suffer

Previous compression methods have always allowed you to record excellent picture quality at real-time frame rates – but you were eating up valuable hard drive space. Similar to MPEG4, H.264 uses predictive technology to drastically reduce the amount of redundant video recorded.

In simple terms, instead of constantly recording say a room with no motion, H.264 will use previously recordings images. However, if someone walks into the room, H.264 will record that person and continue to use the previously recorded background.

H.264 will sample up to 32 frames of video to ensure complete accuracy and quality – whereas other compression methods would use only 1 or 2 frames as a reference.

Improved remote monitoring

Saving hard drive space is not the only benefit of H.264. The ability to bring together high quality and low memory sizes allows for seamless presentations of video when transmitted.

Coupled with low frame rate recordings, previous compressions made watching video from remote video security DVR units a trying experience – especially when activities in question happened fast.

Video would be jumpy, and audio (if used) wasn’t likely to be synchronized with the video. Watching real-time H.264 is a completely different experience, and the reason so many broadcast companies around the globe have rapidly adopted it.

A word of caution

Although H.264 compression is without question a giant leap in video technology for all industries, just having that feature in a DVR does not mean that it’s a good DVR.

To make all the magic happen, it takes more processing horsepower. So be sure to use a manufacturer with a proven track record, who stands behind their products, and one who will be there for you should you need a hand.

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