October 17, 2023
As video resolution continues to increase, there is no doubt that H.265 compression is future. The growing demand for 4K and higher megapixel video has led to relatively rapid adoption of H.265, as improved image quality, bandwidth efficiency, and reduced storage footprint are biggest benefits of H.265.
However, some manufacturers are taking a slower, more cautious approach to producing H.265-enabled cameras in order to protect their existing product lines for as long as possible. Alternatively, other manufacturers are taking a forward-thinking approach to H.265 and are rapidly incorporating this powerful new compression format into their products. The reason is simple: capabilities of H.265 meet current and future needs of today's security professionals.
When H.264 was introduced in 2003, most advanced digital IP cameras were VGA, which was at bottom of resolution spectrum. At time, bandwidth savings were relatively small, but as market share for megapixel cameras grew, so did those. However, H.264 was not designed to handle extremely large file sizes of ultra high definition (UHD) and other higher resolution videos. With that in mind, move from MJPEG to H.264 in 2003 did not provide much of an advantage. In contrast, H.265 provides bandwidth and storage cost savings of approximately 75% for 4K video compared to 1080p (HD) video compared to H.264.
With popularity of 5 megapixel cameras and rise of 4K and other higher resolution video formats, many end users are hesitant to switch to these cameras, which do not provide better compression than H.264. Users find it difficult to justify increased costs associated with hardening their networks or adding storage to support these video formats.
It is therefore no longer a problem that H.265 will replace H.264 as video compression standard for IP cameras that H.264 has been using for over a decade. H.265 simply makes it more realistic and cost effective to deploy higher resolution cameras without increasing infrastructure costs.
H.265 is result of several best practices identified and used by experts, associations and others who have been working on development of protocol over past few years. Using latest advanced processing and storage technologies, H.265 is specifically designed to maximize bandwidth efficiency and reduce memory footprint.
Many manufacturers have already pioneered H.265 compression, and security industry will see continued development of better, higher-resolution, high-performance cameras.
Using H.265, users can send more video over existing infrastructure or receive same information content aswhich they currently enjoy, with lower infrastructure requirements and lower costs. As a result, superior next-generation video quality and performance is now more accessible to a growing number of customers and budgets.
Integrators who take time to learn and understand these transitions from H.264 to H.265 are at forefront of video security, helping their customers gain a video and security edge.
Changes in integrator sales strategy
Now that more efficient compression methods are available, it's important for integrators to know how to convince their customers to use H.265 and make necessary upgrades to realize its benefits.
From a technical standpoint, best strategy for moving to H.265 is to deploy cameras that support triple codec, allowing customers to use H.264 and MJPEG today and enjoy benefits of H.265. 265 compression in future.
Adopting an H.265 system—whether it's a new installation or a system upgrade—requires not only cameras equipped with H.265 encoders, but also recording solutions and VMS capable of supporting this new compression technology.
When deploying 4K cameras, customers can achieve significant bandwidth and storage savings compared to traditional H.264 systems. Customers can calculate their storage and bandwidth requirements by comparing H.265 and 4K video with H.264 and 1080p video. This is an important selling point as many customers were convinced that if they upgraded to 4K cameras their bandwidth and storage needs would quadruple and they would need to add more switches to their network.
From a specific application and deployment perspective, installation volume, as well as cost and potential savings, will vary from project to project. Therefore, before moving to and recommending H.265, integrators need to understand specific monitoring needs and goals of specific customers, as well as be familiar with their existing infrastructure and equipment.
Full System Update
A complete upgrade of an existing system takes almost twenty minutes compared to installing a completely new system in terms of size and complexity of project. If wiring and wiring needs to be replaced for an upgrade, costs can easily exceed cost of a new system. It goes without saying that these projects require careful planning to avoid additional, unexpected costs.
When there are no other options than to dismantle and replace existing system, cost can be high, making customers hesitant about upgrade process. Knowing this, integrators should move to H.265 as an investment in systems with a long lifecycle, and not as a relativelyShort shelf life of H.264 systems.
The best option for a complete system upgrade is when existing cabling infrastructure is in good condition. Therefore, it is unlikely that cameras, recorders, and VMS can be upgraded to H.265-enabled hardware to provide full benefits of 4K video and beyond, requiring only a new system or completely hacked hardware and a replacement upgrade.
Partial system update
In some cases, it makes sense for end user to partially upgrade system or add a new segment to an existing system. Typically, new H.265 devices will be able to use old H.264 protocol for a period of time, which will be determined by security industry trends. This allows end users to get most out of their current infrastructure investment by planning to take full advantage of H.265—a particularly attractive proposition for your budget-conscious customers.
For example, end users will likely continue to use their existing H.264 NVRs, replacing older cameras with new models that support both H.264 and H.265. If budget allows, NVR can be upgraded to a newer model and cameras can be reset to work using H.265 protocol.
Similarly, video surveillance systems can be extended, for example, using H.265-enabled devices to include new additions that can be temporarily integrated into existing systems using H.264.
Installing a new system
Any new facility will require a new surveillance system. In these cases, it makes no sense to install a system based on H.264 when benefits of H.265 are so obvious. For this reason alone, integrators should recommend and establish optimal scenarios for new end-to-end H.265 systems. Installing proper infrastructure (such as signal cables and power taps) It is much cheaper to deploy a new system during construction than to do a final upgrade at a later date.
Deploying H.265 cameras and recorders will cost no more than today's H.264-based equipment, and infrastructure savings from using H.265 equipment should translate into savings for all but smallest video surveillance systems, so specifying H .265, it is important for integrator to use total cost of system (including infrastructure) when advising customer.
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