Why Video Resolution Matters When Choosing an Intelligent Surveillance Solution

Consumerism teaches us to want the most cutting-edge technology available, so it’s no surprise that this carries over to security cameras for your business as well. The most innovative security solutions may be on your list this year, but there’s more to making that decision than the “shiny object” syndrome. The right video surveillance cameras are the ones that work specifically with your building’s infrastructure, and you must consider the total cost of security cameras, including internet and data storage fees.

Video Resolution Basics

The quality of the security camera picture directly relates to how many pixels fit in the screen. Common presentation of pixels comes in this form: 4095 x 2160. That means there are 4095 pixels horizontally and 2160 pixels vertically. Contents in the 1980s and before was 640 x 680 or SD. As technology advances, more resolutions become available. Here are some of the common ones seen today:

  • SD, Standard Definition, 640 x 680
  • 720p HD, High Definition, 1280 x 720
  • 1080i HD, High Definition, 1920 x 1080
  • Ultra HD, 4K TV, 3840 x 2160

How Video Resolution Relates to Security Cameras

All surveillance footage was transmitted in analog at SD resolution or lower before IP cameras came on the market. Today, IP security cameras digitize and compress footage at the camera and transmit it through a network connection. This revolutionary technology allowed security camera manufacturers to gradually improve the quality of images regularly. Camera retailers expect better security cameras every year to entice their customers to buy the best products.

8K is coming soon, but right now, 4K is the highest resolution available. So, is 4K the best choice? Well, maybe not for your business. You must also consider the cost necessary to support the bandwidth and network storage for 4K resolution. Here’s a comparison of network storage and bandwidth for every hour of security camera footage.

Video ResoltuionBandwith1 Hour of Video Footage
4K-4095 x 2160


4.050 GB


9 Mbps


HD-1920 x 1080


0.90 GB


2.0 Mbps


HD-1280 x 720


0.450 GB


1.0 Mbps


SD-640 x 680


0.135 GB


0.3 Mbps

This chart clearly illustrates how expensive 4K is when you multiply these figures by every security camera on your network. When you add the cost of the internet, the price increases even more.

So, the best security camera for your business is the one that your infrastructure supports, and that may not be 4K. It’s critical to find a balance between resolution, storage, and bandwidth that you can afford. If you have limited access to internet, then you should buy the camera that uses less bandwidth. You can always upgrade your cameras when you get a better internet solution.

About IBS Electronics & Security

IBS Electronics & Security is an experienced, trusted integrator of burglar alarms, fire detection, video surveillance, access control, and audio/video communications. We provide custom system solutions that stay within your budget and are backed with proven reliability. Let us put our experience to work for you.

Gordon Oliver

About Us

Headquartered in Springfield, MA with operations in Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont & Maine, IBS  is a full-service security systems integrator providing Burglar Alarms, Fire Detection, Video Surveillance, Access Control and Audio/Video Communications. 

License Info

Massachusetts: #1535C
Connecticut: #184473
New Hampshire: #13480M
Vermont: #EM-05934
Maine: #MS60019069

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IBS Electronics & Security

225 Armory Street
Springfield, MA 01104
(800) 221-5587

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