Understanding Video Resolution: Finding the Right Type for Your Needs

Understanding Video Resolution: Finding the Right Type for Your Needs

Understanding Video Resolutions: 1080p, 2K, 4K, and 12MP

1080p, 4K, and newer terms like 12MP are on every product from security cameras to TVs to personal digital cameras and phones, and it can be overwhelming to differentiate. Like Swann’s security camera products, video cameras of all kinds, as well as viewing devices such as monitors, have a video resolution.

Video resolution is defined by the number of pixels that can be displayed on a monitor in terms of different aspect ratios. A couple of the more common aspect ratios are 16:9 and 4:3.

There are a lot of factors that go into the visual clarity that the eye perceives. Both the display’s and camera’s maximum resolutions have a role. A camera may be capable of capturing 4K video, but if the screen displaying the video is only capable of showing 1080p, the video will appear in the lower resolution.

Overall, the higher the resolution value, the clearer and sharper the video will be, with more detail in the imagery.

Swann wireless battery cameras and powered Wi-Fi cameras commonly record at 1080p Full HD, or high-definition. This means that the cameras capture imagery that consists of 1920 pixels (horizontally) by 1080 pixels (vertically).

Both 1080p and 720p are named for their vertical resolution. Vertical resolution is now the older standard of measurement. Newer technology uses either horizontal resolution (4K) or total resolution (12MP) in its naming convention.

1080p resolution is often sufficient to capture the details that matter, such as people, animals, and vehicles, including colors and other key identifiers. If you never intend to view the cameras on a display that has higher output resolution than 1080p, then this level of resolution will likely be sufficient.

It is important to note that while the cameras can capture a certain resolution, your viewing experience is governed by the display medium. For example: when viewing on a mobile phone you will be able to view as much as the phone screen resolution allows. The higher resolutions will be most beneficial when you zoom in, as more pixels will give you more detailed images.

Another resolution that is becoming more popular due to its high value for money is 2K. 2K resolution has 50% more pixels than 1080p. This provides more detail while remaining a good option for the budget conscious, as it’s often less expensive than 4K.

Swann offers some innovative options if you’re looking for 2K resolution.

Many Swann CCTV security cameras record with 4K Ultra HD. Cameras with 4K resolution output an image with 2160 pixels vertically by 3980 pixels horizontally. These 3980 pixels are rounded up to 4000 which is how we derive the name “4K”.

4K video resolution has roughly four times more pixels than 1080p Full HD. This captures finer details such as:

  • license plates
  • tattoos
  • labels on boxes
  • and much more that can be useful if your video is needed as evidence.

If you view Swann 4K cameras on a 1080p screen you will see the output as 1080p, though you may see more detail when zooming in. When 4K video is displayed on a true 4K display, the imagery can be very impressive and detailed.

Upscaled 4K

Swann also offers Master Series NVR systems. These cameras allow you to see everything that is happening with upscaling technology that digitally creates a 4K resolution. These systems feature much higher resolution than 1080p by capturing a native 5MP image, then upscaling it to a crisp, clear 4K resolution.

It does this by filling out more pixels with content from neighboring pixels. This results in better image quality than 1080p, but at a more modest price point than some of the other true 4K systems.

Swann’s highest resolutions available (yet) is world-leading 12MP Mega HD for security cameras. With 12.6 million pixels, 12MP resolution has around 50% more pixels than 4K.

12MP is formatted in a 4:3 aspect ratio. This sets it apart from 4K and 1080p, which are both in the 16:9 aspect ratio.

Note that while there are more pixels, the 12MP camera view will often be displayed on a lower resolution 4K monitor. You still get the benefit of the increase in pixels when you use the Swann cameras’ powerful digital zoom.

12MP video resolution, like those in our line of Professional Enforcer NVR Systems, allows you to enjoy richer details and better see important evidence you may need at a later time.