8K is here but what does that mean to you?
Changing the Way We See
8K televisions deliver sharp, detailed pictures – but what is 8K and how does the technology work? You’ve come to the right place to answer that and more. In the consumer electronic world, we saw a shift in the early 2000’s from Standard Definition to Enhanced Definition, to 720p High Definition (HD), to 1080p Full High Definition (Full HD). In the late 2010’s we saw the adoption of 4K. Walking down the aisle of many stores today, you’ll prominently see 8K TVs and that will continue for the foreseeable future. As images improved from SD to HD to 8K Ultra HD, it’s closer to what we see in real life or what we imagine in our “mind’s eye”.
Defining High Definition
Historically, standard definition CCTV cameras output a 704 x 480 resolution, referring to vertical x horizontal lines. Megapixel cameras, introduced a 1280 x 960 resolution which provides more pixels than standard analog video, allowing you to capture more detail. When you multiply 1280 times 960, you get 1,228,800 pixels, otherwise known as 1.3 million or mega-pixels. This is important to obtain a clearer picture to zoom more into a scene. It is important to note that different systems utilize different aspect ratios or resolutions to achieve a megapixel rating. Thus, not all megapixels are the same.
The elimination of interlacing was another major change. Due to technical limitations during the standardization of TV and related technologies, traditional analog video would skip every other line, displaying the image quicker, while human vision inferred a single image. However, when you paused the image or took a snapshot, only half of the lines showed or blurring between these two “fields” occurred.
Modern megapixel or HD video delivers a full “frame” with progressive scan technology, as shown in figure 1. The entire image is delivered and displayed, effectively doubling the actual output resolution vs. traditional analog systems. When comparing video resolution, an I or P after the number of horizontal lines indicates an interlaced or progressive scan. Many earlier “HD” TVs were only capable of 720i, but were marketed as HD.
Figure 1. Interlaced scanning vs. progressive scanning
For consumer TVs, 720p and 1080p (Full HD) were the default standards for HD for many years, providing progressive scan video at 1280 x 720 or 1920 x 1080 resolution. It turns out that 720p is less than 1 megapixel and 1080p is 2 megapixels. In video surveillance, we have exceeded these resolutions for many years. You can see from the Figure 2 below that Full HD provides four times the pixels as SD. This provides more definition since an image can be clearer and crisper.
Figure 2. Size comparison of various resolutions
Why do we need more pixels in the security market?
4K technology is 2160p and provides four times the resolution detail of 1080p. Common resolutions include 4096 x 2160, 3840 x 2160, or even 4000 x 3000. With video surveillance, there are two differentiators compared to standard TV. The goal of all of these cameras is to go to playback, zoom in and identify someone or something. More detail allows us to provide forensic investigation with more clarity.
The number of pixels along with features such as WDR and efficient compression ensure we see the subject we need. In addition, in the security industry, we often watch many cameras at once. Higher resolution enables our Video Management System (VMS) to display multi-screen views to see higher resolutions of each camera.
Moving Toward an 8K World
8K is a logical step as a system records and displays resolutions. Adoption of 8K will first take place in industries where high pixel density is required over large areas and installing and maintaining many cameras is impractical, such as stadiums, airports and manufacturing facilities.
These new cameras allow an operator to forensically zoom in to count people or warehouse inventory while maintaining detailed images. An 8K camera typically provides 4320p resolution or 7680 × 4320 pixels for 33 megapixels. Using the Wisenet WAVE VMS, allows you to create windows to zoom into video and pan around. By saving a layout, you can review the desired locations for monitoring.
8K video requires precise lensing such as Canon EF-mount lenses. Intelligent features allow for remote focus, eliminating mistakes from manual focusing, as well as any error from closing housings, housing glass, tightening set screws, or removing installation materials and tools. Simple focus allows the camera to find the perfect megapixel focus position, ensuring the image is sharp and doesn’t have human error to lower the level of detail.
You have the video but how do you store it?
As cameras with higher resolution come to market, it is also important to consider how to transmit and store this data. New compression standards, such as H.265 are up to 50% more efficient than H.264, allowing longer retention and smaller bandwidth connections. Furthermore, H.265 provides enhanced detail and color depth than previous compression standards, eliminating motion artifacting, which in turn lowered detail and picture quality. Intelligent CODECs, such as WiseStream II compression technology, allow the camera to dynamically adjust the compression levels and I-Frame spacing based on scene activity, dramatically reducing bandwidth needs, while preserving detail in key parts of the image.
8K for Video Surveillance
Ease of installation, intelligent functions, and Simple Focus all allow the TNB-9000 8K camera from Hanwha Techwin to provide the highest level of detail to keep watch over large spaces such as stadiums, arenas, seaports and airports, while providing efficient compression for best bandwidth utilization.
This new level of resolution ushers in a new paradigm in how cameras can change the way we work with video in the security industry. The ability to digitally zoom into images while maintaining clarity in real-time as well as after an event, gives operators and video analytics programs a radical new way to interact with data, effectively seeing more with less. As camera resolution increases, we can install fewer cameras while collecting more data than ever before.