Will H.265 be the new standard for security cameras in 2021?

What is H.265?

H.265 or High-Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) is the latest iteration in a long line of video compression standards. Originally developed for the broadcast industry, H.265 handles the compression demands of the latest high-resolution imaging formats, like 4K, that its predecessor H.264 cannot compress enough.
H.265 requires less storage
Basically, you’re getting the same picture quality as with H.264, but with a more efficient codec. This means you’ll have less data to manage as H.265 uses only half of the bit rate of H.264. This significantly reduces overhead costs by reducing bandwidth and storage requirements for high-quality security cameras — essentially making some of the best cameras on the market more affordable to the average business owner. 

Although decoding H.265 requires more computational power when viewing, most Video Management Software can easily leverage GPU accelerated decoding power at little to no extra cost.

To put it simply, when recording in H.265 the Network Video Recorder (NVR) sees a smaller file stored since no decoding is necessary until playback is required.

How common is H.265?

Since its release in 2013, H.265 has become a standard for video compression in the security camera industry. Anywhere that you’re not looking to cut corners by dropping resolution it is important to have high-efficiency video coding.

These systems are common in places like police stations, schools, and government buildings because these facilities are commonly looking for the best proof of any incidents that occur on the premises. However, as 4K security cameras become more popular and affordable, it is becoming more common to see H.265 (HVEC) in retail and industrial businesses, high traffic areas, medical facilities, and other privately owned businesses.

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What are the benefits of H.265?

You should consider upgrading to High-Efficiency Video Encoding (H.265) if…

You want to reduce bandwidth usage and storage consumption. H.265 IP security cameras offer the same resolution as outdated compression standards, but with a lower bitrate compared to H.264 and MJPEG security cameras. In fact, H.265 should reduce your storage requirements and bandwidth consumption by at least 50 percent.

You want to improve live feed and remote viewing quality. Are you experiencing delays or lags in your live feed to your security cameras? Or are you experiencing lower image quality than you expected? With an upgrade to H.265, you can expect a smooth live feed and crystal clear video quality when paired with the appropriate security cameras.

H.264 cameras only allow a maximum block size of 16 by 16. However, with H.265 (HVEC), your cameras can compress information in the Coding Tree Units (CTUs), whose sizes can range from 4 by 4, to 64 by 64. This delivers more clear and accurate information to your NVR or remote viewing device.

You can record for longer without having to overwrite or erase old footage. At most, your file size will be merely half as large as it was with your previous video compression. That means you’ll reduce the required storage by the same amount — 50 percent or more. Whether you’re recording footage to an NVR or an SD card, this method is sure to save you time and money.

Should I have H.265 in my new camera system?

If you’re installing a new security camera system, the cost of installing H.265 endpoint equipment (like cameras and video recorders) may seem high today — but the future savings by building an infrastructure that isn’t outdated should more than offset the cost difference between H.265 and any other encoding method over a short amount of time.

Additionally, if you’re replacing an outdated system it is important to consult with an installer that is familiar with upgrade projects like Camera Security Now. An experienced technician will be able to advise you on whether you can upgrade your endpoints in your existing infrastructure in order to use H.265-capable devices. This will save you the time and money of completely replacing your old equipment. However, keep in mind that upgrade an old infrastructure is not always possible.

Furthermore, if you’re planning to upgrade only part of an existing security camera system, it may be best to consider cameras that employ a triple codec. A triple codec enables simultaneous streaming of H.265, H.264, and MJPEG formats.

How to save money by upgrading to H.265

If your business is looking to upgrade your cameras to achieve better quality images and faster frame rates but is on a limited budget, it’s time to have a look at your video compression technology. H.265 offers the potential to reduce the cost of streaming and storing 4K and other high-resolution video formats.

Although H.265 was released in 2013, it’s only now beginning to gain popularity as the hardware catches up. It makes sense to make the switch to H.265 when upgrading your cameras as H.265 (HEVC) will soon become the universal standard codec. In the meantime, with H.265 you’ll achieve a 64% bit reduction at 4K when compared to H.264. Not to mention a 52% bit reduction at 480p.

H.265 opens new doors in the security camera market by giving businesses who need additional security the option to send more video data over their existing infrastructure. With H.265 businesses have the potential to upgrade their cameras without replacing their entire existing infrastructure.

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