The HD security camera is leagues apart from a normal CCTV camera. In fact, for a CCTV camera to be deemed true high definition, it needs to be a progressive scan and possess a rating of 720p, 960p or 1080p (1280x720, 1280x860 and 1920x1080 respectively).

Excluding IP cameras there are currently four formats used to deliver HD videos for CCTV. Also each format needs a specific HD security recorder. This means that you have to choose a particular format you like then pick an HD security DVR that is compatible with it. The good news is that all of these formats work well whether for home security cameras or in your place of business.

The question remains: how do you know which format is the right one to use?  


Created by the broadcast industry to transmit HD video, HD-SDI is the format of choice if you're looking for a camera that can shoot high-quality video without the need for an IP network. HD-SDI work by using RG59 or RG6 cables and connectors – the same as traditional cameras. This simply means that you can use the existing cables you have. HD-SDI cameras however cannot be run using Cat5 or Cat6 cables.

Cameras with HD-SDI technology have resolutions of 720p or 1080p – just like high definition TVs. Cameras with HD-SDI also have progressive scan technology that renders moving objects more clearer when recorded.

In order to view and record the images, you will need a high definition HD-SDI security DVR.

Some Popular HD-SDI cameras:

·  2142FV-XIR, HD-SDI Infrared Security Camera -  2.8-12mm varifocal lens and up to 100 ft. infrared illumination

·  BI01-HD,  HD-SDI Bullet IR Security Camera - 6mm fixed lens with 100 ft. IR illumination

·  SDI-2022, HD Infrared Dome Camera - 1080p high definition dome camera with 4.3mm wide angle lens, up to 60 ft. infrared illumination and IP67 weatherproof rated housing

·  PD-202XSQ, Mini HD-SDI Security Camera - Mini high definition camera features Sony's 1/3" 2M Pixel CMOS Sensor with 3.7mm wide angle lens.

·  SDI-9803IR, Infrared HD-SDI Outdoor Security Camera - 2.8-12mm mega pixel varifocal lens and up to 175 feet IR illumination

·  SDI-1032V,  HD Day/Night IR Dome Camera with Varifocal Lens - Outdoor 1080p dome camera with 36 infrared LEDs and 2.8-12mm adjustable lens

The advantage of getting an HD-SDI camera is that the image quality is five times better than a standard CCTV camera. The picture produced by cameras with this technology is of the same quality as HD TVs and Blu-ray images. The image quality of HD-SDI is excellent however the downside of HD-SDI is the shorter cables runs of about 300 feet before a repeater is required and the coax cabling needs to be of higher quality such as copper core and not copper plated for the best results also the cost is generally higher than the other HD formats.


Standing for High Definition Transport Video Interface, this technology transmits video and audio signal, as well as data signal over a coaxial cable. HD-TVI is, more or less, an alternative to HD-SDI. This format was engineered to address the issue of the shorter transmission distance of HD-SDI and its need for higher grade of coaxial cable. The HD-TVI format can send uncompressed analog signals up to 1500 feet over standard coax cables without video lag and also supports bi-directional data transfer. HD-TVI can support video signals of 720p or 1080p.

Most any existing coax video cables can be used for HD-TVI and new cabling can be added up to 1500 feet using RG59 or RG6 cable. Cat5e and Cat6 twisted pair cables can also be used with video baluns up to 600 feet. The images are sharp and crisp with true colors and up to 1080p resolution. You will need an HD-TVI video recorder for cameras in this category.

Some Popular HD-TVI cameras:

·  TVI-FBIR1080, Small IR Bullet Camera with 3.6mm Lens and 1080p HD - Equipped with 24 infrared LEDs for a night vision range up to 75 feet. HD-TVI 1080p resolution

·  TVI-VBIR1080, HD 1080p Outdoor Security Camera with 120 Feet Night Vision - HD-TVI camera with adjustable 2.8~12mm megapixel lens, 3D DNR, 42 Smart IR LEDs

·  TVI-VDIR-1080, Varifocal 1080p Night Vision Dome Camera - High Definition HD-TVI security camera with 2.8~12 mm adjustable zoom and focus lens, 110 ft. infrared illumination

·  TVI-LRV1080P, Long Range High Definition Infrared Security Camera - Varifocal 5~50mm lens with 1080p resolution and up to 300 feet of IR illumination. Industrial grade IP66 housing

·  2M24FD-TVI, 1080p HD Infrared Dome Camera - Wide Angle Lens - Full HD-TVI 1080p resolution in a small weatherproof housing with 3.6mm lens


AHD was also developed to provide a solution for the transmission distance and cable quality issues experienced with HD-SDI. AHD which stands for Analog High Definition is the 3rd HD picture format and also produces high quality images up to 1080p. AHD cameras can be run up to 1600 feet using standard coax cables and 500 feet using twisted pair Cat5e or Cat6 cables with baluns.

AHD cameras support 960H output modes so it is backward compatible with traditional analog video recorders and equipment already on the market. However when used with standard video recorders they will only display and record standard resolution images, to see the high definition images will require the AHD video recorder. AHD is capable of transmitting 720p or 1080p resolution video. The AHD 720 format DVR when used in hybrid mode (meaning using standard cameras with HD cameras) requires connecting camera resolutions in 2 consecutive channels. For example on a four channel DVR if you have a standard camera on channel 1 then channel 2 will also need to be a standard camera or AHD and AHD. This is not the case with the 1080p version where you can mix and match any cameras.

Some Popular AHD cameras:

·  CB22M88W-AHD, AHD Dome Camera with Varifocal Lens and 42 IR LEDs -  High resolution 10\80p image quality with 2.8-12mm adjustable lens and up to 120 feet of infrared night vision

·  C2168M-AHD, Varifocal AHD Camera with 120 Feet IR Night Vision -  960P HD security camera with 2.8-12mm adjustable lens, 42 infrared LEDs and IP67 weatherproof housing

To put things in better perspective, the AHD is better than HD-SDI when it comes to transport distance and cabling that is required. AHD cameras are also compatible with a traditional analog video recorder so you can use them with their 960H analog setting with your existing equipment then switch them to 1080p when you upgrade to an AHD DVR..


HD-CVI means High Definition Composite Video Interface. It's a format that is available in both 720p and 1080p resolutions but the 1080p version generally is less available and slightly higher in price. The HD-CVI analog cameras that make use of the traditional RG59 and cable as do the other formats and pre-existing coax cables work fine with HD-CVI too. It is also compatible with composite video cables and Cat5e or Cat6 cables with video baluns however some image issues over twisted pair cabling have been noted but is said to have been fixed.

HD-CVI cameras are proprietary with only one manufacturer so camera choice may be somewhat limited as compared with the other formats. When it comes to the video security DVR, an HD-CVI camera needs to be paired with an HD-CVI recorder. HD-CVI cameras are also easy to set up and simple to use since with all these mentioned HD analog formats it does not need IP configuration or network knowledge.

Some Popular HD-CVI cameras:

·  VL720P-CVI, 720p Long Range Infrared Security Camera - Industrial grade IP66 housing, adjustable 2.8~12mm lens, 250 feet infrared illumination

·  D720PV-CVI, HDCVI Infrared Dome Camera with Varifocal Lens - IR dome camera with 720p HD resolution, 2.8-12mm lens, 100 feet infrared night vision range

·  720PB-CVI, Wide Angle HDCVI Infrared Bullet Camera - 3.6mm lens for wide angle coverage with 24 IR LEDs for up to 70 feet of night vision

Summing Everything Up

When comparing the images produce from any of the above mentioned HD Security Camera formats you will definitely see a significant upgrade to standard analog cameras. So your choice will mainly be influenced by the cabling you will be using, the distance you need to run the cable, and whether there are the available cameras and resolutions in the format you choose. It's also important to recall that each format requires the corresponding HD security recorder. So, pick a format based on your needs and camera choice and as always if you need more help in deciding or further questions just drop us an email or feel free to call and we will be happy to help.