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City of London street surveillance CCTV camera, equipped with PA speakers to allow City of London Police, to make verbal announcements in the event of an incident.City of London street surveillance CCTV camera, equipped with PA speakers to allow City of London Police, to make verbal announcements in the event of an incident.
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The HD-CCTV Alliance is now formally open for business

June 16th 2009 is the official launch date for the new HD-CCTV Alliance; a technology described as "The Next Generation of Surveillance" with "All the Benefits of Digital with the Simplicity of Analog", high definition video surveillance is now set to take off in a big way. Using broadcast-industry-compliant, high-definition video (HDTV) signals which are transmitted digitally over conventional CCTV media, there is no packetisation or perceivable compression latency using this advanced technique.

The HDcctv Alliance has been set up to establish technical standards for HDcctv, thereby minimising the risks for manufacturers  and helping to promote a wider understanding of the systems, making it easier to adopt in place of conventional CCTV, using a range of traditional transmission links (including RG 59B/U cable, fibre optics etc.).

As part of the official launch, the Alliance has released v0.9 of the HDcctv Interoperability Spec. which is available on their website for Member review . Subject to further consultation, a v1.0 Specification is due to be published early in September 2009, along with members details of their full range of v1.0-compliant HDcctv products in development; including cameras, DVRs, matrices, monitors, distribution boxes, repeaters, fibre concentrators, etc. 

Chairman Todd Rockoff is keen to stress that the HDcctv Alliance is not “anti-IP”. "The Members of the Alliance recognise that surveillance systems will continue to rely on IP Video for integration beyond the premises. We also believe that HDcctv systems are commercially superior to megapixel IP camera-based systems within the premises for most physical security applications."

I asked Todd, "where do you see HDcctv sitting in relation to existing analogue CCTV, IP Video and MegaPixel cameras?"

"The front end (lens + sensor) of a 720p HDcctv camera can be identical to front end of a 1 megapixel IP camera.  The back end (transmission subsystem) of an HDcctv camera consists only of a relatively inexpensive SDI transmitter chip, which is much less expensive than a typical codec module as is incorporated in a megapixel IP camera.  HDcctv DVRs will implement IP video for the back haul in a manner identical to conventional CCTV DVRs, except with 3 to 12 times as much video data per input channel." he said

DJ "Given the "uncompressed' nature of HDcctv images, are there any key market sectors where you foresee an immediate advantageous uptake for this new technology, with perhaps conventional analogue (legacy) CCTV being replaced by HDcctv rather than more readily available IP Video camera systems?"

TR: HDcctv is a plug-and-play upgrade that requires changing only the DVR and selected cameras. Therefore HDcctv is applicable to every CCTV installation as a zero-training resolution upgrade. Every application wherein live view matters is a candidate for upgrade from IP to HDcctv, because the live view is so much better than a pre-compressed alternative. Most applications wherein analytics are significant are also candidates, because the unadulterated HDcctv signal gives better analytics results than the compressed alternative. Every application including a speed dome is a candidate for upgrade from IP to HDcctv, because there is no delay on the HDcctv signal."

DJ "If so, what applications do you think will return an immediate benefit from using HD CCTV over MegaPixel cameras ( e.g. airports / train stations, City / Town Centre camera schemes, Shopping Centres / Malls, etc.) ?"

TR: "We do not see any obstacles to adoption across all applications. Casinos, who are among the most sophisticated consumers of surveillance equipment, are a particularly attractive first target."

DJ. "Do you foresee any problems in terms of uncompressed high quality HD CCTV cameras, being recorded onto lossy compressed Digital Video Record systems? In other words, if the wrong record system is chosen is it going to negate some of the quality benefits inherent in HD CCTV?"

TR: "Indeed, compression always degrades image quality. In an HDcctv system, the DVR is configured to manage compression, as in a conventional CCTV system. In a megapixel IP camera-based system, every image is degraded before transmission out of the camera."

DJ. "One of the major issues in the world of CCTV, is the lack of decent training material and educational opportunities. Will the HD CCTV Alliance and it's members be looking to develop ways of assisting consultants, installers and end users on how best to get the most from the quality that's now available?"

TR: "HDcctv is a 'zero-training' upgrade for the installed base.  The only difference for the installer from conventional CCTV is that larger numbers appear in the resolution pull-downs on the configuration screens.  That's the only difference."

DJ.  "Given that the video surveillance market has been pushed towards IP Video in recent years, do you foresee any difficulties in persuading the industry that a network centric solution is not the only viable option, and that HD CCTV can provide enormous benefits in many everyday applications?"

TR: "Perhaps that is a matter for the business school case studies.  Clearly the market economics favor adoption of HDcctv as the next generation of video surveillance technology. It may be that the established brand names do not need all to adopt the technology, so long as true manufacturers recognize the fast time-to-money opportunity. For this reason, HDcctv promises to re-shape the competitive landscape of the surveillance equipment industry, if not the entire physical security industry, over a relatively short period of time".

For further details on the HD-CCTV Alliance visit:-

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