IP cameras and video encoders use a variety of compression technologies to reduce file sizes when delivering video and other data over your network. This process helps to optimize bandwidth while also saving storage space. The most efficient compression technologies are able to do this without sacrificing much in the way of image quality. Different network cameras and encoders of course support different compression formats. Here are some of the most common compression technologies available:
Motion JPEG reduces file size by breaking the video stream up into a series of individual JPEG images. For full motion video, this stream must be transmitted at 30 frames per second, though even at 16 frames per second the viewer still perceives motion video. The biggest advantage of Motion JPEG is there’s no drop-off in image quality between the individual frames. They’re all at the same level, which makes it ideal for snapshot viewing.
MPEG-4 is primarily used for bandwidth-limited applications. It offers more compression efficiency than Motion JPEG by finding the differences between frames and leaving out redundant information. In this way, MPEG-4 reduces file size and bandwidth requirements by only compressing those frame-to-frame differences.
H.264 is the latest compression technology available with select network cameras, and it’s likely to become the new standard. H.264 compression significantly reduces video file sizes when compared to Motion JPEG and MPEG-4, effectively using far less bandwidth and storage space while allowing for superior image quality. This is especially beneficial for surveillance applications requiring megapixel video.