Green Line Systems

Why Most CCTV Footage Still Looks Like it Was Shot On a Potato

Mar 31, 2022

poor quality CCTV footage

What do you think of when you hear the phrase “CCTV footage"? If you're like most people, then you probably think about grainy images with minimal detail and low-resolution video that's hard to make out. Unfortunately, much of the security camera footage out there still looks this way, and it's a widespread problem. What good is CCTV video if you can’t clearly recognize a person, sometimes even their car?

Poor-quality CCTV video often underperforms in a variety of lighting conditions. Late in the day or at night, it can be even harder to get a clear picture of a perpetrator. These cameras also make it difficult to tell the color of hair, skin, or clothing that can further help identify a suspect.

Here we’ll cover why most footage still looks like it was shot on a potato and how you can improve your security camera system for better quality video footage. 

Why Most CCTV Footage Still Looks Terrible

CCTV (closed-circuit television) is everywhere. There's likely a CCTV camera on the street corner, in your local grocery store, and at most places you do business. If you've ever had to watch footage from one of these security cameras, then you know why it looks terrible: the resolution sucks. Security camera resolution plays a key role in the footage's quality. If you've seen low-quality camera footage, you're likely talking about cameras that operate at less than 720p, which is terrible for identification purposes.

The problem was that up until recently, most CCTV cameras were only able to shoot at 640 x 480 resolution or VGA quality video (640 lines of vertical resolution - 480 represented in progressive scan.) That's just too grainy to make out any detail, especially in low-light conditions. You can see an image of someone on a CCTV camera but you might not be able to identify him/her because they're too pixelated, and there isn't enough resolution for facial recognition software to work effectively. The old analog security cameras with these low resolutions are the most likely culprits of poor-quality CCTV footage. 

CCTV Technology Has Greatly Improved

Today, there are much better options for security camera systems: digital IP cameras with resolutions starting at 1080p up to 4K Ultra HD resolution and even beyond. There are also network video recorders (NVRs) that support HD security cameras, as well as IP/network cameras for high-definition recording of images from across your organization or at home. In order for footage to be useful, you've got to be able to identify faces and objects like license plates at a distance and operate in any lighting conditions.

Advancements to surveillance camera technology are being made every year, especially when it comes to features like enhanced low-light performance, the ability to zoom in on (or track) a subject, megapixel technology, and more. All these features help ensure clear, crisp images and vivid CCTV footage that you can actually use to identify a criminal if the need arises.

Get High-Quality Security Cameras at CCTV Security Pros

Next time you see a CCTV video of a robbery, burglary, or any other surveillance application online with grainy images and low-resolution video, don't be mistaken to think that every CCTV surveillance footage looks the same. There are thousands of CCTV cameras out there, and many people try to find the cheapest solution when it comes time for a security upgrade. They often end up with poor quality results that aren't actually useful in any capacity other than basic identification of some facial features or even an approximation at best.

If the security video quality covering your property looks like a colorized Charlie Chaplin movie, it’s time to do something about it. There are plenty of cost-effective security camera options and CCTV Security Pros is one of the best with free remote viewing via smartphone, tablet, and computer with no monthly fees or subscription.

Quality matters when it comes to your security video, and that's why we offer a wide variety of options for both indoor and outdoor security cameras at a fair price, along with unlimited USA-based support, a 3-year warranty, free shipping, and a 100% money-back guarantee for 30 days on our selection of high-quality surveillance cameras and systems. 

Talk to an expert at CCTV Security Pros and enjoy superior CCTV footage that you can rely on for any application.