Bosch Dinion: HD From Scene to Screen
BOSCH Security Systems never rushes developments and as a result the company delivers products that have a high level of finish and that represent part of a complete solution. There’s no chance Bosch would ever release HD cameras if it was unable to deliver management software, recorders and monitors to support them. A week or so ago, I visited Bosch’s Sydney headquarters to get the low down on the company’s complete suite of new HD products and it looks impressive to say the least. As Bosch’s Sean Borg explains, the company is now doing HD from scene to screen.“We are doing HD properly,” Borg enthuses. “We can transmit HD properly and we can record HD properly and we can manage HD properly – most manufacturers don’t have this capability.” According to Borg, some manufacturers are building HD cameras – some are building cameras but in JPEG 2000 not main profile H.264. Others have HD cameras but no video content analysis to manage the bandwidth demands. And he says still others just don’t have the ability to handle HD recording in H.264. “I believe that many megapixel cameras sold over the past couple of years should have been installed inside – they weren’t able to handle low light, frame rate, shutter speed,’ Borg explains. “But these new HD cameras Bosch is launching can certainly be installed outside. They are true day/night cameras and offer all the benefits of the Bosch Dinion DNA including low light sensitivity and image quality.” This applies most directly to the new Dinion HD 720p camera – which is in stock and available now. This is perhaps the only HD CCD camera in the world. “This is our last CCD IP camera,” says Borg. “In my opinion, CMOS is still trying to catch up to some of the sensitivities of CCD, it’s not got there yet. CCD still has many benefits – there are real electrical fundamentals involved. “An HD CCD allows us to hold onto that Dinion performance a little longer. The sensitivity of the new camera is remarkable. I was recently in Vietnam at the launch of this camera and the difference in picture quality compared to other major brands was extraordinary.” Borg makes the cogent point that many users buy HD and megapixel to get just one feature – resolution – and in doing so they are throwing away 30 years of CCTV evolution. “We have waited a long time to combine HD with our Dinion technology – In my opinion this is a true surveillance HD camera and it’s been well worth the wait.”
Dinion NBN921 720p HD
First cab off the rank for Bosch’s HD range is the 1/3-inch CCD-driven 720p HD NBN921 full body day night camera. The Dinion heritage of this camera is plain for all to see, with the familiar Dinion body shape and livery. Under the hood, though, things have changed. It goes without saying that the reasons you go HD are for more detail and a wider field of view and the NBN921 delivers. “There are definite advantages of HD as far as resolution is concerned – the technology is not magic – but it is much superior to SD,” Borg says. “You get greater length and breadth from an image from 720 and 1080p HD images. That’s why you can replace 2 SD cameras with one HD. You are also getting a full 16×9 aspect ratio – most megapixel cameras still do 4 x 3.”
“This is our last CCD IP camera. In my opinion, CMOS is still trying to catch up to some of the sensitivities of CCD, it’s not got there yet. CCD still has many benefits – there are real electrical fundamentals involved. An HD CCD allows us to hold onto that Dinion performance a little longer.”
The camera’s XF-Dynamic technology uses pixel-by-pixel analysis to provide the user with the most detailed information. You can turn on SmartBLC to automatically compensate the image without the need for complicated set-up or without compromising dynamic range. Features such as Autoblack and Sharpness further improve the details in a scene.With the NBN921 there are six independent, pre-programmed configuration modes which have been optimized for typical applications, makes camera programming on-site easy and user-friendly. The installer just needs to select a mode from the menu that best defines the environment in which the camera is being installed. However, the operator still has the ability to customize these modes, if necessary, for the specific requirements of the site.In night mode, the camera enhances low-light viewing by switching the IR (infrared) filter out of the optical path and providing a monochrome image. The camera can switch from color to monochrome mode automatically by sensing the illumination level, via the alarm input, or remotely via a web browser. In scenes with predominantly IR light, use the alarm input for reliable Day/Night filter switching.Four different privacy zones allow specific parts of a scene to be blocked. A mask for any part of the scene can be pre-programmed. The default shutter allows the camera to use a higher shutter speed when sufficient light is available (for applications such as traffic management). When light levels fall and other adjustments have been exhausted, the shutter speed reverts to a standard setting to maintain sensitivity.By increasing the integration time up to 10 times on the CCD, the effective sensitivity is dramatically enhanced. This is especially useful when relying only on moonlight for illumination. The cameras use H.264 (Main Profile) compression, bandwidth throttling, and multicasting capabilities to manage bandwidth and storage requirements efficiently, while delivering high image quality and resolution.As Borg explains, Bosch’s innovative Quad-streaming feature enables the DinionHD to deliver three H.264 streams (a 720p HD stream, a downscaled resolution stream, and a HD I-frame only stream) together with an M-JPEG stream. These four streams facilitate bandwidth-efficient viewing and recording options as well as integration with third-party video management systems.DinionHD cameras offer excellent recording options. Attached to the network, they can use iSCSI targets directly without needing any recording software. The recording management capabilities of the system can be further enhanced by using the Bosch Video Recording Manager (VRM).There’s built-in video content analysis, the camera reinforces the Intelligence-at-the-Edge concept where edge devices become increasingly intelligent. The MOTION+ video motion analysis system, which is built into all camera versions, is the perfect solution for applications where basic video content analysis features are required. This motion analysis algorithm is based on pixel change and includes object size filtering capabilities and sophisticated tamper-detection capabilities.“The NBN921 offers Bosch image quality and not just through the CCD sensor – lens selection is also important,” says Borg. “The camera is supported by our easy to use Bosch Video Client, Bosch Recording system and Bosch Management System. Our GUI range is probably the easiest to use on the market. All this contributes to the performance and flexibility of the HD range. “And having video content analysis at the edge is very nice – the optimised IVA inside our HD cameras gives three times more detail which means more accurate analysis,” he explains. “There’s also a scalable recording concept, there’s interoperability – we give our SDK to any one and the range is ONVIF compliant. What this means is that users get HD from the scene to the analytics, to transmission of main profile H.264 across the network, to being able to view images easily on one of our management platforms.” Important too, this Dinion HD technology is also available in the NDN921 FlexiDome, offering all the same features and image quality in a familiar and robust dome housing.
Bosch’s HD range
While the 720p HD cameras are first available, there’s plenty more where that came from, with a swag of new HD gear being released over the next month or so. Particularly appealing is the new CMOS-based 1080P full body camera to be released in the next couple of month.“Our new 1080p HD fixed camera is CMOS and offers progressive scan,” says Borg. “What’s exceptional about this is that it’s not a ¼-inch chip or a 1/3-inch chip, it will be a 1/2.7-inch chip.“We also have HD PTZ cameras – 1080p in AutoDome Junior and 1080p in our G5 AutoDome 800s, which is really exciting. We have also just released our LCD and LED HD monitors – we are moving to a complete HD imageology from scene to screen.” Bosch’s dome range is impressive. Belying the diminutive nomenclature, the AutoDome Junior is a compact powerhouse of a PTZ, offering 1080p with 10x optical zoom and 6x digital. It can be limited to 720p at to give 60 images per second if this is preferred, with dual streaming at 30 images. Same as all the Bosch HD cameras it offers a 16 x 9 aspect ratio, IVA, true day night and PoE plus. Junior also offers 64 presets, preset tour, auto pan, 2 recorded playback tours and 15 privacy masks. “We are especially thrilled about the G5 AutoDome 800 – it’s full H.264 compression, advanced privacy masking, advanced alarm control with rules engines – it’s not just a dumb device – it has 20x optical zoom on a 1080p – that’s 40x times what we used to have. There’s also Autotrack with the G5 – a very clever feature.“Something we can do with our HD cameras is quad stream – one MJPEG, 2 streams of main profile H.264 at 25 images a second and an i-frame only stream. If you don’t want 2 streams of H.264 we can give you one H.264 stream at 50 frames per second,” Borg says. “All our HD cameras have local storage so you can add SD cards for edge recording up to 64GB and our Flexidomes are high impact vandal resistant, operating temp is -20 and +50 which is important. “We have also just released the entry level versions of our HD cameras – our NDC range is CMOS HD. They are cost effective solutions offering SD card storage on board, HD resolution, they have audio and they are tri-streaming.”Not surprisingly, Borg is more than pleased with the new releases. “It’s an exciting time for us,” explains Borg. “As we’ve often done in the past, we have taken an N minus one approach to HD and now we think we have seen the issues we have been able to address them and get our products right. “A lot of people did not understand megapixel cameras – they tried streaming them in MJPEG and users needed Terabytes of storage for one camera. Others could only run two cameras per workstation because each of the cameras was streaming at 40Mbps. But now that H.264 is established there are some really nice bitstream entropy coding – it’s the right time.” Of course all the talk means little if the performance isn’t there so we go down to Bosch’s showroom and close all the doors and turn out the lights. It’s a big space – the only light is an emergency exit sign and an LCD screen at one end. Under these conditions the NBN 921 does well and it’s possible to see colour in the room, impressive under these conditions. In another test with heavy backlight spilling through a doorway to the carpark, facial recognition is easy suggesting a wide dynamic range.