If you’ve invested in 4K UHD surveillance hardware it’s understandable that when viewing the footage you expect smooth 4K streaming. The XProtect Corporate 2016, the latest incarnation of Milestone’s flagship VMS, features enhanced software features such as the ability to move devices within the system and a system monitor that allows performance issues to trigger alarms and send push notifications. The VMS is also optimised with hardware-based encoding to deliver fluid 4K streaming.
What’s so great about 4K UHD?
4K UHD is perfect for monitoring large environments, such as city surveillance, critical infrastructures, wildlife reserves, etc., because you can cover a large area, while retaining fine details at higher zoom levels. Thus, while the image the operators watch might be on a relatively small screen, the 4K UHD stream affords an operator to zoom into a specific area of interest without losing image quality on the display.
Challenges of 4K UHD:
In a white paper published by Intel, Milestone Leverages Intel® Processors with Intel® Quick Sync Video to Create Breakthrough Capabilities for Video Surveillance and Monitoring, it points out the challenges presented by software decoding:
Each H.264 video stream to be displayed in the viewing monitor must be decoded by the processor (CPU), which consumes considerable processing cycles. CPU utilization can be overloaded with each additional camera video stream or increase in camera resolution (from HD to Full HD or UHD) to be displayed… An overloaded processor causes the display of jerky video with less than optimal clarity. The result is customers must purchase larger and more expensive systems to monitor a given number of cameras (i.e., increased cost).
How is XProtect Corporate 2016 able to overcome these challenges?
According to a recent article by Benchmark, Milestone achieved this in two ways:
“Firstly, software processes have been optimised to enhance video stream performance. Secondly, and more importantly, the software can take advantage of accelerated hardware decoding.”
By pairing Milestone’s XProtect Corporate VMS with an Intel powered PC, Milestone capitalizes on Intel’s Quick Sync Video feature to dramatically reduce processor utilization and display more video streams while improving fluidity and clarity.
Results of using Milestone XProtect in conjunction with an Intel CPU
Multiple 4K Streaming:
Using one client PC powered by a single, four-core Intel Core i7 processor you can display up to 25 Full HD (1920×1080) video streams at 25 frames per second (FPS). That’s equivalent to watching 25 Blu-ray movies at the same time on a monitor without dropping frames!
A simple performance test is to compare XProtect Smart Client running with and without Intel Quick Sync Video enabled to evaluate how much using Intel technology benefited the new software.The results were dramatic (Table 1), indicating an 84% reduction in CPU utilization consumed by decoding the same number of H.264 video streams when Intel Quick Sync Video was enabled. Figure 3 shows CPU utilization and frames per second across multiple cameras and resolutions.
Without Intel Quick Sync Video, CPU load rises with more cameras or increased resolution, which quickly results in lower frame rates and causes dropped frames.
Decoding in the silicon with Intel Quick Sync Video is faster than software, allowing more simultaneous video streams with full image clarity. Figure 3 shows that this system configuration can support the simultaneous viewing of the following H.264 streams without any dropped frames:
- 49 simultaneous HD 720p streams
- 25 simultaneous Full HD 1080p streams
- 4 simultaneous 4K UHD streams
A client PC with newer Intel processors could increase the system’s capability to simultaneously display an increased number of H.264 video streams. More cameras enable operators to expand the coverage of their monitored environment, such as the following (among others):
- More cameras in and around the police station
- More critical patients watched in the hospital
- Better protection against poachers in wildlife refuges
Alternatively, companies with installations needing a fixed number of cameras can potentially reduce the requirements—and thus the cost—of their monitoring solution.