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SD Vs HD Recording File Storage – What Are The Differences?

HD vs SD image

High Definition (HD) video is nothing new in the world of consumer electronics where there has been a considerable shift from Standard Definition (SD) to the much more visually impressive HD.

In the field of industrial inspection, the transition has been slower but it is nonetheless, inevitable.  Even though the majority of the inspection systems and cameras currently available on the market are still Standard Definition, experts predict that HD will be the dominant technology by 2020.

Colour images are comprised of tiny dots called pixels, with resolution referring to the total number of pixels in a video or an image.   The definition for SD video starts at 240p and ends at 480p, whereas 1080p resolution is full-strength HD (with anything above this considered to be Ultra-HD).

HD vs SD image

You may well ask why the industrial market is lagging so far behind?  The answer isn’t a simple one, and it’s primarily about the physical constraints of the equipment.

It’s not possible to simply plug in an HD camera into an SD system.  It won’t work.  The text overlay won’t work.  The signals will be different and the recording techniques would have to change.

However, industrial equipment manufacturers like Inuktun are working hard to develop equipment for the future and they already offer unique instruments that have full 1080p HD video capabilities.  For example, their MaggHDTM miniature magnetic crawler and their Spectrum 120HDTM PTZ camera are ideal for remote visual inspection (RVI) across a broad range of applications and are capable of real-time recording of live HD video, still images and sensor data.  Both systems come with a PC-based control system that enables video to be recorded directly onto the hard drive.

Another HD option for crystal clear inspection in air or underwater is the Spectrum 120HDTM.  It can be used as a standalone tool or as part of a remote crawler system and with a diameter of only 120mm and an optical zoom up to 30x, it is ideal for detailed RVI including storage tanks, pressure vessels, mine shafts, nuclear power installations, pipelines or any industrial structure with limited or unsafe access.

But the difference between HD and SD isn’t only about quality.  It’s really important to understand the storage options/requirements so that you never have to face the disastrous situation of running out of storage space during a critical inspection.

Here are Inuktun’s estimated storage requirements for recording one hour of inspection video in SD and HD and with differing levels of quality.

Low Quality Medium quality High quality Low quality Medium quality High quality
Bit rate* 6 Mbps 10Mbps 20Mbps 1 Mbps 2 Mbps 3 Mbps
One hour of storage 2.7GB 4.5GB 9 GB 450 MB 900MB 1.35GB


* The Bit rate is the total number of bits required for recording one second of video, represented by bits-per-second (bps).   One byte consists of 8 bits and generally, a higher bit rate will accommodate higher image quality in the video output.

Inuktun offers a number of applications capable of real-time recording multiple streams of SD or HD video.  ICON and InPRO use IM3 technology to record up to two HD streams (or one HD and two SD streams) using any current Intel CPU that is Quik-Sync GPU enabled, plus their video files are stored with H.264 compression algorithms with various compression bitrates available for various quality options.

When making decisions about technical equipment, it is crucial to choose equipment that is job-appropriate, but which is also relevant to your operation’s overall inspection and testing needs, both now and into the future.  Finding the right solution should be one of your key business imperatives and the professionals at Nexxis can help you.  We have years of industry experience and together with our in-depth understanding of the constantly evolving technical equipment market, we can tailor-make a solution that’s best for your business.

Contact us, or browse through our website to see the full range of technical equipment.

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