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What Does QCIF, CIF, and D1 Mean?

Our DVRs are capable of recording cameras at full D1 (704x480) and CIF (352x288) resolution. This is the maximum resolution that standard-definition televisions are able to support, and is the same resolution that DVDs are authored at. This gives you a large enough picture on recorded footage so you don't have to squint to see what is going on.


A very common question we get is how our HDMI DVRs compare to some of the low-cost camera systems you might see in "big box" electronics stores or warehouse shopping clubs. Those systems are usually QCIF (176x144) DVRs running very low resolution (420-480 TVL cameras). Now, viewing a small image like that in a four-camera matrix view on a television doesn't reveal its shortcomings, however when you view it in comparison with a D1 image you'll see quite a big difference. Another problem with a DVR that only records at QCIF resolution is that most people will be connecting the DVR to a HDTV, which supports a resolution of 1920x1080. When you try to blow up a 176x144 recorded camera image to 1920x1080, you just get a pixilated mess which will make discerning what happened in the footage very difficult.


Even more important; QCIF recordings are not admissible in court. Recordings at that resolution are too low to make out any detail, which is why judges will usually throw out a recording made at QCIF resolution when one is presented as evidence.


Below you'll find direct comparisons of QCIF, CIF, and a full D1 resolution image:


QCIF (176x144) Image From a 420 TVL Camera:
Click to view at HDTV Resolution.


CIF (352x288) Image From a 420 TVL Camera:
Click to view at HDTV Resolution.


D1 (704x480) Image From a 700 TVL Camera:
Click to view at HDTV Resolution.