SDI seems like a brand new technology in Closed Circuit Television, but in fact this standard has been available for few years now. 2011 was a first year when we started seeing SDI standard in CCTV systems. So what it really is SDI? Serial Digital Interface is a standard of transmission developed in television and movie industry allowing sending High Definition picture via standard Coaxial Cable (RG6 or RG59). SDI is a fully digital way of sending picture and/or sound via coax. Since it is a digital signal, it contains more data than analog signal and there is absolutely no quality loss. Well there is signal loss on long runs, but as long as we can get signal the quality will remain same. Signal loss is probably the biggest obstacle when it comes to SDI technology. As for now the limit of SDI transmission is about 200ft using best Caox cable. Not bad, but not enough in many cases. Thankfully there is option to deploy amplifiers on longer runs. It makes installation a little more complicated but probably still much less confusing and less expensive than IP installation.
So why SDI? There is IP technology supporting Megapixel quality picture. The problem with IP is that it requires pretty good knowledge of networking and it is still much more expensive than Analog CCTV. Problems with bandwidth is just another downside of IP system. Let’s face it, IP cameras have been around for many years now and this technology has never succeed. A lot of installers were looking for something as easy to install as regular CCTV system, but at the same time there was a need for better quality. Another factor is that we already have millions of miles of Coaxial cable already installed and it can be reused to some degree with SDI systems. Switching to SDI technology in many cases requires only replacing cameras and DVR unit. This is definitely great news for all CCTV installers out there.
When it comes to the SDI CCTV Cameras, there is more and more of them on the market. Prices are a little higher than prices of analog CCTV Cameras, but they are not as high as prices of IP Cameras. I also predict that SDI Cameras will be more and more affordable and in near future we should see 1080p SDI Cameras for as little as $150. Currently they cost around $200-$350 which is still not bad.
Also we see more and more SDI High Definition DVRs on the market. They are on average 2-3 times more expensive than Regular DVRs and will require much more hard drive space to store High Definition Video. As with SDI cameras, those price should also come down in near future.
Overall SDI really seems like a next big thing in surveillance. It offers full High Definition 1080p picture with Real Time Video, is more and more affordable, easy to install, doesn’t really require any extra knowledge and in many cases it can be applied to existing wiring. I am looking forward to more and more SDI products hitting the market and we will keep introducing them on our website.