Hi all! We have a new image quality option for MV32 that I'm excited to share - 2058x2058 resolution at 1Mbps. This means that there are now five options for video quality on MV32:
2058x2058 at 5Mbps
2058x2058 at 3Mbps
2058x2058 at 1Mbps
1080x1080 at 2Mbps
1080x1080 at 1Mbps
The new 1Mbps option is the new "standard" setting for 2058x2058 resolution, while the 3Mbps and 5Mbps options are now "high" and "enhanced", respectively. Any currently selected resolution, bitrate and frame rate settings on deployed MV32 cameras will not be changed, and the new 1Mbps option is also compatible with Cloud Archive.
So why did we add a new setting? The new option helps some customers strike a balance between perceived video quality (due to the higher resolution), and maximized retention (22 days of 24/7 recording.) Previously, the lowest bitrate option (1Mbps), was only available at 1080x1080 resolution, which has 75% fewer pixels than 2058x2058 resolution and arguably less detail than higher bitrate options. If you wanted higher resolution (2058x2058) video, the longest retention you achieve with 24/7 recording was 7 days.
What does the new quality option look like?
The image below shows a comparison of the previous 1080x1080/1Mbps option and the new 2058x2058/1Mbps option.
Image quality comparison
In this instance, the image on the right provides a much better picture and it's noticeably easier to make out the word "notice" on the sign. Now, I'll be honest, when the Product team first told me about this, I'd wondered what kind of crazy Meraki Magic™️ they'd performed to make it happen. But it turns out, it's not really magic; it's compression. For those of you that are interested in learning more about image quality, I've provided a brief summary below. A more detailed explanation can be found in the Understanding Image Quality on MV32 article on our documentation site.
What factors affect image quality?
Think about the standard 1080P TV we are familiar with. Its resolution is 1920x1080, which means that each line across (horizontally) is made up of 1920 pixels, and each line down (vertically) has 1080 pixels, for a total of just over 2 million pixels. Compare that to 720P (1280x720) with just over 900,000 pixels, and it's easy to see why 720P is considered a lower quality of image. Because of the additional level of detail, higher resolution video usually takes up more bandwidth.
The sheer number of pixels (resolution) isn't the only thing that affects final image quality - the frames per second (fps), compression, and bitrate also play a role. At the same resolution, video with a lower bitrate generally contains less information per pixel, is more compressed, and takes up less bandwidth. All of these factors together – pixels, bitrate, frame rate, compression – affect the perceived image quality.
Test image quality options out in your environment
We do believe that in many circumstances, the new 2058x2058/1Mbps option will strike the right balance between image quality and bandwidth usage. However, there may be certain circumstances where a different resolution, bitrate, or frame rate produces better results. The best way to know is to test it out in your own environment.