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Advances in CMOS Create Cost & Performance Benefits

Learn how advances in CMOS (Complementary Metal-oxide Semiconductor) technology are driving cost and performance benefits for today’s IP surveillance cameras.

Understanding Image Sensors

Digital video cameras utilize image sensors to turn light into electrons. The intensity of light hitting each picture element (or pixel) on the sensor determines how many electrons are produced. Once these electrons are converted to voltage, they are processed by an analogue/digital (A/D) converter and camera circuitry to produce an image. Today, two image sensor technologies dominate the digital video camera market, CCD and CMOS.

A Tale of Two Technologies

CCDs (Charge-coupled Devices) are purpose-built for use in digital video cameras. These devices are analogue components that require additional circuitry to help process image data and convert it to a digital signal. While capable of excellent image quality, CCDs have several significant drawbacks, including high cost, high power consumption, and heat issues.

CMOS (Complementary Metal-oxide Semiconductor) chips leverage the same manufacturing process used to make microprocessors, such as those found in smartphones and laptops.

Originally used in applications that stressed cost savings over image quality, advances in CMOS technology are broadening its appeal. One of the most important applications for CMOS chips is megapixel and multi-megapixel HD cameras.

Manufacturers of video surveillance cameras constantly monitor changes in technology. Currently, advances in CMOS sensors make them the logical choice for most network camera applications – particularly where HD is a requirement. While CCD remains a viable choice for some applications, the benefits of CMOS are rapidly outstripping the older technology.

CMOS Benefits

  • Smaller form factor mean smaller cameras
  • Lower manufacturing costs
  • Multi-megapixel resolution
  • Faster readout
  • Lower power consumption (up to 100 times less than CCD)
  • Higher noise immunity