Sales (877) 522-8836   Support (716) 229-0080 10am - 5pm EST

Review of 4K Security Camera Playback

When purchasing a high resolution security camera system it is important to have realistic expectations of what to expect. While everyone wants the latest cameras with the highest resolution sensor for the best clarity, they usually forget to take in to account the data storage implications that come with high definition cameras. In this video guide, we demonstrate and discuss what to expect from 8MP and higher resolution security cameras when reviewing recorded footage.

Recording 4K security cameras or higher resolution security cameras requires a NVR recorder that supports 4K resolution. Among the different models there are two general series of NVRs by CCTV Camera World, i.e. 4000 and 5000 series. You will see the series denoted as 4 and 5 in the NVR sku numbers. The important distinction between these two series is as follows:

4000 Series5000 Series
Main Stream
Live View Capability
over HDMI
Total 16MP
2 Channels at 4K or 4 Channels at 4MP or 8 Channels at 1080P
Total 32MP
4 Channels at 4K or 8 Channels at 4MP or 16 Channels at 1080P
Playback Decoding
over HDMI
Total 16MP
2 Channels at 4K or 4 Channels at 4MP
Total 32MP
4 Channels at 4K or 8 Channels at 4MP or 16 Channels at 1080P
Encoding Bandwidth200mbps320mbps
Max Camera Resolution8MP12MP
Fisheye De-WarpNoYes

Before we go any further it is important to understand that the video playback limitations stated above are for output to a HDMI monitor connected directly to the back of the NVR. If you are using our free client software to view and playback cameras, the amount of cameras you can view at one time is limited by your network bandwidth and the CPU capabilities of your computer. Regardless, one should not expect even a powerful computer to playback more than four 4K channels at one time.

Regardless of which NVR you choose, if you are primarily going to be using 8MP or higher resolution cameras in a surveillance system, it is important to understand the limitations associated with playback when viewing on a HDMI monitor connected to the NVR. While our NVRs have HDMI output, viewing several channels at 8MP or higher can take a toll on the recorder's CPU and hard drive. As shown in the video below, we demonstrate that multi-camera playback at 4K resolution is "choppy" only when fast forwarding because it overloads the amount of data the hard drive can provide at one time, and the CPU's ability to render video. The goal of the video is to demonstrate best use practices or what to expect from 4K security camera playback on a NVR:

  • Regular 1X video playback at 4K works fine for multiple cameras depending on the NVR's Playback Decoding over HDMI capability as noted in the table above.
  • Fast forwarding multiple 4K camera channels over HDMI will lead to video skipping and Smart Detection overlay to lag behind video.
  • Smart Detection alerts should be reviewed one channel at a time for 8MP or higher resolution cameras.


is a Technical Support Manager at CCTV Camera World, a leading Security Camera distributor located in Buffalo, NY. His area of expertise is in designing professional security camera systems for medium and large scale businesses, schools, and government projects.


Connect with the author via: Twitter  |   Facebook  |   Youtube