Why Is This Dahua DVR Image Quality So Bad?

I obtained the latest version of the new "S2" version of HCVR5216A-S2 for testing. These models have no controls on the front panel and look more slick. We were looking at using these as a great way to incrementally upgrade the many SD analog systems we have to HD (HDCVI and IP). This unit auto detects SD or CVI on each channel and also accepts IP. It also supposedly allows longer UTP (CVI) runs with baluns than earlier models.

We tested the unit with 8 SD analog cameras running with all set to the highest quality settings (D1, 960h, VBR and "6" - highest quality, max bit rate). However we found the quality of the live view and esapecially playback to be very poor. We even hooked up an old Kodicom system with duplicate feeds at CIF and it was significantly better! One other unit we tested just for kicks ($120 960h 8 Channel Aliexpress no-name brand) had a great picture (and does 30fps each channel).

Anyone have any insight or comments into why this would be? Anyone tested the earlier versions (HCVR5216A-V2) Tribrid with analog? This is our first test of Dahua equipment. We used the exact same monitor in these pics. Quite disappointing unless something else is wrong but have tried all settings. Unfortunately it seems to show what the unit is actually capable of

Dahua tribrid HCVR5216A-S2 at highest D1 settings:


Thanks for sharing. Can you report your image or email to me at john@ipvm.com ? Your original attempt did not come through.

There must be some explanation for this - either random bad unit or firmware/software problem.

Have you tried contacting Dahua and asking for support or a new unit?

Also, have you already committed going with CVI / Dahua? You could look at FLIR and Honeywell Dahua CVI OEMs or, if not committed to CVI, then Hikvision TVI, etc.

Thanks John,

Sorry about that. Think the problem was my computer was blocking the "select file" button. Here are the images of the two systems, same monitor for both.

Dahua HCVR5216A-S2@ D1 highest quality settings:


Old Kodicom (KMC8800 dvr card) @ CIF


We were looking at the Dahua line as there seems to be a wide choice and claims of 800 meters coax range (the newest 1.4mp 720p CVI cameras) and the ability to upgrade first with CVI DVRS using SD analog and then being able to further upgrade with CVI cameras (plus IP). It could be a bad unit or firmware. I reached out to the vendor (US distributor) and will follow thi s

Possibly of interest, I just did a further test with a Dahua D1 card and a Dahua 960h card (running in identical "NETVISION NDVR" PC based recorders). The Dahua D1 card at highest settings was also worse that the KODICOM CIF and nearly identical to the HCVR. But the Dahua 960h card was quite good, better than the Kodicom and about what I expected.


Thanks for sharing those images. That is a big difference!

I forwarded your images / messages over to our contacts at Dahua. I am not confident they will respond as they are hit or miss in answering (as they are to most everyone in North America).

Thanks John,

Will be interesting to see what they say... if. Might look a little closer at TVI tribrids as you suggested.

Dahua wants to know where you bought the product. I suspect the implication is that they want to know if it was through an authorized partner. Do you know if your re-seller was authorized? Related: Dahua Admits Failed Channel Strategy

Are there any known authorized resellers of Dahua?

Are there any known unauthorized rebadgers of Dahua?

hello John:

this is john with savvytech, thanks for the follow up, i will contact Karsten and follow up the issue he met.


Dengfeng, Thanks.

I told Dahua that Karsten's supplier was SavvyTechSecurity and presumably Dahua forwarded this to them.

Dengfeng, is you company a Dahua distributor or? The products appear to be from Dahua but without a label.

Hello John:

i am the vice president with savvytech, and we are distributing dahua OEM HD-CVI cameras and dvrs, i got email from dahua that Karsten told you he bought the unit from us, but when i ask my sales guys they said Karsten never buy from us till now. So i really dont know where he got his DVR.

But anyway, i will let my sales call him and find out what is going on.


John (Savvytech),

I am sorry, and I really owe you an apology. It is true this unit was not from Savvy tech and you are blameless. I re-checked with our Purchasing Dept and Savvytech gave a quotation (good price) but for some reason the unit was gotten from another vendor in the la area (which I will separately report to Savvytech as they took a hit on it). Despite this and to Savvytech's credit they offered to try help resolve this anyway which indicates they are dedicated to servicing their product line. They also have some really good deals going currently on CVI.

Are they 960H cameras? Old card is just CIF, not 4CIF?

The cameras are not 960h but about 540 tvl. This is at the D1 setting. We also tried 960h with the same camera and could not tell any difference at all, though I am not sure I would on a 4:3 monitor. In the Netvision recorder mentioned (960h PCIe card) the video presented as 16:9 and the image (540tvl) is stretched. But the quality was still far better (readability of plates, etc). I have a 960h and a "1100tvl" Bolide camera I can test as well. I doubt it will make much difference as the live views of the HCDVR (SD) are also poor comparatively, not just the recordings. the Old card (Kodicom) does do D1 but this one is set to 320X240 and 'best" quality.

Hello Karsten:

This is John with savvytech security, sorry to hear that!

i think here must be some misunderstanding there, can you let me know you phone number, tomorrow i will give you a call and let's find out solutions for you.


We have installed around ten of these HDCVI units with a great mixture of analog SD, HD, and IP cams and have never seen this issue. My best guess is either a bad cable, bad balun, or power issue.

Hi Jon:

thanks so much for the explaination, i am with savvytech security, we have sold thousands of HD-CVI DVR, until now, every customer are happy, i thing this problem should be from aceessories not the dvr itself.