Member Discussion

Digital Watchdog Multi Sensor Camera

Have you SEEN the DW DWC-PB2M4TIR? Is there an uglier (is that a word?) camera this side of Mobotix? What's up with the Phillips screws holding on the faceplate? Looks like a mocked up product, not a final shipping version to me.

That think looks imposing. Like the front-end of a spider:

"This is not your father's surveillance camera." Seriously, this board is so awesome. I don't know if they want me posting on it, but... The look of the camera grows on you (really) and like many products it is much smaller than it appears in a still image. As for the screws -- the camera is IP66 rated and it is a fair discussion regarding what type of heads the screws should have on them. It is also a personal opinion and we all have them. It should be obvious that this camera has a lot going on with the three sensors and the IRs and all. I think you might get a better idea if you let us come and show you one. Or you can download DW Spectrum (free) and tune into the cameras here in Cerritos. Then you'll see the result live.

My wife thought it looked goofy and my 3 year old thought it looked cool because of the circles. I personally don't like bullets and almost never install them so I already have a predisposition since this is more in the bullet category. It's not my favorite look by any means, however, there are some clients that value the view and what the camera allows them to see more than they value what it looks like. All kidding aside, this leads me to my questions from reading the spec sheets and looking at the demo.

The spec sheet says that it delivers a panoramic 1080p image. Looking at the technical webinar, this camera seems to support presets and the ability to see each sensors image at full resolution. What is actually recorded though? Is it simply one 1080p stream with 3 stiched images or do you have the ability to record three 1080p streams from each camera? How many licenses in Spectrum does this take up? If it takes up 3 licenses for three 1080p streams than this differs from many of the other VMS system out there. If the camera only records one stiched 1080p image, than the camera would be worthless as it would be wasting resolution and I might as well install three individual cameras.

I cannot answer the above questions looking at the spec sheet, the webinar (not to be critical but look into a way to get better audio quality), or the press release. The current press release seems to be much different than the other older press release.

It would seem the camera should be able to output a higher resolution as seen here, but the DW spec sheet doesn't list a resolution of 5940 x 1280. Secubest lists a resolution of 6MP total. Did something change from the original plan for this camera or does this camera record 6MP or 8MP? I even have about three DW emails stating that the new 6MP panoramic bullet and dome were coming soon. The one from November 2014 stated "6MP IP66 Bullet with IR available now." The wording on the last few emails changed to "Three-Sensor 1080p,30fps, IR Panoramic Now Available".

Is this simply a poor marketing error or a change/reduction in capabilities. I apologize for nit-picking, but I'm highly skeptical of spec sheets because I know marketing is typically deception by omission or things are over-hyped because the sales/marketing people don't want to listen to the engineers.

You are not nit-picking and yes we marketing people have learned a lot about this camera since it was first announced. We tried to be very clear about what this camera does in the last webinar and I apologize for the poor audio quality of that recording. We need to get one of these cameras to IPVM and then they can explain it without any bias. But if you will bear with me, and understand I am not trying to argue, the following might be of value.

A little history: The two four-sensor panoramic cameras that are most well-known on the market push the four streams through to the VMS as four separate streams. They are displayed in four windows as four independent 2.1MP streams (8MP models). In most VMS platforms they come in side by side to create the 180-degree panoramic view, but you can also consider the streams independently. Image stitching is a whole other conversation that I would be happy to discuss at some other time.

I am trying to make two points: 1. You would need to place four 1080p monitors side by side to get the actual visual value of what the cameras are delivering and 2. That should help you to understand why the frame rate is so slow. That is a lot of data down one pipe.

Once you understand the legacy multi-sensor cameras on the market, you will realize that some engineers really thought through what I am about to explain about the DW three-sensor 180-degree panoramic cameras.

It was not a mistake to call them 6MP cameras, but it was misleading and that is why we changed our description. The three sensors are 1080p sensors, but the cameras have been programmed to send a stream at a maximum size of 1080p. What you get in the VMS is a stitched 180-degree view in a letterboxed 1080p window. Before you do a kneejerk about that, think about what you see when you bring in the four streams from an 8MP panoramic into your VMS – a letterboxed panoramic image.

There is practicality to why the engineers designed the camera in this way. You can "zoom in" to the extent of any of the sensors -- 1080p. When you do that, the image will of course now fill a 1080p monitor (without pixilation).

The camera does not deliver a 6MP image or stream. It always delivers a 1080p image and stream. That is why we also boast that it can produce streams at up to 30fps.

For wide area surveillance, this camera is a viable and affordable solution. The operator can see the whole field of view and has additional resolution to zoom in. And as you said, it also can be used as a digital PTZ with presets or custom tours around the overall field of view without pixilation (again, download DW Spectrum, it’s free).

In addition, we are also still on track to be shipping two additional panoramic cameras by April. They will each have four sensors with total resolutions of 8MP and 32MP at 30fps. These use a different technology than the three-sensor panoramics and anything else currently on the market. Later in the year, there will also be user-configurable versions of these cameras where the user can move the sensors within the housing.

The more I learn about the three-sensor panoramic, the more I can see its value. I hope that I have helped you to see it.


Can you explain how your "pipe" in unable to handle 4 1080p streams when others easily handle a 4K stream on one "pipe"?

Sorry Jon. I was trying to account for the low frame rate of those cameras. I think this is about the processing power needed and I am not saying it correctly. You can probably explain it better. Maybe I can get Ian to come on and talk about the 4K technology comparison, but I have a feeling you could. Anyway, the point is that we are pushing a 1080p steam.

FWIW, first results from IPVM testing show 4K camera bandwidths much less than 4X 1080P, even as bandwidth gets higher across the board.

In any event transmitting 4 1080P streams of 2Mb each does not equate to one 4K stream of 8Mb, since the overhead and ineffiency of 4 seperate socket connections vs 1 has to be taken into account.

That said, I do agree with you that the pipe itself (meaning the 100Mb Ethernet) can accommodate the 3 streams at full resolution and a reasonable frame rate. More likely it is a limitation in the processing capacity of the video pipeline, not the actual pipe.

"For wide area surveillance, this camera is a viable and affordable solution. The operator can see the whole field of view and does have the additional resolution to zoom in. And as you said, it also can be used as a digital PTZ with presets or custom tours around the overall field of view (again, download DW Spectrum, it’s free)."

Thanks for the reply. I understand the point about frame rate being poor when using such a high resolution that you cannot see visually unless you had many monitors next to each other. This is only true to a point though. I can view a 1080p stream in Spectrum on my 720p monitor, double click the image to make it full screen, and then wheel in to digitally zoom and see what I need to detail wise.

I have put in a few systems with Spectrum and have tested and used it extensively as HD Witness before DW was the North American distribution channel. I viewed the stream in Spectrum, DWC-PB2M4TIR ( The camera was in the demo site listing twice. I tried to playback and saw that I still got a 1080p stream. I tried to click on PTZ or presets and it went back to the live view. This would seem to indicate that I lost resolution. Is Spectrum only capable of recording the 1080p stitched stream or can it record that stream along with the stream of each individual sensor?

I never record anything at 1080p 30fps and usually record at about 10fps. If the camera is only able to output one 1080p stream and record a stitched view, then it is much worse than installing three separate cameras. With three cameras, I could go back and view the high resolution recordings and not a low resolution stitched view.

I uploaded a video HERE. Video feed in DW Spectrum. Playback displays stitched view at 1080p. However, when a preset is changed in live viewing, that is what gets recorded. How is this any better than a standard PTZ? It's only recording what it sees based on the preset. It even recorded the slow zoom shown near the end of the video. Is this proper operation? The benefit of most panoramic cameras is recording at full max resolution and having the ability to PTZ digitally after the fact when reviewing footage.

Hi. Have you updated your DW Spectrum to An update was recently released specifically for this functionality.

"The benefit of most panoramic cameras is recording at full max resolution and having the ability to PTZ digitally after the fact when reviewing footage."

Totally agree. But I don't think it is 100% correct to dismiss this camera for that reason. It does have value as a surveillance tool and the VMS can record what the camera sees -- all three screens stitched, zoomed into one sensor or on a programmed tour. It has value if used the way it was designed to be used. It is not "their" camera and I would be wrong to imply that it is. My purpose is to expalin what it will do for those who see the value in it.

The multi-sensor cameras coming from us later this year will provide that functionality you described.

"Have you updated your DW Spectrum to An update was recently released specifically for this functionality."

Yes, I am on the latest version. In the video I made with the demo camera, I am able to digitally PTZ. The value would be recording a full stream and going back and using digital PTZ. Most of our clients review after the fact and would not have a person monitoring their system to use it like a PTZ. The way I used the demo system, it recorded what I saw on screen and as I zoomed in and went to different views. I can do this with a PTZ. The only benefit of this camera then is that a PTZ cannot see as large of FoV and this can, allowing the live user to see the whole desired FoV and zooming in to what that user desires to see. But when that user would do that, what the user couldn't see wouldn't be recorded.

Is the above correct? I know it's trivial, but this information and clarification is helpful and should be clarified in the spec sheets more explicitly. I think I now have a better understanding of the features and limitations of this camera. I was excited about it coming out, but I don't think it will be a fit for a client's location we have been working on. I can assure you though, Arecont isn't on my list of potential multi-imager cameras either due to all the reliability issues that have been reported.

I really appreciate your insights on this subject Kyle. I wish I had a tech support guy sitting next to me so this would be more worth your time.

The answer to your question is yes, correct, the advantage of this camera over a PTZ is the panoramic field of view. Once again -- we have cameras coming that will fill the need you described for your customer, but this camera is not those cameras.

I will review the data sheet again with our product manager on Monday morning to see if we can make the attributes of this camera more evident.

I no longer work for that company and have no reason to help them, but in fairness, look at recent data before you dismiss any product. I think even the IPVM people would say that it is not fair to judge their cameras today based on testing and issues from 2010-2011.

But as for DW, we are going to deliver it all in early spring -- high resolution, field of view, image quality and fast frame rates. Your customer might want to wait a couple of months. Contact your DW rep so that you can get on the top of the list when betas go out.

Off to bed. I am not afraid to reply, I will be asleep. :-)

Moved to Jon's thread.