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Using Hikvision, Considering Switching To Digital Watchdog Or Hanwha?

Do primarily residential and small biz installs.  Be using Hikvision but am getting sick of recurring issues only to have technicians at Hikvision usually tell me it's because the firmware is out of date  even though it was upgraded at the time of the install  what am I supposed to do go back once a month and do firmware upgrades and every camera system I have out there One of my Distributors seems to be hot on Hanwah products but don't have much experience myself. Digital Watchdog seems to have a nice product I very much like their spectrum software but not too familiar with their more basic plug-and-play NVR's.  I understand that the Digital Watchdog is going to cost me a bit more and I'll have to pass that on to the customers but be worth it not to have the issues I've been having with Hikvision

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Joe, thanks for asking.

As you note, neither of them are going to be as low cost as Hikvision but both of them are in a price range closer to Hikvision, in contrast to Axis, Avigilon, Bosch, etc. which will be substantially more.

Hanwha (formerly Samsung) Techwin is bigger and more widely used than Digital Watchdog. Both OEM the same VMS (DW calls it Spectrum, Hanwha calls it Wave). Hanwha's camera development is better than DW (Hanwha develops their own chip which is one key factor).

Overall, I would say check them both, compare their pricing and support, and decide there.

Related: Hikvision Best Alternatives Picked By Integrators

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Joe responded to us:

Are you familiar with the camera and recorder lines offered by snap AV? Lumina NVR and visualint cameras.  Obviously very important to my customers that smartphone app works well and easy to use. Reviews on both Samsung and Digital Watchdog mobile app not many people have anything good to say. And I have an old Watch Dog in my house and I know I'm not a fan of that app

Joe, we have not tested Snap AV since they tend to be less commonly used in professional video surveillance and much of it is Hikvision OEM product.

The DW Spectrum and Hanwha Wave apps are different from the legacy apps those two manufacturers have. I'll ask a few integrators who've used both if they can share experiences.

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what issues are you having related to old FW by chance? 

not making excuses for the constant need for FW Upgrades, but why not just do a remote session like team viewer to perform FW upgrades as opposed to doing a truck roll?

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Cameras not recording, IP cameras not holding their settings and recording at high frame rates 12....15fps continuously and even when firware is brought up to date at time of install.  I have had this same problem on a few jobs ironically seems to happen most often on thier pro series NVRs (9000 and 9600 series).  Just today I went to a job site where 14 IP cameras eight through 18 terabytes of hard drive space since the end of March get there and find out that the cameras were suddenly recording at 15 fps continuously 5mp cameras.  Then I update the firmware on all of those cameras and can't get them back on the recorder because after the somewhere update it default is the resolution of those cameras higher than the spec sheet of those cameras actually list since the firmware is generic for multiple models it wasn't actually really compatible with that camera even though it's the firmware listed on their website. A lot of time and energy wasted logging into each camera resetting them lowering the resolution so the system would pick them up again then adding them back to the system and then resetting my recording configuration.  Also has had issue on 9000 series with certain analog channels not recording at certain times randomly and even though I have video loss alarm set up to notify me there's never an actual video lost the recorder is just not writing the footage to the hard drive

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In that case, you could simply use the Batch Config Tool to set the first cameras settings, then apply them to the remaining units with one click. 

I feel like most of these issues are simple to overcome, or are issues that I have never experienced with Hikvision in the past. I don’t sell many of their NVRs though, so maybe that is a large factor here. 

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I have thier tool suite havent really learned how to use all of it properly yet but i did notice that tool.  Unless issues im having are somehow due to theirPoE switches cause most units im having issues with need external PoE

 

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I never have, nor likely ever will, use a Hikvision switch. I think they make good cameras, maybe even recorders in general, but I’m not buying network switches, monitors, or other non centric products they provide. 

We generally use Ubiquiti network switches, routers, and access points. We have used other brands in the past, but the Unifi line fills our needs 90%+ of the time for a very low cost to our customer. 

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Ive recently started using network products by araknis.  PoE switches have good power output nice look and see Port remotely manageable for me phone App or web interface.  They do cost a little more though and I can't go pick one up at my local ADI branch

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SnapAV isn’t a network powerhouse either. I don’t buy their cameras either. However their Binary and WattBox lines are pretty good. They are pretty good in the AV world, but they should really concentrate there. They are branching outside their core, just like Hikvision did. I don’t trust company’s fringe products. I trust their core offerings far more. 

Edit: Same goes for Ubiquiti. I think their cameras are terrible. 

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First off, updating firmware should not be considered a pain point. It is part of our jobs as integrators. If it is time consuming, then possibly figure out a way to get compensated for your time. You client should have no problem with that if it is necessary. 

Updating firmware is going to be very similar with most brands, with exception of Avigilon and Axis. With Hikvision, Dahua, Hanwha, and many others, they provide utilities to simplify the task of upgrading firmware, but Axis and Avigilon are two that go a step further. The Axis utility will not only identify an available update, but also download and apply it. Avigilon servers running ACC will automatically update firmware as you update the ACC software. 

As far as Hanwha goes, they have some pretty great cameras, and now, also have the same great VMS as DW, which is really developed by Network Optix (Nx Witness). Hanwha calls their version of Nx Witness software Hanwha Wave. Wave is the same software as DW Spectrum, with some added features that will apply only to Hanwha cameras. 

Hanwha does not make as full of a line as Hikvision does, but they do make some models that Hikvision has yet to master, like their newer multi-imagers. And it’s true that a Hanwha equivalent camera will likely cost more than a Hikvision, but you won’t likely see much difference in quality either. And the downside is that Hanwha has less varieties of accessories too. Sometimes in a pinch, you can source outside of the Hanwha catalog to supplement when needed.

The final bonus with Hanwha is they aren’t Hikvision, meaning not Chinese gov owned. This isn’t an issue for us, but some clients may have a problem with Hikvision being owned by the Chinese gov. You can avoid this issue by selling Hanwha.

Now as far as DW is concerned, we really only consider their Spectrum software as a viable product in our lineup. Their cameras and standalone recorders aren’t really that compelling and are far more costly than other Chinese made units. DW doesn’t manufacture their cameras as far as we can tell. They may source from more than one OEM, but just know you are still likely buying a Chinese made unit.

We have found that the DW camera interfaces were not as polished as Hikvision or Hanwha and had obvious bugs. Their firmware files were harder to find and update. Overall, there just isn’t a single compelling reason for me to consider selling their cameras over Hikvision, Hanwha, or even Dahua.

All of that said, we try our best to sell Spectrum on every single install. It is for sure a differentiator when pitching and closing the sale. You cannot stress enough how easy it is for the end user to operate. If you have a client that resists, set up a head to head demo with Spectrum vs any NVR and see which one they prefer. Hikvision is getting better with simplifying their UI in NVR 4.0, but it still isn’t in the ballpark of Spectrum today. 

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We used to be a Digital Watchdog house but dropped them because the support sucked! The product seemed okay for the most part and the user interface was simple  but at the first sign of a problem, getting RMA or tech support was painful to say the least.  We had fixed, PTZ and Pano cams on the job and we had problems with the Pano's and PTZs from day one which is how we found out the support was so bad.  We'll never use them again.  When an integrator is having a problem install we depend on the factory's support and when its non-existent thats a deal kill for me.  I haven't tried Hanwha but I've heard good things about them from the integrators I know who standardize on it. 

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I don't know about the NVR I like the Spectrum software but my understanding is Samsung Wave software is the same exact thing

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I vote for Hanwha

 

mofht want to think about Exacq Head End 

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I vote for some training. I use Hikvision cameras and NVRs. Now I started using Hik access control as well. Ubiquiti is my choice for network equipment. I never had any major issues. Installed thousands of cameras, less than 1% fault rate (ADI replaced it right away with no questions asked).

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I agree other than a few times try using some of their cheaper turbo cameras very few camera failures with the IP or 1080p or better turbo series and for small installations seems to be fine so it seems the lack of feature set in flexibility on systems larger than 16 cameras leaves a lot to be desired is there free software for PC ivms 4200 I find a lot to be desired and when I ask them about hik Central they're trying to tell me that it's the same thing which doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me have you used Hik Central or any of their Blazer units

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Hikcentral is a completely different thing. Can’t say it’s cheap. For the money they charge you would expect more. I’d buy Milestone if I had to make a decision 

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Clients will purchase a more expensive solution from you if you can show the value and ease of use. I do this all the time when quoting IP. I quote them two options, one of an Exacq system and then a second Hikvision solution. I tell the customer every time Exacq is a better option for you because their client software is easy to learn and you don't need a high end gaming PC to running unstable free software. However I understand clients have limited budgets so if they need something solely based on priced here is option #2.

 

I would give them both a call and see which one is a better fit for you. I haven't used DW but have had good success with Hanwha.

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if we're talking about NVR's and PC software, nothing can compare to Milestone XProtect. Hikvision is good in CCTV hardware: it's cheap and reliable. But software is crap yet

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A quick point on camera app ratings.  If you read the app ratings for almost any manufacturer the vast majority of negative reviews (in my experience) are for what sounds like DDNS issues.  Just food for thought.  I think I'm in the same boat as Jon though, Hik cameras with Spectrum VMS is a proven winner at good price point.  

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