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.