Migrating An Analog System To IP

I have a customer with a Campus that has an installed base of about 96 analog cameras fed into 7 Dedicated Micros 16 channel DVMRs, clustered in 3 groups. Since they have two different vintages of the DS2 the software viewing software requires using two different programs. They are interested in the advantages of megapixel cameras but are not anxious to toss out all of their investment in analog cameras. I am trying to explore options to move them over to ip megapixel cameras. I am currently exploring Inaxsys 4U-IPS-016T w/ Raid 5 Hybrid NVR equipment at the suggestion of my Distributor. Does anyone out there have any experience with the brand, or another brand they recommend? I would expect initially to move maybe 20% of the existing analog camera views to ip megapixel.

Inaxsys looks to be an Exacq OEM which is a good fit for an analog migration. Is there a specific reason you want to buy from Inaxsys vs Exacq directly?

An alternative popular offering for analog migration is Avigilon. See this post.

Thanks John. The choice as to buy directly from Exacq as opposed to Inaxsys would entail an evaluation of difference in price and vendor support at the very least. My Distributor is offering on-site support for the project if I use the Inaxsys, which is a plus. Do you have any sense of percentage difference in pricing structure? I will explore Avigilon, thanks. Any opinion on suitablity of March Networks offerings in this vein?

Do you have an opinion on the reliability of the Inaxsys/Exacq hardware and software? This a very good customer that I have had a great ten year plus relationship with. Price is always important, but offering them quality is paramount.

Exacq hardware/software reliability, from everything we've seen, is quite strong.

I don't know about the differences in pricing between Inasys and Exacq. You could contact Exacq directly and pretty quickly get a sense of the difference. if Inaxsys/your distributor is serving you well, that's a big plus. The only thing that makes me nervous about OEMs is what happens long term. Four years from now, will Inaxsys be able to get the same upgrades / service as now? What happens if Exacq is sold? How does that impact products sold through Inaxsys? I have no idea what the answers are here but these are the questions I would want answered if I bought through Inaxsys.

As for March, their appliances have a strong reputation for quality though historically they have been more expensive than Exacq. I have not looked at the details recently so I am not sure on the specifics. For this application, March is worth considering.

This is a classic example of mistaking the move to HD surveillance as a migration to IP cameras. The customer wants HD and doesn't care about the transmission method. Why assume that Ethernet is the only HD transmission method?

Dear Todd, thanks for the response. You have pointed out my mistake. Would you care to educate me as to what you would recommend? I am willing to learn.

Hi Timothy, It's not uniquely your mistake, it reflects industry-wide confusion. "Migration to IP" is a catch phrase to help sell IP cameras. The reality is that IP video has already gained nearly 100% market share, because we all use IP networks for remote communications. The conversion to IP happens in cameras, encoders, or DVRs.

IP cameras are the best choice in some situations, but not all situations. When MP IP cameras were the only way to send HD video, the migration to HD might have looked like a migration to IP cameras. Now, there is an alternative to Ethernet for local-site transport of HD surveillance video that is less complex, lower latency, and intrinsically less costly.

The downside to HD-SDI is that it is only a video only transmission. It really limits the abilities to remotely administer your cams remotely, at least without running multiple cables. Also, IP cams have the ease of using PoE over a single CAT5/6 cable. Makes for smaller penetrations in walls. Much easier cable managment. All around, it is the way to get HD video.

On the contrary, Dahua has developed their own analog HD transmission technology that they call HDCVI, which incorporates HD video and control over COAX up to 500m.

Read here LINK

Todd, thanks for hijacking this thread, it reminds of 2010.

Timothy, Todd is the chief salesperson for HDcctv, so keep that in mind. Exacq might have a unit / option for HDcctv as they use Stretch cards but the cost is far higher. Todd thinks everyone is against him personally but the value proposition has never materialized for his offering.

Gary, do you know of any Dahua products are or soon plan to ship with HDCVI? Dahua already has the least expensive IP cameras on the market so it's going to be hard to do better than that.

Gary, thanks for your input. When I followed your link to Dahua it seemed to indicate that there was a 2 megapixel ceiling on their offering. Did I misunderstand this? A secondary consideration would be the degree to which Dahua might be my sole source for compatible equipment and software. I'd appreciate your thoughts.

John, thanks for the background.

Todd, thanks for your help. It would be useful to me if you made a specific recommendation as to what equipment you would recommend.

John, I am still waiting myself for product releases. I am curious about image quality and features. All sales pitches sound good LOL.

Timothy, yes from what I understand, HDCVI offers 720p and 1080p only. I don't know for sure if Dahua would be looking to license their technology to others. It might help gain acceptance. Will have to wait and see if Dahua even launches products.

Gary, HD-CVI is a potentially interesting option to bridge the gap between HDcctv 2.0 XR (200 meters, bi-directional control, audio) and the 500 meters claimed. There are potential issues for HD-CVI, some of which you mention: a proprietary interface technology goes nowhere in this industry, and zero chip companies are implementing HD-CVI capabilities. Dahua's demo of HD-CVI at Beijing in December, based on an FPGA mock-up, produced video that looked noticeably "softer" than Dahua's own HDcctv demo on the neighboring kiosk. This comparison leads one to wonder what kind of image quality to expect at 500m. Dahua made a huge announcement at Beijing, including a four-hour press conference, but have fallen silent about the technology since; they showed no HD-CVI at Dubai in January.

Timothy, I would be happy to make specific recommendations, but John has warned me against doing so on IPVM.

John, it is unfortunate that an alternative point of view is not welcome here. You would do well to acknowledge the appeal of HDcctv and make sure that IPVM readers are informed about all options for HD surveillance.

Gary, I'm try to put together a proposal within a short time frame. Your response would seem to indicate the Dahua HDCVI product is not currently available. With all due deference to Dahua, I am reluctant to conduct Beta testing with this account. The other issue would be the limitation on pixel count. Although the majority of cameras might fit comfortably with the constraints of 720p and 1080p I see at least 10 cameras that will probably require 5 megapixels and possibly several that may go as high as 10 megapixel.

If Dahua's prices on their HDCVI products are anything like their HD-SDI products, then I dont see it going far. Dahua is not competitive on HD-SDI in my opinion, atleast for them anyways. And if HDCVI only stays proprietary to Dahua, that is not a good thing in my opinion either.

I would love to jump on the SDI bandwagon but recorder costs are still to high in my opinion. The way I look at it is HD-SDI equipment is for folks who dont want to mess with the technical headaches of going to IP (which when it comes down to it, its really not a headache) But there are people who are hard core analog for years and have a pre-conceived notion of IP (that its too hard) that is holding them back. I imagine SDI appeals to them greatly. I am seeing smoking prices out of China on SDI cameras right now. The recorders still a little high. If they can get those costs down, I can see it gaining traction a little bit. One thing I personally like about SDI is you can mix and match brands without worry. This is my biggest gripe about IP, but I have learned to get over it pretty quickly. But this is why I would really love to see Onvif take off and become a dominant force in the IP industry.

Rockoff: "Timothy, I would be happy to make specific recommendations, but John has warned me against doing so on IPVM."

Quite the opposite. The issue I have is you pontificating abstractly about technologies. Please give Timothy a specific product recommendation (make/model) so we can actually have something tangible to evaluate.

Timothy, I would recommend any of the certified HDcctv-compliant products listed. Note that fields of view demanding greater than 1080p resolution can still be served only by MP IP cameras.

Sean, I appreciate your balanced perspective. Bear in mind that even a little bit of a headache, or even pleasant recreation, spent configuring each camera is exactly a waste of resources if you could achieve the same, or better, surveillance result with zero overhead. It's not fear or intransigence that limits IP cameras to less than 20% market share (by units), it is pragmatic installer choice. I would disagree that HD recorder costs are a little high: They're a lot high today. The good news is that the HDcctv-ready multi-channel recorder chips now in the hands of DVR designers will do for HD DVR make costss what Techwell's RX chips did for analog DVRs. Finally, I agree that HD-SDI/HDcctv products are more readily interoperable than IP camera products, but HD-SDI does not provide for compliance certification, so you're always going to have to take the manufacturers word for it when it comes to electrical performance or which of the various SMPTE standards has been implemented, and how well.

John, what's the difference between providing a factual observation that incites vigorous discussion and hijacking a thread? If you addressed facts instead of personalities, you might not have missed the HDcctv phenomenon, which some of your readers are evidently tracking without any constructive assistance from IPVM.

Gentlemen, thank you all for your input. It has been a learning experience.

Todd- I followed your suggestion and visited the HDcctv site. I think that my requirements for superseding the 2 megapixel ceiling on HD-SDI for this project will push me into the ip camera camp in this instance. Nonetheless, I will keep an eye on this technology.

Gary- You contribution was also greatly appreciated. As I mentioned earlier, my requirement for a solution with a proven track record would seem to make the Dahua approach unworkable for the moment.

Sean- I agree with you regarding the plug and play aspects of HD-SDI. The learning curve seems much faster in transitioning from analog. Learning all the networking protocols, dealing with bandwidth issues, and so on, add another layer of complexity to the job at hand. Sort of fighting the alligators, when the original project was to drain the swamp.

John-Thanks for moderating, your observations and providing a venue.

John: "Please give Timothy a specific product recommendation (make/model) so we can actually have something tangible to evaluate."

Todd: "Timothy, I would recommend any of the certified HDcctv-compliant products listed at http://www.highdefcctv.org/compliant-product-finder."

So among other words, Todd is now redefining "specific"? *updates wiktionary*

"Note that fields of view demanding greater than 1080p resolution can still be served only by MP IP cameras."

I thought 1080p was a resolution spec. What is the relation to FOV?

Matt, all, let's close this line of discussion on HDcctv. Timothy has politely declined it. I will delete any further comments about HDcctv on this thread. If anyone wants to talk about HDcctv, start a new thread.

If anyone has any advice on Timothy's application, feel free to share here.

I have done this for several of our customers. I use Axis M7010 16 Channel Encoders and stream them to a Dell R520 or 720xd running exacqvision. I use the Dell servers because I can monitor them easier and they are less expensive than the Z-Series exacq boxes. It's nice as well because you only need four exacq licenses for each 16 channel encoder (one per 4 channels). There are cheaper ways to do it but with this I have the stability of a Dell server (redundant power suppies, RAID 5/6 drives and Dell is just rock solid), ease of administration and our company sells a ton of exacq so it's easy for us to install and service.

You can easily add IP cameas to this solution as well. Exacq does very little processing on the server so you can run a lot of cameras as long as your RAID controller and drives are top notch. I have 70+ plus 1.3 and 2 MP cameras running on server out in the field with exacq and the hardware utilization is still low.

I like this solution because I'm weary of large "proprietary" boxes with built in encoders. The one downside is that you are running all your cameras on one server so if it dies you're dead in the water but we have dozens and dozens of Dell servers that have been running like champs 24x7 for years.