What Is The Lowest Cost Encoder?

I am curious what are the options for super low cost encoders, for 1, 4 and 16 channel options.

Feel free to make recommendations but they must come with pricing.

I found a single channel encoder from Grandstream for $100 (GXV3500) which surprised me. What else is out there for single channel?

Bosch has a 16 channel unit for $1000. Others like that?

I've used a low-end Dahua DVR as an encoder with a Vigil NVR: pulling a stream from the DVR uses the exact same RTSP:// URI as getting a stream from their cameras (just change the "channel=" parameter). Last time I actually checked the price, four-channel models can be found for around $99, which breaks down to $25/channel (not counting NVR channel licensing, of course, but that's assumed to be a constant).

Hey Matt, how was your experience using the nvr as a low cost encoder? Was it reliable? What sort of video quality did you get?


I've only done it on the bench, but it worked just as well (at least as far as Vigil was concerned) as the Dahua cameras I have. I took the analog cameras I had feeding the Vigil's ComArt-based capture card and split them out to the DVR; never did any in-depth comparisons of the two for quality, bitrate, or anything, it was more a proof of concept. I would expect there'd be some difference since the DVR is H.264 and the capture card uses software compression, MJPEG with Vigil's AZTECH codec... but like I say, I never really studied it.

If I had any analog cameras running at the new place, I could fire it up again to compare... if anyone is interested.

The Plustek VS 540i is a 4 channel encoder with a street price of $200.

Axis M7010 is 16 channels for $1,200.00. A little more than the Bosch, but wider VMS support.

If you are willing to lock yourself into Exacq, the LC-Series NVR's are a steal. One with 16 analog inputs and 1TB of storage can be found online for $1,500.00 (cheaper yet through distribution). The IP only units (no analog inputs) are only $300 cheaper - so you are basically getting 16 channels of encoding for $300.

HikVision and Dahua brands from China, both have low-cost single-channel, four-channel & 16-ch IP encoders. Dahua's units cost around $100 mark for single & four channels while a low-end 16-ch is in sub $200 mark. Grandeye also has really inexpensive single & four-channel encoders around $100 mark.

Thanks for the feedback.

The Grandstream 4 channel one is the GXV3504. Online pricing is a low ~$140 USD. One potential concern is the resolution / frame rate it can support. The spec sheet says only CIF for full frame rate, etc.

Do you know the model numbers for the Hikvision and Dahua encoders? I found this for Hikvision but online prices are quite high. I found this for Dahua but no online pricing.