ACTi to Discontinue Most SD IP CamerasBy John Honovich, Published Dec 30, 2010, 07:00pm EST
In an bold move, beginning January 1, 2011, ACTi is discontinuing production of most of its standard resolution IP cameras. ACTi emphasized that this is being done to 'enter a new era' of high definition and their upcoming 4MP camera release. This is an important move both for ACTi and as a signal for the broader market.
We spoke directly with ACTi; They say that most customers are using more megapixel cameras and that SD cameras are being requested only in budget applications. ACTi also noted that, as a phasing out strategy, they will continue at least one SD/VGA model in each form-factor (box, bullet, dome, cube, and PTZ).
While ACTi is eliminating 11 SD models, the following SD/VGA models will remain in production (pricing is for US, in USD):
- Dome: ACM-3601 - Color Indoor, MJPEG/MPEG-4 (online $313), ACM-3001, ACM-3011
- Bullet: ACM-1431 - D/N IP66 Bullet, MJPEG/MPEG-4 (online $550)
- Box: ACM-5001 - Color Box (online $245)
- PTZs: D/N MPEG-4: CAM-6610 - 18x PTZ, online $2400 and CAM-6630 - D/N IP66 35x PTZ, MPEG-4 (online $2900)
- Cube: ACM-4001 - Color Cube (online $160)
Note that ACTi will continue to offer numerous encoders for analog to IP camera conversions (1, 4, 8, and 16 channel models).
We also asked ACTi about pricing for the upcoming 4MP camera series (which was not available when announced during ASIS 2010). ACTi says that the MSRP of the 4MP cameras will range from $660 to $915. Expect online pricing to be about 10% lower than MSRP (about $600 to $830), as ACTi online pricing variance is minimal. (In our ACTi camera results, MSRP averaged $671, while online price averaged $599).
ACTi's 4MP pricing will likely continue to uphold its 'budget' reputation when compared to other 3MP and 5MP market offerings. For example, assuming a high-end (expected online $830 or less) ACTi 4MP box will include H.264, and D/N capability, it will be priced substantially less than similarly equipped 5MP box cameras (average online $1292). A similar look at 3MP cameras (H.264, box, D/N) shows an online average of $936.
Not much will be lost in terms of price/performance options due to the SD/VGA discontinuation. A brief look at ACTi's SD vs. HD products reveals that generally HD models have been the clear price/performance winner. For example, a search on our camera finder indicates ACTi SD/VGA boxes average $362 vs. $533 for 1.3MP boxes. However, the lowest priced D/N SD model, ACM-5811 is $470 online. The 1.3MP, D/N ACM-5611 at online $430 provides higher resolution at less cost with a lower 8fps as a trade-off.
Like the boxes, pricing comparisons across ACTi's SD vs. MP domes do not indicate strong cost incentives to consider SD over MP especially when D/N is required/desired. For example, the lowest priced SD, D/N TCM-3011 dome is $500 online while the lowest priced 1.3MP, D/N ACM-3511 dome sells for $425 online - again with a lesser 8fps as a trade-off.
We are surprised, but only modestly, by this announcement.
As we examined in our IP Camera Statistics Report, the price premium for MP over SD is fairly minimal (generally $100 or less). The pricing has gotten close enough (and the difference in visible quality is great enough) that it's increasingly a no-brainer to pick MP (if you are going IP), akin to a decade ago with color vs B&W analog cameras.
While ACTi is the first to announce an across the board discontinuation, we see other signs of this shift. For instance, none of Sony's new 5th generation of IP cameras (more than 20 models) are SD.
We also hear reports from various IP camera vendors of the big shift from SD to MP cameras. We see every reason that this momentum will accelerate throughout 2011.
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