ACTi's 4MP Price/Performance Analysis

By: Ethan Ace, Published on Aug 30, 2011

Over the past year, Taiwanese megapixel manufacturer ACTi released a line of four-megapixel cameras, while discontinuing most of the standard definition cameras in their line. This was an interesting move, but one that had the potential to affect their status as one of the leading low-cost camera manufacturers. It is an especially important one as ACTi has struggled to increase revenue over the last few years.

In this note, we compare ACTi to a number of leading competitors, demonstrating mixed results in overall competitiveness.

For example, looking at pricing for ACTi's 4MP fixed cameras, we see the following comparison to 3 and 5MP cameras (all prices via Google Products search):

  • ACTi KCM-5111: ~$464, CS-mount, fixed 2.8mm lens included, other lenses available, P-Iris capable
  • ACTi KCM-5211: ~$700, 18x motorized zoom lens
  • Arecont AV3115DN: ~$455, no lens included
  • Arecont AV5115DN: ~$550, no lens included
  • Axis P1347: ~$1,100, P-Iris lens included

At this price, the KCM-5111 is one of the lowest-cost mid-range (3-5) megapixel cameras available, making it less expensive than either 3- or 5-megapixel Arecont cameras, and less than half the price of Axis' offering. Additionally, after adding a lens to the Arecont AV5115DN, pricing would be nearly comparable to the KCM-5211 with 18x zoom, making even that camera attractive. Plus, ACTi offers two way audio and on-board storage while Arecont Vision offers neither.

Comparing outdoor dome cameras, pricing works out even better for ACTi:

  • KCM-7111: ~$550, fixed 2.8mm lens included. Also uses CS-mount lenses, which is not all that common in dome cameras.
  • KCM-7211: ~$730, 3.6x motorized P-Iris zoom lens
  • Arecont AV3155DN: ~$864
  • Arecont AV5155DN: ~$918

Again, quite economical for an IP66-rated multi-megapixel camera. ACTi is a reasonable choice in scenarios requiring resolutions such as these.

For 2MP and under, ACTi has lost some competitive advantage. Comparing the TCM-5611, their lowest-priced megapixel box camera, prices compare as follows:

  • ACTi TCM-5611: ~$425 online, including a CS-mount fixed 4.2mm lens, other lenses optional
  • Arecont AV1115DN: ~$380 online, no lens included
  • Axis P1344: ~$650, including a 3-8mm CS-mount lens
  • Sony SNC-CH120: ~$550, including 2.8-8mm CS-mount lens
  • Panasonic WV-SP306: ~$560, no lens included

Looking at these numbers, we can see that ACTi is in the ballpark, but not exceptionally so, especially considering the 4.2mm fixed lens, which we do not believe most users would find useful. Adding an optional lens will add another $100-150 to the price, making it more expensive than the Arecont, even after adding a lens, on par with the Sony, and approaching the Axis and Panasonic. We imagine in this case, users would opt for the less expensive Arecont, or prefer one of the better-known brand names.

Recommendations

ACTi may be a reasonable choice for some deployments with budget constraints, especially for those users requiring multi-megapixel cameras. ACTi offers a try and buy program, which we would recommend users take advantage of before widespread deployment. Before deciding upon these cameras, however, users should also use caution when deploying cameras at these resolutions, as night time video is typically less effective than expcted (see our Analog vs. HD shootout for details).

If users do not require the increased resolution of the 4MP cameras, and is looking simply at 720p or 1MP resolution, ACTi loses much of its advantage.

2 reports cite this report:

ACTi New Low Cost HD Cameras (TCM) on Feb 06, 2012
In the past two years, ACTi has struggled. As we saw last year, their growth...
Low Cost Professional IP Cameras Comparison on Oct 23, 2011
"Too expensive" is probably the most frequent complaint about IP cameras....
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