Arecont Accurately Predicts Its Own Fall

By John Honovich, Published Jul 24, 2015, 12:00am EDT

You have to give credit where credit is due.

Three years ago, Arecont introduced the idiotic Pixels Per Dollar metric.

On the one hand, it is clearly reductionistic, ignoring image quality issues like WDR, low light performance, lensing, and simply not breaking regularly. On the other hand, unknowingly, Arecont laid out the key driving force in how the market has moved against them in the past 3 years.

Still At It

Arecont is still carrying on about Pixels Per Dollar, in today's SIA newsletter declaring [link no longer available]:

"For 40 years, the security industry labored with traditional surveillance VGA cameras that offered only a resolution of about 300,000 pixels. The number of pixels per dollar, a way to measure return on investment, of such a camera today is about 1,536, Schafer estimated.

The pictures are blurry; operators cannot see the faces of people; and they cannot read license plates on cars. By contrast, a 2MB camera, also known as HDTV 1080p, offers about 5,891 pixels per dollar. At the high end of the market, a 10MB camera offers 18,438 pixels per dollar."

Either SIA or Arecont does not know the difference between bytes and pixels, but really, what do you expect?

Update: SIA has re-issued the article here [link no longer available], correcting the bytes / pixels mistake as well as removing the references to specific end users.

The Fall

In July 2015, Arecont is claiming an SD analog camera costs $195 (i.e., 300,000 pixels at 1,536 pixels per dollar). Of course, that was not true 3 years ago, and it is even less true today.

In the meantime, the pricing of MP cameras have collapsed, with $100 MP cameras becoming commonplace and HD analog bringing the market to the $50 MP level.

Pixels per dollar metric, as flawed as it is, does prove one point about the market's shift. A 2MP $100 camera delivers 20,000 pixels per dollar, even more than Arecont's own claim for their 10MP cameras.

And Arecont admits that 10MP 10MB is overkill for most applications anyway:

"The answer isn't every camera shouldn't be 10 MB,ā€ [Arecont's] Schafer said. ā€œSomewhere between two and five is probably where you should be spending your money to get the most value for your dollar.ā€

In the meantime, Arecont's pricing has remained fairly stable, and instead of aggressively pushing prices down like they used to, Arecont has focused more on WDR, low light, auto focus, etc. Those features are valuable for some, but as Arecont's own metric shows, there are a lot of buyers who focus purely on low cost, Arecont's traditional strength, which is now lost.

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