Avigilon H3 Series 1 and 2 Megapixel Cameras

By Ethan Ace, Published Jun 11, 2012, 08:00pm EDT

Not too long ago, Avigilon introduced its first 1 and 2MP H.264 camera line. Now, Avigilon has released a new series of 1 and 2MP cameras, begging the question of what it is new with this release, how it compares and what happens to the existing one. In this note, we answer all three of these questions.

Overview

Avigilon first released H.264 cameras less than two years ago in 1 and 2MP resolutions. Now, they are discontinuing this first generation, and replacing them with updated models based on their H3 platform, first introduced earlier this year. The H3 series uses updated processors and sensors, with other functions remaining generally the same as in the previous generation. Key features of the cameras include:

  • Indoor box, as well as indoor and outdoor dome form factors, 1MP (720p) and 2MP (1080p) resolutions.
  • 1/2.7" CMOS imager, H.264 and MJPEG streaming up 30FPS at maximum resolution.
  • Integrated P-Iris lens with remote focus and zoom.
  • 3rd-party integration via ONVIF only.

1 and 2MP H3 series models will ship in June 2012. MSRP pricing remains unchanged from prior models, starting at $595 USD for the 1MP indoor dome, through $700-800 for 2MP outdoor models.

Performance Improvements

There are two key performance gains in the H3 series:

  • Improved low light performance: Most notably, Avigilon claims a 4x decrease in low light noise in the H3 series. How much of an actual difference achieved requires testing but it is likely a substantial improvement over their original H.264 series, one of the poorest performers in our low-light shootouts. This better noise handling should reduce bandwidth by reducing encoding complexity and false motion in scenes.
  • HDSM: The H3 series features improved HDSM (High Definition Stream Management) compared to Avigilon's previous H.264 cameras, able to switch between low and high quality streams during both live and archived viewing. Last generation cameras only allowed this during live viewing. This potentially reduces bandwidth significantly by using the lower-quality stream in multi-camera viewer layouts.

Competitive Comparison

Avigilon's 1-2MP models are competitive with or less expensive than other leading brands. The 1MP dome's MSRP ($595) is lower than street pricing of Axis and Sony's 720p models (~$820 and ~$880, respectively), making them highly competitive. Pricing is more in line with lower-cost competitors, such as Arecont, whose 1.3MP D4 dome model sells for about $500 online.

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