Axis Zipstream 2 Tested

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Oct 03, 2016

Smart codecs are one of the big trends in the industry now.

Axis was the first manufacturer to launch a smart codec, releasing Zipstream in Spring 2015, but since then they have been followed by others, including Hikvision H.264+, Panasonic Smart Coding, Dahua Smart H.264+, and more.

Now, Axis released their second generation of Zipstream to push bitrate savings even further, adding Dynamic frames per second (FPS) and higher dynamic compression levels.

We tested this new enhanced Zipstream on three Axis cameras (M, P and Q series) to see how it performed. In this report, we share our results and Axis' competitive outlook versus other Smart Codecs.

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Comments (31)

Any issues with playback latency?

Does reverse playback work as well with ZS as without?

FYI I just upgraded our Axis M3045-V to 6.15.4.1. It connects without issue to Avigilon 5.10.0.16

Thanks, I'll update and take a look.

Is there any additional processing load when this is going on at the client side? I wonder if it actually lessens the load.

And Dahua wonders why I want them to put work into upgrading all and not just a select few of their current models to incorporate their new smart H.264+ compression.

Two things people:

It's something in America called keeping up with the Jones

And you want to extend the usable lifespan of your devices regardless of whatever new technology is already rolling off your line

Wanna make the new things sell too? Apply those same smart innovations to improve h.265 performance before anyone else does it. Large installations still dread this current age of insanely space hungry footage from high quality IP cameras.

...put work into upgrading all, not just a select few of their current models to incorporate their new smart H.264+ compression.

Maybe "all" models don't have enough horsepower to do it with.

The ones I'm talking about are more powerful than the ones that they've already started implementing the Smart h.264+ with. Why would 5 series chipsets be able to handle it better than 8 series?

The ones I'm talking about are more powerful than the ones that they've already started implementing the Smart h.264+ with. Why would 5 series chipsets be able to handle it better than 8 series?

Without the exact hardware specs of the SOC its hard to guess, do you know them?

But, in general, whether the 8 is more powerful than the or 5 is not the issue. If h.264+ is more demanding of the hardware than h.264, then what would matter is that there is more free resources than before.

the 8 series may have less because it does more already.

Also, have they told you that they don't plan to do the 8 series at all? They may have a different SOC arch, no?

The 8 series SOC are what Dahua labels as the ultra line. As far as I've seen, the processing power is hardly ever pushed to the limit for those. I'm pretty sure there are still available resources for that feature.

As it is, they're already hard at work re-coding the IVS functionality to make it more efficient, freeing up even more resources.

The only part that could be a concern is that the 8 series is what typically powers the 12MP cameras.

Even if not all cameras have available resources, I definitely want H.264+ decoding pushed into the DSS and video wall devices for their large scale installation equipment.

Even if not all cameras have available resources, I definitely want H.264+ decoding pushed into the DSS and video wall devices...

h.264+ is only an encoding technology. it uses h.264 decoders.

Actually, as far as I've seen. Both encoding and decoding require firmware updates. It was clear from my Dahua rep that only certain NVRs and with certain firmware would H.264+ be available.

Example: http://www.dahuasecurity.com/en/us/h264-upgrade.php

Actually, as far as I've seen. Both encoding and decoding require firmware updates. It was clear from my Dahua rep that only certain NVRs and with certain firmware would H.264+ be available.

Wow, that's a bummer for Dahua.

So, its propreitery? Everybody elses is not, and works with most VMSes out of the box with few issues.

Well if you notice, even the Axis cameras/codec mentioned here, updates may be necessary for the VMSes as well. And for some, while it may "work" they will need updates to work well/perfectly. It's not just a plug and play universal thing. Axis just gets immediate adoption based on being the old guard industry standard.

The question is whether Dahua's h.264+ is actually h.264 compliant.

Axis claims there is, though there may be VMS that have difficulty with the dynamic GOP aspect, because no one had tried it before in cctv.

So, if it doesn't work its because the h.264 decoder isn't compliant and must be patched.

Maybe Dahua's recorders aren't h.264 compliant or the codec is prop, take your pick...

That's incorrect. Even in our first test of Zipstream, we saw no issues with typical recording, streaming, or playback. From that report:

VMS Integration

We saw no issues streaming or playing back Zipstream video in Avigilon Control Center, ExacqVision, Genetec Security Center, or Milestone XProtect. Regardless of Zipstream or Dynamic GOP settings, cameras connected and streamed as normal, and playback was smooth, without large gaps, both forward and reverse.

Yes, there are some issues with selecting sections of video when using very long I-frame intervals, which we talk about here, but Zipstream, Hikvison H.264+, Smart H.264+, Panasonic Smart Coding, and even Samsung WiseStream which we're testing now, none of them had major issues with recording, streaming, or playback.

Ethan said that he tested Dahua's h.264+ on

multiple VMSes. Exacq, Milestone, Genetec, no issues with any.

So it would look iike Dahua's NVR's are the only thing so far "requiring firmware updates" for decoding of their own h.264+.

How ironic!

That link doesn't really explain anything. None of the NVRs listed say anything about Smart H.264+ support, only the cameras.

If that's the case, maybe the firmware update was only to add the entry so the NVR firmware can indicate what codec the camera should encode at. I don't know why firmware upgrades were recommended for H.264+, but I'll go ahead and ask what it was for then.

The worst part is that I was getting this information originally from them in "English". I may have to ask them in a Chinese call or something.

So what was the problem with the Exacq?

Edit: Here's the source of my confusion below. QQ conversation from 09/23.

"潇魈撒哈辣 11:46:57 AM
As to the H.264+ technology, it is especially developed by Dahua, so you need to match with dahua specific NVR series during the use, or the H.264+ function is not available. Currently, your NVR3XX series can support H.264+, your 3MP/4MP cameras can also support H.264+
潇魈撒哈辣 11:48:04 AM
the specific FW version that can support h.264+, you can ask Raul for the verison update
BaiginLong 11:55:05 AM
Ahh that's what I was looking for.
BaiginLong 11:56:03 AM
I want the new H.264+ and new IVS time frame for the models I listed earlier, pretty please!
BaiginLong 11:56:10 AM
>^.^<
潇魈撒哈辣 12:05:06 PM
only lite series and eco-savvy series support H.264+, ultra series donot support, so HFW81200E-Z/HDBW81200E-Z, EBW8600, EBW81200 donot support. DSS4004, EVS7048S-R, M70-4U-E, these donot support h.264+, but support h.265
潇魈撒哈辣 12:05:40 PM
BTW, we already have h.265 camera, if customer has the need, let me know
BaiginLong 12:06:05 PM
Will they get updates to support H.264+?
潇魈撒哈辣 12:06:10 PM
ok, gotta to sleep, wish u a good day, talk tommorrow
潇魈撒哈辣 12:06:27 PM
no, don't have this plan
BaiginLong 12:07:02 PM
And btw, I am interested in helping with Dahua marketing for the English sector. Is there anything we can do to make sure the English product descriptions are both appealing and accurate?
潇魈撒哈辣 12:08:23 PM
but theroretically speaking, EVS is just a storage device, just storage what the data it gets from camera, so, it should support H.264+. "

Out of curiosity, about the Dynamic Fps feature, did you guys measure how long does it takes for the camera to switch back to full frame after motion is detected? xx ms?

It happens pretty fast, about 1-2 seconds.

Mr. Souza looks like he is expecting a faster switchover, based on his "xx ms" answer blank allocation. Unless he was expecting 6! ms (six factorial).

1000ms-2000ms still works. thanks Ethan!

MOBOTIX introduced MxPEG in 2000 with multiple updates over the years.

Your article states "Axis was the first manufacturer to launch a smart codec, releasing Zipstream in Spring 2015"

maybe you aren't considering MxPEG a 'smart codec'.

can you clarify?

In John Honovich's 2008 article 'Mobotix's Megapixel Offering Examined' (https://ipvm.com/reports/mobotix-megapixel-video-surveillance-products), he stated:

Mobotix's CODEC

Mobotix offers a CODEC, MxPEG, that is up to 66% more efficient than MJPEG. Like MPEG-4, MxPEG reduces stream size by compressing portions of images than remain the same between frames. However, unlike MPEG-4, it is a less CPU intensive and powerful CODEC - meaning that it is easier to decode but does not reduce the stream size as much as MPEG-4 in scenes with high activity.

Relative to MJPEG, MxPEG can reduce storage costs by 50% or hundreds of dollars per camera.

maybe you aren't considering MxPEG a 'smart codec'.

Yes, MxPEG is not a smart codec. It does not use dynamic I frame intervals nor does it offer dynamic compression levels for different parts of the scene.

MxPEG is better than MPEG-4 but obviously, the technology has evolved dramatically since then and even Mobotix is now offering H.264.

Does anyone know if there is a document that lists the Axis cameras that support the new dynamic FPS/GOP settings?

I see the AXIS P1447-LE lists support for it on the product web page but I can't find much info about that camera online and the link to the datasheet is broken (perhaps camera is not released yet??).

I am looking at a similar camera, the P3227–LVE, but can't find if it has the dynamic FPS/GOP feature. It probably shipped before this feature existed but was wondering if support was/would be added via a firmware update.

Thanks.

Get on a live chat with AXIS and they can answer both of your questions PDQ!

The Axis product selector lets you search by cameras which support Zipstream and Zipstream with Dynamic FPS. According to that list, the P1447-LE supports it, but the P3227-LVE does not.

It's possible it will be added via firmware update, but I wouldn't count on it. I'll ask Axis and report back.

Thanks guys for the feedback. Let me know if you hear anything from Axis Ethan, I'd appreciate it. I'm just an end user and it appears chat is limited to partners only.

Thanks,

Paul

You can sign up and make an account Paul. It would be well worth your while to do so. Be able to download all the new firmware, use chat and all kinds of other things you can't without an account.

They don't care that you are "just" an end user, you are their bread and butter!

Thanks again. Chat worked well. I asked about the following 3 cameras:

Specifically, I am wondering about support regarding the following cameras:

P3225-LV Mk II
M3106-LVE Mk II
P3227-LVE

And the response from Axis:

It appears that product selector is not 100% accurate.

All 3 models you inquired about support zipstream w/ Dynamic FPS/GOP

It's frustrating you can't find good documentation on these features but at least the chat had the answer.

Glad you got your answer Paul! I agree that is frustrating. Normally AXIS is about the only one whose documentation I trust!

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