Bosch's SMB IR IP Cameras Examined

By John Honovich, Published Jan 25, 2011, 07:00pm EST

Well known for their Extreme CCTV Professional IR products, Bosch is expanding its IR offerings with new Small Business/Retail integrated IR camera offerings [link no longer available] in its 200 series. In this note, we examine the features, pricing and competitive positioning of the products.

The 200 series lineup will start with a dome [link no longer available] and bullet cameras (the bullet version will be officially launched in the Spring). Both of these cameras are SD resolution. Bosch notes that later this year they will add HD resolution cameras to this lineup as well.

In contrast to the Extreme lineup that features advanced IR technology such as Surface Mount Technology LEDs (SMT), 3D Diffuser and Constant Light [link no longer available], the 200 series will use standard IR LED technology. Bosch noted that to minimize issues from the IR LEDs being close to the imager, a rubber donut on the lens is included to prevent IR illumination from coupling into lens. Bosch also noted that they leveraged "expertise from the Extreme team to test and provide direction when it comes to IR cameras. LED quality, how to best drive the LEDs, LED array set-up, IR on/off control, camera IR sensitivity, etc." The cameras are rated for a night vision distance of 50 feet. This is a similar rating to other IP cameras with integrated IR. However, as always, we recommend using caution on all manufacturer distance ratings as they can be subjective or applied using various metrics.

Common to Bosch 200 series cameras, these integrated IR cameras offer on-board storage and free licensing for up to 16 cameras using the Bosch Video Client VMS. Using this allows eliminating a server/PC and buying VMS licenses.

The cameras support ONVIF for integration with 3rd party VMSes. However, with the current ONVIF version (1.0), on-board storage with 3rd party VMSes would not be available.

With an MSRP of $995 for the dome, the pricing looks to fall in the mid to above average range of pricing for similar SD IP domes with integrated IR. Given online pricing is generally 35%-40% less than MSRP for Bosch cameras, we'd expect the 200 series IR dome to have an online price of approximately $625.

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