Coming Battle Between DVR and IP Video Manufacturers

Author: John Honovich, Published on Mar 09, 2009

In the next 18 months, DVR and IP video software companies will compete head to head. They will add in each other's key functionalities and the distinction between these manufacturers will largely disappear.  This will be a major industry shift that will force end users and the channel to re-evaluate future product selections.

Based on my review of product roadmaps for over 20 vendors, here are the key claims:

  • Today, DVR and IP video surveillance software companies rarely see each others as competitors
  • DVR companies, motivated to defend their turf against the growth of IP, will broaden their IP camera support and sell software only
  • IP video software companies, motivated to expand to multi-site smaller camera deployments, will offer DVR/NVR appliances
  • End users will be motivated to stick with their DVR supplier
  • DVR companies main challenge will be executing the transition

In the 2009 DVR Comparison Guide, we examine the specific plans of leading DVR providers and the key strategic issues involved. In the remainder of this report, we overview the background and key factors.

Not Competitors Today

While end users do compare DVRs and IP video software today, the differences between the offerings are usually quite different. In fact they are so different, it is fairly common for DVR integrators to know little about IP video software and for IP video providers to never have used a DVR.  

DVR Company Motivation

The DVR companies now realize the threat that IP video has against their businesses. They have lost many deals, especially larger ones, to IP video software providers. While they tend to think convergence will take a long time, they also now accept that it's a significant business force.

Almost all of the leading DVR companies I reviewed either have already released or have committed to releasing software only versions and support for multiple IP camera manufacturers.

IP Video Company Motivation

IP video software providers have their greatest challenge with DVRs in sites with small camera counts. The rapid growth of IP video software providers has made them generally arrogant and dismissive of DVRs. 

While I expect only a few IP video software providers to release DVR appliances initially, I expect more to do so after they realize the commitment the DVR companies have in eliminating their advantages.

DVR Company Challenges

Adding in IP camera support and rolling out IP camera support will not be trivial for the DVR companies. Not only is it technically challenging, a number of the DVR providers are attempting to integrate acquired products to execute this transition. Some may fail and many may take multiple attempts to get this correct.

One element that will not be a challenge is providing enterprise level functionalities like centralized management and 3rd party system support. Despite the IP video marketing claims, the leading DVRs are all quite strong in these areas.  For instance, Intellex DVR is supported by many more access control systems than the flag bearer for open systems, Milestone. 

End User Motivation

The poor economy and enhanced DVR offerings will motivate many end users to stay with their existing DVR providers. By adding in IP camera support and allowing software only, the biggest drivers away to IP video providers will be reduced. Moreover, since operators will already be comfortable using the DVR system, many will satisfied with incrementaly adding to what they have.


This shift will provide end users more options, put pressure on the IP video software companies and help the DVR incumbents withstand the attacks from IP video startups.

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