Testing Dahua HDCVI Encoder With VMSes

By Ethan Ace, Published May 14, 2015, 12:00am EDT

HD Analog cameras have incredibly low prices for true HD video.

But HD analog recorders are pretty simplistic and underwhelming.

Moreover, many want to use HD analog cameras with their established, higher end VMS software systems.

Now, Dahua has released 4, 8, and 16 channel 1080p HD-CVI encoders, which should make it easier to connect HD-CVI cameras to VMS software.

We tested the Dahua NVS0404HDC-A [link no longer available], a four channel model, with multiple fixed and PTZ cameras, attempting to integrate with Avigilon, Exacq, Genetec and Milestone VMSes:

  • Did all HDCVI cameras, 720p, 1080p, from multiple manufacturers, work without issue?
  • Were there issues streaming all channels at maximum frame rate?
  • What features worked and did not with each VMS?
  • Here are our key findings from our test of the Dahua NVS0404HDC-A:

    • All HDCVI cameras connected and streamed properly without setup, including Dahua as well as North American OEMs Q-See, FLIR, and Honeywell.
    • Encoder connected and streamed to Avigilon, Exacq, Genetec Security Center, and Milestone XProtect, though advanced functions such as motion detection, multistreaming, PTZ controls, I/O, etc., varied by VMS.
    • Genetec's dedicated "Dahua DVR" driver included support for all peripheral functions, including multistreaming, edge storage, PTZ control, and more, only some of which are supported by other VMSes.
    • PTZ controls up the coax worked via the encoder web interface and Genetec Security Center, though not in other VMSes tested (Avigilon Control Center Core, ExacqVision Pro, Milestone XProtect Corporate). Serial PTZ control functioned properly in Exacq and Milestone, though not ACC.
    • Avigilon, Exacq, and Genetec require one license per camera channel, while Milestone XProtect requires only one per encoder.

    Pricing

    Dahua's HDCVI encoders range in price from $380 USD online for the NVS0404HDC-A to $880 for the 16-channel NVS1604HDC-A model.

    This is more expensive than many four channel analog SD encoder models, such as the Hikvision DS-6704HFI [link no longer available] (~$260 USD online), though priced below others, such as the Axis P7214 [link no longer available] (~$430).

    This pricing is also notably more expensive than HDCVI DVRs of similar channel counts. Dahua's 4-channel HCVR7204, for example, sells for ~$250 online

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    Recommendations

    The NVS0404HDC-A provides a reliable means to add HD video to VMS systems in existing analog installations, at a price lower than IP only systems. These encoders also do not suffer from the performance issues seen when using analog HD DVRs with VMS systems.

    However, it is not fully compatible with all VMSes. Users should carefully review which features are and are not supported in their chosen VMS, as key items such as motion detection and multistreaming may not work.

    Physical Overview

    In this video, we review the physical construction of the Dahua NVS0404. Notably, it is much larger than many encoder models, built in a 1U rack mount form factor, instead of the compact desktop/wallmount form seen in most 4-channel models. 

    Configuration

    Those experienced with Dahua's DVRs will find the web interface of the NVS0404HDC-A similar, with few changes. We cover the basics of configuration in this screencast:

    VMS Integration 

    The NVS0404 connected with few issues to Avigion, Exacq, Genetec, and Milestone, though the number of licenses (and number of devices required) varied, as seen below:

    Advanced encoder features such as motion detection, PTZ control, multistreaming, etc. were not supported in all VMSes, with most supported only in Security Center and XProtect.

    In the chart below, we summarize which features worked and which did not, based on our tests:

    Integration Demonstration 

    This video reviews VMS integration for these VMSes, including adding the device, licensing, features supported, and more.

    Compared to HDCVI DVRs 

    As we found during our testing of Dahua HDCVI DVRs, they may also be used as encoders, with RTSP streaming and limited ONVIF support.

    However, in contrast to Dahua's HDCVI encoders, VMS compatibility using ONVIF was spotty, with some VMSes connecting and streaming properly, others not connecting at all, and Exacq freezing and crashing when trying to connect. Additionally, no advanced features such as multistreaming, motion detection, I/O, etc., functioned properly. RTSP streaming from DVRs to VMSes worked without issue.

    Versions Used

    Dahua firmware version 3.200, build 2014-10-24 (V7.0.3) was used for this test.

    VMS versions used:

    • Avigilon Control Center Core 5.4.0.30
    • Genetec 5.2 SR9
    • ExacqVision Enterprise 6.8.4.76415
    • Milestone XProtect Corporate 2014 9.0c

    The following HDCVI cameras were used for compatibility testing:

    • HAC-HFW2220RN-Z [link no longer available] 
    • HAC-HFW2220S [link no longer available]
    • HAC-HFW2200S [link no longer available]
    • DH-SD50220I-HC [link no longer available]
    • SD6C120I-HC [link no longer available] 
    • FLIR T4325BN
    • Honeywell HD30HD2
    • Honeywell HD73HD2

     

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