DVTel's "Lifetime" Warranty Examined

By Ethan Ace, Published Sep 29, 2011, 08:00pm EDT

DVTel has announced [link no longer available] their new Quasar HD line of cameras will carry a "lifetime" warranty. In this case, lifetime comes with a catch. In this update, we look at the terms of this warranty, its definition of "lifetime", and how it compares to other cameras and total cost of ownership.

Warranty Terms

Simply stated in the announcement, DVTel will repair or replace a camera during its lifetime, no questions asked. "Lifetime" in this case has conditions. The warranty is valid from the date the camera model is released in general availability, until at least two years after the model is discontinued. In practice, this probably amounts to five or six years at maximum, as most models are current for three to four years.

There are some snags to this warranty, however. If a user purchases a Quasar camera at the beginning of its life, the warranty period may be five or six year. However, if another user purchases a camera a month before it is discontinued, the will effectively only have a two-year warranty, much lower than the normal perception of "lifetime". It is also unknown when a model would be discontinued, making betting on the lifetime warranty risky. Also, while these cameras are ONVIF-compliant, allowing them to be used on third-party systems, they are still not widely available as only DVTel's network of dealers may sell them.

Comparison to Manufacturers

Most manufacturers in the industry provide warranties for somewhere between one and three years. DVTel is obviously providing a much greater warranty period with this announcement, anywhere from about two to five times as long. Note that pricing for the Quasar series is in line with other major manufacturer offerings, such as Sony and Axis. This extended warranty is an advantage for DVTel against these competitors. Based on average failure rates, typically accepted at ~10% in years four and five, we suspect that the DVTel warranty may amount to a $100-150 advantage against similarly priced competitors, when considering total cost of ownership.

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