Favorite Encoders

By Ethan Ace, Published Apr 08, 2012, 08:00pm EDT

Encoders play a secondary, but vital, role to IP cameras in surveillance systems, normally relegated to upgrades of existing analog systems. Because of this, they are discussed far less often than cameras. However, integrators still have strong manufacturer preferences in encoders. As part of our Winter 2012 integrator survey we sought the answer to the question: What encoders do integrators really prefer?.

The Responses

Of the 100 total responses, integrators recommended 18 unique video encoder manufacturers, the same fragmentation as our favorite IP camera responses.

The Analysis

As we stated in our analysis of integrators' favorite IP cameras, Axis is challenging to deal with in statistics, due to its sales compared to other vendors. To deal with this, one must factor in Axis' market share, as well as negative reviews. If the number of those citing Axis as a favorite is equal to or above their market share, with few complaints, this is a good sign for Axis.

In this report, we have also examined and categorized integrator's responses to better understand why integrators choose different companies - whether it was for breadth of line, feature sets, support, price, etc.

Use of the Favorites

As with all IPVM research, manufacturers are strictly forbidden from using the results to market or promote their products. This information is offered only to help the community understand what integrators prefer, not to assist in the selling of surveillance products.

Summary Findings

Here are the most notable findings from the report:

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  • Much like in our favorite IP camera survey, Axis 'won' in a landslide - 51% of integrators selected Axis. This far exceeds their market share (25-30%), and is more than three times their closest competitor. Axis was praised for various reasons, including reliability, product range, and pricing.
  • In second place was Avigilon, with 17%. Though a distant second, for a company the size of Avigilon, relatively small compared to Axis, to capture this amount of the vote is impressive. Low pricing was the most common reason given for choosing Avigilon.
  • Sony finishes in third with 9% of votes, cited for image quality and pricing.
  • The rest of the pack was led by Bosch and Verint, with 6% each, followed by a number of other manufacturers which received only 1-2 votes.
 

Axis

Axis captured a much higher percentage of the vote than its market share, estimated between 25-30%. Integrators had many positive things to say about Axis:

  • "Axis. Rack mount as well as wall mount solutions make it appealing, it's also well known in the industry and we've never had any issue with them. Not many manufacturers offer the flexibility the Axis video servers provide with multiple port options."
  • "Axis. Best quality, broad line up, flexible configuration."
  • "As for why Axis they are the one manufacurer that it rust regularly that when they come out with a new product that it will work and it will work well."
  • "Axis - good performance, cost effective, good support. They also provide good solutions for high-density systems."
  • "Axis. Ease of use and customer support."
  • "Axis makes an incredible high density encoder solution that works great and has redundancy."
  • "Axis. (Honestly it is the only one we have tried but why change if it works?)"
  • "Axis. They have a lower cost per channel, every analog port has its own IP address (easy to manage each video stream individually) and has proven to be VERY reliable."
  • "Axis. We have found them to work very well. Never had a problem, they produce good images even from old cameras. That is, we never tried anything else. Never had any need for anything else."

Users may see our coverage of Axis' recent encoder releases, the M and P Series, along with low-cost encoder/Axis Camera Station VMS kits, for more information.

Avigilon

As we have discussed multiple times, Avigilon offers some of the lowest-cost encoders available in the industry. Further adding to cost savings, only one Avigilon Control Center license is required for each four encoder channels. By contrast, most open platform encoder/VMS combinations require a license for each encoder channel. This essentially cuts VMS licensing costs by 75% when using an all-Avigilon system, making it very attractive.

Integrators cited this pricing as a key factor in their preference:

  • "Avigilon encoders, good performance, cost, and only need one channel of licensing."
  • "Avigilon, because they are priced right."
  • "Avigilon, because ratio price/quality is very attractive"
  • "If the VMS is Avigilon then you can't beat their prices."
  • "We prefer Avigilon because of cost and their service."

Users may see our overview of Avigilon's low-cost H.264 encoders for more information. Also of interest is our hybrid DVR vs. encoder comparison, in which Avigilon proved to be a lowest-cost option.

Sony

Here are a selection of comments from integrators who choose Sony as their favorite:

  • "Sony because they are less expensive and fit the bill."
  • "We prefer the Sony encoders. They are capable of coaxitron and have a simplified product line."
  • "Sony. Better price point then Axis and better picture quality in my option."
  • "Sony's image quality was superior."

 

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