First HDcctv Encoder Reviewed (Euresys)

By John Honovich, Published Sep 23, 2011, 08:00pm EDT

Until now, no way existed to integrate an HDcctv camera with leading VMS software systems. The only thing that was possible was connecting them to low end DVRs. However, in September 2011, European manufacturer Euresys released the first HDcctv encoder, the Picolo.net HD4 [link no longer available]. In this note, we examine the features, pricing and competitive positioning of this offering relative to Ethernet over Coax and IP cameras.

The HD4's specifications [link no longer available] are solid:

  • The appliances supports up to 4 inputs of 1080p30 HDcctv video
  • H.264 encoding up to high profile
  • ONVIF support
  • Audio and dry contacts
  • Typical 4 port encoder size

Pricing is estimated at $3,000 MSRP.

For those looking to use HDcctv with VMS software, this looks like a promising option.

Analysis

The big issue is whether it makes sense to deploy an HDcctv camera with an HDcctv encoder at all. If you are using VMS software that accepts and basically requires IP feeds, the only sensible situation to use HDcctv cameras are when existing coaxial is in place and would be too expensive to replace. Otherwise, HDcctv claimed image quality and reduced latency benefits are not applicable as the video has to be encoded first to connect into the VMS software. Plus, the cost of an HDcctv camera and the HD4 encoder is far higher than just a MP IP camera over UTP/Ethernet.

Given VMS archictectures, the most likely scenario is using an HDcctv encoder as a replacement for Ethernet over Coax (EoC) adapters (such as Veracity and Vitek). Here are the pros and cons:

  • Pro: Eliminates the need for an EoC adapter/converter on the camera side. That's another thing that needs to be installed, can fail and takes up space (particularly an issue outdoors).
  • Con: Max distance - Ethernet over Coax connections can run over much farther distances, especially against today's HDcctv 1.0 / HD SDI cameras (EoC with RG-59 - 750 to 1000 feet versus 300 feet for HDcctv 1.0).
  • Con: There are far fewer and less mature camera options on the HDcctv side than on the MP IP side.
  • Con: Pricing is likely to be the key and final determinant. On the negative side for HDcctv, per camera the HD4 is more expensive than even high end EoC connections (about $600 per camera, estimating $2400 street price for the HD4, versus about $400 for Veracity). However, if and when HDcctv cameras can become significantly cheaper than comparable feature set IP ones, an HDcctv camera plus HD4 encoder might be the same total cost but a simpler overall solution.

While there are some advantages in using an HDcctv encoder versus using EoC, the overall cost is higher and product options are more limited today. It will be worth tracking to see if and how HDcctv overall options improve in the next year.

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