Hikvision HDTVI Cameras Tested

By Ethan Ace, Published Oct 22, 2014, 12:00am EDT

HD Analog is the most interesting new trend in the industry now, claiming HD quality over legacy coax, with simpler configuration and lower prices than IP.

IPVM has tested two of the entrants already, Dahua HDCVI and Nextchip's AHD

Now, in this report, we test HDTVI. HDTVI is a technology from Techpoint but is most associated with mega manufacturer Hikvision.

We bought three TVI cameras to see how they perform. Pictured below, they are the Hikvision DS-2CE16C2T-IR [link no longer available] 720p bullet, Hikvision DS-2CE16D5T-IT3 [link no longer available] 1080p bullet, and Sunivision AP-14SGH-TV [link no longer available] 720p dome:

We tested these cameras against similar form factor and resolution IP cameras to answer the following questions:

  • How did HDTVI image quality compare to HDIP, day and night?
  • How well did HDTVI perform using low quality cables and UTP?
  • How did bandwidth compare to IP?

Here are

  • Image quality of HDTVI and equivalent resolution IP cameras was similar, with no practical difference in details.
  • Image quality of 720p TVI cameras was much better than SD analog including 900TVL+
  • No visible latency when viewing TVI cameras on DVR local interface.
  • Low quality coax cable cable (RG59U with poorly crimped ends) caused desaturation and smearing in TVI cameras, with longer connection times and latency when using OSD menu controls.
  • Image quality over UTP (Cat5e with baluns) was worse than similar length coax, with long cable lengths causing blurring, desaturation, smeared images, and other degradation.
  • Up the coax control of camera settings was supported in just one of the three tested models, the 1080p Hikvision bullet.
  • Average bitrates of TVI cameras were lower than similar IP cameras by as much as 75% at the same quantization levels. [Though we tested this repeatedly and believe the tests were normalized, we do not have a theory of why bandwidth was so much lower and will continue to investigate this.]

Pricing

HDTVI cameras in this test are priced as follows:

  • DS-2CE16D5T-IT3 1080p bullet: ~$105 USD estimated street price
  • DS-2CE16C2T-IR 720p bullet: ~$65 USD estimated street price
  • Sunivision AP-14SGH-TV 720p dome: ~$20 USD online

Compared to IP

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Hikvision's TVI pricing is lower than these cameras' IP counterparts. For example, the 1080p TVI bullet tested here selles for about $100 less than its IP counterpart:

  • DS-2CE16D5T-IT3 1080p EXIR bullet: ~$105 USD estimated street price
  • DS-2CD2232-IT5 1080p IP EXIR bullet: ~$200 online

While the low cost 720p bullet sells for about $80 less:

  • DS-2CE16C2T-IR 720p bullet: ~$65 USD estimated street price
  • DS-2CD2012-I 720p bullet: ~$160 online

Potential Impact

HDTVI's key benefits are the same as HDCVI: similar quality and simpler setup than IP camera systems at lower price points. For existing analog installations looking to upgrade from to HD video, both are attractive options.

However, due to HDTVI's greater sensitivity to cable quality and type, users with long cable runs of aging cables or UTP should test cameras in place to ensure image quality is acceptable.

Finally, Hikvision's backing of HDTVI provides certain advantages HDCVI does not have:

  • US based support: Hikvision will be directly providing tech support on their HDTVI equipment in North America. Integrators using HDCVI are supported via the OEM, if at all, and not Dahua directly.
  • Limited availability: While some Hikvision product may be readily bought online, it is not marketed and sold directly to consumers via big box retailers like Dahua product. This limited distribution may make it more attractive to many integrators.

Physical Construction

Hikvision's HDTVI cameras are very similar in construction to their IP models, with the main obvious difference being connector type. Housing, LED quantity and layout, and other factors are similar.

Cable Performance

HDTVI performance was degraded when using low quality cable compared to the factory terminated RG59U used for most of our test. Video took noticeably longer to begin streaming. Once connected, images were moderately less saturated, with substantial smearing effects throughout the FOV.

This video shows high quality TVI video, with the camera connected through shorter high quality cables, followed by low quality video showing these effects, connected via ~1,000' spool of RG59U and low quality terminations.

The image below shows a direct comparison of these two cables. Notice the smearing, blur, and desaturation present in the low quality cable image.

Degradation using Cat5e was much worse, with the image completely desaturated and blurred when using a ~1,000' length with baluns.

Image Quality

We tested the TVI cameras against IP and analog models to compare image quality in our interior conference room test scene.

Full Light, ~160 lux

The TVI and IP cameras performed similarly in this ~160 lux scene, with both 1080p and 720p cameras providing usable details of our subject and multiple lines of the test chart. The Sunivision 720p TVI camera is notably duller looking than the other 720p cameras tested, with the subject's skin tone appearing more reddish, and the chart taking on a bluish tint. The 900TVL analog camera unsurprisingly performs worst, with only line one of the chart reliably legible, and subject details reduced.

 

Low Light

In low light, details of TVI and IP cameras are again similar, and analog far worse. The Sunivision 720p TVI camera is again lower quality, in this case due to reduced IR illumination power, apparent in the image below.

 

Bandwidth

Compared to similar IP cameras, the Hikvision TVI cameras' bitrates were about 40-50% lower in full light, and 60-75% lower at ~0.1lx with IR on. These measurements were taken at 10 FPS with quantization standardized to ~28.

The image below shows quantization of the DS-2CE16D5T-IT3 TVI bullet and DS-2CD2232-I5 IP bullet measured in AVInAptic. Note that both display the same resolution and quantization.

[NOTE: Though we tested this repeatedly and believe the tests were normalized, we do not have a theory of why bandwidth was so much lower and will continue to investigate this.]

This chart shows overall bandwidth measurements for all cameras. Note that the Sunivision AP-14SGH-TV was lowest overall, but also notably darker, with poor low light performance.

Up the Coax Camera Control

Up the coax camera control from remote configuration / optimization is possible with TVI but was available on just one of the three models tested - the Hikvision 1080p. As such, verify support on TVI cameras you consider.

Here is an overview of how up the coax control worked:

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