Hikvision HDTVI VS Dahua HDCVI

By John Honovich, Published Dec 10, 2014, 12:00am EST

With super low cost and full HD video, Analog HD has the most potential to disrupt the surveillance market of any new technology in years.

With 1080p HD IR cameras, routinely being priced at ~$100, and with 16 channel recorders at ~$500, the cost is dramatically lower than even very low cost HD IP offerings.

Dahua and Hikvision

The two biggest names behind Analog HD are Dahua and Hikvision, the mulit-billion Chinese manufacturers.

Dahua has developed HDCVI. See our Dahua HDCVI 1.0 and Dahua HDCVI 2.0 test results.

Hikvision, in partnership with Techpoint, has released HDTVI. See our Hikvision HDTVI camera and Hikvision HDTVI recorder test results.

Comparison / Contrast

IPVM has prepared an in-depth comparison between the two offerings, based on our unique testing.

The six key elements we contrast:

  • Product Portfolio
  • Pricing
  • Cabling Performance
  • Video Quality
  • Recorder Capability
  • Sales and Support
  • Dahua has an advantage in product portfolio, pricing and cabling performance.

    The two offerings were similiar or close in overall image quality and recorder capabilities.

    Hikvision has a major advantage in sales and support in North America.

    In terms of the individual segments:

    • Dahua has a broader portfolio, with more models and more advanced features.
    • Dahua has moderately lower pricing, across the US dollar based pricing we have reviewed.
    • Dahua has better performance on longer and poorer quality cabling. [Hikvision says improved performance will come in January 2015]
    • Image quality was close / similar, with both heavily utilizing integrated IR and both offering 1080p video. Certainly users may prefer one look or model over another but we did not find any massive structural difference.
    • Recorders were similar, with both being relatively simplistic compared to major VMS platforms. Both may be integrated with 3rd party VMSes (see: HD Analog DVRs With VMS Software Tested).
    • Hikvision, in North America, has a huge advantage over Dahua in sales and support. Dahua has no official presence but some products can be purchased through partners / ODMs / OEMs like FLIR, Q-See and IC Realtime.

    Watch for New Developments

    Both technologies have been shipping for a very short time, Dahua for ~1 year, Hikvision only for a few months. There will be absolutely be changes and possibly shifts in competitive positioning.

    For example, one change very soon is a new Hikvision recorder version that Hikvision / Techpoint claims solves long distance / poor quality cabling performance.

    Beyond that, it is reasonable to expect more products to be released and likely more higher end ones, as both companies have started with entry level / basic featured products.

    Recommendations

    There are three basic options:

    • Buy neither
    • Choose Dahua
    • Choose Hikvision 

    Given that it is early and that both have limited higher end feature sets, we recommend and expect many mid to high systems to simply ignore both options, especially for now.

    However, for those looking for more basic systems or where low price is key, we think both are quite attractive.

    The challenge is that while Dahua's technical performance is superior, Hikvision's sales and support (in North America) is superior. Buyers will have to determine which one is more important for their needs.

    Interesting Possibility - Integrate With VMS

    We strongly recommend professional applications integrating HDCVI or HDTVI with VMS software, turning analog HD into an extremely inexpensive camera / encoder kit while getting the benefits of a mature VMS. See our HD Analog DVRs With VMS Software Test report for more.

    Product Portfolio / Options

    Both Dahua and Hikvision have released all the common form factors in their HDCVI and HDTVI lines (box, full size and compact bullets, full size and mini domes). Integrated IR is available in multiple ranges and both bullet and dome form factor.

    Range

    In terms of sheer number of models, Dahua currently has the advantage. Now in their second generation of HDCVI product, they have nearly 50 models [link no longer available] of cameras available compared to about 20 from Hikvision [link no longer available]. All of Hikvision's models are bullet and dome form factors, with no box cameras or speeddomes available.

    Advanced Features

    Dahua also includes advanced features in more camera models than Hikvision. Though this is not to say higher end camera features such as true WDR and motorized zoom are common, as they are not, unlike IP cameras. 

    • WDR: True WDR is available in only a single HDCVI model, and no Hikvision HDTVI cameras. 
    • Motorized focus and zoom: Dahua offers multiple motorized autofocus and zoom options in both dome and bullet models. Hikvision does not offer autofocus or motorized zoom in any HDTVI models.
    • Smart IR: Both Hikvision and Dahua claim Smart IR in select models (Note that we have not tested the performance of these features).

    Price Comparison

    Dahua has a slight price advantage over Hikvision in both cameras and most DVRs.

    Low End 720p Cameras

    For example, both manufacturer's low end 720p integrated IR bullets price as follows:

    • Dahua HAC-HFW1100S 720p compact bullet: ~$50 estimated street price
    • Hikvision DS-2CE16C2T-IR 720p compact bullet: ~$65 estimated street price

    This amounts to about a 25% pricing advantage for Dahua.

    Low End 4-Channel DVRs

    Pricing of 4-channel DVRs compares as follows:

    • Dahua HCVR5104C: ~$100 USD online
    • Hikvision DS-7204HGHI-SH: ~$120 USD estimated street price

    Again, a price advantage for Dahua. However, note that all of Hikvision's Turbo HD recorders support analog cameras on BNC inputs and 1-2 IP cameras each, while the HCVR5104C supports only HDCVI cameras.

    Hybrid Recorders

    However, Hikvision has an advantage in hybrid recorder pricing, as all of their Turbo HD DVRs also support analog and limited numbers of IP cameras. Users who wish to connect analog or IP cameras to an HDCVI system must use Dahua's more expensive Tribrid DVR models, a 2-3x increase in price.

    • Dahua HCVR7816S: ~$800 USD
    • Hikvision DS-7216HGHI-SH: ~$400 USD estimated street price

    Cabling Performance

    Dahua's HDCVI performed better than HDTVI when using low quality, poorly terminated, or very long cables. In our tests, HDCVI had little to no image degradation when run over 1,000' spool of poorly terminated RG-59U (literally with connectors falling off). This is shown in the video below:

    Hikvision HDTVI did not perform as well, exhibiting smearing and desaturation when tested on the same spool of cable, seen here:

    UTP Performance

    At shorter distances, ~500' and below, both performed similarly to coax, with only slight issues (light desaturation and smearing). However, using long runs (500'+), HDCVI outperformed HDTVI.

    Using a ~1,000' spool of Cat 5e with Muxlab 500022 baluns (a common model), the HDCVI camera exhibited moderate smearing, seen at the edges of the test chart here:

    However, HDTVI became nearly completely desaturated at this length using the same cable and baluns.

    Image Quality

    Both HDTVI and HDCVI produced image quality similar to HD IP cameras, with neither truly standing out as superior to the other, and highly dependent on camera model. Readers should see our test of Hikvision's HDTVI cameras and Dahua HDCVI Gen II for full details. 

    The image comparisons shown here are for a rough overview only.

    Daytime

    The image below shows Hikvision's HDTVI cameras compared to HD IP models of their own as well as competitors. HDTVI and HD IP delivered similar details in these comparisons.

    Next this, comparison show's Dahua's Gen II HDCVI models versus first generation and HD IP. White balance was tinted bluish, but details were similar to other cameras.

    Low Light with IR On

    In low light with IR on the Hikvision HDTVI models again provided details similar to HD IP.

    Dahua's Gen 2 HDCVI cameras were both notably noisier than their Gen 1 and IP equivalents, but details delivered were similar.


    DVR Features

    For the most part, usability of Hikvision HDTVI and Dahua HDCVI DVRs is similar, with both accessible via the local interface, web, or client software.

    Dahua has two key advantages in the local interface, which is key as this is how many small system DVRs are used.

    • Synchronized playback: Dahua's HDCVI recorders allow synchronized playback via the local (as well as web) interface, simplifying incident review. Hikvision users may view multiple cameras in playback, but not synchronized, and must use the full blown iVMS-4200 client if this is desired.
    • Live view options: Hikvision's DVRs restrict users only to square layouts (1x1, 2x2, 3x3, etc.). This limits options and in some cases (such as 4 HDTVI + 1 IP) reduces size of individual video panels more than is necessary. Dahua has more flexible layout options, and also displays information (such as recording bitrate and camera status) in unused tiles.

    Readers may see our tests of Dahua's HDCVI DVR and Hikvision's HDTVI tribrid recorder for more details.

    Hybrid DVR Availability

    All Hikvision Turbo HD models support analog cameras on all inputs, as well as a limited number of IP channels (1 on 4-channel DVRs, 2 on 8/16 channel models). However, these models are limited to Hikvision IP cameras only, with no third party support.

    Dahua users must select their more expensive tribrid models if analog camera support or IP channels are needed. However, unlike Hikvision, all tribrid DVR channels may be HDCVI, analog, or IP, instead of being restricted to 1-2 channels per recorder. Also unlike Hikvision, third party cameras are supported via ONVIF and direct drivers. 

    Sales and Support

    Sales and support will vary depending on the region one operates as both companies have differing go to market approaches throughout the world.

    For North America, the approaches of Dahua and Hikvision are completely different.

    Dahua has virtually no North American presence and does not officially sell or support Dahua products in North America. One can buy them on the Internet, from China, etc. but warranty, support, etc. are questionable.

    Dahua typically depends on OEMs / partners, which it has numerous. The problem is that many hide their affiliation and most only sell a subset of Dahua's products. The biggest brand partner of Dahua in North America is FLIR who is actively acknowledigng HDCVI in their recent MPX release.

    Footnote: What About AHD? 

    Though a third HD over coax option is available, AHD, it is much riskier than HDCVI and HDTVI, for 3 key reasons:

    • No major manufacturer support: No established brands are supporting AHD, while CVI and TVI have the backing of Dahua and Hikvision, respectively, as well as their OEMs, with their larger existing user base. 
    • 720p only: AHD is currently limited to 720p resolution, as opposed to 1080p in CVI and TVI. Plans for 1080p support in future versions are in place, but no timeline for development or release is available.
    • In our testing of AHD offerings, quality was poor.

    AHD's biggest advantage is that its pricing is even less than HDCVI and HDTVI. So if you really want to cust costs as much as possible, and are willing to take the risk, AHD is an option.

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