Hikvision Launching Smart H.264 and H.265

By John Honovich, Published Apr 08, 2015, 12:00am EDT

The CODEC wars are heating up.

Axis made waves just weeks ago with their H.264 Zipstream, claiming 50% average bandwidth reduction.

And H.265 has been eagerly anticipated for approaching 2 years.

In this note, we examine Hikvision's approach and the competitive matchup.

Hikvision Smart H.264

Hivksion is calling their H.264 bandwidth savings mode either 'Smart H.264' or H.264+. This will be available in their 4 series cameras, which started shipping in 2014. There are more than 70+ models already available and a 4K model coming shortly. Existing 4 series cameras can be firmware upgraded this summer for 'Smart H.264'. Hikvision claims similar bandwidth saving levels as Axis.

Hikvision H.265

Hikvision is also announcing its first H.265 cameras and says they will be showing 2MP and 5MP models at ISC West 2015.

Hikvision did note that new NVRs will be required for their H.265 cameras and those are not yet available nor even being shown.

Axis vs Hikvision

From what we can tell Axis will not be releasing H.265 cameras this year, but its likely going to take time for those cameras to be supported anyway from Hikvision or anyone else.

To that end, the 'super' H.264 variants that both are claiming are more likely to have an immediate impact, depending on how much they actually save. We are currently testing Axis Zipstream and obviously will do the same when Hikvision's Smart H.264 is available.

Axis is already showing that the range of niche / advanced models (like the recent IP horn) are something that Hikvision simply cannot match. If Axis can also gain an edge on bandwidth, that would be even a more fundamental advantage. However, if low cost suppliers like Hikvision can match on bandwidth, this will be good for the overall industry, but force this to become a standard offering for all manufacturers.

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