Examining Pelco Sarix Megapixel Cameras

Author: John Honovich, Published on Mar 03, 2009
While Pelco is the largest analog camera supplier, its existing IP offering have been limited and sales modest. In an effort to close that gap, Sarix is Pelco's new IP camera line that focuses on H.264 megapixel video surveillance. Pelco pre-announced Sarix at ASIS 2008 and will be showcasing Sarix at ISC West.

[Update Dec 2009: Review our completed test results for the Sarix 2MP camera.]

Given's Pelco overall position, understanding the strengths and weaknesses of Sarix will be important to most industry people. 

Here is a video from Pelco that overviews the line and shows the key features that Pelco is emphasizing:

 

A key theme is the webcam vs. security comparison, attempting to leverage Pelco's historic strengths in security and contrast to the legacy of early network cameras as webcams.

Can Pelco successfully differentiate itself from the many IP cameras on the market?

By features and price, the Sarix line targets those who currently use Axis and IQinVision. For these users (and integrators), I think the webcam comparison will not be compelling. Axis and IQinVision are well regarded for image quality and stability so it's unlikely for most to dismiss these competitive offerings as simply webcams. On the lower end of the market, such claims might stick to cheaper IP camera manufacturers. However, Pelco's pricing is just too high to convince people buying $300 megapixel cameras to switch to Sarix.

Sarix's success is dependent on a number of detailed factors that we will examine:

Overview of Sarix

Pelco intends for Sarix to be their long term platform for IP cameras (with a horizon of 5 to 7 years). This year, Sarix will have 2 lines - a box camera line (shown on Pelco's website) and a dome camera line (not shown put will be displayed at ISC West). Each line will offer cameras with 4 different resolution levels: .5MP (SVGA), 1.3MP (1280 x1024), 2.1MP (1920 x 1080) and 3.1MP (2048 x 1536). Each camera offering will have a color and a day/night version available. All cameras support H.264 and MJPEG. Only the .5MP(SVGA) camera additionally supports MPEG-4. Pelco plans to add new models and lines to Sarix in the future.

Features supported on the cameras are generally consistent with today's high end IP cameras on the market: PoE, dual streams, analog video output and mini SD on-board storage. On certain models, Pelco will include a TI chip to support video analytics. ObjectVideo has announced plans to support. Other video analytics providers who run on TI Da Vinci could follow in the future.

Two of the features that stand out as potential differntiators against high end cameras:

  • Auto-focus: On the side of the housing is a button that automatically focuses the camera. This functionally can also be triggered remotely. The benefit of this is to ensure optimal image quality by eliminating issues with manual focus. Very few IP/megapixel cameras offer this, with the Axis Q1755 HDTV camera being one of the rare exceptions.
  • Low-light performance: Pelco is claiming substantially improved low-light performance. In their presentation, they showed side by side images demonstrating substantial improvements in low light image quality with Sarix. Obviously, this must be verified in testing and I have not tested Sarix. To the extent that Pelco delivers on this, it addresses a key unmet need in the IP/megapixel space.

As for cost, the 1.3 MP color camera (IX10C) has an MSRP of $1179 (camera only, no lens). The 1.3MP day/night camera (IX10DN) has an MSRP of $1311 (again camera only). Online pricing is about $600 for the color model and $650 for the day/night model. 

Sarix's Strengths

Sarix offers many of the key features you expect in high end IP cameras. The support of H.264 up to 3.1 MPs is not common. The auto-focus will be valuable, and if the low-light performance is validated, these will be advantages. On-board analytics may be valuable in future years but it is unlikely to be a significant factor in 2009.

Sarix's pricing is quite similar to Axis new H.264 cameras. Relavent comparisons are the P1311 (for SD) and the Q1755 (for 2.1MP HD). Because of this, price will not be an advantage or motivation to choose Sarix over Axis.

Sarix's Challenges

Two main structural challenges exist for Sarix:

  • 3rd Party VMS support
  • H.264 impact on recording / viewing

3rd party VMS support is critical for any new IP camera offering. With a fractured market for IP video mangement software and NVRs, widespread adoption of Sarix will require a number of VMS partners supporting the cameras.

While Pelco has announced more than a dozen partners, the key factor will be when the support is actually implemented. For example, Milestone is a committed partner but Sarix is not currently supported on Milestones most recent 4.1 device pack. Until the implementations are complete, many integrators or end users will be hesitant.

On the other hand, Pelco has a lot of market power and can motivate their customer base to demand support. Indeed, 2 VMS providers cited cases where Pelco customers demand support for Pelco.

Secondly, the impact of H.264 will be important as the megapixel models in the Sarix line only support H.264 or MJPEG. H.264 can significantly decrease the number of cameras recorded per server as well as viewed on a client (see H.264 risks description). This depends on a number of factors (e.g., Exacq claims no impact while Milestone claims a doubling of resouces required - difference is Exacq does no motion detection but Milestone does).

If H.264 causes significant complications, this could slow down adoption of Sarix.

Concluding Thoughts

Sarix offers key features for premium users of video surveillance. By pricing and design, it's too much and too expensive for budget users. However, it is well positioned to compete with premium market IP camera leaders such as Axis and IQinVision. Sarix will need to demonstrate broad VMS support and resolve any issues with H.264 to be widely adopted. Given its pricing similar to today's leaders and the potentially modest advances, it is possible for Sarix to do well in the megapixel market place but it is unlikely for them to overtake Axis in network cameras overall.

The market will continue to evolve and relative advantages will certainly adjust as each company releases new products in the next few years.

2 reports cite this report:

Cisco Admits Failure, Partners with Pelco (v2) on Sep 20, 2009
Less than 3 years ago, Cisco threatened the physical security industry with disruption and innovation. Spending more than $100 Million USD, Cisco...
Surveillance Camera Demo Directory (IP, MP, CCTV) on Mar 21, 2009
This directory collects and presents webcasts from leading IP and Megapixel surveillance cameras. The goal is to help professionals to more easily...

Related Reports on VMS

Intersec 2019 Show Report on Jan 23, 2019
The 2019 Intersec show, held annually in Dubai, is now complete. IPVM attended for 3 days, interviewing numerous Chinese and Western video...
Milestone Favorability Results 2019 on Jan 21, 2019
Milestone's favorability moderately strengthed, in new IPVM integrator statistics over their results from 2016. While the industry has been...
The IP Camera Lock-In Trend: Meraki and Verkada on Jan 18, 2019
Open systems and interoperability have become core features of video surveillance systems, as virtually all professional IP cameras integrate with...
Mobile Surveillance Trailers Guide on Jan 17, 2019
Putting cameras in a place for temporary surveillance where power and communications are not readily available can be complicated and expensive....
Avigilon Favorability Results 2019 on Jan 15, 2019
Since IPVM's 2017 Avigilon favorability results, the company was acquired by Motorola and has shifted from being an aggressive startup to a more...
Gorilla Technology AI Provider, Raises $15 Million, Profiled on Jan 15, 2019
Gorilla Technology is a Taiwanese video analytics manufacturer that recently announced a $15 million investment from SBI Group, saying this...
Pelco Favorability Results 2019 on Jan 11, 2019
Pelco had a significant favorability problem amongst integrators in our previous study (see 2016 Pelco results). Now, in the first edition of our...
NTP / Network Time Guide For Video Surveillance on Jan 10, 2019
Inaccurate time can lead to missing or inadmissible video, yet this topic is often overlooked, with cameras and servers left defaulted,...
H.265 / HEVC Codec Tutorial on Jan 08, 2019
H.265 support improved significantly in 2018, with H.265 camera/VMS compatibility increased compared to only a year ago, and most manufacturers...
IPVM Best New Products 2019 Opened - 70+ Entrants on Jan 07, 2019
The inaugural IPVM Best New Product Awards has been opened - the industry's first and only program where the awards are not pay-to-play and the...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Testing Bandwidth vs. Frame Rate on Jan 23, 2019
Selecting frame rate has a major impact on surveillance bandwidth and storage consumption. But with smart codecs now common and cameras more...
Camera Course January 2019 on Jan 23, 2019
This is the only independent surveillance camera course, based on in-depth product and technology testing. Lots of manufacturer training exists...
Bosch Favorability Results 2019 on Jan 23, 2019
Bosch's favorability moderately strengthed, in new IPVM integrator statistics over their results from 2017, with 2019 results showing strong net...
Intersec 2019 Show Report on Jan 23, 2019
The 2019 Intersec show, held annually in Dubai, is now complete. IPVM attended for 3 days, interviewing numerous Chinese and Western video...
2019 Camera Book Released on Jan 22, 2019
This is the best, most comprehensive security camera training in the world, based on our unprecedented testing. Now, all IPVM PRO Members can get...
Milesight Company Profile on Jan 22, 2019
Milesight Technology, a Chinese company building an International branded business, says they are slowly building their presence through a series...
Cable Trenching for Surveillance on Jan 21, 2019
Trenching cable for surveillance is surprisingly complex. While using shovels, picks, and hoes is not advanced technology, the proper planning,...
Milestone Favorability Results 2019 on Jan 21, 2019
Milestone's favorability moderately strengthed, in new IPVM integrator statistics over their results from 2016. While the industry has been...
The IP Camera Lock-In Trend: Meraki and Verkada on Jan 18, 2019
Open systems and interoperability have become core features of video surveillance systems, as virtually all professional IP cameras integrate with...
NYPD Refutes False SCMP Hikvision Story on Jan 18, 2019
The NYPD has refuted the SCMP Hikvision story, the Voice of America has reported. On January 11, 2018, the SCMP alleged that the NYPD was using...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact