Repositionable Multi-Imager Camera Shootout - Avigilon, Axis, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Panasonic, Vivotek

By Ethan Ace and Rob Kilpatrick, Published Jun 19, 2019, 09:47am EDT

Repositionable multi-imager cameras are one of the fastest growing segments in video surveillance, with a slew of new offerings being recently released but who is the best and worst?

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To see who stands out, we bought and tested 10 repositionable models from 7 manufacturers:

The video below provides a quick overview of the models and manufacturers included:

Cameras were ranked across 10 criteria:

  • Field of view options: Repositionable multi-imager models varied greatly in how closely imagers may be positioned, whether they can be panned or rotated to corridor mode, and how easily they may be moved.
  • Zoom range: Some tested models include fixed lenses while others include motorized varifocal options with big differences in focal length range.
  • Size / weight differences: Cameras ranged from under four pounds to over 15, with sizes ranging from low profile and small diameter to over 12" wide.
  • Daytime details: Cameras were tested at ~300 lux at distances ranging from 20' to 80' to see how well lit scene performance differed.
  • Night details: Cameras were tested in a very dark <0.1 lux scene to show differences between IR cameras and non-IR models.
  • Low light detail: Low light color performance was tested at multiple ranges at ~2 lux to see how details differ.
  • WDR performance: All models tested included true WDR performance, tested to see how each handles strong backlight and darker areas of the scene.
  • Bandwidth efficiency: Smart codec bandwidth was tested in day and night scenes using H.264 and H.265, included in most cameras, to see how bitrates compare.
  • Video analytics / VMD performance: Cameras' on board analytics and VMD performance varied drastically, from highly accurate to easily triggered by everyday nuisances like foliage, shadows, or animals.
  • Pricing comparison: Pricing ranged from a low of ~$900 USD to almost $3,000, with higher price not necessarily equaling higher performance/more features.

Plus we examine additional factors which did not impact rankings but are key information for decision-makers, including:

  • VMS H.265/H.264 streaming and configuration support
  • VMS video analytic/VMD event support
  • Number of VMS licenses required
  • Country of origin

And we declare winners for best value, worst value, best low light, best positioning, and best analytics.

Executive *******

******* ** *********** ** resolution, ********** ** **********, and ***** ********, ** is ********* ** **** a ****** "******". *******, some ******* ******* ********* best ** ******* *****.

  • **** *****:*** ***** ******* ** models ** ~$*,*** *** and *****, *** **** P3717-PLE ***** *** *** its ******** ***********, *** profile ****, *** ***** analytics *********** (****), ***** the ********* **** ****** model *** * *** performer ** **** ****** with ** ** *** offered * **** **** range *** ****** ********** at ***** ******** **** others.
  • **** *** *****/** ***********:*** ********* **** ****** and **** ******** ** Multisensor ******* *** **** low *****/**** *********** *** to ***** ****** ********** and ******** ********** **.
  • **** *** ***********:*** **** *****-*** ******* more ******* *** *** setup **** ***** ******, with ******* **** ** be ****** ******* ********, as **** ** ****** in ***** (* ******* not ******** ** *** other ***** ******), ***** with ********* ****** *** corridor **** *******.
  • **** *********:*** ******** ** ***********'*****-******** *********(******** ** *** ********) outperformed *** ***** ****** tested, **** ******* ****** performance ** ***** ***** rejection, ***** ****** ******* on *******, *******, ******, or ***** ******** *******, or ****** ********** ** people ** ********.
  • ***** *****:** ****** $*,*** *** street *****, *** ********* WV-X8570N ****** *** ******* value, ******** *** ** evenly *** ****** *** offering *** ******** *********** its **** **** **********, but **** ** **** due ** *** **** of ********** ** *** with ****** ** ****** plus ***** ***** ****.

***** ****** **** ********** rankings ** **** ********:

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Imager *********** / ******

******* ****** ******* ** how ******* ******* *** be **********, ******* **** can ** ****** ** rotated ** ******** ****, and *** ****** **** may ** *****, **** Axis ******** *** **** options.

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*** **** *****-*** *** clear ********** **** ***** cameras ** ****** *********** and ****** *** *** key *******:

  • ******* ******/*** ** *****:*** *****-*** ****** ******* to ** "*******"/******* ** place, ******** ******** ** wider ****** **** ******* repositionable ****** *****, ********** useful *** ****** *** or ***** ******* ** the **** ******* *********. No ***** ***** ****** included **** *******.
  • ******* *** ** ***** close ********:************, *** *****'* ******* could ** ****** **** closely **** **** ***** models ******.

** *********** ***** ****** and ******* ** ****** in **** *****:

************, ** ***** **** models **** ********* ** accurately ****** **** ******. Most ******* *** ********* WV-X8570N, ***** **** * "clicking" **** **********, *** more ********* ** ******, as *** ****** **** easily ******* **** **** positioned *** ***** *** be ****** ******* "******", making ******* ********** *********.

Corridor **** *******

*** ******** ** ****** support ******** ****, ***** allows *** ****** ******** of ****/****** **** *** exception ** *** ******** H4 *********** *** ********* WV-X8570N, ***** ***** *-**** adjustment *** ***-***** ******, but *** **/***° ********, shown ****:

Size / ******

*** **** *** ****** of ***** ****** ****** tested ****** ******, **** Vivotek *** **** *** smallest *** ********* *** Hanwha's ***-****** *** *******.

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*** **** *** ******* models **** ********* *******, with ******* ******** ******* diameter *** ****** *** Axis ***** *** ***** profile. *** ****** **** is *** ******* ****** in *** ****, ****** 13" **** *** ****** than ****, ***** *** Panasonic *** ******* ** diameter, *** **** ****, similar ** **** ** many ****.

**** ********** ***** *** two ******** ******* ** the **** ******** ** the ******* ** **** the ******* ******** ** size.

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**** ******* ** *** Avigilon ** ***********, ***** is ** *** *** heaviest ****** ******, **** 15 ****** ********* *** IR *********** ****, ***** the **** ******** *** just **** ** ****** (Hikvision/Hanwha ****).

***** ******/******* ****** *** require **** **** *** care ** ******* *** may ** **** ** preferred ** ********* **** aesthetic ********.

Imaging ***********: ******* ******* ****** ** ****** ***********

****** *** *****, ****** resolution ******* ******** ****** details ** **** *** scenes.

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*** **** ********* *** Avigilon ****** ******** ******* facial *** **** ******* to */**** ****** ** twice *** ********. **** Hikvision, *******, *** ****** options **** ******** ******** details **** *-**** *******.

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Imaging ***********: *** ***** ***** (~* ***)

*** ***** ***** *********** varied ********, ********* ** distance ** ******, *** Axis, *****, *********, *** Vivotek ******* ********* ****** than ******.

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** *** ***** (~* lux) ****** ** ***** mode, ***** *********** ********** higher ********** ****** ** close ***** ** **** introduce **** ******* *****, producing ******* ******.

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*******, ** ****** ******, the ********* *** ** 32 *** ** ** models ********* *** ****** of ******* *****, **** Panasonic **** *** ******* 20MP ****** ********* *** clearest ******. *******, *** Avigilon **** ******** **** more ******* ***** **** other ******, ********** ***** at *** ******.

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Imaging ***********: ****/********** ** (

*** ******* ************** ** performance ***** * *** was ********** **, **** six ****** ***** **, easily ************* *** **** which ** ***.

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** *** *** ********** IR ****** ** *** tests, *** ********* ****** 20MP *** ******** ** Multisensor **** ****** ********* best, **** ***** ******* and **** ******* ** dark ****** (The **** *****-*** ******** the ******* ****** ** models ******, ****** *** subject *** ***** ************ at ***** *****.

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**** *** *** **** non-IR ****** ****** ******** usable ****** ** ******** at PNM-9000VQ *** ***-******, ********* WV-X8570N, ******* ******-****), **** only ****** ********* ** the **** ********** **** chart ** **** *****.

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Imaging ***********: ***

**** ******* ********* ********* in *** *****, **** subject ******* ******* **** strong ********* ** **** as ****** ***** ** wide ******* ******, **** three *** **********, **** and ***.

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*****, *** ******* ******-**** produced ******** ******* ******* in **** ***** **** other ******* ******, **** more **** ********. ** contrast, *** ********* **-****** was ********** *** ** both *****, **** ******* details **** ********* ** discern.

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Dahua **** *** **** *** ******

*******, ***** *****'* **** WDR *********** ** ******* to **** ***** ******* tested, **** *** ***** imager ** *** ***** Multi-flex ** **** ***, with ****** ***** ******* / "****" ***, **** a ******* ********** ** performance, ***** ***** **** our***** ************** ** *****-****** Camera ****.

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Camera **** ***/***** ********* ***********

** *** ***** ** multiple ****** *** ******* scenes, ***** **** ***** differences ** ***** ********* and *** *********** (***** analytics **** *** *********), ranging **** ****** ******** (******** *********) ** ******** ** practically *** ***** ***** change ** *** ***** (********* *********, *********, ******* ***).

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** *** *****, **** Avigilon ******* ******** ***** alerts **** ****** ******* which ********* ***** ****** analytics, **** ** ******* brush, *******, *******, *** light *******. ****, *****, and **** ****** ******' intrusion ********* *** ******* on *** ** **** of ***** ******* ***/** missed ********** ** ******.

*** *******, **** ****** models ******* ** ******* brush, **** ** *** distant ***** ** *** corner ** *** *** below.

Hanwha-False-Analytic-Alarm-On-Moving-Foliage

************, *** ***** *****-**** 4x2 ** ********** ****** people ** ****** ****** detected ******** (~**' ******** / ~** ***).

Dahua-Multi-Flex-Missed-Detection-In-Well-Lit-Scene

*******, *** ********* ******'* intrusion ********* ********* ***** of *** ******** ****** tested, ******** ** ***** changes, *******, *** ******* noise, ***** *****.

Hikvision-False-Analytic-Alarm-On-Shadows-_-Noise

*******, *** ******** ****** outperformed ***** ***** ******** only ***, *** ********* WV-X8570N, *** ******* ******-****, which ******* ** ****** any ****** ****** ** the *****, ********* ***** flashing ******** ****** ** switches/computers.

VMD-False-Alerts-On-Small-Flashing-Activity-Lights

Bandwidth **********

** ******* ******, **** the **** *****-*** *** not ******* *.*** *********.

******** ****** ******, **** Vivotek, ********, *********, *** Hikvision's ****** **** ***** the **** ********* *********** their ****** **********. *** Dahua *****-****'* ******** **** high ******** ** ***** 8MP ******, **** ********* bitrates **** * **/*, with **** ****** ****** and *** **** *****-*** also ****.

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*******, **** **** ******* the ********* *** ******* models ******** ********** **, and *** *** ******* usable ****** ** ******** in **** ******. *** did *** ****** *** camera ******, *** **** of ***** ****** ************* at *****.

Basic *** ***********: *.*** *********/*************

*.*** ********* *** ************* worked ** ****** ***** combination, **** *** **********:

  • *** ******* ******-**** *** not ******* ** ******** Control ******, ********** ** codec ** ********.
  • ********* ** ********** * "Restricted" ****** ** ******* and ******** ********** ********* in ***** ** *******. In *** *****, **** with **** ********* ** place, **** *** ***** channel ** *** ****** was *********.

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H.265 *** ******* ******

*.*** *** **** ********* on ****** *** ******* models, ***** ********** ** all ***** ****** ****** Avigilon, ***** ********* ******** only *** *** *******' H.265 *******. ********, *****, Hikvision, *** ********* ***** imagers' *.*** ********** ** three ***** ****, **** Exacq *** **** *** to ******* *.*** **** all *******.

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Camera **** ****** ********* *******

****** **** *** ******* was ***** *** **** cameras, **** ****** **** Avigilon, ****, *****, *** Hanwha ****** ********** ** all ***** ******. ******* integrated ** *** ***** except ********, ***** ***** not *******, ***** ********* and ********* ********** ****** to ***** ***** ****, with ***** ***** ********** all *******, ** **** Milestone.

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Number ** ******** ********

****** *** ********* ******* required **** * ****** license *** *** **** channels ** *** ***** except ********, ***** ******** 4 ******** *** *** cameras *** ***** ***. Other ******' ******* ******, though **** ***** *** Hikvision ******** **** ******** in ****** *** *****.

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Pricing **********

************** *****-****** ****** ******* varied ******, **** ~$*** USD *** *********'* *** PanoVu ***** ** ****** $3,000 *** *** ********* 32MP **-******, **** ******* around ~$*,***.

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******* *** *** ******* vary ***** ** *** specific ********, **** **** of *** ***** ********* models ********* ********** ** and ********* ****** (*********, Dahua, ****), ***** **** of *** **** ********* models *** *** ******* IR (****** ***-******) *** used ***** ****** (********* WV-X8570N).

PoE *****

*** ***** *** ******* varied **** ***** ** during *** *** (****) to ****** ** ** night **** ** ** (Avigilon).

*** ****** ***** *** actual ************ ***** ** use, ******** ** *****, not **** ***** ******.

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Country ** ******

**** ****** ** ****** with *** ********* ******* of ******:

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Firmware ******** ****

*** ********* ******** ******** were **** ** **** test:

  • ******** ***-***-***-***: *.**.*.**
  • ******** ***-***-***-***: *.**.*.**
  • **** *****-***: *.**.*
  • ***** *****-**** *****: *.***
  • ****** ***-******: *.**
  • ****** ***-******: *.**.**
  • ********* **-**********-****: **.*.**
  • ********* **-**********-****: **.*.**
  • ********* **-******: *.**
  • ******* ******-****: *****

Comments (38)

Thanks for the comprehensive round up! 

Did you notice any issues with reflection / double images in the dome design? This was extremely prominent in older cams such as the Arecont SurroundVideo.

Agree: 3
Disagree: 1
Informative: 2
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Hi

Which of those cameras  present "stitched" view? That is one panoramic image for all the imagers...? In addition to individual views?

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None of them stitch views. Stitching is typically only used in fixed multi-imager models (180° or 360°). Because the imagers of this and other repositionable models may be moved, and there is likely to be gaps and overlap in where cameras are positioned, they don't stitch.

Agree: 6
Disagree
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Why would anyone buy the 12 over the 32?   $500 buys > 2.5x the pixels, a better picture...  For the 2 degrees of adjustability?

Agree: 2
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Funny

The 3MP imagers are better in low light and use less bandwidth then 4K imagers. 

Agree: 8
Disagree
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Budget, scene requirements, budget, target distance, and did I mention budget?  Ten cameras = $5K difference.  I have both camera types in service, and I do like the 32MP, but when the intended viewing area only requires a 12MP, why spend the extra $500 that could be put towards another camera installation somewhere else?

Agree: 4
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Are you going to test the new Sony multi-sensor (SNC-WL862) any time soon? I found out that we're looking to use them in one of our upcoming jobs.

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The Sony WL862 appears to be using Vivotek hardware. Physically, the two are very similar, with the housing, gimbals, and imagers appearing to be the same or very close:

And specs for focal length, dimensions, and weight are identical. 

There could be differences in performance depending on exact component selection and firmware differences which would require testing, but it's likely performance is similar.

Agree: 2
Disagree
Informative: 7
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The Sony WL862 appears to be using Vivotek hardware.

wot?

Agree: 2
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Funny: 4

Finally talked to our Sony rep about this. According to our rep, Vivotek isn't supplying anything to Sony for this camera. Rather, Sony and Vivotek happen to be using the same third-party manufacturer for the housing and mount. Sony and Vivotek are merely dropping their parts into the housing. Sony is not using any internal parts made by Vivotek.

I guess that explains why the weight really isn't identical ;) The Sony is approximately 1660g and the Vivotek is 1572g. If the housing is the heaviest part it makes sense for them to have similar weights, but you can see there's a difference of 88g.

Agree
Disagree: 1
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Funny: 1

Rather, Sony and Vivotek happen to be using the same third-party manufacturer for the housing and mount. Sony and Vivotek are merely dropping their parts into the housing.

Perhaps they’re dropping the same lenses (as pointed out by Ethan) in as well:

Now it would appear they are using a different sensor, with a slightly larger one for the Vivotek 1/2.7” vs the Sony 1/2.8”.

But one question, since angle of view is determined by both sensor size and focal length, wouldn’t the angle of views likely be slightly different if projected onto to differing sensors by the same lens?

Agree
Disagree
Informative: 1
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Great test IPVM!   Multi-imagers are currently becoming our most sold units.  This test aligns closely with my much less scientific observations between Axis, Avigilon, and Panasonic.  It is great to see some real numbers and detailed testing.

Agree: 4
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Great information, do you have a PoE Wattage consumption chart for these ?

Agree: 1
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We measured PoE and added to the report:

PoE usage for cameras varied from under 7W during the day (Axis) to nearly 40 at night with IR on (Avigilon).

The values below are actual measurements while in use, measured in watts, not spec sheet values.

Agree
Disagree
Informative: 3
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Funny: 1

Thank you, good information....

Agree
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Funny

Interestingly, there is a correlation between power consumption and night time image quality, a contrast to:

5 Night Detail (0 1 Lux)

Correlation does not ensure causality, of course, but Axis dim low-light images came with lower power consumption while Avigilon and Hikvision, who did not much better, had much higher power consumption.

In this context, it seems to make sense to me that the greater power consumption allowed for stronger IR lighting, agree/disagree?

Agree: 2
Disagree
Informative: 1
Unhelpful
Funny

Avigilon also has their analytics running and probably sucking up a fair amount of power.  Did anyone notice the flat metal heat sink on the back of the housing?  When my techs saw that the first thing they said was "this must run hot".

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I suspect Avigilon analytics impact power consumption as well and that's shown by the daytime delta vs others but, in addition to that, there is a big jump at night as well (20+ watts).

Agree
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If you don't use the IR ring the night power draw is basically the same for day time use. The IR ring is optional.

Agree
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Easy, AVO Mike, it's not a criticism. Avigilon's IR ring is optional but a strength relative to competitors as the test shows. Better to consume 20 watts more power than have a poor quality image at night.

Agree: 2
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Relax it wasn't a criticism just wasn't clear the IR is optional.

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Does the Avigilon Multisensor run appearance search? Not shown on website.

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Appearance Search does not run on the camera. Appearance Search requires Avigilon cameras with analytics (or AI appliance) to feed the servers for Apperence Search to work so yes the H4 MH camera will work with Apperence Search.

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Can you advise on what version of ExacqVision your testing was conducted on? In addition what was the firmware version of the Vivotek camera? I have an install that we took over and looking to replace some old Arecont 180 cameras with multi-sensor cameras and these are the only multi-sensor cameras that I have see that take a 24V AC power input. This is beneficial based on the setup in place and cabling installed. 

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Jim, our tests were using Exacq version 19.06.4.157375 and the Firmware for the Vivotek camera was 0100l.

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IPVM team,

Imho, bitrate comparison must only come together with:
1) static image quality 
and(!) 
2) dynamic/moving object image quality.

It's easy to make such a codec that will produce very low bitrate and very nice static picture quality but would be useless on dynamic scenes. 

To compare apples to apples, while you do bitrate comparison/quality comparison you always must provide: bitrate, static object image, moving object image. Otherwise, it might and likely will be misleading. 

Agree: 4
Disagree
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It's amazing how far Arecont has fallen that they aren't even included in a multi-sensor camera shoot-out.

Agree: 2
Disagree
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We held off on Arecont because they informed us a new series was coming, but would not be out in time for this shootout. We plan to test when available and we'll update here accordingly.

Agree
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Informative: 2
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Why were the sample shots taken with different backgrounds and sometimes with the object at different angles? (There are a few with these differences above. In particular, I'm referencing the WDR Performance Comparison.) Can't both of these variables can account for different affects of light on the scene?

 

Thank you,

 

David Coughlin

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Why does the number of licenses required vary depending on the type of camera or VMS?

Can someone tell me the reason?

Agree
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It has to do with how the VMS chooses to handle multi-channel devices. Some will consider anything with one MAC address to use one license. Most notably, Milestone has done this for some time. Others require a license per video channel by default, but will charge a single license after the camera is officially integrated.

Agree
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Informative: 1
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Thank you. Also, What does S for Milestone Hikvision intersection mean?

Agree
Disagree
Informative: 1
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It means you found a typo that somehow has slipped by me for the past week! It should read "1", below.

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Funny: 1

I don't see the Arecont cameras?  LOL

Agree
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We've been in contact with Arecont regarding a new series of cameras which are planned for release later this summer. As soon as they are released, we plan to test.

Agree
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Informative: 1
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We've been in contact with Arecont regarding a new series of cameras which are planned for release later this summer. As soon as they are released, we plan to test.

This could be an excellent opportunity for Arecont if they can prove they have stepped away from the many errors of the past.  I look forward to this test.

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Good to know!  I was half-way tongue-in-cheek with my post as I have had nothing but trouble with their cameras.  Hopefully they add time/date to their new line of cameras...

Agree: 2
Disagree
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Neither sentence in the paragraph for H.265 support matches the graphic. I'm curious which of the text or graphic is correct. Other than that, this is great research presented well. Keep it up, IPVM!

Agree
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