Samsung's Next Big Thing: VGA?

Author: Brian Rhodes, Published on Apr 02, 2012

"More pixels, more cheaply" has been the camera market mantra in IP video for the last several years. Despite (or perhaps because of) the hyper-competitive nature of this market segment, Samsung Techwin is promoting a line of VGA resolution IP cameras at the low-end of the market. In this note, we examine how well this line price competes against similar analog offerings, and how VGA resolution pricing compares against other IP resolutions.

Overview

Selected models of Samsung's iPOLis series are positioned to be inexpensive 'general purpose' units. These models are not uniquely identified by series name, but are commonly built around the new 'WisenetS' VGA DSP imager chip.  These value-series camera models share the following attributes:

  • VGA resolution
  • H.264 
  • ONVIF compliant
  • PoE powerable
  • SD Card support (except the SNO-1080R)

Six cameras comprising the series are: SNB-1001 (box), SNO-1080R (IR bullet), SND-1011 (dome), SNV-1080 (vandal dome), SNV-1080R (IR vandal dome), and the SND-1080 (WDR dome).

The key distinction of this series is the VGA resolution. When measured in pixels, VGA effective range is expressed as 640 x 480. By contrast, SVGA ('Super' VGA) is expressed as 800 x 600 pixels, and Megapixel ranges can be expressed at 1280 x 720 and greater.

Analog vs. IP

IP cameras are almost always more expensive than equivalent analog counterparts. This cost difference is due to a variety of technical factors and economies of scale. When megapixel imagers were developed, IP based cameras gained marketshare based on better performance, not price. Until recently, competing at the low-end of the market has been significantly tilted to less expensive analog technology.

Given that Samsung produces both analog and IP based surveillance cameras, we are able to contrast the price differences between the two types. Consider the following examples:

Samsung Dome Cameras

  • IP: SND-1011, about $220 online
  • Analog: SCD-2021(B), about $120 online
  • Price difference: about $100.

Samsung Box Cameras

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  • IP: SNB-1001, about $200 online
  • Analog: SCB-1000, sells for $100 online
  • Price difference: about $100.

Cost between the two types may not yet be equal, but is very close at this low end of performance. When including additional costs like external power supplies and power cabling, this price difference is almost negligible. For a VMS based system, adding even the most inexpensive IP encoders (around $100 per channel) drive analog prices above IP. 

Samsung vs Competitive Options

Below is a comparison of Samsung vs rival manufacturer's box cameras:

  • Vivotek IP8161 (2.0 MP, includes lens)  $550 USD total
  • ACTi TCM-5111 (1.3 MP, fixed lens only)  $310 USD total = ($230 camera + $80 lens for a varifocal lens)
  • Sony SNC-CH120 (720p, includes lens) $500 USD total
  • Samsung SNB-1001 (VGA, no included lens) $280 USD total = ($200 camera + $80 lens)

The key takeaway from this comparison indicates the Samsung VGA line is considerably less expensive than other MP manufacturers, except for ACTi. Budget oriented customers may find using this Samsung line helpful in observing non-critical fields of view or supplementing gaps in camera coverage for low cost.

The ultimate success of this offering resides with the performance and build quality of the cameras. The Samsung name provides a familar brand among lesser-known Taiwanese cameras, which may diminish the perceived risk in using them.

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