Sony Hybrid Cameras: Game Changer or Disappointment?

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Jul 09, 2012

For more than a year, Sony has been promoting its hybrid IP camera line as a novel way to reuse coax cable and ease the migration from analog to IP. Few, if any IP cameras, have Ethernet over Coax adapters built in, instead requiring adding external adapters. Finally, Sony's models are available and pricing has been released. Now, the real question becomes: What impact will these cameras have?

Hybrid Camera Overview

Sony's hybrid camera line builds an Ethernet over coaxial converter directly into the camera, using Intersil's Security Link over Coax (SLOC) chip. This reduces complexity and equipment required when reusing coax cable in IP surveillance systems, eliminating the need for external EoC converters.

Other products using Intersil's chip, such as the Altronix eBridge, will be fully compatible with these cameras, allowing for third-party accessory receivers in multiple-channel forms, instead of being limited to only Sony's 4-channel receiver. Users may see our original coverage of the Sony Hybrid line for more details.

Pricing

Compared to equivalent non EoC IP camera models, the EoC versions will add $150 - $200 cost per camer. The EoC models are roughly equivalent to current E series models, in box, indoor and outdoor dome, and PTZ cameras. MSRP prices are approximately $250 USD higher than their E series counterparts. For example, the SNC-ZB550, the hybrid version of the SNC-CH120 box camera, has an MSRP of $1,045 vs. $798. Based on online pricing of current products, we estimate a street price of about $730 for the SNC-ZB550, vs. $560 for the CH120, about a $170 difference. 

Compared to New UTP Cable

Using Sony's hybrid cameras is modestly more expensive than the average cost of running new UTP cables ($150 - $250). The Sony EoC offering adds ~$250 per camera to reuse the existing coax - with ~$170 on the camera side and ~$80 on the receiver side (e.g., an Altronix eBridge ($85 online) at the far end).

Taking a sixteen-camera system as an example, here are the comparative costs:

  • 16 x Sony ZB550 + 16 x Altronix eBrdige1CR receiver: $2,720 price premium + $1,360 = $4,080
  • 16 x UTP drop: $2,400-4,000

This makes the hybrid series more expensive than using UTP in many locations, especially when cable runs are shorter. If cable replacement is difficult or impossible, the hybrid series may be a good option.

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

Compared to Other EoC Converters

The main advantage is reduced space on the camera side. Instead of adding an external adapter, the adapter is integrated inside of the camera. For spots with limited space, this could be a key consideration.

Using Sony's hybrid cameras is generally more expensive than using an IP camera with a pair of Altronix eBridge converters. The $170 street price increase of the hybrid series is approximately equal to a pair of eBridges, but still requires a receiver at the head end. Receiver price will vary, depending on what model and channel count are used. Sony's 4-channel ZX104 adds approximately $200 per channel, while a single-channel Altronix eBridge sells for $85 online. Based on this pricing, integrators choosing to use the Sony line essentially pay for the convenience and easier installation of not having to install a converter at the camera end. This likely provides a slight reduction in labor, and may be especially useful when no space is a concern.

However, using Sony's own receivers does provide some advantages in larger systems. The ZX receivers require only one Ethernet port per four channels, unlike Altronix's four and sixteen channel eBridge models, which require a port for each camera. This may provide modest savings in larger port count systems, as fewer switches are required. In small systems, however, 16 cameras and under, this is unlikely to be a major factor.

Compared to using most EoC converters, hybrid cameras are less costly. On average, models from manufacturers, such as Veracity, Vigitron, and NVT, cost between $400-500 online. However, many of these models allow for PoE up the coax, eliminating the need for separate low-voltage power supplies. In retrofit situations, this may not be an issue, as existing power supplies may be used. Lastly, these converters typically lack the analog output Intersil-based models provide, which may be useful to users in live monitoring scenarios.

Recommendations 

Based on the pricing deltas above, Sony's hybrid line has poor competitive advantage compared to using any other IP camera with Altronix's eBridge, or other low-cost EoC converters. What may have been a strong advantage for Sony is instead a curious addition, likely to find most favor with integrators preferring Sony cameras, more than the market at large.

Using separate converters allows for both lower-cost cameras to be used, as well as higher-performance models with better wide dynamic or low light performance. However, users should beware when planning projects using EoC converters without PoE output (such as the eBridge), as an increasing number of cameras drop support for 12/24V low-voltage power, in favor of PoE-only operation.

Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports on Power

Installing Dome Cameras Indoors Guide on Jul 16, 2018
IPVM is producing the definitive series on installing surveillance cameras. This entry covers one of the most common scenarios - installing dome...
Installation Hardware for Video Surveillance - Indoor Fasteners on Jun 22, 2018
As part of our Installation for Video Surveillance series, in this note, we cover drywall anchors. A key part of installing security hardware is...
Powerline Networking For Video Surveillance Advocated By Comtrend on Jun 08, 2018
Powerline networking, using existing electrical wiring, has been around for many years. Indeed, over the years, some video surveillance providers...
H.265 / HEVC Codec Tutorial on Jun 07, 2018
H.265 support has improved significantly in 2018, with H.265 camera/VMS compatibility increased compared to only a year ago, and more manufacturers...
Princeton Identity Access 200 Iris Scanners Examined on Jun 05, 2018
Iris recently registered a big jump as a preferred biometric in our Favorite Biometrics survey, but access-ready options can be difficult to...
Installing Box Cameras Indoors Tutorial on May 22, 2018
This tutorial starts our physical installation for video surveillance series, starting with Box Cameras, one of the oldest and most basic types....
Vivotek 12MP Fisheye Camera Tested (FE9391-EV) on May 08, 2018
Next in our 12MP fisheye camera evaluation, we bought and tested Vivotek's latest generation FE9391-EV, a new model claiming improved smart IR...
IP Network Hardware for Surveillance Guide on May 02, 2018
Video surveillance systems depend on IP networking equipment. In this guide, we explain the key pieces of equipment and features, explaining where...
Alarm.com Business Market Expansion on Apr 13, 2018
Alarm.com has millions of subscribers, but the company has traditionally been mostly a residential/home focused offering.  ADC's new Smart Business...
Axis Launches Mini Concealed IR PTZ on Apr 11, 2018
Axis has been a laggard in releasing IR PTZs. While the company released a laser focus PTZ (the Q6155-E tested) until now Axis has had no PTZs with...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Axis ~$100 Camera Tested on Jul 17, 2018
Axis has released their lowest cost camera ever, the Companion Eye Mini L, setting their sights on a market dominated by Hikvision and Dahua. Can...
Amazon Ring Alarm System Tested on Jul 16, 2018
Amazon Ring is going to hurt traditional dealers, and especially ADT, new IPVM test results of Ring's Alarm system underscore. IPVM found that...
Hikvision Wins Chinese Government Forced Facial Recognition Project Across 967 Mosques on Jul 16, 2018
Hikvision has won a Chinese government tender which requires that facial recognition cameras be set up at the entrance of every single mosque...
Installing Dome Cameras Indoors Guide on Jul 16, 2018
IPVM is producing the definitive series on installing surveillance cameras. This entry covers one of the most common scenarios - installing dome...
Security Sales Course Summer 2018 on Jul 13, 2018
Based on member's interest, IPVM is offering a security sales course this summer. Register Now - IPVM Security Sales Course Summer 2018 This...
US Tariffs Hit China Video Surveillance on Jul 13, 2018
Chinese video surveillance products avoided tariffs for the first two rounds. Now, in the third round, many video surveillance products will be...
Last Chance - July 2018 IP Networking Course on Jul 12, 2018
Registration ends today, Thursday. Register now. This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance...
4 Most Difficult Camera Installs (Statistics) on Jul 12, 2018
Heavy housings, cumbersome brackets, heavy ladders required, and tricky field of view requirements will cause difficulties no matter the camera...
Axis Perimeter Defender Video Analytics Tested on Jul 12, 2018
Axis 'high security' video analytics offering is Perimeter Defender, OEMed / developed with Digital Barriers. But how good is Perimeter Defender?...

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