Sony Hybrid HD Cameras Examined

Author: John Honovich, Published on Apr 16, 2011

In this note, we examine the significance, application and potential limitations of Sony's recent announcement of what they are calling the 'industry's first Hybrid HD security cameras." This technology is especially interesting as an alternative / competitor to traditional Ethernet over Coax (EoC) solutions offered by Veracity, Comnet and others.

Unlike traditional EoC offerings that use an add-on transceiver, the Sony approach is to embed the adaptor directly into the camera. Sony is using technology from Intersil, which they call SLOC (Security Link over Coax), this technology allows analog composite video and Ethernet to be sent over the same coaxial cable. SLOC is specified at up to 500 Meters with 36Mb/s bandwidth from camera to receiver and 11Mb/s bandwidth from receiver to camera.

Sony claims a number of benefits of this approach:

  • Utilize existing infrastructure: Perhaps the largest expense of moving to IP surveillance is recabling. While a number of manufacturers provide products which convert Ethernet to coax, this is the first time this technology has been built into the camera (and potentially recorder). This reduces complexity and most likely, expense.
  • No-disruption upgrades: When installing IP cameras, even when using Ethernet over coax transceivers, an interruption in the existing surveillance system is necessary. This disruption would be minimized by cameras using the SLOC technology, since the only interruption would be the brief period while the old camera is removed and the new camera installed. Existing analog recorders and matrix switchers could continue to utilize the analog video feed until the system is completely installed, at which point the Ethernet HD video could be used for monitoring and recording.
  • Less latency for live monitoring: Undeniably, there is less latency present in an analog system than in IP surveillance systems. Monitoring and controlling cameras via the SLOC interface would reduce latency in the system, while allowing the HD stream to be recorded via the same cable.

The move has potential. We know that no other manufacturer in the industry is currently utilizing this technology. Depending on pricing, it could be a great advantage to end users and integrators upgrading existing systems to IP. The ability to install IP cameras directly onto existing infrastructure without external transceivers at the camera end will definitely decrease installation time and cost. What Sony is planning on doing at the other end of the cable is still a question. The two most likely options are releasing a standalone transceiver or directly integrating receivers into an NVR/DVR appliance.

Serious questions, though, remain on how Sony will actually deploy the solution. Sony reports that products will start shipping at the end of 2011 and that specific models are not yet set. As such, the ISC West 2011 announcement and display was a very early preview.

Our Speculation / Competitive Positioning

We believe the Sony offering could be very price competitive. Embedding the SLOC inside the camera offers significant cost savings compared to the traditional approach of manufacturing a separate appliance (often costing $150 - $200). We could see Sony offering the Hybrid coax output as a low cost or no additional cost on their premium cameras (similar to how analog out was often included in MP cameras in the past). Additionally, if Sony includes inputs/receivers in their Hybrid recorders, this could further reduce the cost relative to purchasing multiple individual receivers. That noted, this is clearly speculation. We will have to wait 6 months or more for 'real' information.

Comparison to HDcctv

This approach has some similarities to HDcctv but also important differences.

  • Main similarity is the reuse of existing coax; however, Sony's approach cites significantly longer distance - up to 500 meters vs 100 meters for HDcctv (primarily because of the lower maximum bandwidth offered / needed by Sony / Intersil)
  • Main difference is the location of encoding - with Sony Hybrid, the video is compressed in the camera (it is still an IP camera) while in HDcctv, the video needs to be compressed in a special HDcctv DVR (or encoder, when released) 
  • Ease of use: HDcctv is likely to be significantly easier to setup as the Sony solution still requires IP addressing / configuration and may need to connect receivers to an IP network
  • Cost: Cabling cost should be similar with an advantage for Sony / Intersil for longer runs. Equipment costs are difficult to determine currently given the current pre-production stage of the Sony hybrid cameras and the early release of HDcctv DVRs (which are very expensive).

Potential Benefits and Limitations

We do question some of the other claimed benefits, however. Interruption of service is a definite concern in the security environment. While sending analog video to an existing system using existing cabling does remedy some of this, how much downtime it prevents will depend on multiple factors. First, it assumes that new cameras will be located in the same spot as old cameras. Our experience has shown us that this is not always true. Second, if new cables are pulled and a new IP-based system is up and running, awaiting only installation of the camera, downtime will be minimal as the old analog camera is removed and a new IP camera is put in its place, and viewed on the new system. This does present the drawback of viewing existing cameras on one system and new IP cameras on another, though.

We also would question how many new installations would use the analog output for monitoring. Monitoring multiple analog cameras requires multiple monitors or a quad/multiplexer at the low end, and matrix switchers at high camera counts. There is definitely a benefit to latency-free monitoring and control; we simply question how much. Less latency on PTZ control is more of a benefit, but one that requires a second cable to be run to the camera, anyway, and which can be accomplished using RS-422 to control IP cameras today.

1 report cite this report:

Sony's MP Coax Hybrid Cameras Examined on Sep 25, 2011
Like the idea of plugging in coaxial cable to an IP camera and getting MP video? This is Sony's new pitch. At ASIS 2011, Sony announced specific...
Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

H.265 Usage Statistics on Apr 19, 2019
H.265 has been available in IP cameras for more than 5 years and, in the past few years, the number of manufacturers supporting this codec has...
Axis Supports HD Analog on Apr 15, 2019
In 2017, Axis declared 'Everything is IP': Now, in 2019, Axis has released support for HD analog, with their new encoders.  Why the change?... Favorability Results 2019 on Apr 15, 2019
The once dot com startup has evolved to become a core provider for home security and is now expanding into commercial. In their first entry in...
Hikvision AI Problems Criticized By Chinese Publication on Apr 09, 2019
Hikvision's facial recognition works poorly, causes delays and worsens learning, according to a new investigation by one of China's leading...
Spring 2019 IP Networking Course- Register Now on Apr 04, 2019
Register now for the Spring 2019 IP Networking course here. Just $299 for the course. This is the only networking course designed specifically...
Casino Security Consultant Carl Lindgren Interview on Mar 26, 2019
For more than 20 years, Carl Lindgren worked as a casino surveillance pro, while being active (and sometimes outspoken) on various online video...
IBM / Genetec Surveillance System Investigated Over Philippines Human Rights Abuses on Mar 22, 2019
A lengthy investigation into an IBM video surveillance project in the Philippines, raising concerns IBM helped local police conduct a bloody...
Large Hospital Security End User Interview on Mar 21, 2019
This large single-state healthcare system consists of many hospitals, and hundreds of health parks, private practices, urgent care facilities, and...
Silicon Valley Cybersecurity Insurance Startup Coalition Profile on Mar 20, 2019
Many industry people believe cybersecurity insurance is not worth it, as the voting and debate in our Cybersecurity Insurance For Security...
Top Metrics For Ensuring Integrator Profitability - Statistics on Mar 20, 2019
How do integrators ensure the profitability of their projects? As part of our profitability study, 100+ integrators answered the following...

Most Recent Industry Reports

H.265 Usage Statistics on Apr 19, 2019
H.265 has been available in IP cameras for more than 5 years and, in the past few years, the number of manufacturers supporting this codec has...
ACRE Acquires RS2, Explains Acquisition Strategy on Apr 19, 2019
ACRE continues to buy, now acquiring RS2, just 5 months after buying Open Options. One is a small access control manufacturer from Texas, the...
Access Control Course Spring 2019 - Last Chance on Apr 19, 2019
Register for the Spring Access Control Course. IPVM offers the most comprehensive access control course in the industry. Unlike manufacturer...
Riser vs Plenum Cabling Explained on Apr 18, 2019
You could be spending twice as much for cable as you need. The difference between 'plenum' rated cable and 'riser' rated cable is subtle, but the...
Verint Victimized By Ransomware on Apr 18, 2019
Verint, which is best known in the physical security industry for video surveillance but has built a sizeable cybersecurity business as well, was...
Milestone Drops IFSEC on Apr 18, 2019
Milestone has dropped out of Europe's largest annual security trade show (IFSEC 2019), telling IPVM that they "have found that IFSEC in EMEA no...
The Fastest Growing Video Surveillance Sales Organization Ever - Verkada on Apr 17, 2019
Verkada has the fastest growing video surveillance sales organization ever. In less than 2 years, they already have more salespeople in the US...
Door Operators Access Control Tutorial on Apr 17, 2019
Doors equipped with door operators, specialty devices that automate opening and closing, tend to be quite complex. The mechanisms needed to...
Securadyne CEO: IPVM 'Entertaining For An Ignorant Few' on Apr 16, 2019
Securadyne's CEO Carey Boethel is unhappy with IPVM's report - Failed Integrator Rollup, Securadyne Sells to Guard Giant Allied. Indeed, he...
Dahua Repositionable IR Multi-Imager Camera Tested on Apr 16, 2019
Dahua has released their first repositionable multi-imager camera, the Multi-Flex 4x2MP, claiming integrated IR, true WDR, and flexible...

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