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

Video Quality / Compression Tutorial on Oct 17, 2018
While CODECs, like H.264, H.265, and MJPEG, get a lot of attention, a camera's 'quality' or compression setting has a big impact on overall...
Security System Health Monitoring Usage Statistics 2018 on Oct 09, 2018
How well and quickly do integrators know if devices are offline or broken? New IPVM statistics show that typically no health monitoring is...
Last Chance - October 2018 Camera Course on Oct 04, 2018
Today is the last day to register for the October 2018 Camera Course, register now. This is the only independent surveillance camera course,...
Axis 4K vs. 5MP Camera Shootout (Q3518-LVE + Q3517-LVE) on Oct 04, 2018
Axis has released the 4K counterpart to their 5MP Q3517-LVE (see our test). Axis claims of both these cameras: Simply put, AXIS Q3518(17)-LVE...
Fall 2018 New Products Directory on Oct 03, 2018
Fall 2018 New Products Directory We have compiled a directory of new products released fall 2018, or at least since our Spring 2018 Directory. The...
Alexa Guard Expands Amazon's Security Offerings, Boosts ADT's Stock on Sep 21, 2018
Amazon is expanding their security offerings yet again, this time with Alexa Guard that delivers security audio analytics and a virtual "Fake...
Central Stations Face Off Against NFPA On Fire Monitoring on Sep 18, 2018
Central stations are facing off against the NFPA over what they call anti-competitive language in NFPA 72, the standard that covers fire alarms....
European Mega Security Firm Verisure Pushing Security Fog on Sep 17, 2018
The European mega security firm Verisure (Securitas Direct), with a reported 2 million customers, is pushing security fog, as shown in this BBC...
Stanley Security Acquires 3xLogic, Kushner Becomes Product President on Sep 10, 2018
Stanley Security acquired 3xLogic a few months ago. However, the company has still not officially publicly announced it, leading many to wonder...
Dell Launches IoT for Surveillance on Sep 05, 2018
Historically, Dell has been a PC and server provider (e.g., "Dude, you're getting a Dell") and widely used for surveillance storage. However, in...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Startup SafePass Profile on Oct 19, 2018
A major problem with visitor management is that the systems mostly require adhesive printed paper labels and paper logs, creating waste and an...
China Is Not A Security Megatrend, Says SIA on Oct 19, 2018
The US Security Industry Association has released its 10 "Security Megatrends" for 2019. SIA declares that these megatrends, such as "Advanced...
Hanwha Dual Imager Dome Camera Tested (PNM-7000VD) on Oct 18, 2018
Hanwha has introduced their first dual-imager model, the PNM-7000VD, a twin 1080p model featuring independently positionable sensors and a snap-in...
Camera Height / Blind Spot Added to IPVM Camera Calculator on Oct 18, 2018
IPVM has added camera height and blind spot estimation to the Camera Calculator. This is especially helpful for those who need to mount cameras up...
Axis Strong US Growth, Flat EMEA - Q3 2018 Financials on Oct 18, 2018
This spring, Axis had its best financials in many years (see Axis Strong Q2 2018 Results). However, over the summer, Axis had many products sold...
Best Alternatives to Banned Dahua and Hikvision on Oct 17, 2018
With the US government ban and a growing number of users banning Dahua and Hikvision, one key question is what to use for low cost? While Dahua and...
Video Quality / Compression Tutorial on Oct 17, 2018
While CODECs, like H.264, H.265, and MJPEG, get a lot of attention, a camera's 'quality' or compression setting has a big impact on overall...
Knightscope Winning Investors, Struggling With Growth on Oct 16, 2018
While Knightscope's new financials show the company only winning 11 new customers in the past 12 months, the company continues to win new...
Integrator Laptop Guide on Oct 16, 2018
This 18-page guide provides guidance and statistics about integrator laptop use. 150 integrators explained to IPVM in detail about their laptops,...
Huawei Admits AI "Bubble" on Oct 16, 2018
A fascinating article from the Chinese government's Global Times: Huawei’s AI ambition to reshape industries. While the Global Times talks about...

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