Sony's MP Coax Hybrid Cameras Examined

By Ethan Ace, Published Sep 25, 2011, 08:00pm EDT

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 hybrid coax/Ethernet camera models, using a technology they call SLOC, or Security Link Over Coax, allowing the reuse of coaxial cable with their IP cameras. In this note, we review the models, feature sets, pricing and competitive positioning versus HDcctv and Ethernet over Coax adapters.

For background on the underlying technology, review our SLOC update.

Approach

In addition to the Ethernet port, a BNC connector is mounted on the back of each camera, allowing connection of RG-59, RG-11, etc., cabling. Max distances specified is ~1,000' on RG59 cabling, equivalent to standalone Ethernet over coax devices. Cameras are attached at the head end to a receiver box (~$500-600 for four channels), which shares the form factor of Sony's existing SNT encoder line. Only 4 channel receiver models are available, no single channel ones.

A unique feature is that this receiver outputs both analog video, which may be used for local monitors or matrix switches, as well as Ethernet, which is connected to the LAN for integration with video management systems.

Models

Existing Sony IP/MP cameras do not support this feature. Only the new models being introduced now.

The hybrid camera line will consist of 5 models, as noted below. All models are true day/night, 720p resolution, with H.264 encoding, features akin to the mid level Sony E Series:

  • The SNC-ZB550 fixed HD camera
  • The SNC-ZM551 vandal dome
  • The SNC-ZM550 mini dome
  • The SNC-ZR550 rapid dome (360-degree endless rotation, 210-degree tilt)
  • The SNC-ZP550 PTZ camera (340-degree pan, 90-degree tilt)

These cameras and the 4 channel receiver will be ready to ship around the first quarter of 2012.

Pricing / Competitive Comparison

These hybrid models will have a ~15% premium over the existing E series (which includes the CH120, DH120, DH160, and others). This prices the SNC-ZB550, for example, at about $600, with another ~$125 per channel for the head end converter, for a total of about $725. By comparison the existing SNC-CH120 online price is ~$525 and a pair of Ethernet over coax transceivers is ~$400. Per camera, this is a ~$200 saving plus eliminates installation of a separate transmitter at the camera side. This could be a substantial savings on larger projects.

We believe this technology provides the major advantages of HDcctv, use of existing infrastructure and high definition video, without the integration challenges. Unlike HDcctv or HD-SDI camera systems, the SLOC technology utilizes two common, widely-deployed interfaces, analog composite video and standard IP video codecs.

Customers using matrix switches may especially be interested in SLOC. Matrix switches are normally substantial investment, and systems which are monitored live are normally used for activity monitoring and situational awareness, while high resolution recording is helpful for forensic investigation.

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