The Company Behind HDTVI (Techpoint)

Author: John Honovich, Published on Sep 02, 2014

Analog HD is drawing a lot of attention.

First there was Dahua and HDCVI. Now, many are talking about HDTVI. The big name associated with HDTVI is Hikvision, but the company behind HDTVI technology is Techpoint.

In this note, we examine Techpoint, their positioning and plans for HDTVI.

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Comments (23)

Btw, a UK member pointed out that a UK manufacturer, Digital Barriers, has an offering called TVI, which is a codec/system for transmitting video over low bandwidth networks. It is not related to HD-TVI or Techpoint.

We are a privately held fabless semiconductor company developing proprietary high definition video connectivity technology targeting high definition video surveillance systems..

So much for the hope of an open standard.

Techpoint contends that manufacturers will be more likely to trust buying components from them, rather than Dahua, since Dahua is a competitor to those manufacturers.

Only foolish ones! If Hik's major push to TVI is a major success, initially at least, they will be far and away the biggest buyer of Techpoint technology. What's good for TVI will be good for Hikvision. Even more so when they acquire them. Does anyone realiy think Hikvision woukd allow Techpoint to get so big that Hik can't control them? With Hik's money?

Regardless of chinese walls and claims of independence, a manufacturer is better off treating them as a division of Hik than some independent chip designer.

I don't see a conflict between a proprietary chip tecnology and an open standard. If that was the case Intel, AMD, nVidia, etc. would all be making incompatible devices.

Carl, let's say I am a camera manufacturer and I want my cameras to output HD-TVI.

How do I do that without buying chips from Techpoint?

I think that's the practical issue.

Obviously, it's at least as bad, it not worse, if you are a manufacturer and want to do the same with HD-CVI.

John, Say I'm a computer manufacturer and I want my computers to output VGA. Same difference.

Let's stay away from analogies because it engenders debate on the accuracy of the analogy rather than the topic we are on.

Again, I ask:

Carl, let's say I am a camera manufacturer and I want my cameras to output HD-TVI.

How do I do that without buying chips from Techpoint?

Do you agree that you have to buy from Techpoint? Are you saying that this is not an issue or?

Do you agree that you have to buy from Techpoint? Are you saying that this is not an issue or?

I think Carl is saying, (and I'll say if not), that if Techpoint has a TVI chipset design that they own and protect, that does not necessarily prevent me from creating my own TVI-compatible chipset based on a freely shared "open" signal specification.

Are you saying they 'have to buy from Techpoint' as a practical matter or a legal one?

Yes, I am saying it as both a practical and legal matter. Where did you see that Techpoint supports "a freely shared "open" signal specification"?

Nowhere, I was giving them the benefit of the doubt... but I see in your update, that for the near future at least, they will be the sole manufacturer of TVI chipsets. Did they comment on the use of just the specification?

On the other hand this is Dahua's recent statement:

Dahua’s strategy is... make the technology readily available to other manufacturers - even our direct competitors. For these reasons, Dahua has decided to issue licenses under RAND (reasonable and non-discriminatory) terms to other, reciprocating Steering and Manufacturing Members of the HDcctv Alliance. Dahua’s policy is as follows: semiconductor manufacturers implementing the HDcctv AT 2.0 standard independently are asked to pay a license feeon a RAND basis, while HDCVI licenses for implementing the HDcctv AT 2.0 standard are open free of charge.

Regardless of whether the Alliance is just a marketing front for Dahua (or whether Techpoint is for Hik), this statement seems materially different from Techpoint's. And the licenses (assuming Dahua is not straight-up lying), would allow either free or reasonably priced access to its technology, even to competitors.

Do you believe this to be a sincere offer from Dahua? Is a smart move on their part?

Carl, let's say I am a camera manufacturer and I want my cameras to output HD-TVI.

You buy the chips from Techpoint.

I still don't get your point. Let's say I am a camera manufacturer. I want to manufacture HD cameras. Unless I'm also a semiconductor manufacturer, I have to buy the chips from someone. But I have a number of choices: I can obtain HDCVI chips from Dahua or HT-TVI chips from Techpoint or HD-SDI chips from whomever or AHD chips from whomever or IP chips from whomever... etc., etc..

No one is twisting my arm to manufacture HD-TVI cameras - I have a wealth of choices.

You have a wealth of choices unless you want products to be compatible with HD-TVI or HD-CVI. At that point, you only have a single supplier of each.

To return to your original point, "I don't see a conflict between a proprietary chip tecnology and an open standard."

None of these are truly open standards.

Well, if you want to get that picky about it, neither is ONVIF for IP. Open? Maybe. Standard? Hah!

But such is life.

ONVIF is not controlled by a single company.

Analog HD transmission options all are (Dahua - HD-CVI, Techpoint - HD-TVI, Nextchip - AHD).

Not fully understanding the technology but noticing that 1080p and 30 or 60 FPS seems to be a cap that all of the various HD-SDI derivatives have hit, is the technology already at its zenith? Also, do HD-TVI can HD-CVi support baluns? I do not think I have seen or sold an analog system using coax in quite some time. Based on many legacy installs I have seen out there I have to ask does anyone still default to coax with analog installs? If this does not support UTP via baluns or some other method is this not essentially doomed to fail? Baluns kept the analog market competitive for far longer than it should have been. It is desirable to have systems that are reliable and not wholly reliant upon network infrastructure that may or may not be controlled by the integrator. At the same time no one wants to step backwards in technology... It will be be disappointing to switch from panoramic multi megapixel cameras and, fairly soon, 4k cameras to be stuck at 1080p. Am I missing my mark if I say that these various new HD-XYZ are great for the consumer market segment but essentially useless for larger businesses?

Good comments.

Both HD-CVI and HD-TVI support baluns. See our Testing HDCVI Over UTP for an example of that.

As for the resolution maximum, the issue is 'fitting' a 4K signal on coax cable. Dahua says that it has plans for 4K but who knows when or if that will occur.

In terms of market fit (consumer vs business), certainly the strongest fit is the low end, given the super low pricing and relative basic functionalities.

However, 1080p (or less resolution) non-panoramics are pretty much 98% of the IP camera market, so it fits a lot of users.

If Dahua or Hikvision can offer Analog HD encoders with ONVIF Profile S output (which is not technically hard), I think this would be very very attractive to the professional market as it would become a low cost way to 'hook in' HD video to enterprise systems.

We've discussed some of the issues and tradeoffs more in the HD Analog vs IP Tutorial and The Bloody HD Camera Wars Are Coming.

It's interesting to see that Techpoint are now mentioning TVI on their website. A month or so ago and there was no trace of it at all.

If you look a little deeper you'll find website hosting and domain names changes dramatically around Jan this year. There is no entry for the domains in the wayback machine prior to that point, so no website history - was that deleted ?

A little bit James Bond !

Hikvision and their massive resources are quite clearly developing TVI and adding functions and features and certainly bug fixing. They are likely giving this to Techpoint to implement and thus maintian the illusion of openess.

The reality is that Hik are the biggest customer for TVI and they are going to dictate the direction and development of the "independant 3rd party developer". I don't think Techpoint have several thousand enginners at their disposal.

Dahua are allowing 3rd parties to buy their RX and TX chips (DVR and camera end) so you've got competition - or at least choice - in both technologies. There are companies such as Sunell doing both TVI and CVI solutions and there are plenty of China brands doing the same that we never see in the West.

Dahua patented their technology. If they believe that there is a strong enough case to go after Hikvision once they start selling proper then it will be a bloody HD war. But if they win, perhaps we will see a solution that allows both CVI and TVI to work together as a result.

Good feedback, B.

Techpoint says they do not violate Dahua's patent(s). That does not mean that Dahua will not sue them, of course, or that Techpoint is not mistaken.

However, does Dahua have any patents granted for HDCVI? I know there are casual references to patents / patented on the Internet related to this, but from Dahua's own press release, they qualify this as having "submitted totally around 20 patent applications of related inventions for HDCVI technical standard." Given that it takes years for patents to be approved, I do not think it would have granted enforceable patents behind it yet.

Not my area, but the patent applications are on google:

Suggesting not granted.

But these two companies (Dahua and Hikvision) are not exactly friends.

If Apple can sue Samsung over corners on a smartphone maybe there is some merit - flippant view.

Good find. That application is from 2012, which seems reasonable given the recent introduction.

I don't think any company can sue anyone else until the patenet is granted. You have to own the patent first, not simply have an application, correct?

Yes, you must have the patents issued to sue. However once granted, damages can retroactively be recovered from the date of publication, usually 18 months after filing date:

...patents issuing on published applications will include the right to obtain reasonable royalties from others who, with actual notice of the published application, made used, sold, offered to sell, or imported the invention as claimed in the published application before the patent was granted. 35 USC 154(d).

Good article: Patent Pending Provisional Rights

Update: Techpoint has responded to the question about alternative suppliers / licensing of HD-TVI:

"Currently Techpoint is the only supplier of HD-TVI. Recently several companies have approached us and discussed the possibility of licensing our technology to enhance the competitiveness of their products. However this is in the very preliminary stages. Please remember that HD-TVI was just released this past March. For the time being Techpoint will be the only supplier of HD-TVI chipset."

Update: Techpoint has responded to the question about patents:

"We implemented TVI very differently from CVI specifically to work around the CVI patents and even improve the performances. For example, we implemented some special methods so that our 1080P30 transmission is the same as our 720P30 transmission and thus is superior to CVI's transmission at 1080P30. And yes, we are actually looking into several patents for TVI currently."

"superior to CVI's transmission at 1080P30"

Does that mean CVI has better transmission at 720P30?

In a traditional analogue market perhaps 720P is the pricing sweet spot:
camera, DVR, & storage costs

Difference in quality between 720P and 960H being quite high - noting your recent 960H article, this would have true 16:9 too.
But cost still quite low - look at sensor costs between 720 and 1080 for example in IP cameras.

Looking forward to your shoot out John !

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