Testing Q-See HD Analog Kit (HD-CVI)

Author: Derek Ward, Published on Jun 09, 2014

This kit is so inexpensive we could almost not believe it.

8 HD IR cameras plus an DVR with a 2TB hard drive for $499 total. Here's what it looks like, laid out on our table:

$499 is so incredibly low you can barely buy a single integrated IR camera from Axis or Avigilon for that price. And here we have 8 times the number of cameras plus a recorder and storage thrown in.

New lost cost options are the major trend in video surveillance right now, addressing the top integrator concern in using IP. For instance, recently, we tested Dahua's HD CVI, an emerging offering that aims to solve this.

Now, Q-See, a Dahua OEM, has released this $499 HD CVI based kit that is even less expensive.

We bought the kit (from Costco) and put it to the test comparing it to HD IP cameras and Dahua (original) HD CVI cameras.

Should you be switching to this? What is the competitive potential? Find out inside.

 

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Comments (18)

Derek

I cannot speak directly to the units you tested but I recently just ripped out a comparable system from flir/digimerge that a electrical contractor friend bought at ADI and asked me to install - at his shop!

Buyer beware. You get what you pay for. While this system was virtually plug and play, video was just..ok in bright daylight. Useless at night where you can see the gain cranked with almost nothing but noise encoded. IR was useless on outdoor locations. IR in a small enclosed garage was barely adequate.

Like your article said - these are low end entry level systems. These are marketed at costco or Sam's club or any of the warehouse clubs to their target...the small shop or store owner. DIY specialists. I had to encode one analog camera from a remote garage (used an axis m7001 - hardly a outlier) and just send the data feed in. It displayed video...locally but nothing further. No config or recording possible Onvif?? Tech support (reading from the playbook) We are Onvif 2.1 thats it. We only support our cameras...the classic tech support fallback position. This is a one trick pony.

The tremendous proliferation of these kits, installed by amatuers, and being low quality (wow I have a 2.1MP camera system) are one of the main reasons we see useless grainy video on the news stations after a robbery or worse. Pity.

Btw, I called customer support and voiced my extreme displeasure with this system on behalf of my contractor buddy. I calmly discussed my issues, spoke from a position of knowledge, and was pleasantly surprised when I was issued an RA for a full refund even without the original packaging. That refund to him paid for my time. Flir/Digimerge stepped up to the plate and did the right thing - when they could have said "tough" Kudos to them for that.

"one of the main reasons we see useless grainy video on the news stations after a robbery or worse"

Disagree. These new HD / MP kits are clearly not the reason why useless grainy video has been the norm for years. One, they simply have not been available for that long, meaning that there are 1000x more of the old analog kits out there. Secondly, these HD kits offer much higher video quality than older analog ones.

Secondly, this kit we tested is 50% lower cost than the HD IP kit you reference, correct?

That's part of the disruption. Even if the quality has stayed the same, such a price drop shifts buying decisions.

John,

Take the paragraph in context. You cherry picked one sentence.

"The tremendous proliferation of these kits, installed by amatuers, and being low quality (wow, I have a 2.1MP camera system) are one of the main reasons we see useless grainy video on the news stations after a robbery or worse. Pity."

Who said anything about being the norm for years? I know these are new offerings. My main thrust is that they are being installed by amatuer "DIY" folks. They know not what pitfalls to avoid, angle of incidence, WDR issues, leaving the NVR in plain site, Showing the public what your cameras are watching, Mounting the 2.1MP cameras to far away from the registers, doors etc assuming the digital zoom will get the detail etc.

I never compared the HD kits to older analog ones. I am referring to these kits being low quality HD as compared to other HD offerings....and not top tier either.

The kit you reference MSRP at 999.00 If Costco can sell it for $500.00 and turn a profit, great for them. Its a loss leader for them. More the pity....

FYI, I do not play or compete in this sandbox. Doing so is a fools errand. Just sick and tired of the crap video I see on TV and news feeds every day.

Michael, I still disagree about lumping in old analog stuff with new HD kits. The new HD kits are better quality than top tier big nam cameras a decade ago (that are likely to be the ones on TV).

Beyond that, I understand that you 'do not play or compete in this sandbox." The point though is that each time these guys increase quality or cuts price, it pulls away some of the existing professional market.

And let's not fool ourselves, the Dahua/Hikvision/Q-see/Etc. stuff is just as good or better than most Axis M series products (in terms of image quality night and day) even though those are 2 to 3x more expensive.

John, Not sure where you draw a conclusion that I think old analog stuff is being lumped in with HD kits. I never eluded to that?? Whatever.....

Ironically I purchased a Hikvision DS-2CD2232-I5 4mm camera Friday for my own testing (in no small part to your testing) Connected it in my test lab through Exacqvision. Side by side with an Axis P1346. Very comparable in detail to an eyechart in my shop. Temp mounted the camera outside overnight last night. Very impressive IR range and dispersment. Pitch dark conditions. Caught a fisher cat at around 4:00am meandering through.

Point being I am in agreement with you on the Dahua/Hikvision factor. I will not publish my purchase price for the I5 but the M series Axis is 2 - 3 times cost for the same basic function. The incumbents have much to worry about.

I'm curious if anyone else has had a bad experience with the FLIR bundle. I was told by an installer that it worked great so I'm wondering if it was a bad batch so to speak.

8 HD IR cameras plus an NVR with a 2TB hard drive for $499 total. Here's what it looks like, laid out on our table:

Is it really an NVR too?

It's a DVR. Corrected above.

As someone with an integration background, I never would have guessed two years ago that someone would offer 8 HD cameras, a recorder, and even the cables and power supplies for $500.

Selling a potential customer up on a 20% price difference in professional vs. consumer equipment is tough enough.

I just can't imagine trying to upsell a system where one of my cameras is the entire system cost of a DIY kit.

For those who want to see how much the market has changed in the last 5 years, take a look at this: Testing EzWatch's Analog CCTV Kit.

At that time, a 'cheap' price was $189 providing 1 analog camera, 1 cable and 1 encoder card (bring your own PC and hard drive).

Derek,

Can you confirm that both the Q-See and Dahua HD-CVI DVRs still support dual streams for remote and mobile viewing? If so, what are the resolution options for the extra stream?

Unfortunately, it seems like one of our options as security professionals / providers is to take the course of Q-See and buy in quantity and sell cheap. We've chosen to remain in the POS / VCA / LPR market, which obviously is a higher cost, but those options become more difficult to sell as well when you're faced with such low cost options.

I'm not sure if Dahua and others have thought through their entire effect on the market, maybe they have. If you look at the alarm industry from years ago, it took a cost dive just like this, and many never recovered.

If anything though, it does prompt some of us for newer technologies, applications and benfits not offered by the "box sale." We have to stay ahead to stay profitable - and neither task is all that easy.

Jonathan, I don't see most "professionals" using a Costco kit. We would possibly use them for small retail stores and carry outs. I don't think a majority of larger firms service these types of businesses anyways. Well, maybe the larger corporate chains, but not the local mom and pop stores.

However, that doesn't mean that the remainder of the Dahua/Hikvision product lineup ISN'T ready for the larger market. In fact, we would use them exclusively if they had a product that matched our needs and budget without hesitation.

Our real issue is finding a model that fits our needs. They rarely are outside of our budget. You will find the perfectly spec'ed model, only to find out that it doesn't have a 3-axis gimbal, or the whip is way too much to manage for a given install location. If they had the variety of a mfg like Axis, it would be game over IMO.

I agree that most professionals wouldn't use the Costco kits. Traditionally, it's been fairly easy to dismiss those kits to small residential, very small business. However, it seems that their given growth in the market, and the benefit of higher resolutions, remote access, etc., it's something that is no longer just a concern, but is starting to have an impact.

I remember when cameras went from viewing on switchers to multiplexers - a great direction for professional integrators. Then you got into extended VCR recorders, and then digital video recorders. It wasn't a hard sell against the Wally World systems. Now you have to try to stay ahead on a larger segment of the market. We'll always have the "professional" installation market, but a lot of our integrators rely on small business, and that impact is only going to increase.

Let's see, the price is for HD CVI kit, right?

Well, I can tell you that I have tested an NVR Onvif 2.0 9Ch, with 02 bullet IR 2MP, 02 minidome IR 2MP everything including custom taxes in my country (Peru) for less than US$ 600.00.

What should be the price for the final customer?

Seems that we should change business and begin to sell something else.

Never, ever discount the value of your labor and expertise in an attempt to compete against dirt cheap DIY systems. I have declined to even bid many small jobs because the customer was price shopping me against Costco systems. I do that in cases where they seem competent enough to handle a basic installation and keeping costs down is a critical factor for them. I am friendly and helpful with them, I give them an honest impression of what they can realisitcally expect from the system (including telling them it will meet their needs if that is the case for what they are trying to accomplish) and wish them well. I also offer a friendly invitation for them to give us a call if they need assistance with anything, or if they decide they want it professionally installed, or at least the looks of the installation cleaned up a little. I have had customers buy a $600-700 4 camera Costco system, and then pay me $1000 to install it professionally. I warrant my work, but not the gear, and Lorex is on the hook for the technical support, not me. Pretty hard for me to lose in that deal, and guess who they call if the system isn't cutting it for them and they want to upgrade hardware? With dirt cheap HD systems hitting the market now, there will be more times I will be honestly telling people that system will probably meet their needs. That's just a changing industry, and instead of sweating it, we can find the ways in which it can benefit us, such as on the service side.

The truth is, this is much less about shrinking sales and installation opportunities for us than it is about a VASTLY expanding low-end video surveillance market place. How many of the people buying a $500 DIY surveillance system were going to buy your $5000 professionally installed system anyway, if the cheap option wasn't there? A few, yes. And for every potential REAL lost sale (not just a new entrant into the market because prices are so cheap), there will be another new potential customer created for the professional installers of the world. Why? Because as video surveillance around the home becomes more ubiquitous, more people will want it and be willing to pay for a quality job who didn't even have it on their radar 2-5 years ago. It is becoming a commodity, and there will always be a significant number of people who are not DIYers.

Consider this: If this is a death knell for professional surveillance installers selling small systems profitably, then aren't Home Depot and Lowe's the death knell for... plumbers... electricians... carpenters... landscapers... house cleaners... painters... lighting desgners... ? After all, within 5 miles of most of us there is a big box store that will not only sell you everything you need to do all those jobs cheaply, they will even sell you the books on how to do it AND give you a free hands-on class to show you how its done. So in what year do any of you project plumbers will become extinct? Or have to resort to working for free in order to "compete" with Home Depot? Electricians? Landscapers? ANY trade?

You have a vast amount of expertise the customer doesn't have. Some will pay you for that expertise, others will DIY it. So what? Does Jiffy Lube cry about having to compete with those damn auto parts stores that sell people oil and filters direct so they can change it themselves? Or Midas , about brake parts? I sincerely doubt it. Recognize your worth, and charge for it.

Costco website says the domes are Indoor not outdoor. I see when you flip them upside down that Q see dome looks to have slits and cord doesn't look like it watertight fit. Are the domes indoor or outdoor?

Domes are rated indoor. Bullets are rated outdoors.

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