Testing Lowest Bandwidth Camera? (DVTel Quasar)

By: Ethan Ace, Published on Nov 12, 2012

DVTel is making bold claims about their new HD camera line, Quasar, boasting that:

"DVTEL’s Quasar video surveillance cameras offer the highest quality video with the most cost effective, lowest bandwidth and storage requirements on the market today." [emphasis added]

Not only did they say it, but they sang it:

Needless to say, we are always excited to see if such breakthroughs in video quality and low bandwidth consumption can be delivered.

Overall, the DVTel camera is ok but has a few surprising issues, in how it controls the shutter and fixes the compression level. Additionally, the quality is neither better nor is the bandwidth consumption lower after adjusting for compression tricks.

A few important things to keep in mind:

  • This series does have 3rd party integration via ONVIF and we were able to use it with Exacq without any problem
  • Low light performance was relatively poor compared to top cameras tested against.
  • While the camera is marketed as WDR, DVTel acknowledges and our tests showed that it was not on the same level as 'true' WDR from Axis, Sony, etc.
  • Exposure Mode Complication: This camera only allows controlling iris or shutter speed but not both at the same time. This can create video quality problems and is not common with other high end professional cameras (that dynamically control both simultaneously).
  • Compression Settings: When using VBR, the quality/compression level is fixed at a fairly high loss level. This drives bandwidth savings but creates noticeable artificating.
  • Price: The MSRP is $975, without a lens. After dealer discount, that puts it roughly at the same level as other high end HD cameras.

Recommendation

If you are using an end to end DVTel offering, the camera may make sense. However, for everyone else, there are equally good or better cameras at the same or lower pricing from more mainstream providers.

Most importantly, the low bandwidth and high quality claims should simply not be considered as we see no evidence to support them. For professional HD cameras in 2012, the performance is average.

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

Camera Configuration and Options

The video screencast below overviews key camera settings and configurations:

Auto Iris vs. Auto Shutter Modes

Be careful about choosing between auto iris and auto shutter modes, a choice that is unnecessary on most professional auto-iris cameras.

iris vs shutter

  • The default auto iris mode allows the camera to dynamically adjust the iris opening but fixes the shutter speed at 1/30s. Any fast moving objects (like cars) will likely blur.
  • The optional auto shutter mode allows the camera to dynamically control the shutter speed but fixes the iris to fully open, essentially making it a manual iris camera.

This is a bad default and an unnecessary restriction for cameras in this tier.

This image shows a comparison between these two modes on a busy road. Both vehicles in these images were moving at approximately the same speed. Note the greatly reduced motion blur in the right-hand (Auto Shutter) image (click for larger version):

auto iris - auto shutter

Both modes still display artifacting highlighted in this comparison:

VBR vs. CBR

DVTel recommends to use the camera in CBR mode. In testing, we used both VBR and CBR. VBR was used to see how far bandwidth consumption would drop dynamically. CBR was used to confirm and compare.

Important: If you use this camera in production, we recommend against using VBR because, unlike nearly every other professional camera, there is no user adjustable quality/compression control. Worse, the locked quality level is low and leads to artificating that is especially noticeable in high motion scenes.

Indoor Daytime Comparison

In an indoor, evenly lit (~295 lux), 22 foot wide FoV (about 28' to target), DVTel consumed the least bandwidth by far (using VBR) but showed moderate levels of artifacting around the subject's body.

Daytime comparison

This artifacting becomes apparent when zoomed in on the subject.

Daytime Image Comparison

Overall, though the images were roughly comparable, with the 720p Axis, not surprisingly capturing less details than the 1080p/3MP cameras.

Warning - DVTel's Default Exposure

DVTel has an extremely aggressive default minimum shutter speed of 1/4s. This is 750% slower than the shutter required for full frame rate 30fps streaming that will cause massive motion blur. The default is show below:

default shutter

Be careful with such a slow shutter. For purposes of our test, we normalized all cameras to a minimum 1/30s shutter.

Nighttime Comparison

In low light (~.1 lux), the CF-4221 essentially becomes black, while the other cameras in this test produced at least some usable image (with normalized 1/30s exposures). Despite the lack of usable image, bandwidth also increases by 2-3x, from 800-900 kbps to around 3.5 mbps in variable bitrate mode.

Nighttime Image Comparison

Intersection Comparison

We did two test runs for the intersection. In the first run, we set DVTel at VBR and the bitrate it settled on was ~4Mb/s.

4Mb/s VBR for DVTel

While DVTel's bandwidth was lower than the other VBR streams (especially Axis, Arecont and Avigilon which were 2 to 3x more), DVTel demonstrated far more image artifacting and motion blur as shown below:

In addition to the image artifiacting due to the high locked VBR compression level, DVTel displayed more blur because it was in its default auto iris control which fixes the shutter to 1/30s.

Users may download a 10-second video clip (66 MB file) to review video from all six cameras in this scene.

We also tried DVTel at CBR of 4Mb/s but not surprisingly image quality issues / differences remained the same. We then doubled DVTel's CBR rate to 8Mb/s.

8Mb/s CBR for DVTel

Enabling constant bitrate of 8 Mbps in the CF-4221 results in less noise, with the grass seen in the background becoming more clear. In this comparison, we also increased the Sony SNC-CH240's bitrate to 8 Mbps. It still displays noise, though there is less blur on the moving car than in the DVTel image.

Bottom line, what we found was aggressively high default compression levels with DVTel, not any breakthrough improvement in compression or image quality.

1 report cite this report:

ASIS 2014 - 17 Manufacturer Tech Review on Sep 30, 2014
This long post recaps key findings from IPVM team members meeting with manufacturers at ASIS 2014 including Hikvision, EMC, Pelco, Digital...
Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports on Bandwidth

Repositionable Multi-Imager Camera Shootout - Avigilon, Axis, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Panasonic, Vivotek on Jun 19, 2019
Repositionable multi-imager cameras are one of the fastest growing segments in video surveillance, with a slew of new offerings being recently...
Camera Course Summer 2019 - Register Now on Jun 12, 2019
Register for the Summer 2019 Camera Course.  This is the only independent surveillance camera course, based on in-depth product and technology...
Favorite Wireless Manufacturers 2019 on Jun 12, 2019
Many wireless options exist for video surveillance but how are integrator's overall favorites? 170 integrators answered the question: What is...
Avigilon 32MP and 12MP H4 Multisensor Cameras Tested on Jun 11, 2019
Avigilon has released their H4 Multi-Sensor line of cameras claiming "broad scene coverage and high image detail" We bought and tested the...
Smart CODEC Usage Statistics 2019 on Jun 03, 2019
Smart codecs are now nearly a standard feature in IP cameras, but our statistics show integrator adoption has not increased at the same rate. In...
Verkada Favorability Results 2019 on May 29, 2019
Verkada has taken the industry by storm with the fastest growing video surveillance sales organization ever and a half billion dollar valuation....
Verkada Video Quality Problems Tested on May 23, 2019
Verkada suffers from numerous video quality problems, not found in commercial IP cameras, new IPVM testing of Verkada vs Axis and Hikvision...
Average Frame Rate Video Surveillance 2019 on May 23, 2019
What is the average frame rated used in video surveillance systems? In IPVM's 2011 statistics, the average was 6-8fps increasing to ~10fps in...
Bank Security Manager Interview on May 15, 2019
Bank security contends with many significant threats - from fraudsters to robbers and more. In this interview, IPVM spoke with bank security...
Register Now - Fall 2019 IP Networking Course on May 02, 2019
Register for the Fall 2019 IP Networking Course. For early registration save $50 off the course's normal $299 price. This is the only networking...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Risk of Amazon Alexa Guard: No Battery Or Cell Backup on Jun 20, 2019
Amazon positions its Alexa Guard Service as a "smart home security system" and says it can help you "keep your home safe". However, the...
Exacq Remote Cloud Access Tested on Jun 20, 2019
Remote cloud access has been missing from most VMSes (including Exacq and Milestone). Now, Exacq, after releasing Cloud Drive Storage earlier in...
Briefcam Buys Frost Award* on Jun 20, 2019
Frost 'awards' are well-known and widely disrespected. Now Briefcam is touting their win. The way it has worked for many years is that Frost...
IFSEC 2019 Show Report on Jun 19, 2019
The UK's largest trade show, IFSEC, is underway and IPVM has been examining what is new and happening at the show. Inside, we cover: Huawei...
Repositionable Multi-Imager Camera Shootout - Avigilon, Axis, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Panasonic, Vivotek on Jun 19, 2019
Repositionable multi-imager cameras are one of the fastest growing segments in video surveillance, with a slew of new offerings being recently...
Genetec Synergis Cloud Link - Complex, Costly and Confusing on Jun 18, 2019
Genetec's Synergis Cloud Link is complex, costly and confusing compared to competitor access control architectures. Inside this note, we examine...
Startup Vaion Launching End-to-End AI Solution Backed with $20 Million Funding on Jun 17, 2019
An EU / USA video surveillance startup, Vaion, founded by ex-Cisco Senior Directors is launching an end-to-end VSaaS platform with $20 million in...
Biometrics Usage Statistics 2019 on Jun 17, 2019
While face and fingerprint recognition are used regularly for smartphones, it is not as common in physical security. In this note, we examine...
The Scheme Hikvision and China Importers Use To Avoid Tariffs on Jun 17, 2019
Hikvision and numerous China importers are avoiding 25% tariffs by including an SD card slot in their IP cameras to claim they are 'digital still...
Sighthound Transforms Into Enterprise AI Provider Profile on Jun 14, 2019
Sighthound is now rapidly expanding its R&D team, building an enterprise AI service. This may come as a surprise given their origins 6 years...

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