DVRs don't get much respect anymore. Widely viewed as old and antiquated, the buzz now goes to VMSes. When IP video people think good software, DVRs are generally far from their mind. Plus since VMS software, by design, works with megapixel and IP cameras, they support the latest and greatest cameras. Lots of savvy people look at DVRs and wonder why they would pay thousands of dollars for a proprietary, analog only, box.
In our discussions with numerous integrators, the strongest case made for using DVRs is choosing very low cost Asian DVRs. These integrators point out that the prices for these units are incredibly low ($250 or less for 4 channel DVRs, $1,000 or less for 16 channel DVRs, etc.). The total cost of these appliances are far less than just the hardware costs alone from Dell, HP, Intransa, Pivot3, etc. Add in the cost of software licenses and the higher camera costs for IP over analog and the cost savings of using Asian DVRs are massive.
We've been intrigued by this. The economics seem clear but what about the quality? The deserved historical reputation of Asian products is bad UIs, poor software feature sets, weak support, etc. We wanted to see for ourselves where these low cost DVRs truly stand today.
In this report, we share our test results of Hikvision's DVRs and contrast them to Milestone's Essential VMS software (including our tests of Milestone's Smart Client and Go). We found Hikvision to be a good representative choice - large revenues (hundreds of millions) and broad product use (either directly or through their DVR OEMs). Additionally, as Hikvision has been aggressively expanding its presence in both the EU and the US, this would give us a chance to see where they stand and what, if any, progress they have made. Milestone, of course, is a logical choice as well simply because it is so commonly cited and marketed throughout the world as a leading VMS software.
We were surprised how competitive the much cheaper Hikvision solution was with Milestone. Inside the Pro section, we dig into the comparison, sharing our findings and test results.