The Case Against Hybrid DVRs

By: John Honovich, Published on Oct 10, 2009

A number of IP Video manufacturers object to hybrid DVR systems, contending that they are essentially tools of incumbents manufacturers to delay and scare the move to higher value pure IP systems (using all IP cameras or analog cameras plus encoders).

The most passionate and repeated case is being made by UK manufacturer, Controlware. In a series of posts against hybrid DVRs [link no longer available], they level the following objections:

  • They suspect that,"hybrid technology is mostly being promoted for the simple reasons that the majority of manufacturers don’t have a pure IP offering, or the expertise to support IP deployments"
  • Lack of support of 3rd party cameras, locking in to proprietary legacy systems
  • Limited to a maximum frame rate of 12.5 fps
  • Limited in maximum storage and redundancy
  • Hybrid cannot offer iSCI storage
It's a very weak case overall. Going point by point:
  • Genetec recently released a hybrid DVR. Their explanation: A hyrbid DVR extends Genetec's reach to "projects that would otherwise gravitate towards legacy DVR and access control solutions because of cost sensitivity and complexity aversion." Surely, Controlware does not think that Genetec is doing this because their pure IP offering is not good enough. While some legacy DVR manufacturers may be pushing hybrid as a stop gap, even IP video software leaders see the genuine customer value in hybrid DVRs. [Update: this offering was discontinued.]
  • Some hybrid DVRs have limited 3rd party camera support just like some IP video software applications have limited support. Many hybrid DVRs have fairly broad support including recently released products from Genetec, Salient, 3VR and Exacq.
  • Many hybrid DVRs have support up to a full 30 fps. However, even with those models that do not, usually it is not an issue. Indeed, most sites that want 8 - 16 cameras only, usually record at 15fps or lower.
  • Many DVRs now support external storage, iSCi and redundancy. For instance, Intransa has a program that certifies and provides external iSCI storage [link no longer available] for American Dynamics, Bosch, Honeywell, Pelco and Vicon DVRs. Intransa's not the only one, simply the one with the most public demonstration of such wide interoperability.
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