The Value of Hybrid NVR/DVRs in IP Video Systems

Author: John Honovich, Published on Jun 15, 2008

Hybrid NVR/DVRs are appliances (purposed built computers) that can simultaneously support IP cameras and directly connected analog cameras. This provides simplicity and flexibility. Customers can start with their existing analog cameras and slowly migrate to IP. Specifically, unlike a 'pure' NVR, a hybrid NVR/DVR eliminates the need for a separate video encoder when connecting to analog cameras.

Hybrid NVR/DVRs are now being offered by almost all of the traditional DVR companies. However, many have questioned whether this meets a customer need or is done simply because it is easy for the traditional DVR companies to do.

Nevertheless, the hybrid NVR/DVR is quite legitimate and plays a critical role in very common scenarios in video surveillance:

  • 80%+ of cameras today are analog and most of those cameras have many years of service left in them.
  • In many applications (perhaps 30% or more of all systems), bandwidth constraints force customers to deploy recorders at the remote site near the on-site cameras.

In these scenarios, hybrid NVR/DVR systems will be very attractive. And since this scenario is very common, it will be a major factor for many security managers and the industry as a whole. To see why this will be a major factor, let's examine general NVR benefits and why they are reduced in these scenarios.

A main benefit of a pure NVR is consolidation of video management and storage functionalities. Rather than managing video in chunks of 16 or 32 across potentially dozens of appliances, centralized servers and storage clusters can be used. These servers and storage clusters can reduce equipment cost, power consumption and service costs. Indeed, main of the early adopters of pure NVRs and IP video systems did so because of this advantage.

The biggest challenge in consolidation is bandwidth availability. Consolidating requires video feeds from various parts of a facility/facilities be transmitted to a central location(s). To do this, requires sufficient bandwidth. Inside the local area network (usually inside a building), bandwidth availability is plenty and fairly inexpensive. However, in the wide area network (usually between buildings or campus), bandwidth is scarce and quite expensive. To centralize video management and storage across the WAN could easily cost hundreds or thousands of dollars per month, negating the benefits of consolidation.

In many distributed facilities with 4 to 32 cameras, organizations will have to manage and store their local feeds in their local premises. This is, of course, not new as it is the common practice with DVRs. However, it does affect the NVR business case and create incentive to choose hybrid NVR/DVR systems.

Economic Comparison of Hybrid DVR/NVR to pure NVR

When you have less than 32 cameras and you need to store and manage those cameras locally, the economics of hybrid NVR/DVRs are far better than pure NVRs.

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

A mid-tier 16 to 32 channel hybrid NVR/DVR costs about $6,000 to $8,000 (using online Google pricing for all estimates). The hybrid NVR/DVR does encoding, storage, management and serving of the video, all in one, with minimal on-site setup and configuration.

By contrast, a pure NVR solution can cost 20% – 50% more than a hybrid system and is more complex to setup and maintain. The additional costs come from having to (1) purchase standalone encoders to convert the analog cameras to IP ($200 to $300 per camera), (2) purchase software licenses for the NVR($100 to $150 per camera) and (3) purchase a PC/server with storage ($75 to $125 per camera). Additionally, the server needs to be set up, software loaded, OS tuned, encoders configured and connections established between encoders and NVR. It also takes more space, more IP addresses and because there are now multiple systems, increases the risk of integration or future service issues.

The NVR approach is much more complex and time consuming than the comparative hybrid NVR/DVR which is relatively plug and play. In a large scale environment where 100s of cameras were being consolidated, the cost savings often justify the additional complexity and setup time. However, in a small setup, the costs are quite significant.

Hybrid DVR/NVRs Provide a Smooth Transition

For any given customer, the most attractive hybrid DVR/NVR will be the unit from their existing DVR supplier. Even if the customer does not especially like their DVR vendor, all of their staff is trained on using that DVR's client software. Moreover, often, all of the DVRs are from one vendor, so the staff never has to worry about which software client to use. The same client software for the DVR can usually be used for the hybrid systems. This makes the switch seamless and transparent to the users. Customer are willing to switch but when it's close, the comfort of the staff is a major factor in sticking with existing processes and products.

What's the Downside of Hybrid DVR/NVRs

The biggest downside of Hybrid DVR/NVRs is that many are not truly hybrid. A genuine hybrid would be equally flexible with IP and analog. Mixing and matching many combinations of analog and IP would be standard. Supporting a variety of IP and megapixel cameras would also be standard. Exacq is a good example of a true hybid. The problem is a lot of so called 'hybrid' systems offer only token support for mixing and matching and for different IP cameras. One common technique is to offer only a few additional IP cameras, constrained to 1 or 2 IP suppliers, in addition to the 16 analog inputs. GE's Symdec is an example of a "fake" hybrid. Hybrid systems are supposed to give you flexibility to grow into IP. This approach is more of a trick than a benefit.

The other downside of Hybrid DVR/NVRs is that they may not offer the same advanced functions as NVRs. Though individual units certainly do not, most mainstream DVRs support the same type of advanced functions as NVRs do. For more information, examine my review on how DVRs have been catching up to NVRs. Buyers should examine this point but most mainstream hybrid systems should be quite close to NVRs.

Conclusion

For many mainstream security buyers, hybrid DVR/NVR systems are going to be the best choice. The lower cost, easier deployment, and lack of client changes needed will make the hybrid DVR/NVR very attractive for applications needing recording of moderate camera counts at distributed facilities. Buyers should carefully examine how hybrid the system truly is and how the functionalities compare to pure NVRs but may conclude that hybrids work best for their needs.

4 reports cite this report:

New Surveillance Products Spring 2011 Final on Apr 06, 2011
In this report, we provide a single source listing new video surveillance products announced in Spring 2011 and in conjunction with ISC West.For...
Pelco's Hybrid DVRs (DX4700/4800) Examined on Mar 08, 2011
In this note, we examine Pelco's 2 new Hybrid DVR series: the DX4700 and 4800 series. Pelco is marketing these recorders to users who want to add...
2010 Spring Surveillance Trends on Apr 01, 2010
Emerging from ISC West, a number of clear trends will likely impact purchasing decisions over the next 12 months. In this premium report, we...
Why Analog is Gaining Ground Against IP Video on Feb 16, 2009
Those who think the recession is speeding up IP convergence are likely ignorant or hopeful. Indeed, the recession is dramatically slowing...

Related Reports

Aruba Networks Profile on Feb 22, 2018
Aruba Networks' presence in the video surveillance market has historically been limited. With a company focus on Wi-Fi first and switching...
Last Chance February 2018 Camera Course on Feb 15, 2018
This is the last chance to get into the Winter camera course, starts next Tuesday. Register now. IPVM provides the best education, live online...
Hanwha Wave VMS Tested on Jan 22, 2018
Hanwha has released their first open platform VMS, Wisenet Wave, an Network Optix OEM (see test results) enhanced with integrations and...
Resolution Usage Statistics 2018 - Moving Up From 1080p on Jan 22, 2018
In 2016, IPVM statistics showed the most common camera resolution used was 1080p, rising from 2014's 720p. Now, new IPVM statistics of 200+...
VSaaS Usage Statistics 2018 on Jan 18, 2018
VSaaS has been a 'next big thing' for more than a decade. The prospect of managing, storing and streaming video from the cloud rather than...
Multicasting Surveillance Tutorial on Jan 04, 2018
Network bandwidth can be a concern for some surveillance systems. While improvements in video codecs, such as smart codecs for H.264 and H.265,...
2018 IP Networking Book Released on Jan 03, 2018
The new IP Networking Book 2018 is a 228-page in-depth guide that teaches you how IT and telecom technologies impact modern security...
QoS for Video Surveillance on Dec 29, 2017
Along with VLANs, QoS is one of the most misunderstood topics in IP surveillance networks. Many purported "experts" claim it is required in any...
NVRs - Embedded vs Separate PoE Switch (Statistics) on Dec 21, 2017
Many NVRs now offer PoE switches embedded, allowing IP cameras to be connected directly to the recorder. On the plus side, these units can...
Directory of VSaaS / Cloud Video Surveillance Providers on Dec 15, 2017
This directory provides a list of VSaaS / cloud video surveillance providers to help you see and research what options are available. 2018 State...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Aruba Networks Profile on Feb 22, 2018
Aruba Networks' presence in the video surveillance market has historically been limited. With a company focus on Wi-Fi first and switching...
US Army Base Specifies 70+ Outdated Hikvision Cameras on Feb 22, 2018
A US Army base has specified 70+ Hikvision IP cameras, a month after the WSJ reported a different Army base removed Hikvision IP cameras. While...
Directory of 30+ LPR / ANPR Providers on Feb 21, 2018
License Plate Recognition / Automatic Number Plate Recognition are a type of video analytics software that can identify and match license / number...
New Whole Foods Installs Hackable Access Control on Feb 21, 2018
Whole Foods has built a reputation for high quality. And their 2017 Amazon acquisition has increased that, plus added deep pockets for buying...
Remote Network Access for Video Surveillance Guide on Feb 21, 2018
Remotely accessing surveillance systems is key in 2018, with more and more users relying on mobile apps as their main way of operating the system....
Visio For Video Surveillance Design on Feb 20, 2018
Many integrators have standardized on AutoCAD for camera layouts but new users may be overwhelmed by its learning curve. Microsoft's Visio...
Health Care Insurance Integrator Benefits Statistics on Feb 20, 2018
How common and how much healthcare coverage is typically provided by security companies? 150+ integrators explained how their companies provide the...
Hikvision Deletes Genetec Support on Feb 20, 2018
There will be no peace between Hikvision and Genetec. A year after Genetec expelled Hikvision (and Huawei, citing Chinese government control...
Change Orders - Sometimes Necessary, Sometimes Unethical on Feb 19, 2018
Change orders are a common element in project sales. Sometimes they are a necessity and appropriate ways to deal with arising issues, but sometimes...
Bosch Merges Video, Intrusion and Access Businesses on Feb 19, 2018
Bosch is merging their "video systems, intrusion detection, as well as its access control and management software business units to form a single...

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