Anixter/Tri-Ed Northern Video Tested

By Ethan Ace, Published Sep 18, 2015, 12:00am EDT (Research)

ADI is an IP video manufacturer now (see IPVM's ADI W Box test results).

And now, their top rival, Anixter's Tri-Ed arm has also entered the IP video manufacturering business, under the Northern Video brand name.

But can Tri-Ed really compete with their video surveillance manufacturer partners?

We bought a Northern IP camera and POE NVR to see how they compare to models from Hikvision and ADI's W Box in image quality, integration, and more.

Tri-Ed's Northern IP camera/NVR line is a direct Hikvision OEM, with very few changes aside from aesthetics, even down to the MAC address OUI.

In our tests, Northern, Hikvision, and ADI's W Box were extremely similar in image quality, VMS compatibility, discovery tools, etc., making equivalent models essentially interchangeable. 

Firmware used by Northern is older than current Hikvision models, and prior to Hikvision's "anti-hacking" features. Northern cameras may not be flashed with Hikvision firmware, nor vice versa. Northern's latest firmware for these cameras is nearly a year old.

Industry Impact

Tri-Ed's Northern line provides yet another means for integrators to purchase Hikvision cameras at low prices, furthering their market penetration in a segment which they already lead.

Like ADI's W Box, we expect Northern being stocked at Tri-Ed branches to cut into competitive sales, as well.

Pricing and Availability

Northern IP cameras and NVRs are available from Tri-Ed, though curiously not from parent company Anixter. No special dealer sign up is required, only a Tri-Ed account. Some online stores are selling these cameras as well, though they are not authorized.

Pricing on equipment in this test:

Compared to Hikvision and W Box, this pricing is similar, with all three in the ~$100 range. Users may see and compare all of Northern's models in the IPVM Camera Finder.

Recommendations

With performance, warranty, and VMS compatibility similar to Hikvision, and stock at Tri-Ed branches, Northern's IP camera line is a solid low end choice for integrators.

End users may still prefer Hikvision, however, as it is readily available online, unlike Northern.

Users should be sure to change default Northern passwords as their older firmware version is essentially as vulnerable to hacking as pre-5.3.0 firmware Hikvision product.

Northern = Hikvision

Looking up the Northern IP camera's MAC address, the OUI clearly belongs to Hikvision, seen below.

Moreover, they are discoverable by the same software, Hikvision's SADP, and compatible with Hikvision's iVMS-4200 CMS, both of which Northern offers on their website [link no longer available].

Web Interface

The Northern camera and NVR UIs are extremely similar to Hikvision, with very few changes, even using the same color scheme, as shown in the gif below:

VMS Integration

Like W Box, when added to VMSes via Hikvision drivers, the Northern IP camera functions as a Hikvision camera. Users should be careful to use direct Hikvision drivers where avialable, as ONVIF may not provide camera side VMD support.

Physical Differences

The Northern NTH-IP3B uses a different housing than the Hikvision 2032 equivalent, but the size and LED layout are very similar.

The comparison below shows the cameras from the side, again very similar size, with the same base mount.

The Northern NVR front panel includes a different design with control buttons, absent from Hikvision and W Box recorders. The housing is otherwise the same.

Warranty

Northern's warranty [link no longer available] is similar to Hikvision's, 3 years on IP cameras and NVRs. However, the Northern warranty includes 90 days of over the counter returns, with users simply returning defective equipment to a Tri-Ed branch for same day replacement. ADI's W Box line includes a longer 5 year warranty [link no longer available].

Image Quality Comparison

Image quality of the Northern NTH-IP3B is nearly identical to its Hikvision equivalent, the DS-2CD2032-I, even down to white balance, seen below in day and night scenes.

 

Versions Used

The following firmware versions were used for this test: 

  • Northern NTH-IP3B: 5.1.6 build 141210
  • Hikvision DS-2CD2032-I: 5.3.0 build 150513
  • W Box 21BF40: V5.2.0 build 150416

Cameras were tested using default settings unless otherwise noted.

 

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