Should You Use Video Encoders?

Author: John Honovich, Published on Mar 17, 2009

Many people want to go IP but 95% of deployed cameras are analog. Encoders are the most common solution but is that the best approach? 

What are Encoders?

Encoders are appliances that convert analog video feeds to digital so that the video can be transmitted over IP networks and stored on digital storage like hard drives. Encoders generally cost $300 USD to $400 USD per analog camera. 

While DVRs encode and store video, encoders simply encode video and transmit the video to a remote storage location. If you are not familar with encoders, I recommend a very good encoders tutorial from SDM.

Axis Makes the Case for Encoders

In a recent whitepaper on encoders, Axis recommends using encoders as "the easy path to network video."

In it, Axis dismisses DVRs as an alternative, saying:

"[DVRs have] never been able to deliver more than a handful of the benefits that can be provided by full-fledged network video systems. With DVRs, video is still stored on proprietary equipment, which makes integration with the fast-growing market of software applications for network and video management."

We have 2 claims: (1) a general claim about lacking benefits and (2) a specific claim that DVRs do not integrate with software applications.

The Key Need for Encoders

Encoders have clearly been the best and most frequent option for migrating to network video. I see two practical reasons:

  • DVRs generally did not support IP cameras
  • IP Video Software generally did not support video stored in DVRs

It's the combination of these two factors that makes designing systems so difficult. On the one hand, if you connect analog cameras to a traditional DVR, you are stuck with not using IP cameras. On the other hand, because IP Video Software has very limited support for DVRs, you cannot integrate your analog cameras connected to a DVR with your IP cameras.

What's Not a Barrier

Other technical elements in using DVRs or IP video software are generally not a barrier. Both DVRs and IP Video Software offer significant capabilities in access control integration, remote viewing, client UIs, PoS/ATM support, mapping, analytics, etc. 

Use Encoders?

In the old days, you had to use encoders because of these two historical barriers. They were used despite the fact that separating encoding from storage almost always significantly increased the cost, complexity and service requirements of deployments.

However, with DVRs adding supporting for IP cameras and IP Video Software expanding their support for remote storage, the benefit of encoders will continue to be reduced. There are many solutions on the market today where not using encoders for migrating to IP video is better. This will continue to grow in the future.

**** ****** **** ** ** ** *** **% ** ******** cameras *** ******. ******** *** *** **** ****** ******** *** is **** *** **** ********? 

What *** ********?

******** *** ********** **** ******* ****** ***** ***** ** ******* so **** *** ***** *** ** *********** **** ** ******** and ****** ** ******* ******* **** **** ******. ******** ********* cost $*** *** ** $*** *** *** ****** ******. 

***** **** ****** *** ***** *****, ******** ****** ****** ***** and ******** *** ***** ** * ****** ******* ********. ** *** are *** ******* **** ********, * ********* * **** ************ ***************.

Axis ***** *** **** *** ********

** * **************** ** ********, **** ********** ***** ******** ** "*** **** **** ** network *****."

** **, **** ********* **** ** ** ***********, ******:

"[**** ****] ***** **** **** ** ******* **** **** * ******* of *** ******** **** *** ** ******** ** ****-******* ******* video systems. **** ****, ***** ** ***** ****** ** *********** *********, which ***** *********** **** *** ****-******* ****** ** ******** ************ *** network *** ***** **********."

** **** * ******: (*) * ******* ***** ***** ******* benefits *** (*) * ******** ***** **** **** ** *** integrate **** ******** ************.

The *** **** *** ********

******** **** ******* **** *** **** *** **** ******** ****** for ********* ** ******* *****. * *** *** ********* *******:

  • **** ********* *** *** ******* ** *******
  • ** ***** ******** ********* *** *** ******* ***** ****** ** DVRs

**'* *** *********** ** ***** *** ******* **** ***** ********* systems ** *********. ** *** *** ****, ** *** ******* analog ******* ** * *********** ***, *** *** ***** **** not ***** ** *******. ** *** ***** ****, ******* ** Video ******** *** **** ******* ******* *** ****, *** ****** integrate **** ****** ******* ********* ** * *** **** **** IP *******.

What's *** * *******

***** ********* ******** ** ***** **** ** ** ***** ******** are ********* *** * *******. **** **** *** ** ***** Software ***** *********** ************ ** ****** ******* ***********, ****** *******, ****** UIs, ***/*** *******, *******, *********, ***. 

Use ********?

** *** *** ****, *** *** ** *** ******** ******* of ***** *** ********** ********. **** **** **** ******* *** fact **** ********** ******** **** ******* ****** ****** ************* ********* the ****, ********** *** ******* ************ ** ***********.

*******, **** **** ****** ********** *** ** ******* *** ** Video ******** ********* ***** ******* *** ****** *******, *** ******* of ******** **** ******** ** ** *******. ***** *** **** solutions ** *** ****** ***** ***** *** ***** ******** *** migrating ** ** ***** ** ******. **** **** ******** ** grow ** *** ******.

[***************]

Pain ****** ** ***** ********

*** *** ********* **** ******** ** *** ********** ** ******** and ******* **** ******** *******. ******** ** ***** **** ********, it ********:

  • ******* ** * ******* ******* *** ********/******* *** *** ********
  • *********** *** ******** *** *********** *** ********
  • ******** *** ** *** ***** ** **** ******** *** *********
  • ********** *** **** ** ******** **** **** **** **** ****** them ** * ***
  • ******** ** *********
  • *********/******** ** **** ******** *** *********
*** *********** ******** ********** ** *** ********* '****' ******* *********** security ******* *** ** ***** ***********. **** ** ***** ***********, who **** ***** **** * ***, ***** **** ***** ** no **** ** *** *** **** ******* ** ******** *** IP ***** ******** ** *** *** ****** **** * ***.
** ******* *** *** ** ** ********** *** *** *** up **** **** *** ** ***** *******, ** ***** ******** and ******** ******** **** **** ***** *** ***** **** ****. This ** ********** *********** **** *** *** ** ** ***** roll **** ********* **** ***** ** *********** *********.
Economic *****-*** ******* ******** *** ****
** ******* **** *** ** ******** ** ******** *** ********* close ** *****. ** * *** ******* *****, **** **** are ** *** ***** ** $***-$*** *** ******* (* ** channel '**********' *** ***** $*,*** - $*,***).
*** ******* ** *** ***, ** ******, ** **** ** eliminates *** ***** ****** *****, ******** *** ***** ********** ************* and *******. **** *** *** **** **, *** **** ********* can ** *********** ($*** - $*** ******* *** *******).
How ****** *** ******** ******* ******** ******
* ***** ***** *** ******* -- ****** *** ******* *** becoming **** ******. ** ****, ****** ******* **** *** *** far *******. ***, **** *** ************* ***** ****** *******. ***** some **** **** ******* ****** *******, **** *** *** **** fledge - ** ********, ***** *** ******, *** ** ******** examined ** ******* *** ********** *****.
****** ******* ********* *** ******* **** **** ********** *** ** analog **** *******. **** ******, *** **************:
  • ****** **** *** ********** ****** ******* (** *********** ********)
  • *** ****** *********** ** *** **** ********* ** **/********* *******
*** ***** ***** ** *** ** ***** ******** ** ******* DVRs. **** ** * ***** **** * ***** ** ******* out *** *** **** ** ***** ********* ********. ***** ** the ******* ****** *** **** '*****' ** **** *****. **** have ******** ***** *** ******** ** ****************** **** *** ***** ****. *** *********** ******* **** ** **** **** **** *** announced *** ******** **** **** **** *** **********. ***** **** do **, **'* *** ************* *** **** *** **** ***********.
** ***** ******** *********** **** ******** *********** ******** ***** *** faces *** **** ********: (*) *** ********* *** ****** *********** to *** ** ***** ********** ********* **** ***** *******. ** not ******** ****** ** *********, *** ******* *** **** ********* not ** *******. (*) ********** ***** ***** ********* *** ***** technical ****** ********* ** *** **** ** ***** ****, *** means ** *****, *** ****** ********* ** *********, ***.

** *** ***** ****, ******* ****** ************* *** *** ****** on-board *******, ** ***** ******** ********* *** ************ ***** ***** to *** ******* *** ****** ***** *******. ** *** ****** that ** ***** ********* ** ****, **** ***** ******* *** technical *********** ** ******** ******* *** ****.

***********, ****** **** *** *** *** **** ***** *** *********** encoders. ** *** ******, ** ***** ******* ********** **** *** be * *** ** ********* ******** *** ******* * **** seamlessly ********** ********.

Application **** ****

*** **** ********* *** ***** ******** *** ******** ******** ** whether **** *** ****** ******** ****** ****. ** **** ** not, *** **** ** *** ********. ***** **** *** ** not, ******** **** ** **** **** ******.

*** ***** ***** *** ******* ********** ****** ****, *** ******** should **** ** **** ***** ** *** **** ****** ******* are ******* ** ***** ********* ** *** *******. ************, *** key ******* ** ***** *** ******* ****** *** ********** (** can ** **********). ** ***** *** * ** **** ****** cameras **** *** ** ********** ** * ****** ********, * hybrid *** ** ****** ** ** **** **********. ***** **** this *** ** ******* ** ******** ******.

** ******, ** *** *********** ***** *** ******** ***** **** to ******** **** * ***-***** **** **** ******* (**** ***, Cable *****, **), ***** * ****** ******** ** ***** (******* you **** **** ** ****** **-**** ******).

Evolving **********

** ************* *** *********** **** ** ****** **** ****** ******* are ******* * ******* **** *** **** ****** ******* *** DVRs *** ** ************.

******** *** *** ****** *** **** ******. **** ****** **** the **** ****** *** * **** ****.

********** **** *** ***** ****** **** **** ****** *** **** of ******. ** **** ***, ** ** *** ***** *** IP *******. ** *** ***** ****, ** ******** * ******* opening *** ** ** **** **** *** *********** ** ****** staying ***** ** ******.

** ******* ****** **** ** ****** *** ******* *** **** of ***** ******* ************ ** **** ** ********* ******* ****** of **.

Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts unique testing and research funded by member's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.

Related Reports

OpenEye Takes Aim At Exacq on Mar 23, 2017
First Milestone targeted Exacq with a takeover offer, and now OpenEye is gunning for them with an offer to swap out Exacq for their cloud-managed...
Lock Keyways For Access Control Guide on Mar 23, 2017
Lock keyways can be the difference between a lock working or not. Understanding keyways is important for access control. Indeed, a member recently...
VMS Update Automation Compared on Mar 20, 2017
Updating VMS software can be a tedious and time consuming processing, which historically has required users to access each machine, download update...
Brivo Opens Up, Adds Mercury Support on Mar 16, 2017
Brivo's cloud-based access control was built around the companies proprietary hardware controllers, and was often seen as a limitation by...
Top Trade Shows For Security Integrators on Mar 16, 2017
100+ North American security integrators told us what trade shows they attend and why. The most well known shows are ISC West and ASIS but there...
Environmental Sensors For Burglar Alarm Tutorials on Mar 15, 2017
Intrusion detection systems can be used to alert users to environmental issues. By connecting sensors that monitor the heat, humidity, and...
Burglar Alarm Screens Tutorial on Mar 14, 2017
Many residential alarm subscribers arm their alarms before going to bed at night. Wiring window screens allow these subscribers to leave their...
CSC / Wesco Distributor Favorability Results on Mar 13, 2017
  IPVM has conducted favorability statistics for distributors, based on 100+ integrator responses, covering ADI, Anixter, Scansource, PSA, Tri-Ed,...
Positive Video Surveillance Outlook - 2017 Statistics on Mar 07, 2017
376 manufacturers and integrators revealed their outlook on the future of the video surveillance industry in a recent IPVM survey. Both groups are...
Amazon Distributor Favorability Results on Mar 03, 2017
Amazon is not a security distributor, but they often have more stock, better prices, and faster shipping on certain components than many...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Broken Browser Support for Video Surveillance on Mar 22, 2017
Modern web browsers have left the security industry behind. Current Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge browsers do not support NPAPI plugins,...
ADI Favorability Results on Mar 22, 2017
150 North American integrators provided feedback on 6 distributors, and why they do (or do not do) business with ADI. ADI is clearly a big name in...
1 Million Dahua Devices Exposed To Backdoor on Mar 22, 2017
Statistics show that 1 million Dahua devices are publicly exposed and vulnerable to the Dahua backdoor. Despite this, Dahua has downplayed the...
Hikvision Hires Crisis Communication Writer on Mar 21, 2017
Hikvision has hired a crisis communication writer as the company ramps up its efforts to deal with the 'crisis' it feels it is facing. 'Crisis...
Glass Break Sensor Tutorial on Mar 21, 2017
Burglars often break glass windows to get into a house. Using glass break detectors in conjunction with alarm contacts is a good way to protect the...
Unikey Smart Phone Access Control Platform on Mar 21, 2017
More and more people carry smart phones. Many think this could replace the conventional key or card for access control. However, using a phone...
VMS Update Automation Compared on Mar 20, 2017
Updating VMS software can be a tedious and time consuming processing, which historically has required users to access each machine, download update...
Anvil Traveler Threat Management Offering on Mar 20, 2017
A common component of enterprise security systems is traveler threat management, complementing the various physical security systems in place. One...
Simplisafe Warns Customers About Alarm Fines on Mar 17, 2017
Simplisafe markets themselves as a 'better way' than traditional professional alarm companies. However, in one key way, Simplisafe hides the...

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