Testing Vivotek Smart Stream

Author: Derek Ward, Published on Apr 18, 2014

Reduce storage costs by 30%, claims Vivotek.

Their new "Smart Stream" feature intelligently compresses video streams such that moving objects get higher quality than background, stationary parts of the scene. Here is their promo video:

How Is This Done?

Recall all surveillance video is compressed. In H.264, one can choose the level of compression from 0 to 51 (least to highest amount of compression) and each manufacturer can choose how much compression (see our IP Camera Manufacturer Compression Comparison).

Camera manufacturers typically use a single compression level for the entire scene (for example, 28). What Vivotek is doing with Smart Stream is dynamically varying the compression level (for example, a 'low' 24 for moving objects and a 'high' 36 for stationary / background ones.

This absolutely saves bandwidth compared to using a single compression level. However...

The IPVM Test of Smart Stream

Just because one manufacturer is dynamically varying compression level does not ensure that it is lower than the compression approaches of rival manufacturers.

IPVM did a test of Vivotek's first Smart Stream camera, the 3MP IR IP8371E against rivals from Avigilon, Bosch, Hikvision and Samsung. We tested for bandwidth levels, after normalizing resolution, frame rate and compression levels. Plus, we tested indoors and outdoors, day and night to measure the differences.

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Comments (6)

Hi

Interesting article!

I had one question though. How is the comparable visual quality of the images when the bandwidth comparison's were done. Bascially if the picture quality is different (which is possible even with same Quantization) then diffference in bit rates is expected.

We normalized the resolution compression levels of each camera prior to testing so that none of them had a structural advantage. Of course, maybe one camera is somehow 'better' than others, despite this, and to that each person can judge by viewing the images.

As a reference, please see: IP Camera Manufacturer Compression Comparison

Hi Derek,

1) What is a sense to compare box cameras (Samsung SNB-6084 and Bosh NBN-932V) with bulet models with IR illumination on, for dark scenes?

2) Why for the tests you haven't used, the Samsung SNO-6084R camera, aforementioned in the article, but box model instead?

3) Have you turned on bandwidth savings features in others cameras for this comparison?

Hi Marcin, sorry for the late reply:

1. We compare to leading low light box camera models when we do IR tests to show the performance difference between built in IR and low light models in both imaging and bandwidth. With bandwidth being such a strong claim in Vivotek's Smart Stream, we found it important to compare to multiple options in this test.

2. We included that camera as a price comparison, but we did not have it here to test. We have a lot of cameras (somewhere between 60-80, but I haven't counted in awhile), but we don't have an exhaustive stock of current models in all form factors from all manufacturers. It's simply not practical. So we tested against bullet cameras we have currently, including the Avigilon H3 which was one of the top performing integrated IR cameras we've tested. We do have some integrated IR tests planned, but no date yet.

3. The Vivotek model was the only model in this test with a specific feature aimed at bandwidth savings. We could change settings on other models to be lower, perhaps, but no one else is claiming it as a feature like Smart Stream.

On the front picture you showed how they had changed on the new model to 4 high powered LEDs, but interesting they are not using a range focus lens on those. In addition there are 2 other Leds next to the sensor, Did you look at the wavelengh and power on those 2 LEDs can they be controled for the extra range?

As an FYI, Hikvision Smart 4-series cameras have similar feature - ROI (Region of Interest) encoding which can be either a user defined zone or dynamic.

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