VMS Multistreaming Comparison

By: Sarit Williams, Published on Jul 11, 2013

With megapixel now mainstream, surveillance systems need to deal with unprecedented loads of live video display and recorded storage. One emerging technique for VMSes to handle this is using multistreaming.

Three main benefits exist:

  • Reducing load on viewing PC
  • Reducing demand on low bandwidth connections
  • Reducing storage consumption for long term archiving

However, VMS manufacturer's implementation of multistreaming varies significantly. In our study, we have found 7 main differentiators:

  • Automatic switchover of streams
  • Manual override / selection of streams
  • Display of stream selected / details
  • Cameras supported for multistreaming
  • Total streams supported
  • Digital zoom with multistreaming
  • Multi-stage archiving support

Reducing Load on Viewing PC

Watching many cameras simultaneously on a PC can quickly overload it, causing the PC or the video feeds to lockup. Worse, since today's most new cameras are megapixel, it is wasteful to display 4 or 9 of them side by side on a monitor, since the total pixels of the cameras are far greater than the monitor used for display. While you want to have the full MP stream available, always displaying it does not make sense. 

With multistreaming, an overload can be eliminated by choosing to display low quality streams side by side. This can cut load by 80-90% while having no impact on visible quality (since each individual video is displayed in a small pane). However, when the video is displayed full screen, the stream can be switched to the high quality one to take advantage of the larger display area.

Reducing Demand on Low Bandwith Connections

When bandwidth is low, viewing many high quality streams can actually make things worse, as great delays in displaying video often occurs or the video simply locks up. However, with multistreaming bandwidth usage is exponentially reduced since the requested images are a much smaller resolution and/or FPS multiplied by the number of cameras viewed at once.

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

Reducing storage consumption for long term archiving 

Multistreaming allows setting different recording schedules and storage duration per stream. Hence, allowing upwards of months or years for lower quality storage and short weekly storage for the higher quality videos in the event of an incident where detail is important.

Differentiators

Here's an explanation of the key differentiators.

Automatic switchover of streams

Some VMSes will automatically switch over from higher to lower quality streams when the user changes from single camera to multi-camera views. Others will require the user to manually select, which can become cumbersome and confusing.

Manual override / selection of streams

Some VMSes only allow automatic switching of streams, making the decision for the user. Others will allow manual selection of specific streams at specific times for particular needs. Network Optix allows all cameras in a layout to be switched at once, but negates the automatic switching to high when in single camera view.  Avigilon does not allow manual override at all.

Display of stream selected / details

Users may want to know which stream they are viewing in case they need to switch or see higher quality. Some VMSes display this on screen or with a single click. Others hide it completely.

Cameras supported for multistreaming

In addition to the camera supporting multiple streams, the VMS needs to integrate with those streams. Some VMSes have material limits in integration. For example, Avigilon does not integrate multi-streaming with many 3rd party cameras via direct integration even though those cameras are directly integrated for general use.

Total streams supported

Most VMSes only support 2 streams - a high and low, typically selected by the VMS. However, some VMSes enable fine grain configuration of 3 or more stream settings. Genetec offers the most customization here.

Digital zoom with multistreaming

When a low quality stream is being displayed and a user digitally zooms in, if the VMS does not switch to the high quality stream, the digital zoom is quite ineffective. Some VMSes require the user to first switch to a high quality stream (typically by displaying just that camera). Others, like Exacq, will automatically switch over to a high resolution stream, even in a smaller pane.

Multi-Stage Archiving

With multiple streams at different quality levels, many VMSes allow recording a higher resolution one for short periods and the lower one for longer periods. NetworkOptix is one notable exception that does not support this, but allows for boosting between the high and low resolution streams.

Manufacturers Reviewed

Avigilon

Avigilon's dual streaming feature is included for Avigilon's H.264 cameras and automatically switches between high and low streams in live view. However, while a secondary stream was not enabled when directly integrating with Bosch, it was when using ONVIF (Axis ONVIF did not) and worked just as their own cameras.

Digital zoom will not change to a higher resolution when digitally zooming in missing out on finer details. Also, stream information / selection is not displayed.

Exacq

Multistreaming is available in all editions with the exception of Exacq Vision Start. Adding a stream is done from the camera properties window and it informs the user of the number of streams available. Auto switching is the default, going from multi layout to a single view would show the optimized stream while allowing a manual override. When digital zooming, a low quality stream is automatically switched to a high quality one.

Genetec

Genetec offers the most features for managing and using multistreaming. Each camera brand will show several streams that can be associated with up to 5 different stream usage types: Live, Recorded, High, Low, and Remote. The VMS will automatically switch to a preferable option taking into account whether the user is remote or local, CPU and bandwidth. The UI displays which stream is served and allows for a manual override by the user at any time. Digital zoom within a multi camera layout will switch to a higher resolution to take advantage of the megapixels even though a single camera view is not used.

There are no additional fees for this feature,and it is available in all of Genetec's editions. 

Milestone

Milestone supports multistreaming in the Xprotect Corporate version only (Live/recorded stream option is available in other editions) with no additional licensing costs. It pulls in as many streams as the camera supports and allows an Admin to configure when a particular stream should be used (ONVIF integration also); Live, Recorded, or as Default. The end user can, however, manually override the default stream selection set by the admin. 

Here is the configuration option inside Corporate:

Here is the client stream select option:

Network Optix

This VMS pulls in both High and Low streams automatically via ONVIF Profile S. It requires no additional licenses. Digital zoom is not available is this version and archive of low stream can be configured with a boost in quality in the event of motion, however no ability to modify the second stream's properties. Furthermore, displaying large camera layouts will randomly select which stream (high/low) to show in which pane based on CPU and if the panes are equal -if not it will revert to high for larger panes. Also, if bandwidth is low the FPS count will also fluctuate real time with no user intervention and both bandwidth and stream quality will become priority for the camera in focus.

Video Insight

Video Insight's implementation requires the user to add a registry key, add the camera twice and configure each with different bitrate and fps.  Once added both cameras must be associated together in order for the automatic switching to occur in layout mode.  Furthermore, version 5.5.16 requires a license for an additional stream(some brands).

1 report cite this report:

Milestone Sues Hawk on Jul 18, 2014
Last year, an inventor / troll said they were going to sue end users for violating a patent they have on video surveillance technology. Now, they...
Comments (23) : Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

VMS 101 on Mar 03, 2020
This guide teaches the fundamentals about video management software. Inside, we cover: NVR vs VMS Viewing Video - What are common client...
Milestone XProtect 2019 R3 'Centralized Search' Tested on Oct 30, 2019
Milestone has had problems over the last few years releasing significant new software. Now, in XProtect 2019 R3, Milestone is touting "one search...
Network Optix NxWitness 4.0 Tested on Oct 10, 2019
Network Optix released Nx Witness 4.0, proclaiming new features like a deep learning analytics metadata SDK, increased H.265 support, and UX...
Avigilon Blue VSaaS Tested on Aug 05, 2019
Avigilon says Blue is a "powerful integrator cloud service platform", easy to set up and configure, quickly scale business, by leveraging cloud...
Avigilon ACC7 VMS Tested on Jul 22, 2019
Avigilon's Control Center 7 boldly claims it will "transform live video monitoring" with the new Focus of Attention "AI-enabled" interface. We...
Network Optix / Hanwha Cloud Access Tested on Jul 02, 2019
Remote cloud access is becoming a bigger differentiator, as cybersecurity issues underscore the problems of port forwarding and many integrators...
Exacq Remote Cloud Access Tested on Jun 20, 2019
Remote cloud access has been missing from most VMSes (including Exacq and Milestone). Now, Exacq, after releasing Cloud Drive Storage earlier in...
IndigoVision Control Center VMS Tested on May 30, 2019
IPVM's last test of IndigoVision's VMS was in 2010, which found enterprise VMS features and a simple client interface. but no 3rd party camera...
Milestone XProtect 2019 R1 Tested on May 15, 2019
For the past few years, Milestone has released quarterly software updates XProtect VMS platform. What is new and how much impact do the updates...
Verkada Cloud VMS/Cameras Tested on May 02, 2019
Verkada is arguably the most ambitious video surveillance startup in many years. The company is developing their own cameras, their own VMS, their...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Wyze Raises $10 Million And Seeks Services Expansion on May 27, 2020
Wyze has raised $10 million, the company's first disclosed raise since the $20 million announced at the beginning of 2019. Inside this note,...
Startup Videoloft Presents Cloud Storage on May 27, 2020
Videoloft presented offsite cloud storage at the May 2020 IPVM Startups show. A 30-minute video from Videoloft including IPVM...
Directory of 250+ Fever Camera News Reports Globally on May 27, 2020
This global directory tracks 250+ articles about thermal cameras used to detect fevers in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Articles are...
Integrators Rising Against Coronavirus on May 27, 2020
IPVM integrator statistics make it clear - Coronavirus's impact on business is lessening and many are anticipating even better news in weeks...
Netposa Stock Surges 46% After US Human Rights Abuse Sanctions on May 27, 2020
Last Friday, the US government announced it would sanction PRC video management provider NetPosa for being "complicit in human rights violations...
LILIN Presents NDAA-Compliant P2 Cameras on May 26, 2020
Merit LILIN presented its NDAA-compliant P2 camera series at the April 2020 IPVM New Products show. Inside this report: A 30-minute video...
ZKTeco Body Temperature and Mask Detection Reader Tested on May 26, 2020
While dedicated fever cameras emerged first, now tablet/kiosk fever detectors are ramping up. China's ZKTeco has been aggressively promoting such...
IDIS Presents 12MP IR Panoramic Fisheye on May 26, 2020
IDIS presented its 12MP IR panoramic fisheye camera at the April 2020 IPVM New Products show. Inside this report: A 30-minute video from...
FDA Defines Correct Operation of "Fever Cameras" on May 26, 2020
The US FDA has now defined the correct operation of "Thermal Imaging Systems", colloquially known as "fever cameras". Many in video...
OnSSI Founders Return, Start Corsight on May 25, 2020
The OnSSI founders are back, less than 2 years after selling OnSSI to Qognify, they have returned to Corsight, a spin-out of an Israeli AI...