Worst IP Camera Manufacturer 2014

Author: John Honovich, Published on Feb 03, 2014

Can Arecont Vision defend its title? Or will an upstart dethrone them?

Our 2011 Worst IP camera manufacturer results created an uproar, with Arecont slamming us in response. No doubt, the criticisms were true, reflecting the systematic problems and errors punishing integrators internationally.

Now, just over 2 years later, we have conducted a new survey of 120+ integrators across 20+ countries to determine what manufacturers are causing the most problems today.

To make it tougher to repeat, this time, we asked the question:

"In the past year, what IP camera manufacturer have you had the worst experience with? What happened?"

This way, Arecont would not win simply on reputation alone. Respondents would have to focus on recent problems.

Of the 120 respondents, 6 manufacturers stood out. We dig through each one inside, sharing the specific feedback and problems encountered.

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Comments (54)

2014? It's February. Don't you mean worst of 2013?

The survey was conducted and released in 2014, ergo the date on the title.

It's like the EA sports Madden franchise. Always a year ahead!

What? No Avigilon? ;)

Wait for

"Next week - the 2014 Favorite IP Camera Manufacturers are revealed." :)

I am sure John will rated as #1 choice

Right John ? :)

"I am sure John will rated as #1 choice"

I am sorry. I do not understand the sentence.

Alain, how dare you suggest that Avigilon would be the worst manufacturer!

Unless... unless, of course, you are emphasizing how well they did ;)

Avigilon did have 2 votes, with one noting that they "take a lot of bandwidth and cameras seem to drop offline a lot."

There was a handful of manufacturers with one or two votes but that was not significant enough to warrant inclusion in the list.

Do you have the total list availble ?

There was another dozen manufacturers who got one or two 'votes'. I am happy to answer specific questions about manufacturers not mentioned in the report.

For ACTi did anyone mention any particular line of cameras there were having issues with?

Did Panasonic get any votes or had any specific issues?

For ACTi, 2 mentions about the panoramics - one about outdoor units dying, another about the FoV being only 160 degrees. And then another mention about problems with D and E low cost entries. Most, though, were general.

Panasonic had a few minor issues - analog spot monitor problem, third party integration issue. One notable one: "The image file was much larger than advertised. The result was that we had to increase the amount of hard disk storage, costing us $15k. Panasonic was slow to respond and was unable to effect a repair."

I'm assuming that this here report is meant to be more than just a replacement for me going down to the local Dealer's Dive Bar (NTA-No trunks allowed) and inquiring of my stoolmates who is the worst camera maker around?

If thats the case then maybe some sorta weighting based on U.S. units sold could help make the data useful. You know like real survey companies do, "normalize" I think they call it.

Otherwise its like a survey saying "In the last year what fast-food chain had the most complaints?" Who d'ya figure come out on top there? And if they didn't who ever *did* must really stink.

Jim, I would use this report as one tool among many to help evaluate companies. It's certainly a lot better than asking a few people at the local ADI show since we got detailed feedback from more than a hundred people around the country.

As for normalizing it, I am not going to try to pretend that it's scientific. Take it for what it is.

John - If the data you collected is suitable, it might be interesting to see a ranking of general issue types by number of manufacturers who's products those issues were reported for.

John, since you said you'd be happy to answer specific questions about manufacturers - how did Bosch do in the survey?

Wow, a manufacturer is asking me to criticize them? I am happy to oblige. :)

There were only two negative statements regarding Bosch:

  • “They're getting harder and harder to rely on for support, repairs and communication”
  • "Bosch (although they are also my favorite)- Sent in a camera for warranty repair. Came back with the same issue. To their credit, they immediately sent an advanced replacement."

Those were relatively mild compared to what we listed in the body of the report.

How did Vivotek and IQeye do in the report ?

I had 6 IQeye 855s series and they would not stay online for more than 2-3 months. They needed to be power cycled at the camera, not the switch, to get them back online. Customer support was a bit of a pain as they wanted to attempt to remote into the cameras to see for themselves. They then asked me to connect the cameras to another switch on a seperate network. Once the integrator picked them up they wanted to integrator to put them on their network and attempt to trouble shoot. 6 cameras did this over the course of a year and a half.

These particular cameras ran at about 9-10mbps unthrottled. Which could be an issue depending on your network/hardware setup.

Okay- but IQ855 series were end of life like 3-4 years ago.

It would be nice to know more resent and never cases with new products.

Fair enough. I've had the cameras installed for about 3 years and recently (a month ago) swapped them out for P1357s due to the issues with service.

Very interesting report - Could we see this laid out by vote rather than percentage? Do you plan on releasing the full report of what was said about each manufacturer?

The formatting has been done on purpose to emphasize the specific issues rather than vote count. The rationale is that someone getting 6 'votes' is not necessarily 'worse' than someone getting '5' or '4', as those numbers are quite close.

As for what was said about each manufacturer, most of it has been listed except for manufacturers that only got 1 or 2 votes. It's not reasonable to make a judgment with just 1 person out of 100+ saying something negative about a company.

Any specific comments on the two manufacturers asked - Vivotek and IQeye?

John, do you have a graph showing all the scores v camera manufacturer?

How did Hikvision do?

I have written on this forum several times. I have about 265 Arecont cameras. Not one failed out of the box. They have been installed for about three years. Not a single failure. Maybe I'm lucky, or have a great integrator who checks before installing. I did have a problem with one of the 360 degree cameras, but it was not the camera. A contractor cut the Cat 5 cable accidently, but didn't tell anyone.

Based on our "historical" experiance, yes, you have been lucky. Very lucky.

But everyone has the potential to improve, same as to decline. So we continue looking for others who have postive "recent" experiances as we've put them on the back burner for now.

We have thousands of Arecont Cameras in the field, and yes they do have issues but on average it is less than 1% that are bad out of the box. we have RMAed lots of cameras that were near end of warrenty and never had an issue. the firmware issues is the biggest. they just cant seem to make up thier mind.

the rub is we have vetted a dozen other cameras and ther powers that be just love them some arecont cameras..... so we will live with the monthly firmware updates and the constant pissing match between them and exacq.

Hey Seth, We also have a number of Areconts out in the field and though we've had some failure it has mostly been bandwidth issues. We pretty much only use the surround cams, which look amazing and everyone loves them other than the IT people. What models are you using?

I'm with Simon; I'd like to know if there was a mention of HIKVision cameras, or were they even part of the survey.

Thanks

The survey was not limited to any specific manufacturers. It was an open ended question so each respondent picked whatever they wanted.

As for Hikvision, there were two negative responses. While they were strong negatives, two is not enough to make a trend. That said, here they are:

  • “All around lousy quality control - one model line in particular, we were getting 50% of cameras faulty out of the box, usually with the remote zoom/focus "feature".”
  • "Tech support not good. Try finding someone (other than sales) that understands English."

FWIW We are an IT systems integrator and just installed a new IP camera system around our facility. Now we don't have 1000's of cameras but we did add about 3 dozen Hikvision (mostly Hikvision DS-2CD2032 3MP IR Bullets a mix of 4mm, 6mm, 12mm) and about 8 Acti.

All the Hikvision camera's worked out of the box and all still work after six months. We RMAed three of the five E32/E34 and the remaining two have stability problems (We put in an all new dedicated, premium quality network identical to all the cameras).

We use the Xprotect software

We have over 3700 Axis devices on-line and have very little trouble with them. Have not taken the time to figure out percentages for failures, but their Tech Support has always given us good service. Maybe that is because of our volume, but they were giving us personal attention when we only had 20 cameras. We have not found anoher IP camera that has the same level of menu confuguration and available streams. They also have a nice management system (Axis Camera Management) for keeping track of what cameras are up and down, credential management and firmware upgrades. Their old stand-alone ACM 2.x has far more functin than the new server-client 4.x but I hope they they will eventually bring the 4.x up to the same level of funcitionality.

Do you have complaint with Geovision IP cameras? We have many of them installed but we have a problem with one particular model MD130 interior mini domes. They get hot and stop sending video to the servers.

Ricardo, there were no votes for Geovision as either the favorite or worst experience. At least among IPVM integrators, it does not seem to be a lot of people using them.

We have over 3200 Axis cameras installed. Recently 6 PTZ cameras developed the same problem, Thier tech support was contacted and within 1 week we had replacement camera on site to replace the malfunctioning cameras. Maybe there is a training problem.

I have not seen posted any negative comments concerning Bosch equipment or Bosch related tech support issues. They seem to be a rising star in the realms of video surveillance, and in fact, I am tentatively planning to include some of their top-of-the-line IP/MP cameras and recorder/servers in a couple of upcoming proposals.

But, before I do that, does anyone have anything negative to say about them of which I need to be aware? I have used various equipment from some of the manufacturers in the "Worst..." list, and have experienced similar problems as others did. So, if possible, I would like to minimize that exposure.

So then, what do any of you have to say about Bosch CCTV?

David, see this comment earlier on Bosch.

On the IP/MP side, Bosch started late but has made up a lot of ground. I think their cameras are more competitive than their recorders. See a few of our Bosch tests: Bosch Flexidome Micro Shootout and Bosch Starlight Tested vs Axis

Hi Jhon, I'm a new subscriber, can you tell me your comment about IndigoVision, Bosch and Avigilon?

Thank you!

IndigoVision got one favorite vote and no negative votes so it is impossible to make any judgment based on that.

We covered Bosch and Avigilon earlier in the comments. They too had very few negatives. They will also be covered as part of next week's favorites report.

How did Dahua do?

Wow where are the QA departments? I voluntered to environmentally test a cam product line and was told the hardware guy would not llike that! Are the specs (?) just generated without testing (?)

Regarding Bosch, we have been an integrator for a number of yers and our techs blood is Bosch coloured. Cameras have excellent perfomrance including the 1080p range. In saying that, we have had some ongoing issues with their BVMS managament platform that has now escalated. Ultimately, Bosch will not support of resolve any issues with their BVMS if cameras are operating on a wireless network. They simply say that it must be a cabled LAN for them to resolve. Not so good when the integrator was never informed of this during the design phase. We would have selected another VMS. Currently using Avigilon in other situations and strongly considering upgrading the BVMS to ACC5.0.

Steve, have you tried adding these wireless network cameras via Video Streaming Gateway (VSG)? Ref this video tutorial.

Thansk Mike. We're about to. That's been an unofficial off-the-record "try it and see" suggestion from Bosch. It seems that BVMS has a mind of its own in deleting historical footage in large sections - 25 days to 5 days storage overnight. Cheers Mike. Probably not the correct forum to discuss VMS...Bosch cameras are top in performance and reliability though.

I always have issues with the IP addressing with Arecont. I set the IP to dynamic, but after a few weeks it goes offline. After I power cycle it, it reverts back to the same static. These are the only cameras we ever have go offline on a regular basis.

Hi,I am a new member.Have you tested any Grundig Cameras? It would be great if you could review some.Thank You.

Do you have a link for Grundig? Specifically any page that referances their cameras? All I see are radios and home applicances.

Do you have a record of the frequency of which the cameras in the survey are sold/supported/installed by the integrators. I mean if there is 100 integrators with experience of a camera brand I expect a different outcome than if it is only 3 integrators. This goes for both the worst and favourite.

We do not ask / record all the brands each integrator sells / supports / installs. But this is similar to most any other type of voting or selection process.

Ultimately, this is an analysis of what people like / dislike and is constrained by what they know, are exposed to, etc. It is meant to be a compliment to our testing that looks at it just from the performance side.

John, what do you think someone means when they say, "pissing match between Arecont and Exacq"? I'm putting small systems together with Exacq and Arecont and I would appreciate some help in what to watch out for. I have read that some larger integrators here in your membership say that Arecont has a lot of firmware updates - maybe Exacq is not keeping up or playing well with these updates? Do you have reports on Exacq and Arecont that I could read for more specific clarification in the way they do or don't integrate? I've got a customer about to pull the trigger on a 45 camera project and Z series servers. I'd hate to lead the customer down the wrong road.

I don't know about a 'pissing match' between Arecont and Exacq but if you've ever dealt with Arecont management, pissing matches are not surprising.

Arecont and Exacq tend to work well together, simply because a lot of people use the combination and that's because they share reps in many regions so there is a lot of cross-selling.

Of all the reasons I can think of to not use Arecont, issues integrating with Exacq would not be one of them. I don't know every last camera integration between the two, however, in general, they tend to work and are a priority to support because so many customers use them together.

Just to add onto this and address a point above: I'm not sure exactly how frequently every single one of their cameras gets a firmware update, but the last release of firmware for the Arecont cameras we use regularly was five months ago. Before that it was close to a year. That's a slower pace than many manufacturers, for sure.

That being said, new models do tend to get more frequent firmware releases. Giving them a few months or so to work through those issues may be a good idea.

the leadership in Arecont has changed in the engineering side of things. this is the best move they could have made.

we were thier #1 in the mid-west region and integrate them with Exacq every day.

roughly 300 deployments of servers with the average 20 cam job a year

we had issues with firmware last year for a few months but nothing in the last 5 months

they have a good solid product. it has its flaws just like everyone does. the overall life and quality is why we continue to use them in 99% of our deployments

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