12 to Try: Budget CCTV

Benchmark looks at 12 products and systems of interest for security installers and system integrators involved in the design and installation of video surveillance solutions for budget-conscious sites.

Milestone XProtect Essential+

XProtect Essential+ is a new release and replaces the previous free-of-charge package: Milestone Essential. The latest VMS is also free-of-charge and supports a single recording server with up to eight devices. It can be connected with an unlimited number of Smart Clients, allowing users to interrogate the system with ease. It also supports mobile connectivity.

The VMS supports the integration of third-party video analytics as well as integral video motion detection with automatically adjustable sensitivity.

The Essential+ software supports Milestone’s powerful Rules engine, hardware-accelerated video decoding to boost the performance of motion detection, as well as metadata management. Video can be managed in a variety of formats including H.265, H.264, M-JPEG, MPEG-4 and MxPEG.

Other features include mapping, audio support, management of inputs and outputs and support for Microsoft Active Directory.

The main elements of Essential+ are the Management Client and the Smart Client. The former is used by the installer or integrator to configure the system, while the latter is the user interface for day-to-day operations.

Rules make use of simple AND/OR logic and are easy and quick to implement.

Axis Communications: AXIS Companion Line

The AXIS Companion Line delivers the benefits of IP-based video surveillance in a complete, integrated, easy-to-use offering aimed at the small business customer. The range combines a complete product offering along with comprehensive support to installers and integrators.

The AXIS Companion range includes a competitive offering of cameras, storage devices, software and other components to deliver an out-of-the-box solution that is both cost-effective and easy to install.

The AXIS Companion line includes an eight channel compact NUC-based NVR with an integral PoE switch, the AXIS Companion video management software package which supports edge-recording as well as archiving to the NVR, and to simplify use the AXIS Companion mobile app is available for iOS or Android devices.

The Companion range cameras provide a range of capabilities including day and night video surveillance with integrated IR illumination. All cameras deliver HD1080p streams and include WDR technology, Zipstream dynamic encoding technology for minimised bandwidth and storage, and a microSD card slot which can be used for edge recording.

AXIS Companion line cameras can only be used with the AXIS Companion Recorder or the AXIS Companion video management software and mobile app.

FLIR: TCX Mini Bullet

The TCX Mini thermal bullet is a cost-effective thermal imager. It measures approximately 105 x 75 x 70mm, excluding the integral bracket. The housing includes a sun-shield and is rated to IP66. It can be added to a network or use a standard analogue connection.

The TCX Mini makes use of an uncooled VOx microbolometer which the manufacturer states is sun-safe. The resolution is 80 x 45 pixels but the stream is presented as either a 1280 x 960 or 1280 x 720 format, making it compatible with most VMS and NVR solutions. Frame rates are up to 30fps. The low resolution sensor is the price you pay to reduce the unit’s cost so dramatically.

The imager has a field of view of 25 degrees and a stated detection range of 40 metres. Detection ranges for thermal devices are based upon the Johnson Criteria, which specifies a size for target detection of two pixels. This is obviously different to the security industry’s definition of ‘detection’ and should be carefully considered.

Thermal image streams are delivered in H.264 or M-JPEG format, and the device includes integral motion detection with four independent masks deployable. In the case of an event, actions include email transmission, stream recording or capture of a snapshot. It offers support for privacy masking and AGC is supported for regions of interest.

The camera is billed as compatible with third party video analytics and is ONVIF Profile S compliant.

Power for the device is PoE; a standard low power 12V DC input is also supported.
The TCX Mini can be used with compatible VMS or NVR systems. Alternatively, the FLIR Cloud Client can be used. There is a dedicated FLIR DDNS to simplify remote connections.

IDIS: DR1204P

The DR-1204P is a four channel network video recorder that supports video resolutions of up to five megapixels and offers evidence retention for up to one month. The NVR uses the IDIS Intelligent Codec which helps to control bandwidth use and storage when used with Motion Adaptive Transmission (MAT). This works best when the viewed scene contains a low level of motion during secured periods.

The NVR makes use of the IDIS DirectIP platform which allows plug-and-play installation. This cuts down the required installation time on site while also reducing the need for training.

The DR-1204P recorder can support HD1080p streams and is suitable for small and medium-sized applications. It can be located on a desktop due to its small form factor and low-noise operation.

The NVR comes with cost-free video management software, IDIS Center, and mobile apps. Because these carry no licensing, service or maintenance fees, a distributed system can be created attracting a lower total cost of ownership. Additional monitoring can be achieved by utilising a live HD view via smartphones or tablets.

Dahua: Eco-Savvy 3.0 Series

Dahua offers the Eco-Savvy 3.0 series which uses what the manufacturer refers to as a ‘performance-boosting chip’ which combines intelligence, efficiency and ease-of-use.

The range of cameras delivers HD1080p video streams at rates of up to 60fps, 4 megapixel streams at up to 30fps and 3840 × 2160 pixel streams at up to 15fps. Video makes use of H.265 compression.

The Eco-Savvy 3.0 series features smart detection, including face, tripwire and intrusion detection. It also utilises starlight technology, 120dB WDR and triple streaming.

Vicon: HDExpress

HDExpress from Vicon is a well-established plug-and-play network video recorder designed specifically for use with HD1080p cameras. The system includes Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) ports, allowing the NVR to provide power directly to each camera, with up to a maximum of 16 devices being supported (dependent upon the model). The system’s software automatically detects and configures any attached compatible network cameras, eliminating the need to create any configurations. However, full customisation is also supported.

A variety of 4, 8 and 16 channel units are available with a choice of storage capacities. The devices run an embedded version of ViconNet 8, and so can be linked with larger systems using the VMS.

The NVRs use an embedded Linux operating system, and the graphical user interface has been specifically designed for intuitive control. Where required, the system can be accessed via smartphone or tablet with ViconNet Mobile. Evidential footage is exported simply to USB storage devices, and the free-of-charge iPIM Windows-based application can be deployed to remotely manage and view multiple sites. Up to 64 simultaneous video streams from multiple HDExpress devices are supported.

Hikvision: Easy IP 3.0

Hikvision’s Easy IP 3.0 product line supports H.265+, the manufacturer’s proprietary encoding technology based on the H.265/HEVC standard. This intelligent compression algorithm has been optimised to enhance surveillance video in typical scenarios.

For example, where footage contains static or unchanging backgrounds, a limited number of moving targets in the viewed scene, where user interest is predominantly on those moving targets, or a relatively high degree of noise is in the video due to around-the-clock surveillance, H.265+ can help.

Hikvision states that its H.265+ decreases the bitrate of surveillance video, with an average decrease of 83.7 per cent when compared to the same camera using H.264, and 66.8 per cent compared to the same device using H.265.

All cameras in the Easy IP 3.0 series are equipped with 120dB WDR. Several of the cameras also make use of Darkfighter technology, which produces colour images in low light conditions.

The Easy IP series cameras include many VCA options as standard. The rules are line crossing detection, intrusion detection: entering and loitering in an area, object removal, object left, and face detection. These analytics can support the management of a surveillance system with large numbers of cameras.

Hanwha Techwin: Wisenet Q

Hanwha Techwin offers the Wisenet Q camera range, a cost-effective series of cameras which feature H.265 compression and WiseStream, a complementary compression technology which dynamically controls encoding, balancing quality and compression based upon movement in the image.

When WiseStream is combined with H.265 compression, bandwidth efficiency can be improved by up to 75 per cent compared to current H.264 technology, according to Hanwha Techwin.

Despite being economically priced, the manufacturer states there has been no compromise on build quality or features of the 24 Wisenet Q camera and dome models. For low light use, IR illumination is provided as standard.

Available in 2 megapixel and 4 megapixel Full HD versions, the cameras also feature wide dynamic range, defocus detection, hallway view and lens distortion correction.

Defocus detection recognises when a camera is out of focus. The focus of Wisenet Q 4 megapixel models equipped with a varifocal lens can also be adjusted over the network to reduce installation time.

Hallway view enables monitoring of narrow vertical areas such as corridors and tunnels.
Lens distortion correction compensates for distortion that occurs with wide angle lenses.

Motion and tamper detection, PoE/DC dual power and on board edge based storage options are also supported.

Bosch: Essential Video Analytics

Bosch offers integral licence-free analytics on its range of cameras, and the cost-effective Dinion 4000, 5000 and 6000 series all include Essential Video Analytics as a standard feature.

Essential Video Analytics includes a number of rules such as object in a protected area, line crossing, entering or leaving a detection zone, loitering, prescribed route following, left or removed object, people counting, occupancy limits, crowd density estimation, conditional change and search for similarities.

Events and incidents can have filters applied, and rules can be linked to ensure a higher degree of accuracy. Filters include duration of an event, object size, object aspect ratio, speed and direction of travel, colour and user-defined object classifications, of which four are supported.

Videcon: HD-IP Lite

Videcon offers the Concept Pro HD-IP Lite range of video recorders, which are available in 4, 8, 16 and 32 channel versions. These incorporate an integral PoE switch (4, 8, 16 and 16 ports respectively) to allow simple installation and configuration.

The ONVIF compatible recorders support HDMI and VGA video outputs, mobile apps and remote viewing, alarm inputs and outputs and email notifications. Storage can be up to 12TB for the 4, 8 and 16 channel versions and up to 24TB for the 32 channel model.

P2P connectivity is available, using a secured European-based server. Installers and integrators simply activate mobile viewing by scanning a QR code on the unit into the smartphone app, connecting through the server straight to the NVR.

Users can also view the system via a web browser as the NVR features an integral webserver.

D-Link: Vigilance Starter Kit

The Vigilance HD surveillance starter kit from D-Link makes use of the manufacturer’s entry-level Vigilance products, which were designed to compete in the more budget-concious segments of the security market.

The kit includes the 16 channel PoE-enabled network video recorder and two HD1080p outdoor PoE-enabled mini dome cameras. Maximum recording bitrate is 80Mbps, which equates to an average of 5Mbps per camera if all input capacity is used.

The kit does not include HDDs, so these need to be factored in with regard to costings by the installer or integrator.

Event-based recording can be set, with pre-alarm recording times of 60 seconds per channel, and post-alarm record times of 300 seconds per channel.

The NVR’s integral switch supplies power to up to four PoE-enabled cameras with a total power budget of 45W; the remaining devices will require standard power supplies.

Support for two-way audio, input and output triggering and external USB 3.0 storage for video export and back-ups is also included.

The kit is supplied with a bundled multi-NVR Viewer which is a network surveillance management software.

Uniview: UNVR301-04-P4

The UNVR301-04-P4 from Uniview is a four-channel network video recorder offering a plug-and-play options with four independent PoE network interfaces. The PoE budget is a total of 54W across the four ports. A single two-way audio channel is also available. Third-party IP cameras are supported if they are ONVIF conformant.

The NVR supports video outputs via HDMI and VGA; the HDMI output delivers resolutions of up to 3840 x 2160 pixels.

Recording resolution is up to eight megapixels, and video streams using H.265 and H.264 formats can be archived. Recordings can be alarm triggered, and the NVR has four alarm inputs and a single relay output.

The NVR can accommodate a single SATA HDD with capacity of up to 6TB. The NVR supports P2P, UPnP, NTP, DHCP and PPPoE, and the user experience can be enhanced with the use of mobile client access.

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