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Video Encoders

Abus-SC TVIP40000 + Options for events and alarm handling offer flexibility - Motion detection could benefit from a little more discrimination

Avigilon ENC-4P-H264 + It only makes sense if you are using Avigilon’s VMS - Limited functionality with third party VMS or LAN connections

Axis Communications Q7424-R + Very stable performance and good flexibility - Quad video view is set as one uniformly configured stream

Bosch Security VJT-X40XF-E + A very good degree of flexibility, VCA is a step up from VMD - The lack of PoE makes it feel older than the other units

control the digital output, change language, or carry out configurations, both for the server and the client. The configuration menu predominantly uses radio buttons and dropdown menus, which keeps things simple. The first few menus cover basic system settings and user configurations. These are followed by comms-specific settings with menus for HTTPS, SNMP, Network, DDNS and a user-configurable access list. Video and audio settings have a single screen, allowing the parameters for each of four profiles to be set. The final profile is geared towards mobile devices, and has a maximum resolution of QCIF. Resolution, frame rate, Iframe rate and bandwidth controls can be configured for each profile. Basic audio settings can also be made. Image adjustments are limited to brightness, contrast, saturation and sharpness. Privacy masks can also be created from this menu. Motion detection is basic, with settings for sensitivity and ‘percentage’. A histogram helps with set-up. There is also a dedicated menu for camera tamper detection. 24

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One of the more interesting menus is Application. This allows events to be created, and linked with actions. For a relatively basic codec, this does offer a bit more depth than you might expect! Overall performance was as expected. If bandwidth remains above 1Mbps, you’re not really going to see much difference up to the maximum of 4Mbps. After all, a D1 image isn’t greatly challenging. Motion was smooth, and it was only with extremely motion-heavy scenes that we saw anything approaching lag or jitter in the image. Colour fidelity was good, and the unit represents a decent budget offering.

Avigilon ENC-4P-H264 The ENC-4P-H264 video server from Avigilon was slightly infuriating during the initial set up, because it was supplied without any documentation or utilities. However, what you do get is a 50 page expensively produced glossy catalogue for the company. This led to searching the internet, where we found different versions of quick start guides (not on the Avigilon site). These informed us to use a utility, which we found via another search! The utility allowed us to connect to the unit and change the network settings. However, trying to then complete the configuration sent us of for another search to try and discover the log-in details. When we eventually connected to the unit, it would only stream in JPEG format over a LAN connection! There was no prompt to download a driver, and given the lack of documentation we couldn’t find a way forwards. Interestingly, the limitation isn’t made obvious in any of the marketing material we looked at, and the H264 reference in the product designation does seem to imply that there should not be such a restriction. Connecting to a leading open platform VMS results in the device being recognised as an ONVIF unit, but the available functionality is still limited. The menus are basic, which does make them easy to use. Inputs can be configured for compression, frame rate, quality, I-frame rate and bandwidth. There is also a basic menu for setting alarm inputs and outputs, and privacy masking is simple to set-up. We had no joy trying to fathom out the workings of the video motion detection; that’s what happens when there’s no documentation at all! It certainly isn’t intuitive!

Benchmark April 2013  

Benchmark April 2013