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Video Encoders

Geovision GV-VS04H + A few interesting features, once you’ve found them - The GUI is in sore need of a makeover, and a manual update might be good

Hikvision DS-6704HFI + Very good image detail and colour fidelity - The GUI is clean, but constant reloading of images gets boring

TKH Security S64 E/SA + A very comprehensive feature set, good image quality - A very poor level of documentation and technical support

The only time the encoder worked correctly was when we connected it to ACC, Avigilon’s own VMS solution. The full functionality could be accessed, and even the basic VMD worked as you’d expect such a feature to operate. This does give a very clear impression that unless you are using the Avigilon VMS, the encoder might not be the best option available. If you already run ACC, then this unit does offer something. However, as a standalone unit it doesn’t deliver what is expected.

Axis Communications Q7424-R The Q7424-R video server from Axis Communications has the typical Axis user interface. It seems like it hasn’t ever changed, whereas it is regularly updated and improved. It retains an air of familiarity because the core layout works so well. Settings are where you’d expect them to be, and features and functions are logically ordered. On the live view page, the four inputs can be viewed by selecting the relevant camera in a drop-down menu. There is also a high resolution quad view, although the frame rate is reduced when viewing this. This view is configured as one uniform video stream. The menu starts off with basic system settings. These are further expanded upon with video and audio profiles, live view configuration, telemetry, detection, events, recording and system menus. Each input can be configured for resolution, frame rate, compression, GOV length and bitrate. There are also a number of video adjustments. The detection menu allows settings to be adjusted in relation to camera tampering, video motion detection and audio detection. Motion detection allows some adjustments, 26

and it’s a simple task to assess the configuration, as a histogram gives a visual indication of activity. Once detection events are configured, the events menu delivers a decent level of flexibility with regard to setting triggers and actions. The latter can include recording to an SD card – the server supports up to SDXC, which allows 64GB cards to be used; we didn’t try the latest 128GB cards, but we see no reason why they wouldn’t be supported by the unit. Performance is good. Video detail remains sharp, and is seemingly unaffected by its conversion, even running bit-rates of 1Mbps. The stream maintained its framerate, even with motion-heavy scenes. Colour fidelity was high, motion was smooth, and latency was minimal. The Axis encoder will not be the cheapest on the market, but it is efficient and robust, handling the video – and its associated tasks – with ease. Motion detection is a bit basic, but we have seen worse implementations!

Bosch Security VJT-X40XF-E The VJT-X40XF-E video server from Bosch Security is another unit with an interface that feels immediately familiar. Again, it boasts a logical layout which gives the same feel as the Axis product. Whilst the two GUIs are very different, they both have a clearly thought-out structure which gives a high degree of intuitivity. If there is a difference, it’s that the Bosch unit is slightly slower to respond when making some settings. That said, it’s a matter of seconds, so unless you use a variety of devices back-to-back you might not notice. Whereas some codecs give the feeling that they’re very much an IP tool which just happens to handle surveillance video, the Bosch unit feels like it puts the importance of quality video footage first. Each input has dual streams, and a wide variety of profiles can be configured for compression, resolution, frame rate, I- and Pframes, and bit-rate. There is also a M-JPEG stream for low resolution transmission, such as to mobile devices. The VCA (video content analysis) element is a step up from traditional on-board VMD, and offers a bit more flexibility with regard to configurations. It can also collect metadata without generating alarms to aid with searches and other processing. The VCA setting screen

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