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Video Encoders

Best Buy

The DS-6704HFI from Hikvision is rated as the Benchmark Best Buy video server for this test. It combines high image quality and the right feature set.

Interestingly, the Hikvision unit isn’t cluttered with a whole load of additional features and functions, and it’s all the better for it! Video adjustments will inevitably be made at the camera, and recording and management configurations will be made at the VMS or NVR. The codec should just handle the video, preferably without impacting on it too much, and this is where the Hikvision unit does well. Image quality is good, with a high level of detail retained. At 1Mbps you will see slight signs of artefacting, but push the bit-rate up to 2Mbps and the image quality is good; arguably the best of all the codecs tested. Colour fidelity is high, and the balance of tone is very good too. Motion is smooth, and the stream remained stable, even with very busy scenes.

TKH Security S64 E/SA In the first part of the test, we could not access the S64 E/SA server from TKH Security as the log-in details were rejected. After various attempts and numerous resets we contacted the technical support helpline. The published UK number of for another company. We then tried the number in the netherlands, but got no answer. The next call was to the UK sales manager, who couldn’t answer our question, but did say he’d try to find out the answer. We finally managed to get hold of someone at the company – a member of the technical team that customers wouldn’t have direct access to – who told us that the default log-in details had been changed because of issues with ONVIF compatibility. That information hadn’t made it to the manuals, the website or to some of the staff! He did state that ‘inconveniences like this must be solved at once’. We couldn’t agree more! Once logged in, we came up against another of the issues with TKH products; they rely on third party video codecs, which you need to download from the internet. One is VLC, which experience has shown to be somewhat fragile. There are many different builds of this software, some good and some bad, and the software can often include malware, dependent upon its origin. Due to past experience we opted for the Quicktime option as it can downloaded directly from Apple. The menus are straightforward, and true to the TKH way of working, there’s plenty of useful built-in flexibility with regard to alarm handling. It won’t be the simplest set-up, but you will enjoy higher performance. When we say ‘enjoy’ that’s the end scenario; setting it up without 30

relevant or accurate documentation will try your patience. Once you’ve achieved the correct configuration, image quality is good, with a decent level of colour fidelity. Motion is smooth, and even fast motion doesn’t upset the codec. Telemetry and data handling, along with alarm handling, show the manufacturer has built a credible and effective product. However, this time around, their hard work has been let down by a poor degree of documentation and support than makes the unit impossible to recommend. Certainly, it would have rated higher if the customer service elements had not be so disappointing.

Verdict The TVIP 40000 from Abus SC is a basic unit aimed at the budget market. With that in mind, it does lack some of the extras that a few of the other units possess. However, the customisable event scenarios are its saving grace! Avigilon’s ENC-4P-H264 is another budget unit, but it only cuts the mustard if you’ve already invested in their own VMS. Documentation is poor, and our unit had quality issues. As a standalone unit it cannot compete with the others on test. The Q7424-R from Axis Communications is a rock-solid video encoder. It handles video and audio well, has flexibility with regard to alarm handling, and so long as you don’t go silly trying to minimise bandwidth, it will deliver the same quality as it receives. The Bosch Security VJT-X40XF-E puts video management first; it has a decent level of VCA, and alarm handling is well considered. For functionality, it was rated highly. Image quality is good, and the unit is stable too. The GV-VS04H from Geovision would benefit from a GUI makeover, and a new manual wouldn’t be out of place. It has a few limitations, and the image didn’t seem as vibrant as some of the other servers. However, it does deliver a decent degree of functionality. The DS-6704HFI from Hikvision wins out with its image quality. Functionality is basic, but it does offer all you’ll need from a codec. It was rated as the Best Buy in the test. The S64 E/SA from TKH Security is a good unit, but if the company wants to be taken seriously they must ensure that information is accurate and up-to-date, and that published support numbers are correct. If we hear how they’re addressing the issues, we’ll let you know.

Benchmark April 2013  

Benchmark April 2013