Product Comparison Worksheet

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Product Comparison Worksheet:
How to use this worksheet: This table provides a list of 30 features and a short subjective description of poor, average and good performance. The ratings are from one to five with five being the highest. Each higher category includes the features in the lower categories as well as those listed. If the DVR capability falls between major categories use the appropriate number for the calculation and enter the result in the DVR Score column. Rate all the features of your product against selected competitors to provide a baseline for comparison. In order to use this worksheet as a selling tool, rate the perspective customer’s need for each feature on a one to five scale and enter the result in the User Need column. Multiply the numbers for DVR score and user need and enter the result in the Weighted Score column. You can use the entire list, or you can select (cut and paste) the features that are appropriate for your sales presentation. Feel free to add features and change descriptions as needed. Add up the scores and an average product in every category will have a score of 90. The number has no significance other than as a number to compare to another DVR. Be practical in selecting your product’s score for each category. Entering all fives for your product isn’t helpful. Most products are average in most of the categories with a few features reaching the five or one end. An honest appraisal will quickly reveal where your DVR is strong (the four or fives that you want to stress,) and where is it comes up short (the twos or ones you want to avoid). Add in the typical user’s need for each feature and you will have a nice score sheet to show the marketing and development guys if you don’t close the deal. You will notice that there aren’t a lot of numbers and buzz words included in the features and descriptions. Some customers may miss these often confusing items so keep a copy of your spec sheet handy. A few customers will want to hear about your H.264 compression, D1 format, super quality, eon recording on multiple disk drives marvel. Most customers won’t miss the jargon. They don’t care about how you got there. All they care about is the result and how it can help them do their job better. The key customer issues are: How good does it look? (Smooth motion with identifiable details). How long will it record? (How long I have to react to an issue before it disappears). And how hard is it to find the issue when I need to find it?



Product Comparison Worksheet:
Feature Live Views Poor Single camera, sequence. Distorted in smaller camera windows. Less than real-time in all display formats. Single monitor.




DVR User Score Need Weighted Score

Multiple camera views 1-4-9-16, sequence. Good in full and quad, OK in 3x3, distorted in 4x4. Real-time in full, progressively slower in smaller formats. Two monitors: Main (multi-screen) and call (single camera). Moderate visual indications – graphic on screen, switch to full screen, audio tone, alter or trigger recording, entry in alarm list. Operator can interact: Silence tone and alarm indications, manually generate alarms.

Live Video Quality Live Video Update speed Monitors

Multiple formats, sequence views, select cameras in any cameo. High quality in all display formats. Real-time in all display formats. Multi-display: VGA, composite, S-video. Independent display outputs. Multiple response methods: Alarm notification to remote software; send emails, reposition domes, multiple linked alarms. Send instructions to remote users, two way audio communications. Notify even when the remote S/W is not running (auto launch).

Alarm Visual Response

Minimal visual indication (ex: small graphic on screen).

Alarm Acknowledge ment.

Wait for alarm to pass graphic/tone.

Motion Alarms Basic alarm on image change. Little adjustment, alarm graphic on screen. Fewer alarm inputs that video channels. One or two alarm outs, not remote notification. Poor perceived image quality in all screen sizes. Adjustable screen areas, sensitivity selection and alarm duration, screen graphics, entry in alarm list. Screen graphics, alarm input per channel, multiple alarm outputs. Link alarms, reposition domes, remote notification, emails.


Wired Alarms

Playback Video Quality

Playback Screen Formats

Single image playback only.

Playback Image Speed

Less that real-time for normal playback. Fast forward and reverse options.

Multiple Playback Monitors

Main monitor only.

Acceptable perceived image quality in quad sized images. Lower quality and distortion in full sized images. Playback in the same Playback in all formats. video formats available in Select any camera image in live mode. any cameo. Mix live and playback images in multiscreen formats. Up to real-time in normal Up to real-time in normal playback. Fast/slow playback. Fast/slow search search options, single step options, single step forward. forward/reverse, image slider to move to selected timeframe. Main monitor local and Local, remote keyboard, via remote keyboard. multiple remote software Playback from remote connections and/or browser software (video and connections (video and audio) audio).

Alarm output per channel, all alarm actions similar with any type or alarm input. Acceptable video quality in all screen sizes. No distortion in still images.

Playback Control VCR style controls on front panel of from remote software. VCR style/jog shuttle controls on DVR, VCR on IR Remote, Remote Keyboard and Remote Software. Smooth predictable response. Able to retrieve recorded video within one minute of live viewing. Time/date, alarm list, first/last, smart search (select motion area). Simultaneous playback from multiple locations (local, remote keyboard, multiple remote software connections). Able to retrieve recorded video within seconds of live viewing. Additional smart search methods (movement within a timeframe, snapshots over time, missing item, etc.). Advanced text search. Real-time in all modes. All camera inputs are adjusted separately for CIF size, quality and update speed. Small image file size and exceptionally large drive size and number allow for long record durations. Exceptional: Based on usable image quality at reasonable compression settings. * * * (Once you know the burn rate per hour for your application, size the database to match the total retention time required).


Instant replay Search Capability

None. Wait for next record segment to be written to the database. Limited to time/date, segments of video.

Record speed

Record Duration “Burn Rate” (hourly database size requirement – gigabytes per hour)

Less than real time in all modes. Update capability is shared among all cameras. Large image file size and limited number and size of drives limit record duration. Excessive: Very large due to large usable image file size. * * * (GB/hr. = Avg. image size*, x # of images/sec, x # of cameras, x 60sec, x 60 minutes) →

Real-time recording of cameras in CIF format. Slower in 2CIF. Slower yet 4CIF. A combination of small image file sizes and large database size allows longer record durations. Moderate: Improvement based on smaller usable image file size. * * * (Ex: 6K size, x 30 images/sec, x 16 cameras, x 60sec, x 60 min = 9.6GB/hr.) →

Audio None One or two audio channels. Recorded audio at remote software. Audio sync within 1-2 seconds of video. One (or two) channels RS-232 input. Basic search (search string). View text on playback. Audio input per channel. Two way audio with remote software. Audio live and record synced with video. Multiple channels (one per camera input,) view text live and playback. Advanced search, exception monitoring and alarm reporting (same alarm response capability as other alarm types). Ethernet and RS-232 input. Text synced with video and audio. Exported locally and to remote software. Two way audio from remote software. Front panel, mouse IR remote, remote keyboard, remote software package, browser software. Multiple DVR control, Virtual Matrix. Specialized menu system designed to make the unit stand out from the crowd. Exceptional remote software setup capabilities.


Text Input


Text Playback


Text synced with video on playback. Exported locally with video and at remote software.

Control Methods

Front panel, remote software.

Front panel, remote software, mouse, remote keyboard.

Menu setup

Text only. Difficult button manipulation for data entry (camera names, etc.).

Customized GUI with easy selections. Remote software provides even easier setup capability.

Remote Keyboard None Remote keyboard controls DVR from another room using the display outputs – dome control. 16 units with remote keyboard. Multiple with remote software. From Remote keyboard, from remote software, basic dome movements presets and patterns. Remote keyboard controls all DVR functions, cascade multi-unit control.


Cascade Units Camera Dome Control



Export Capability

None or limited to CD. Often difficult to operate. Usually requires proprietary “reader” software to view the clip in a PC.

User Security

Limited to one, or a few user passwords with little or no ability to assign user permissions.

Full control from remote software. Virtual Matrix capabilities. From keyboard, front panel, mouse control, IR Remote, remote software. Enter dome menu and setup dome functions. Exports to USB HD, Exports to USB HD, thumb thumb drive, CD/DVD, drive, CD/DVD, save to save to remote software. remote software. This is Export process is well considered a major thought out and easy to product benefit and the perform. Audio can be function is well designed exported along with expected to be used often. video. An AVI Multi-channel Video, audio compatible export option and text may be exported. simplifies playback in any A Reader Software version PC. supports multi screen playback of all cameras. A larger number of users A high number (or (16 or more) with the unlimited) number of users ability to select many with the ability to select user functions in each user permissions for local user’s permission setup live, playback, setup and process. remote live, playback and setup.

Remote Software Basic remote connection limited in screen formats and control capabilities (browser or S/W package). Often a single connection limit. Full function remote control. Able to replicate all local operations. Capable of multiple connections. Often includes installable S/W and browser options. Exceptional remote software design. Can be similar in appearance to the local DVR GUI, or a Windows look and feel. Often capable of Virtual Matrix control of multiple units. Often selected by customers who what to perform all DVR control from a PC that is running other business software. A system component that Designed as a system. Fully can also be used as a compatible with other stand-alone unit. The products in the product DVR allows multiple line. One Remote Software simultaneous remote package controls all. Has software connections. The virtual matrix capability. remote software can Often interfaces with other access multiple DVRs in systems (Matrix switch, any location. Control of access control, etc.). the “system” is solid and reliable. Totals:


System Orientation

Basically a stand-alone unit but can be controlled by remote software.

*Average image size varies dramatically based on the compression method used, the degree of compression selected and the pixel format used (CIF, 2CIF, 4CIF, etc.). The numbers can be telling or misleading. You can compress the image to any size you care to quote in the brochure. Some manufacturers quote files sizes of 2K when 28K is needed to be of any viewable value. Only the system user can determine the level of quality they require to meet the goals of their application. Typical usable numbers are much larger than the minimum sizes claimed. Expect the following general sizes per image. If much smaller numbers are claimed, better check the final results first. MJPEG = 28K. Proprietary versions of MJPEG = 6K- 18K. Wavelet = 28K. MPEG4 = 12K – 18K. H.264 = 4K – 8K.