HD SDI DVR reviews

We thought the best way to prove the whether HD SDI DVR s were a viable proposition for installation here in the UK was to to carry out a full installation and test it ourselves.

Todays blog is about the installation itself and what we found, we will be discussing remote connectivity at a later date.

DVR SPEC (Korean in origin)

Entry level full HD standalone HD SDI DVR.

H.264 main profile

1920x1080P live monitoring

support HDMI and VGA output of full HD 1920x1080P resolution

4 HD-SDI video inputs.

support HD live display and recording 720P @50FPS.

Pentaplex live ,playback, recording ,networking and backup.

Storage is a MAX of 2xHDDs.

Remote connection via iPhone , Blackberry, Android.

Advanced CMS software.


The claim that an HD SDI CCTV installation over coax is a better option for installers rather than an IP solution is simple . No learning curve and easy upgrade. We have heard several reasons why HD SDI DVR s should not be used and this is mainly down to doubts that existing cable will be good enough to support HD SDI.

So to prove the point we bought some HD SDI kit in from Korea. The price was very reasonable dispelling one of the main issues facing potential HD SDI installers in this country, that being that the cost would be prohibitive. We decided on a 4way HD SDI DVR that was able to record and display images at 720p, 12 FPS and support up to 2 terabytes of hard drive.

The HD SDI cameras were of excellent build quality and design. One was a bullet camera complete with IR and one was a vandal proof dome , again equipped with IR.

The bullet camera spec was as follows 1080P HD-SDI bullet C/W 18 IR LEDs. It had a CMOS module  and 2.8-10mm ICR megapixel lens.

The dome camera was a 1080P HD SDI vandal resistant dome camera this time with 24 IR LEDs and a 2.8-10mm ICR megapixel lens

We deliberately decided to install the RG59 coax next to mains and make our connections in chocolate block, hoping this would show up any problems that may occur during upgrades, after all if HD SDI CCTV is going to sell here in the UK then it has to work in the toughest of conditions.

The installation was simple and took lees than an hour we decided to connect the coax in choc block at first and use made up standard coax leads to connect into the recorder. This was to try to prove some of the feedback we had  about how we need to use top of the range  BNC connectors in order for HD SDI technology to work.

We switched the system on an eagerly awaited the results. The first thing we noticed on the dome camera was lots of bright specs of colour burst affecting the picture. A problem solved by shielding the choc block connections by use of the hand. We then had perfect, clear and undeniably excellent pictures from both cameras. However by removing  the hand that was acting as a shield the colour burst returned. It became apparent that on the dome camera at least a better connection was required.

The pictures though were superb, having dealt with analogue in the past this live image was refreshing and crisp but what of the recordings? It soon became clear that the recordings were not as good as we had hoped. The compression required and the 720P definition meant we lost the sharpness of the live view. Of course we expected this but it was important this was improved, so time to upgrade the connections.

We decided that one camera should have standard BNC’s  the second camera would have HDCCTV approved connectors. We ran out 90 metres of  RG59 coax on each camera to increase the cable run and made off the BNC connections accordingly. Firstly the colour burst we had experienced especially from the dome camera had gone, the image quality in live mode was now superb. We took some daytime recordings and were interested to see that as we ran the playback the quality had improved quite dramatically the only disappointment was when the image froze we seemed to get inconsistent clarity. We had read about this phenomena but we were now experiencing it. Some frozen images were excellent , others slightly blurred and disappointing. What was not disappointing though was the clarity of the playback while in motion. You could count my colleague holding up 5 fingers from 30 metres away something that would have been impossible in analogue.

So onto night time images. The dome suffered from IR reflection this was eradicated by removing  a nearby light fitting but this was something that surprised us . However once the reflection issue was solved the live picture at night were good, not stunning but very acceptable in an area that had zero light. The bullet camera though once again excelled. Great night time images captured some excellent pictures of cars passing at night though it must be mentioned the lights from the car drowned out any attempt by the camera to pick up plates that during the day had been achieved with consummate ease.

Playback at night suffered the same fate as our daytime pictures . The H.264 compression desperately trying to save hard drive space meant that although acceptable and without question far better than analogue the recorded night time images were not as good as we had hoped. It does however need to be noted that the HD SDI DVR we were testing was the entry level model and well under £800 it must be accepted that there has to be compromise in some areas of performance.

Ease of installation and set up was so simple and the kit was of excellent quality. In summary this was our first experience of installing HD SDI cameras and an HD SDI DVR and overall we were very impressed, night time images especially from the bullet camera were second to none and the night time recordings will be a huge improvement on what analogue can offer. Our first taste of HD SDI technology has shown us that HD SDI has an awful lot to offer the world of CCTV. It won’t be too long before some of the main players realize that this is the sort of image quality that many installers and end users have been seeking for some time. HD SDI has arrived, an excellent solution hugely better than analogue and not as expensive as was first predicted


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