Channel Vision new PTZ cameras, any feedback or suggested altneratives?

I'm going down this road too.

After doing some research, but not yet having bought anything, I'm starting to settle on the Acti brand of megapixel dome POE IP cameras with the TCM-7811 model (IP66 outdoor) as the one I'm thinking of going with. It ain't cheap, about $650 each. But from the reviews at, especially from buellwinkle who tests out a lot of stuff, I like what I hear. Acti is about to release their own NVR software that will run up to 16 of their cameras for free. They also have an iOS app, but no Android app yet. Supposedly they are working on it.

What I like about Acti is they are constantly updating their firmware (no abandonment), coming out with new products, and there are many suppliers on eBay and Amazon selling their stuff (competition). buellwinkle feels the TCM-7811 is on par with the Mobotix D12, which costs twice as much. It uses a Sony CCD sensor giving very good low light performance. For us automation people the fact that they have an SDK and support the ONVIF open standard is encouraging.

I once bought 3 cheapy IP cameras during a Frys closeout (SkyIPcam 747). They were about $120 each and I soon discovered the old saying you get what you paid for. They really sucked, had zero support, and the interface was proprietary and not easily interface-able beyond Internet Explorer. They even stopped working when IE8 came out. Lesson learned.

I'm planning on 3 or 4 IP cameras in about 9 months and they will all be the same brand and possibly model to minimize interfacing difficulties. I have time to continue my research...
If you can get access, you should try to check out the ACTi's before you spend money. I recently had to work with a couple, and I was not impressed at all by them. Specifically I was working with a couple newer ACTi 8511's and some old Sony PTZ's.
  1. They are ONLY configurable/viewable via Internet Explorer and an ActiveX components.
  2. One of the ones I was working with had been knocked off a desk by the office cat - onto carpet over raised wood floors - but that was enough shock to break it
  3. The colors compared to the sony are horrible - I can't even explain it but they aren't realistic colors and quite a bit of tweaking didn't get me anywhere
  4. The PTZ through anything other than their own web interface is unreliable - tends to shoot to the furthest extent in any given direction.
  5. The interfaces don't seem to work that well - I had CDN's and several software people trying to integrate with them, but they were very uncooperative.
  6. Most iOS apps that are supposed to be able to view them can't; they take the longest of any camera to show up in the apps that do work, and often cause IPNetCamViewer to crash completely
All in all, I found that the several year older sony did a much better job and I generally hated every interaction with the ACTi.

If it were me, I'd take a good hard look at Axis or others.
The ACM-8511 seems to be one of their older and crappier products. It has an interlaced scan that appears to try to mimic NTSC or PAL TV and its not ONVIF compliant. The only reviews I found of it are pretty much saying what your saying W2P. Yet they continue to sell it...

Have you guys had multiple bad experiences with Acti (several models)? I'm trying to get a feeling for one or two bad products vs. the whole company.

On paper American Dynamics looks fine, much more expensive though. DEL when you say add them to the list are you saying the good list or the avoid list?

Axis and Mobotix are the cream of the crop, at 2x or more cost. I'm looking for the happy middle ground.
Of the acti products, I only have experience with the 8511 as the client had pre-purchased them and had me install them.

I did a little work with a company that does some of the most advanced video processing in the world (they design video monitoring systems for airports, car dealerships, etc - with advanced enough video processing to detect if a person set down a bag, or if a car was messed with after hours, etc - behavioral monitoring), working with every camera ever designed. I met with the CEO - and while I wish I remembered everything he told me, I do remember some specifics - like to stick with Sony, Panasonic, and Axis - each for different reasons. He too hated ACTi, and wouldn't even touch anything lower end like a foscam. He didn't mention Mobotix, though i know they have some pretty interesting designs.

I don't have enough first hand experience to guide you - just trying to offer some knowledge I've gained... it's up to you from there.
Have you guys had multiple bad experiences with Acti (several models)? I'm trying to get a feeling for one or two bad products vs. the whole company.

On paper American Dynamics looks fine, much more expensive though. DEL when you say add them to the list are you saying the good list or the avoid list?

Axis and Mobotix are the cream of the crop, at 2x or more cost. I'm looking for the happy middle ground.

We have a site where we've tried almost every IP based manufacturer out there for beta testing, there's the good, the bad, and the average. Acti just won't cut it, performance and reliability from our experience, but maybe we're more demanding than an average residential consumer. AD seems to provide the "bullet point" of their hardware does XYZ, but when it comes down to it, the implementation of the feature is either lacking, missing common features or simply doesn't work (or work properly).

As far as AD, we have weekly phone calls with them regarding 2 of their largest installs of their Videoedge product line, both hardware and software, consisting of multiple encoders, NVR's, software and cameras in enterprise level installations. Their encoders tend to brick quite often, we have one closet that is on it's 5th encoder, for no apparent reason (we did find one unit with loose screws wedged between the board and housing). We jokingly say their cameras have an expiration date on them like milk, just lasting as long. We tend to see cameras drop on the level of 8-32 on a weekly basis....a lot from poor design, housings that leak, NIC's that are placed at a low point and moisture control which consists of a dessicant pack within the camera, that can't be replaced or accessed, so condensation becomes a huge issue, even on cameras with heaters and blowers. Firmware and support is a huge issue, we've had cameras with firmware that just stopped working, streaming, or even just defaulting on a regular basis, contrary to engineering statements. On their NVR's, we discovered that their support for a particular camera line (Arecont) has known issues "A through H" on a document their sales is unaware of, only a senior product engineer knew of all the "known issues"

AD tech support, honestly, scares me. Until you get past a tier 2 tech, it's utterly useless 9/10 times. I've had 5 techs provide just as many answers, with only 1 being correct, even citing improper instructions for how to ghost, partition and rebuild some of their equipment, even going against their own tech documentation with steps and procedures. I had them brick a pair of DVR's with their techs on the phone providing direction and support. Same happened with me asking for a driver to drive a legacy matrix...they denied it existed until I got to my 3rd tech that admitted it did exist and was a custom driver (engineered for another of our sites) then I spent a day trying to get the driver to work, only to have an "ah-ha" moment remembering old DOS commands to realize their instructions and engineering documents and extraction programs were wrong.

I can say, honestly, I have not had as much bad information and hardware as I have had with AD. Even the issues we've had with Pelco since the Schenider buyout with batches of bad PTZ's.
Yup - something that's a minor occasional inconvenience for a home user can easily grow exponentially into a full time nightmare when scaled a few dozen times over!