HD-SDI(7): HD-SDI made in Korea, Taiwan and China

HD-SDI(7): HD-SDI made in Korea, Taiwan and China

Great numbers of Chinese, Taiwanese, and Korean companies manufactures HD-SDI solutions. How HD-SDI evolved in these countries and how they position themselves will be discussed.

Evolution from Korea, Taiwan, and China
The first generation of HD-SDI cameras were introduced in 2009; Comart and SANYO showcased and launched SMPTE-292M-complaint cameras. Comart is a provider of HD solutions; the company started to develop and apply HD-SDI solution to local projects in Korea since 2006. At that time, the markets had adopted network solutions for 2 years, so their HD-SDI cameras did not gain much attention.

In 2010, approximately 20 Korean manufacturers started to enter the business, developing HD-SDI products ranging from cameras, DVRs, signal amplifiers, signal distributors, monitors, fiber optic devices, etc.

What enticed Korean manufacturers to invest in such technologies was the large utilization of HD-SDI in city and traffic surveillance projects by the Korean government. In addition, Korean vendors have found that through combing coaxial cables and fiber optic cables in an existing analog system, the challenges of limited HD-SDI transmission distances can be solved. Chip providers like Gennum (part of Semtech) also introduced various chip solutions for HD-SDI signal transmitters and receivers, thus enhancing related innovation and customization. The successful results have proven that HD-SDI is a quicker way to upgrade to HD surveillance with latency-free transmission capability. This finding allowed Korean manufacturers to deliver a new innovation to break away from compression accessories and technologies.

On the other hand, Chinese manufacturers first showcased HD-SDI cameras with chip solutions from Ambarella in 2010. Innovation continued despite skepticism until 2013, and there were plenty of Chinese manufacturers delivering full lines of HD-SDI signal transmission devices and matrix systems to heat up the competition. In particularly, Chinese HD-SDI solutions are not ambitiously positioned to replace IP surveillance applications, but are largely applied to the existing domestic analog surveillance market, such as education, retail, and banking sectors.

Across the strait, some Taiwanese HD-SDI pioneers started to develop their own HD-SDI products while others simply follow Korean HD-SDI trends. In 2010, there were only 2 or 3 manufacturers daring to test the water. However, in 2013, over 16 vendors have shifted their production from analog products to HD-SDI peripheral products.

Chinese HD-SDI market has the largest domestic support market-wise, while Taiwanese and Korean vendors are providing more technological innovations.

Factors behind the Uptake of HD-SDI
HD-SDI is a still a slowly-develping business. According to Todd Rockoff, Chairman and Executive Director of HDcctv Alliance, even with manufacturers' aggressive R&D investments and market demand for real-time HD surveillance, in 2011, only 5% of surveillance market adopted HD-SDI applications. While SDI chipmakers and IMS Research forecasted that by 2014, 15% of all HD equipments (including IP-based and HD-SDI video surveillance) may adopt HD-SDI solutions, and possibly in 2013, there are 10% of HD equipment adopting HD-SDI.

First, HD-SDI represents a new solution for installers encountering difficulties in deploying IP surveillance solutions in an environment ill-structured with wireless transmission. Furthermore, even though IP surveillance has run for years, there are still circumstances where conventional video surveillance systems cannot be replaced by IP solutions. Some believe that IP market shares to analog surveillance is 7:3, fact is IP is securing 50% of the market. Due to reasons including the varied network conditions in every country, high costs associated with replacement of existing infrastructure, IP is yet to be fully accepted in the market. However, the above mentioned challenges can be addressed with HD-SDI solutions, making HD-SDI solutions preferably adopted in retail stores, shopping malls, highways, stations, banks, casinos, airports, and other projects such as city surveillance and traffic monitoring. In addition, not only does HD-SDI features uncompressed digital signal high speed transmission, HD image quality, and excellent color rendition, but also supports existing analog infrastructure to ensure secured video data and reliability.

Nevertheless, a major drawback of HD-SDI is the huge data generated that lead to more investment in transmission and storage devices. HD-SDI ‘s capabilities to handle resolutions beyond 1080P or back-end management equipment are questionable.

Market Position
Chinese manufacturers have shown their capabilities through improved product performance, and created brand awareness internationally. The competition is fierce for Taiwanese and Korean manufacturers despite only 10% of Chinese HD-SDI products could really match up to Taiwanese and Korean HD-SDI products. Taiwanese and Korean manufacturers are more advanced in terms of their rich technological experiences in integrating sensors, SDI transmitters, image signal processors, and proper SoC solutions.


Currently, Taiwanese and Korean HD-SDI vendors position themselves to compete in Western and Asian markets. For them, Chinese market is unpredictable and the price-competition is too severe. In western markets, there are already some case studies indicating that several cities in the UK are using Taiwanese and Korean HD-SDI surveillance products. Western markets welcome HD-SDI solutions because they not only solve the latency issues of IP solutions, but also eliminate significant modification for existing analog system.

Related article
HD-SDI(6): Hybrid approaches to integrate HD-SDI and IP solutions
HD-SDI(5): Camera components, features, and efficiency
HD-SDI(4) : Revolution of HD-SDI matrix systems
HD-SDI(3): Storage in SDI
HD-SDI(2): Transmission extendable in distance
HD-SDI(1): Another option for HD video surveillance

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