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TimeSight VLM vs. 3VR SmartStorage™

People were ‘buzzing’ over TimeSight Systems’ Networked Video Recorder at ISC West this year. And who wouldn’t buzz hearing claims like “Mega Pixels without Mega Storage,” a “90% reduction in storage requirements” and more? It all sounds too good to be true. So what’s the truth? In this post, I’ll take a look under the hood at TimeSight and compare it to another storage optimization technology that I know very well, 3VR’s SmartStorage™.

First, let’s look at TimeSight’s technology:

TimeSight touts two approaches to squeeze more video into less storage. The first, which they call Motion Optimized Recording (MORe), is pretty straightforward. Motion and non-motion video are simply recorded at different qualities and frame rates based on how the user configures the system. According to TimeSight, this is superior to more basic on/off motion-based recording because non-motion video is still recorded, albeit at a lower frame rate, instead of just disregarded.

TimeSight’s other featured technology is called Video Lifecycle Management (VLM). It’s also pretty simple to understand. As video gets older, it is reduced in quality in order to save storage space. You heard it…the way that TimeSight keeps megapixel imagery longer is to turn it into something that’s NOT OF MEGAPIXEL QUALITY!

Well, I guess low quality is better than no quality, but somehow that feels like a pretty weak value proposition to me, and it doesn't quite live up the claim of “Mega Pixels without Mega Storage.”

How does this compare to 3VR’s SmartStorage™?

3VR’s storage optimization technology, SmartStorage™, has gone through several cycles of innovation since the company founding. The latest round of development culminated in a series of news articles, videos and technical write-ups you can read here, here and here. As with TimeSight, the 3VR technology includes features like motion optimization and the ability to adjust what is stored overtime. This should sound pretty similar to TimeSight’s technology, so far.

However, 3VR's SmartStorage™ also does something unique and incredibly powerful that TimeSight's technology cannot. SmartStorage™ can optimize what’s stored based on the content of the video itself! That means that faces, license plates and other valuable imagery doesn’t have to be compressed away along with less important video content as time flies by. In some cases, multiple years might pass before important full megapixel quality, high value content might need to be purged from storage archives to make room for new video.

Here is what I said about SmartStorage™ in 2007:
Since the introduction of video surveillance, security professional have been forced to compromise both budget and video evidence quality in order to meet long-term storage requirements. 3VR SmartStorage is a pivotal breakthrough that makes it possible to store higher-quality video evidence for much longer periods of time while at the same time dramatically reducing storage requirements and costs. It's a win for investigators, security professionals and the IT departments that support them.
So who is the winner in this matchup? Yes, both technologies provide for motion-optimized recording. Both technologies modify the quality of content stored over time, and both technologies claim to provide about a 10x improvement in storage efficiency over time. But at the end of the day, after each technology has squeezed everything it can out of every sector of disk space available, only 3VR still retains content of the absolute highest quality. Valuable images of criminals saved with 3VR's SmartStorage™ will stand up in court, and humans will actually be able to read pictures of license plates years later.

The winner is 3VR’s SmartStorage™…by a megapixel.

Reader Comments (2)

>Does 3VR support NAS recording or archiving? It looks like 4TB is the max and we are looking to sotre a large amount of data for 4-7 years from the date of capture.

October 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterThe Steps are key

>Indeed 3VR does support external storage on its high-end units. Please reach out to a representative at or use the contact forms on for more information.

October 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterStephen Russell

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