We have an extensive list of cameras that are known to be compatible with SecuritySpy. All these cameras have profiles built into SecuritySpy, making for a quick and easy setup in most cases.
However, it’s a fast-changing market and new cameras are continuously being released. While we do our best to release frequent updates that support these new cameras, it’s a difficult task. You may find yourself intending to use a particular camera that is not yet on our list – this blog post will show you how.
The main requirement for a camera to be compatible with SecuritySpy is that the camera is capable of sending data in either of these two formats:
- JPEG over HTTP (sometimes called MJPEG or “server-push”)
- JPEG, MPEG-4 or H.264 over RTSP
This blog post will concentrate on RTSP, because this is the standard format for all modern network cameras.
The first thing to do is to check that your camera supports the RTSP protocol. Most do, and certainly all ONVIF-compatible cameras do. For some cameras, you will need to navigate through its settings pages with a web browser in order to find an option to enable RTSP, however for most cameras it will be enabled by default.
Next, you will need to find out the “request” that the camera understands for sending its RTSP data. This is a short string of text, and might be described in documentation as an “RTSP request” or “RTSP URI”.
There are a few different ways you might be able to discover what this request is:
- Via the camera’s web interface. Many cameras show the RTSP request string in the section of the settings where the video streams are configured.
- In the camera’s documentation. Check the camera’s user manual for information about the RTSP requests that the camera understands.
- On a third-party web site such as SoleraTec or iSpy, both of which host databases of common cameras and their RTSP requests.
- By contacting the camera’s manufacturer directly. The better companies will readily supply this information.
The setup procedure in SecuritySpy is best shown by an example:
- You have a camera on your network at the IP address 192.168.1.50 (cameras can be set up on your network like this)
- Its username and password are both “admin”
- You have discovered that the RTSP URI for your camera is rtsp://192.168.1.50/video_h264
Here’s how you would set this up in SecuritySpy:
In our experience, here are some things that might go wrong:
- The standard network port for RTSP is 554, and this is what SecuritySpy uses if you leave the port boxes empty. However, a minority of cameras (most notably from ACTi and Foscam) use different ports for their RTSP communication. This information should be shown in the camera’s web interface and documentation.
- In rare cases, some cameras send MPEG-4 or H.264 video that is incompatible with QuickTime (QuickTime is used by SecuritySpy for video decompression). If you get a green or distorted video feed, this is probably the case.
- In rare cases, a camera might send a non-standard RTSP stream which SecuritySpy cannot decode. In this case you will get a blue screen with a cross in the middle. In this case, please email us and attach SecuritySpy’s log file (located in your ~/Documents/SecuritySpy/ folder) so that we can look into it.
- Make sure that you do not have Perian installed on your computer, as this could cause the decompression of H.264 video to fail.
- Sometimes cameras don’t use a request string, in which case you would need to leave the Request box empty in the above window.
Let us know!
If you have had success with a camera that is not on our list, please email us and let us know the details, so that we can add the camera to our list.
[Update: 2 December 2013]
SecuritySpy 3.2 now supports the ONVIF protocol, so any ONVIF-compliant camera should work with SecuritySpy with minimal setup, even if it’s not yet on our official list of compatible cameras. For such cameras, simply select the ONVIF profile from the device list and enter the camera’s IP address and username/password, and SecuritySpy will do the rest.