Hikvision Video Intercom on iMac/SS
  • I'm installing a 2nd generation Hikvision Video Intercom comprising the DS-KD8003-IME1 gate station POE wired to the house where it feeds a master indoor station and three slave indoor stations connecting wirelessly to the master. I had hoped that I would also be able to use my High Sierra iMac as an additional indoor station but even with the latest version of iVMS-4200, I'm seeing only the live feed with some - not all - config settings and no way of interfacing with the gate station, ie initiating a conversation and opening the gate.

    Could SS give me full functionality from my iMac? My other options will be to invest in another Hikvision indoor station for my desk or buy a Windows thing, neither of which appeals.
  • Is anyone using SS to interact with Hikvision's 2nd gen video intercom, ie to open/close door/gate and talk to visitors?
  • @iMac5K I don't have a specific intercom model Hik, but I've got several that support intercom functionality (2-way audio). I've unfortunately had very poor experiences with SS in sending audio back to the camera. Even though it's supported, the quality of that audio is so poor it's largely unusable for me. I've resorted to using the Hikvision Hik-Connect iOS app for really excellent, high quality, fast connecting 2 way audio. Might be worth a shot.
  • Here are some notes from my original support ticket regarding this audio issue:
    --
    Out of curiosity I added it to the Hik-Connect iOS app and was shocked to
    hear how loud and clear the same audio stream was. I'm not sure why, but
    the same stream when loaded through SecuritySpy is very quiet. Also, to add
    to that quietness issue, two-way audio doesn't work at all through
    SecuritySpy. The audio that gets sent to the camera is just scrambled
    static. If I send audio through Hik-Connect it comes through loud and clear.

    There's not a lot of config options available for anything outside of MP2L2, PCM, and MP3 (which allow you to select sampling rate and bitrate).
    --
    Although SecuritySpy supports PCM, μLaw (G.711 & G.726) AMR or AAC auto streams by default, it doesn't support MP3 audio streams. However it does support AAC streams from Hikvision cameras that support this, for good quality with low CPU usage, which I'm surprised this new camera doesn't support.
  • I don't know the answer: I was doing some research. But seeing as Ben didn't respond to my OP, I suspect that SS may not support the Hikvision video intercom.
  • SecuritySpy does support these devices, and I wasn't aware of any particular audio problems. @cstout - can you let me know more about the audio quality, is it too quiet, or distorted, or something else? Have you tried sending audio to the camera from macOS SecuritySpy and compared this to iOS SecuritySpy - is there a difference?

    One issue here is that SecuritySpy only supports sending audio in G.711 format to Hikvision devices (in fact, as far as I can tell, this is the only option that Hikvision has made public). Furthermore, the specifications sheet for the DS-KD8003-IME1 video intercom lists only G.711 as a supported audio format and nothing else.

    It's possible that the Hik-Connect app uses a better audio codec for certain such as MP2L2 (for devices that support it), however I don't think this is an option for SecuritySpy (no public API from Hikvision and no MP2L2 encoder exists on macOS). G.711 is basic but it should still be perfect serviceable, so I will have a look at this to see if we can improve the audio quality when using G.711.

    AAC would be the ideal codec for all cameras to support - it's high quality, good library support (with an encoder/decoder built into macOS), and can be used directly in MP4 movie files. But it does require that manufacturers pay a license fee to implement it, which has held it back as the universal format here.
  • Thanks Ben. I tried importing a KD8003 into SS and the live feed works fine, along with motion event recordings. But I can't find a way to bring in the intercom and door open/close controls. They don't come with the IP for the door station. And the master indoor station - from where Hik-Connect gets it - doesn't import into SS.
  • Hey thanks, Ben. I think that ticket I opened was back in September and I let it get away from me because I think there was some "phone tag" going on and then I got really busy. I'm blaming me entirely, haha. I'll re-open access to the camera for you and add some new notes. I'll spare the details here to keep the thread on topic. :-) Thanks for the response.
  • Thanks @cstout! I'll make sure to have a look at this.

    @iMac5K - SecuritySpy won't be able to control door opening/closing I'm afraid. However video and two-way audio should work. When you say that the "intercom" doesn't work, do you mean audio? Can you receive but not send audio? Or is neither receiving or sending working?
  • @Ben, I can hear audio from the gate but not vice versa. At least, not on my iMac using the built-in mic. And I got no buzzer/bell/alarm when my visitor pushed the button on the intercom but that may need more setting up on my part.

    But I need the gate controls to work too so, sadly, I won't be able to abandon Hikvision's proprietary solutions.
  • We have been working with @cstout's camera, which he kindly put online for us to test with, and we have made some progress.

    @iMac5K - could you please try the latest beta version of SecuritySpy (currently 5.2.3b10), which has some fixes in regards to Hikvision audio, and let me know if it helps. For best quality, set the device's audio format to 16 kHz PCM.
  • Thank you Ben - happy to try it. Could you please tell me how the beta installs? Does it sit alongside the previously installed version, or overwrite it?
  • Hi @iMac5K, once downloaded to the Downloads folder on your Mac, you can either simply quit your current SecuritySpy and load the beta from there, and switch back and forward between them to compare. Or, you can drag the beta from Downloads to Applications, replacing your current version. If you have problems with the beta you can always download and install the current release version. Please let me know how your testing goes with the beta.
  • @Ben, I haven't [yet] been able to get it working properly. My gate visitor can hear me but I can't hear him. Are the mic and speaker buttons on the screen supposed to be touched or do they just light up when audio traffic is detected?

    My problem might be that I'm testing on a 2014 Mac Mini [High Sierra] connected to a vintage Apple Cinema Display with no built-in mic so I'm using a USB mic. I'll try eventually to test it on my iMac but need to wait for an opportunity as it is running iVMS-4200 24/7 which makes its own connections to the door station.
  • If the visitor can hear you, then there is no problem with the computer-to-camera audio and your microphone is working fine.

    As for the camera-to-computer audio, make sure to select the PCM format in the camera's settings pages, as this offers the highest quality. Also update to the latest beta of SecuritySpy (it's on b14 now, improved from the older b10 version mentioned above).

    Do you see the speaker icon next to the camera, in the video windows and/or the Camera Info window in SecuritySpy? Simply click that to hear the camera's live audio via your Mac's speakers. Make sure your Mac volume is turned up, and if you need an audio boost, you can adjust the volume control upwards under Preferences -> Cameras -> Audio.
  • Thanks Ben. Audio now seems to be working in both directions. No visitors for days which doesn't help. If someone pushed the intercom bell, should I get an alert, assuming SS is open? And can I configure to bring that alert window to the front automatically? And do I then have to hit the in-window button to be heard - and the speaker button to hear the visitor? Or can I hit both to have duplex audio?
  • Great to hear that. The bell itself won't cause an event in SecuritySpy (we're looking at that for the future) so for now, simply enable SecuritySpy's motion detection (perhaps with human detection to reduce false-positives), and then set the Actions that you want for this (e.g. to bring the video window to the front).

    Yes, you will then need to click the speaker button to hear audio from the camera or click the microphone button to send audio to the camera. Enable both for full-duplex audio.
  • Thanks Ben: your efforts are appreciated. The doorbell alert will be a game changer, if you can make it work. And then opener controls within SS would be game, set and match.

    I don't want to put such customer-unfriendly thoughts into your head but you could even charge a few shekels more for the "Access Control" version of SS…or sell it as a bolt-on.

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