10-10-2010 01:08 AM
I want to share my experience with everyone using an alternative software than the Alert Commander. Alert Commander has some crucial limitations especially for business users.
I'll list them below.
#1 A limit of only 6 cameras ( I need up to 16 in my business)
#2 No Continuous Recording (Vital for some people)
#3 No multi view during remove viewing (Very important for business users to see the "whole" Picture
I've tested 2 alternative programs that work well with the Alert Cameras.
Vitamin D and Blue Iris.
Vitamin D has some cool recognition technology in it, but the software is very limited at this point.
#1 It has NO remote viewer what so ever (This makes it essentially useless for business users)
#2 No mobile access (Same boat as #1)
#3 No Continuous recording.
#4 No Audio Support.
My hope is that as the software matures it will be a good fit for the Alert Cameras.
Now on to what works and Works well.
Blue Iris works very well with the Alert Cameras. I've been testing the software for over a month with the Alert Cameras working exchanging emails daily with the developer. His name is Ken and he is extremely helpful. He has pushed out 2 updates within the past month adding full support for the alert cameras. Unlike Logitech, he actually listens and releases the features that I WANT. The full version is only 50 bucks and I firmly believe the developer deserves every penny of it.
The system supports up to 64 cameras and is multi threaded. Put those extra CPU cores to work.
My system is a 16 Camera mix of Indoor and Outdoor Alert cameras.
My NVR (Network Video Recorder) Computer is a 6 Core AMD Phenom with 8 Gigs of DDR3 ram and 2TB doubled mirrored Hard drives with a 1GB AMD 5000 series GPU. I spent about 1000 dollars in parts. I wanted a system that would last.
Some might say a Core i7 4 core system would be faster since it can do 8 threads but this is very hard to measure. I'd Say more real single thread cores are better than less dual threaded cores.
For a router I picked the Netgear FS726TP. It has 12 PoE Ports and 12 10/100 ports. It also has 2 gigabit ports(This is very important). The unit has a lifetime warranty also. So you might be wondering I have 16 Cameras but only 12 PoE ports. The other 4 Cameras are using homeplug. The reason I picked this router because I need a full duplex gigabit port connecting to my NVR PC. With 16 HD streams going into my PC, 100BaseT is to slow. With Gigabit it's no problem.
As for blue Iris Configuration just look at the screenshots I have attached. You will need to fix the IP of your cameras. I suggest doing this in your router. I'm using a DD-WRT flashed netgear. Very straight forward.
I've got all my cameras setup this way. You can use LowResolutionVideo if you like instead of HighResolutionVideo if you like. Blue Iris has a pretty decent web based remote viewer that lets you see all the cameras at once along with recorded clips. Its both IE (active X compliant) and Java (firefox, chrome, safari) all work. But IE will give you the best quality IMHO. The web viewer also works with all webkit based browsers (iphone, android, palm pre). Its not as good at the mobile alert commander, but at least you have another option.
On my computer I also have alert commander installed and its pulling clips from 6 of the cameras. You need this because its the only way to access the settings on the camera. On my system, all the cameras can defaulted zoomed in. You'll need the commander software to zoom out and tweak whatever white balance and color settings you want. I'm working on fooling windows 7 to run multiple instances of alert commander at once, so I can get all 16 cameras running on the same system. I'll need to run 3 instances of it to get access to all 16 cameras.
The only limitation I have with blue iris now is with the motion capture triggering on graphic errors. Sometimes the cameras video gets corrupted ( I have the same problem with my Acti 4201 system in another location). Blue Iris registers these graphic glitches as motion and captures them. I'm working with the developer to minimize these
In summary I have a 16 Camera system using blue iris that's lets me record either continuous or motion capture with audio all in HD. I can remotely view all of the cameras at the same time along with recorded clips from either my PC or phone. I also use the alert commander software along with the mobile version too just as a backup.
One limitation I have with the Alert Cameras is not being able to setup a username/password to access the stream. I'd like to put some cameras in remote locations and have them stream over the internet. I can do this now, but if anyone where to find my IP and do a port scan, they would also be able to access my video.
The system I put together is cheaper than anything from ACTI or Axis with the HD quality of the Alert Cameras. It would cost a lot more to do the same thing with the same quality using acti or axis.
There are a lot of other things you can do with blue iris like FTP clips, broadcast video, and triggers too.
If anyone has any questions please feel free to ask.
10-10-2010 04:25 PM - edited 10-10-2010 04:26 PM
Blue Iris sounds very interesting. Is the motion detection configuration similar to Logitech's with user-defined zones? Is its sensitivity adjustable to tune out leaves and bugs? I couldn't find answers on the Blue Iris web site. Thanks...
10-11-2010 10:22 AM
Excellent stuff. Just downloaded the trial, and works as Alert Commander should. Thanks for the screen snaps on the configuration. I'll buy it tomorrow.
10-11-2010 04:07 PM
Yes you can configure zones and sensitivitly and such either using a marker or drawing boxes. I have tested the software very extensively just using the trial before purchase. I suggest using the trial with the LATEST UPDATE and test it out.
Its not as "simple" as the alert commander, but it isn't suppose to be since your getting many more options.
I understand the website isn't that comprenshive, but its the best thing out that works with the cameras.
Give it a shot.
10-11-2010 04:09 PM
Support the developer. He has been very helpful with me to get the cameras working and adding the features needed. Unlike "cough" "cough" someone else who actually made the hardware
10-11-2010 04:24 PM
I think its great that you are using Blue Iris and I wish you success. You realize though, that Logitech must have purposefully allowed this right? No one forced Logitech to expose the live stream in a standard format that other software could consume. In fact the old system didn't allow it at all.
Your tounge in cheek comments about how unhelpful Logitech is seem a bit uncessary. No one is forcing you to use Alert Commander and Logitech gives it away for free.
One thing to keep in mind though is that using Blue Iris ruins one of the big upsells for the cameras that I think is a nice upgrade from the WiLife system. You don't need to have your computer running all of the time with Alert Commander whereas with Blue Iris you do. I used the trial version of Blue Iris and it seemed to work well though so Kudos to the developer.
10-11-2010 07:13 PM
#1 Wilife works with Blue Iris as well, as long as you know what your doing. Read Tom's hardware's review back from 2006 and they were using it with vlc as well.
#2 They didn't purposely allow this. The cameras somehow are going to stream and logitech isn't going to spend the R&D to make a proprietary codec and streaming formats. They used open standards. With open standards comes other ways to access them.
#3 I've spoken with Evan Tree, the guy who runs the former wilife division. He also has grips about the 6 camera limit too, but he didn't exactly know why it was 6 cameras. Trevor provided that info and I appreciate his honestly.
My tongue in check comments are not unnecessary. I've said before the cameras are great, but the video surveillance home consumer market is so much smaller than the business market. Logitech just doesn't want to complete in that space with Acti and Axis even though they have a much superior camera for the price. Companies often do things that run counter to good business practice or purposely limiting there software to impose some sort of restriction. If people didn't give them comments and complain about the flaws of a product. The product would never improve.
Companies often make great hardware, but its usually the software that's the shortfall. I'm trying to give my 2 cents to let them know what to improve upon.
10-11-2010 09:38 PM
I guess I mistook your constructive criticism for the wrong thing. It is difficult to tell the emotional content behind forum text. My apologies.