Archive for the ‘ CCTV Articles’ Category



Farm Surveillance – Installing a Security System on your Farm or Ranch

Written By:
Friday, March 28th, 2014

image00

Farm Surveillance is important to every farm owner. One example is imagine it is night and you hear a persistent crying from your cow that is pregnant. You hurry and get on your feet, you pluck the soiled straw from your hair and look around anxiously. Has she decided to give birth tonight after all? You wonder if she is going into labor after all, as she has been showing signs of going into labor and it has been quite a while since she started showing these signs. It is a cold night and you have to endure the face-biting cold air. Weary from a sleepless night in your barn, you wait with grim determination for heavy labor to begin.

How many of us have spent so much time in our birthing stalls waiting for the moment?  I distinctly remember many such cold nights, sleeping near the cow that was showing signs, waking up at every sound she made and often checking her to make sure she was OK. Exhausted and shivering, I would look into the eyes of my frightened cow and wonder, “Isn’t there an easier way?”  Thankfully, there is.

It is as simple as adding a Surveillance System in your barn, so that you can keep an eye on your animals from the warm comfort of your home, instead of having to sleep on the floor next to your animals. This system can also be used to prevent any theft in your property for your equipment as well as your family. The security cameras can be set up to monitor your barn, feeding stations, birthing stalls, workshop, milking facilities, equipment, driveway, and home, to name a few.  These camera systems provide economical, cost-effective solutions and have literally hundreds of applications.  I tend to be frugal and thrifty when it comes to farming, but I judge a surveillance camera system to be a worthy investment for any rancher, worth every penny.

image03

What you should be looking for

Predictably, there are a vast quantity of different types and models of surveillance camera systems.  Some are expensive while some are very affordable. Some have a few basic features; others are more complex. It makes you think, “What kind of features do I want for my surveillance system?” Each ranch or farm has its own unique needs and therefore it would be impossible to make such broad generalizations. Even so, I have narrowed down some variables to what I think are the most important features for any farming operation. While in other projects the cameras do not need to be waterproof, when it comes to farming you need weatherproof cameras as they are exposed to the elements it is essential to have a weatherproof system. A surveillance camera can take on several different shapes, and some are mounted on walls, while others to the ceiling or roof.

Usually, basic video surveillance systems feature one camera that you would monitor via a computer. One of my favorite features that I have come across is a DVR that would let you view the live feed as well as go back into the footage for review either by utilizing a CMS or a smartphone application. Personally, I consider camera systems that allow you to view multiple locations at once to be the most effective. The quality of the video footage is very important. Most of the cameras that are high resolution come with infrared LED’s allowing you to view at low light situations and at night. Most Surveillance Systems are Wired, utilizing Siamese cable and BNC connections while others like IP systems utilize PoE (Power over Ethernet) with a Cat5e Cable and RJ45 connectors. These cameras also have the ability to have motion sensing, letting you add the cameras to your existing Alarm System. All of these features are great when trying to keep intruders away, protecting your livestock and equipment. Additionally you can set your DVR to send you alerts via e-mail. If you have the TechproSS Plus App you can set the app to send you notifications when the camera senses movement. With a Surveillance System in your Farm or Ranch you will have the ability to view your Property without having to leave the warm cozy bed and if there is ever an intruder it will let you see their position and give you time to react efficiently.

You can also view your property from anywhere in the world as long as you have your system connected to your network and it has Internet connection via your Internet Service Provider. This is possible for the simple fact that most camera systems DVRs are stand-alone units running a Linux OS that will allow the cameras to be networked. In the IP realm the cameras themselves serve as their own self sustained unit. The only reason you would have a Network Video Recorder (NVR) is when you want to record the camera feeds. The IP cameras will encode all the data and some also allow a microphone connection to the camera. In the Digital Video Recorders (DVR) you would need to add a microphone and send the line back to the DVR from the microphone’s location.

There are new technologies that have arrived recently to the United States that make it affordable to have High Definition cameras. HDCVI is that technology and SecurityCameraKing.com has this technology. HDCVI is cheaper than HD-SDI and IP, cables can be run longer than before at almost 5 times the distance. You can read more about this exciting new HDCVI technology here.

Of course there are numerous other features available and I couldn’t possibly list them all, but these are a few ideas to get you started.

Cow

Preventing Theft

With the widespread of unemployment, theft is spreading at a fast rate and mainly thieves are not waiting for night time. They are doing it at broad daylight when there is no one on the property, and there has recently been a dramatic increase of agricultural equipment and livestock stolen. With a fragile economic situation and with robbery festering in our country, purchasing a farm surveillance camera system becomes even more necessary. Although you may focus on outside thieves, sometimes your employees are the ones committing the crime especially if you have a large farming operation.

While each operation is unique in every way, a Surveillance System becomes an important investment that has large benefits to make a difference. Fortunately, there are numerous options and features available at affordable prices. This technology could and will make all the difference in how you farm. No more restless nights sleeping with your live stock. No more anxiety over stolen equipment or livestock.  No more wondering if your employees are doing their jobs or stealing from you.  With countless applications and positive results, these camera systems are paving the way to better security, stress-free farming, and safer lives. Next time you have some time come and visit SecurityCameraKing.com or give us a call toll free at 866-573-8878.

image01

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

The Differences Between HDCVI and Analog CCTV Security Camera Systems

Written By:
Thursday, March 27th, 2014

When it comes to closed circuit television or CCTV systems, there are lots of different brands and types of systems to choose from. I am going to cover the differences between standard analog systems and HDCVI or High Definition Composite Video Interface (analog’s replacement in the near future). For the price of a high-end analog CCTV system, you can get an HDCVI system that will knock your socks off!

Analog Closed Circuit Television System

Analog System

Analog camera systems are the vast majority of camera systems on the market that are in use by the typical surveillance consumer. The best way that I can describe what the footage from these cameras looks like is the typical 7-11 robbery video that you see on the nightly news. With a standard analog camera system, the highest resolution you will get is 960h or 928×480 and most will only produce a standard D1 resolution of 704×480 or essentially 480i. This is equivalent to what television stations broadcast up until June of 2009. After the transition, all “full-power TV Stations” went into broadcasting HD. One of the best examples of the quality of the new transmission is before the change all the news personalities never had to worry too much about their complexion, after the change you could see the pores on these people and the makeup artists had to start working overtime to deal with the added details in their clients.

With a traditional closed circuit camera system, you will typically have a DVR (Digital Video Recorder) for encoding and storing of the video. A cable from the DVR location to the camera location, typically either a plug-and-play premade cable or a Siamese cable; there also could be an Ethernet cable with baluns used as well. A balun simply converts an Ethernet cable to a standard BNC connection; some can also send power and audio over the same Ethernet cable. A power supply is needed to power the camera from the DVR location. A camera with a BNC connector on it typically is under 700TVL or 700 TV lines.

Some of the higher end analog systems have great picture quality and are suitable for some people on the market, but with the fact that as a society, we have grown to expect better definition on any image or video we see. Over time, we will look back on analog camera systems the way we look back at vintage footage.

HDCVI Closed Circuit Television System

HDCVI System

Now you are probably wondering what the heck, another acronym in the security industry! HDCVI actually stands for High Definition Composite Video Interface, but think of it as high definition over any cable type. With HDCVI you will currently be able to get 720p high definition video, with 1080p resolution video in the very near future. While you can technically run HDCVI over any existing security camera cabling that has copper in it, the better the cable the better the results you will see. Let me explain that a little further. To receive the absolute best picture out your HDCVI system you should use either RG59 or RG6 Siamese cable. With most RG59 and RG6 cables on the market, they have more copper in them than most other cable types, and the shielding that surrounds the core helps to prevent interference from outside sources. The next best cabling method would be Ethernet cable (Cat5e/Cat6), preferably a high quality, with baluns. This is because with all the options of cabling this is the second best cable as far as copper content. You can use standard Plug and Play BNC cables, but keep in mind that the better the cable the better the video.

With HDCVI camera systems, you do get the same truly closed circuit television system that you are used to with an analog system, unlike what you get with an IP megapixel camera system. What that means is that all the cameras come directly back to the DVR (Digital Video Recorder) which is where the video is encoded and stored on the internal hard disk drive. This isolates the cameras from the network unless you have the unit connected to the network. Even when the system is connected to the network, it is protected by a three failed attempt lockout. What that means is that even if someone finds the system, if they fail three times on guessing the password, the system locks the account from access and continues to keep on operating as normal. It just helps to prevent unauthorized access to your surveillance system. With the fact that the DVR is doing all of the encoding, this helps to prevent lag in the video. What that means is that what you are truly looking at is what is going on in real time and not having the second or so delay from the live shot to what you are seeing. This is typically a downfall in an IP megapixel camera system. Another advantage of HDCVI camera systems are that all the OSD (On Screen Display), PTZ (Pan Tilt Zoom) control, and audio can be transmitted over the single coaxial cable that is also sending the video from the camera to the DVR.

In conclusion, if you are looking for a new security system, you can go with different options. You can go the traditional analog camera system route and have it be obsolete in a year or so. You can go with an HD-SDI (High Definition – Serial Digital Interface) camera system, which will give you some temporary benefits over HDCVI right now, but will be obsolete in a few years. You can go with an IP megapixel system that will give you the ability to constantly upgrade over the years. Alternatively, you can go with an HDCVI system which has some minimal limitations on the resolution at the time being, but this is the technology that will wipe analog and HD-SDI camera systems off the market. The cost of these HDCVI systems are only a few dollars more than a high end analog system.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Solar power and CCTV

Written By:
Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

image04

A lot of Government agencies are utilizing Solar Energy to power their equipment that could not be powered in any other way than solar power. Maybe the reason is the equipment is in a remote area or for the efficiency and greener energy.

One reason that you would use Solar Power would be it is renewable energy.  Clean Energy does not depend on the grid. If there is a storm, this Solar Power system will still operate. Solar Energy has tax incentives. The Federal Government offers tax incentives for those who install these kinds of systems in their homes and businesses. Not only can you power your Surveillance equipment, you can also power a large amount of devices in your home and business.

Let’s go ahead and cover the basic math that you can utilize as a guideline

(Current draw x 24 hours) / Peak hours of sunlight = Amperage required

Current Draw : The amount of current (amps) consumed by a device in an electrical circuit.
In a Solar System, every milliamp of current that has been conserved can save a lot of money in the long run. You have to think about the total current draw of any application so that you can minimize total draw where possible especially with surveillance equipment.

Sunlight Peak Hours: Refers to “Solar Noon” which is when the sun transits the local meridian and it is highest in the sky. Depending on your location in the hemisphere and the time of year is the amount of hours you will get, usually people receive from 3 to 5 hours of direct sunlight.  It is the reason why Solar Power Systems are very popular in areas such as Arizona, Texas, Florida and other southern states.

Amps Required for your system : A Solar Panel is designed to absorb the sun’s rays as a source of energy for generating electricity or heating a charge controller. A special battery is used to store the power. This battery is designed to withstand the charging cycle as this battery will discharge and charge many times. The (DOD) number on a battery identifies how many times a battery can be run all the way down to empty before it is unusable.  Also, the battery has to be 10 times the size so that the Solar Panels do not overcharge the battery rendering it unusable. Standard Vehicle Batteries are not ideal for this task. A deep cycle marine or trolling motor battery is acceptable for this type of use.

When considering a Solar System some key points have to be taken into consideration.

Example :

Mr. James needs an installation in his property in Arizona. The front gate does not have any power source whatsoever and it is about 1,000 feet from any power source.  In this System we will be using an IPOB-EL1MPIR50 and a TP Loco M5 to connect this IP Camera to the existing network .

 What is the total current that this system draws?

We need to determine the total current draw for this type of system. So we would add the total draw for both devices. The IPOB-EL1MPIR50 draws 4w = 4000mA and the Tp Loco M5 draws 5.5W=5500mA .

Device (1) mA = Device (2) mA = Total mA

4000mA + 5500mA = 9500mA

What is the amperage needed to run this type of system?

To determine the total amperage we first must calculate the amp hours (Ah) required per day so we must multiply the total current draw by the total hours of one day which is 24 hours.

Total Current Draw X Total Hours of a Day = Amps per Hour

9500mA / 1,000 = 9.5A

9.5A X 24hr = 228Ah

How many hours of sunlight does this system receives?

image07

Zone 1 = 6.0hrs        Zone 2 = 5.5 hrs

Zone 3 = 5.0 hrs         Zone 4 =  4.5 hrs

Zone 5 = 4.2 hrs         Zone 6 = 3.5 hrs

According to my location in Florida,we know that we get about 4.1 hours of direct sunlight. So we would divide the Ah by the average hours of sunlight that this location receives.

Amps Per Hour/Total Hours of Sunlight = Total Amps

228Ah / 4.1 = 55.6A

How can you  determine the Solar Panel Watts

We need to determine the size of the panel and wattage needed to operate this camera and the wireless access point. Solar panels are are rated in Watts at 17 volts. To determine the watts lets go ahead and multiply 55.6A times 17.

total current draw X volts in one Solar Panel = Total Watts

5.56A X 17 = 945.2W

In this example we need a Solar Panel that can produce a total of 945.2W

What size of battery do we need for this Application?

Lets say we need to provide at least 1-2 days of reserve.  Batteries are measured in amps.  Since we already know our total current draw for this system we multiply 9500mA by 48 hours.

Total Current Draw X 48 hours = Battery amperage needed.

9500mA/1,000 = 9.5A

9.5mA X 48 hours = 456Ah

The battery required for this system would be 456Ah a typical ‘deep cycle marine’ battery is between 60 and 80 amp hours.

Utilizing Solar Energy to power equipment such as a Surveillance System we first need to calculate everything to ensure that we have enough power and reliability to support the system being installed.

How to Install Solar Panels

Before you install any Solar Panels make sure you are cleared legally, some communities are not comfortable with Solar Panels being installed and others require a special permit.  Location must be either pointing East or West wherever it will receive the most sunlight.

Let’s figure your latitude tilt. If your location is below twenty-five degrees latitude, your solar panels should be tilted towards the sun in the amount of latitude number.  If the location is at 25 degrees latitude, you will have to  tilt your panels by 25 degrees.  After 25 latitude, add five degrees for each additional five degrees of latitude up to 40 degrees. ( 35 lat = 50 tilt and 30 lat = 40 tilt) At 40 degrees latitude,add 20 degrees of tilt to your latitude number. (55 lat = 75 tilt) Write down this on your notes. Lets assume these panels are being installed in a pole, in this case you will need a side pole mount. These are designed to hold about 1-4 modules and are mounted to the pole using U-Bolts. Some racks can accommodate different sized poles and are adjustable from 15-65 degrees. The best ones are the ones that will adjust in 10-degree increments.

 image00

After mounting the Solar Panels we will go ahead with our electrical connections.

If you need to make an Array of Solar Panels because your Project requires more output from the Solar Panels it can be tedious and very time consuming all depending on your wire termination. Preparing all your tools and planning what type of termination is essential.

  • Cut Wire to length make sure they will travel from one panel to another, make sure they will have extra length for any termination it is better to have more than to have less to work with.
  • Strip ¼ inch of the insulation from the cable end that will connect to your panel.
  • Crimp your connector to your wire if you are going to utilize a screw on contact or a multi connector.
  • Apply Solder to all terminals in your plates, by touching the plate with your iron then touching the solder to the plate, Not the iron.  Do this to all the panels in your array at the same time.
  • You can either solder bare wire to the solar panel terminal on all your plates or just crimp the contacts.  I prefer the Solder method.

image05

  • Connect your positive (+) lead from the first panel to the negative (-) lead on your other panel in your array .
  • Connect your Negative (-) lead from the second panel to the positive (+) lead on your other panel in your array .
  •  Repeat this step throughout your system.
  • Keep any wires away from each other to avoid any shorting.

image03

Parallel Wiring:

  • Connect your positive (+) lead from the first panel to the positive (+) lead on your other panel and continue throughout your entire array.
  • Connect your negative (-) lead from the first panel to the Negative (-) lead on your other panel and continue throughout your entire array.
  • Use conduit in your entire system . Use zip-ties and electrical lacing tape to keep all conductors together this will prevent any wire damage.

Final Connections

image02

Connect your Solar panels to the Regulator input (- +) then connect your batteries (- +) last check your connections and voltage output ,make sure there is no issues with your voltage then finish your connections . VOILA!  Free Power.

Now you will need another of our Tp-Loco M5 at your base location to connect this camera to your existing network, it also has to be in line of sight.  You can do this same setup with any of our items just make sure your calculations are correct before purchasing or installing anything.  You can purchase any of our products at SecurityCameraKing.com. We will soon have some pre-built packages for this kind of system.

image01

Final Product

Solar Powered Security Camera
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

How to Connect IP Cameras to an NVR

Written By:
Friday, March 21st, 2014

Configuring a Network Video Recorder 101

Many times I have been asked what is the proper way to configure an NVR and cameras. In this article I will describe the recommended settings you should have in your NVR and cameras. For this scenario I will be working with an NVR-16 Mini and our IPOB-EL1MPIR50 IP Cameras.

If this is the first time you are working with an NVR and IP cameras you might have to know a little bit about your network structure and how is everything connected. The typical structure is shown in the picture:

LAN

Now what we need to do is connect the NVR to a monitor either using a VGA cable or HDMI, also connect the Ethernet cable to your router and the NVR Ethernet jack and begin to power up the unit.

Examples of cable monitor and TV inputs:

HDMI CableVGA Cable
TV back

After the unit boots up, you can see the main interface of the NVR and a pop-up menu will appear on the screen showing you the Startup Wizard. You can use the Wizard to set the main features on this unit, but for this Demo I will skip these steps and hit cancel.

Login to the NVR by using any of the administrative usernames built in the unit. You can use the “admin” username and the password “admin” to get to the Main Menu.

In this Menu you will find many features. We will start by setting up the correct day and time in the unit based on your time zone.

NVR screen General

Next we will be going to the network section. To get there, click on SETTING>NETWORK. In here you can modify your IP Address, Subnet Mask, Gateway etc. We are going to click on “DHCP” option to get an IP address automatically from your router; therefore you don’t have to figure out what network scheme your router is setup to. Click on save and reboot the NVR. This method is the quickest way to get an IP from your Router without going to a computer. Once we get an IP address then we need to go back to the network settings of the NVR and turn OFF DHCP by simply uncheck the option next to the word DHCP. Make sure you write down the IP address of the NVR, so later on you can access the WEB SERVICE of the unit from your PC.

The next option is the SCHEDULE. This is going to be crucial because this is how the NVR will be recording and how frequently will do so. I recommend configuring it to motion detection, so the NVR and cameras will only record when there is an object in front of the cameras. This way the hard drive of the NVR will not fill up as quickly as it would if the unit was configured to record 24/7 non-stop.

NVR schedule screenshot

These are all of the essential settings you will need to setup your NVR. Now let us start configuring the megapixel cameras. I will always rather configure one camera first, then export the configurations of my settings to a file then later on I can import them to a new camera, this way the configuration time will be reduced and all my cameras will be configured the same way. This method is ideal when using the same camera model; otherwise you will need to export the settings of those cameras that are different model numbers.

To start this process I recommended to connect one camera at the time, due to the fact that we are dealing with IP devices and most likely all of the cameras will be set with the same default IP address of 192.168.1.108.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to the different kinds of IP ranges on a given network, you might need to assign a static private IP address on each camera to make sure they will not conflict to another device in the network.
You can use our Configuration Tool in this link http://www.securitycameraking.com/securityinfo/downloads/?category=tools-and-software-downloads to find the cameras in your network and assign the desire Static IP address.

Here is a snapshot of the configuration tool:

ConfigTool

CAMERA CONFIGURATION PROCESS

Now that we have assigned an IP address in the camera, it is time to access the camera settings and features. To do so, you will need to open Internet Explorer and begin to set up some of the features of the browser.

Click on this link http://www.securitycameraking.com/securityinfo/forum/remote-viewing-software/web-service/ to follow step by step of how to setup this feature.

Type the IP Address of the camera on the address bar of your browser to access the web service, once the web service comes up input the username and password. The default username and password for our cameras is “admin”.

After accessing the camera make sure the ActiveX files are installed, they will be needed to access and configure Video resolutions, Schedule, etc.

On the left side of the camera settings go to conditions to adjust the brightness, contrast, HUE etc. I normally leave these settings alone and just change them depending of the environment.

Web Service Conditions

Click on video to configure the resolution of the camera, Frames per second, Encoding, etc.

This part of the settings is crucial because it has to do with the recording resolution.
Notice that you have two columns, one labels Main Stream and the other Sub Stream. In a nutshell this is referring to recording streaming and viewing streaming. The Main Stream settings will affect how the camera sends the image to the NVR over the network, among other things it will also affect recording quality and how many FPS (Frames per Second) your NVR will be able to use as each camera gets added to each of the NVR Channels.
NOTE: NVRs and DVR have a maximum amount of cameras and FPS that they can handle. In the case of NVRs, they are restricted to an amount of FPS based on the video resolution your IP cameras are configured.

Web Service Video

To understand this Frame restriction, refer to the following charts based on a 16CH NVR:

ADDING 16 CAMERAS

ADDING 8 CAMERAS

ADDING 4 CAMERAS

16 cameras

You can see the FPS increases or decreases based on the amount of cameras you add to the NVR. The math is simple, it is FPS / Camera amount = Max FPS per camera.

8 cameras
4 cameras

Once you have decided how many cameras you will be adding to the NVR, it is important to configure the correct FPS, Bit Rate Type and Bit Rate. For the Bit Rate Type I recommend “CBR” (Constant Bit Rate) instead of “VBR” (Variable Bit Rate), this way the camera will constantly use a predetermine amount of data you set under Bit Rate. The Bit Rate settings will vary depending of what resolution the camera is configured. For a 1080p resolution I will set the Bit Rate to 2048 (2MB). This amount of data is more than enough to stream one camera at 1080p without loosing pixels.

Next we will set the Sub Stream settings. These settings will not affect recording video quality, instead it will affect the way the video performs over the phone while using our app TechproSS or TechproSS plus. This is mainly just for viewing purposes and should be set to D1 at 10 FPS or 15 FPS. The Bit Rate type is fine if we use CBR, and the Bit Rate can be set anywhere between 250 Mbps to 320Mbps. Also make sure the Enable option for this Stream is enable, otherwise you will not be able to view any kind of video while viewing the cameras over the phone or NVR local Interface.

Under “Code-Stream Type”, click on the Drop Down and choose Motion.

Noticed that the Encode Mode and Resolution are now gray out and this means that you can only change the FPS and Bit Rate to affect how motion events occurs. These settings are ideal when recording based on Motion only, so you can have the Main Stream at a less intense setting and the NVR will record at a higher FPS and resolution when Motion happens due to these settings. Click Save when done.

Web Service Video Motion

Proceed to go to “Event > Video Detect”. In here we can enable the motion detection feature of the camera. Also we can adjust the “Anti-Dither”, this acts like a delay to proven false motion events, The higher the number the higher the delay the camera will react to motion events. Right now I like these settings shown in this picture:

Web Service Video Detect

Next option is the Schedule. Click on “Storage > Schedule” and you can set now Motion recording for every day 24/7. Always remember to save your settings.

Web Service Schedule

We are almost done configuring the camera. The last thing we need to make sure we have correct is the Time Zone and Date and Time, therefore the info will be displayed correctly in the NVR. You can click on “Sync PC” button to get the Time and Date of your PC instead of doing it manually. You can also enable DST to have the camera change its time when daylight saving occurs. Click Save when done.

Web Service General

Click on “Import/Export to export these settings to a file and later one you can Re-Import them to a new camera.

Web Service Import Export

HOW TO ADD THE CAMERAS TO THE NVR

Now for the last step after all of the cameras and NVR are configured, we will need to add the cameras to the channels of the NVR. To me the easiest way to do this is from a PC accessing the NVR over the network.

Open Internet Explorer and begin typing the Internal IP address of the NVR. If you don’t remember what it is, then you can go to MAIN MENU > SETTING > NETWORK and it will be displayed under the IP address field.

After you login to the NVR’s interface, click on CONFIG. On the left panel click on Remote Device and the following interface will display the following options as shown in the example:

Config

In this interface you can click on “Device Search” to find any IP camera in the network and is also possible to use Filter Types to search for a specific type of device, such as DVR’s, NVR’s, Cameras, etc. You can also add the cameras manually if you know their IP address and port. Always remember to save the settings when you are done.

Here is a video demonstration on how to add IP cameras to your NVR

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Using a Jailbroken Apple TV / Roku Player to view your IP Camera

Written By:
Friday, March 21st, 2014

AppleTV2-

As you know, the Apple TV 2 has been Jailbroken for quite a while now and as a geek I often look for ways to pull features from all my electronic devices that will make the device more interesting and get my money’s worth.

I recently came across a plug-in for the XMBC Application to view CCTV cameras for an automated system that will take snapshots every five to ten seconds every time someone rings the doorbell. So, I thought to myself if I can take this and modify the code enough for it to work with my IP Camera, it would be AWESOME!

I use XBMC to watch my local media as well as other feeds such as AnimeFTW. After doing some research and learning how the code is built with Python, I took the task of reading over every line of code. I have little knowledge about this programing language but like everything else, I love to learn new things and challenge myself. I added and modified the code to work with the Surveillance equipment that we sell here at SecurityCameraKing.com.

After I modified the code, I found myself having an issue with the Interval code, as it was creating an issue when trying to display the image. I fixed this issue and called it Version.2 ;) (Bug Fixed!)

I also noticed that the original coding took only snap shots and display them at a minimum of five to six seconds. Again, I ended up messing everything up. Bummer! I had to start from scratch but this gave me another idea. I can try this again and see if i can also do the same with the video feed from the camera. I went ahead, fixed the issue, and noticed that no matter how small the number for the Interval I could not go under three to four seconds. It would display the same rate so I left it at three seconds.

Plug-in was successful AND operational!

Here is how you would add your information to work with our Surveillance equipment. Of course you need to have your Apple TV 2 Already jail-broken; you can use Season Pass to do this they have a great tutorial. If you have not jail-broken your Apple TV 2, please do so and come back here.

The Equipment I am using is the 1.3 Megapixel Dome IP Camera from SecurityCameraKing.com

And of course XBMC Frodo V12.2

XBMC Logo

Click the Image cluster below to download XBMC for your device.

XMBC Download Page

Let us start by getting the Plugin downloaded into your machine.

Link for Plugin http://www.securitycameraking.com/calculator-rtsp-generator.html

*Note: The Plugin should be under the Generator and is titled “Download the XBMC CCTV Overlay”

Once you download the ZIP file, go onto the next step

If you do not already use an FTP/SSH program, you can download to your Computer either Filezilla (Windows) or Cyberduck (Macintosh)

Filezilla: Download FileZilla Here

  1. Find and make a note of your ATV2′s IP address. You can find this by exiting XBMC, and in the normal ATV2 menu go to Settings > General > About. Then look for “IP Address” and use the numbers listed there. It will be something like 192.168.1.3, or something similar that has 4 groups of numbers.
  2. Open the FileZilla client and input the following information into the boxes near the top of the FileZilla window:
    • Host: enter the IP address of your ATV2 (e.g. 192.168.1.3)
    • Username: mobile
    • Password: alpine (this is the default. If you changed the password then enter whatever you changed it to)
    • Port: 22
  3. Hit the “Quick Connect” button. If a dialogue box pops up which states that “The server’s host key is unknown,” just check the box next to “Always trust this host, add this key to the cache”, and then click “OK”
  4. The files and folders on your ATV2 should now be listed in the “Remote site” frames on the right-hand side. The frames on the left-hand side contain the files, folders, and drives on the computer you are working from. It should look like this:
    Filezilla Screenshot
  5. Navigate to the folder /private/var/mobile/
  6. Transfer the add-on zip file into this folder by dragging and dropping from the left-hand panels, or from an Explorer/Finder window*
  7. In XBMC go to the AddOns manager and choose to “install from zip”
  8. Select the “Home Folder”
  9. Find and select the zip file you want to install

* NOTE: if you find, in step 6, that you cannot upload the file, try logging in again using the username “root”. After you have completed the transfer SSH into your ATV2 (UN: root, PW: alpine) and run the following command to restore file permissions

chown -R mobile:mobile /private/var/mobile/Library/Preferences/XBMC/userdata

Cyberduck: Download Cyberduck Here

  1. Find and make a note of your ATV2′s IP address. You can find this by exiting XBMC, and in the normal ATV2 menu go to Settings > General > About. Then look for “IP Address” and use the numbers listed there. It will be something like 192.168.1.3, or something similar that has 4 groups of numbers.
  2. Open Cyberduck and click on the “Open Connection” button in the top-left corner of the window. Enter the following information into the relevant boxes, and then click the “Connect” button.
    • Drop down menu: select “SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol)” from the list.
    • Server: enter the IP address of your ATV2 (e.g. 192.168.1.3)
    • Username: mobile
    • Password: alpine (this is the default, if you’ve changed the password then enter whatever you changed it to)
    • example:
    • Cyberduck Example

  3. If a dialogue box pops up stating “unknown host key for [IP address],” then check the box next to “Always”, and then click the “Allow” button.
  4. Navigate to the folder
    /private/var/mobile/
  5. Transfer the add-on zip file into this folder by dragging and dropping from an Explorer/Finder window*.
  6. In XBMC go to the AddOns manager and choose to “install from zip”
  7. Select the “Home Folder”
  8. Find and select the zip file you want to install

* NOTE: if you find, in step 5, that you cannot upload the file, try logging in again using the username “root”. After you have completed the transfer SSH into your ATV2 (UN: root, PW: alpine) and run the following command to restore file permissions

chown -R mobile:mobile /private/var/mobile/Library/Preferences/XBMC/userdata

On your XBMC Application

  1. Open the XBMC Application and Browse to the System Tab
    XBMC System Tab
  2. Browse to the Add-ons Button
    XBMC Addons
  3. Choose Install from Zip File
    XBMC Install Zip File
  4. Select the “Home Folder”
    XBMC Home Folder
  5. Once you have installed the Zipped Plugin you can browse to the Programs Tab
    XBMC Programs Tab
  6. There you will see the Plugin Called “CCTV Camera Overlay”
    XBMC CCTV Camera Overlay
  7. To add you camera’s information, access the settings menu on the Plugin by pressing the right arrow key on your remote.
    XBMC Addon settings
  8. In the URL Pane use the following code
    http://xx.xx.xx.xx:9989/onvif/media_service/snapshot?channel=0&subtype=0
    (The xx.xx.x.xx is your IP. Leave the Username / Password Blank)
    XBMC addons image URL
  9. Then go to Behavior to select your Image size, Interval (minimum 1Sec) and Duration in which the script will be running.
    XBMC Behavior
  10. Here is a screenshot of it working.
    XBMC Screenshot Working

If you experience any issues, make sure your IP Is correct and do the following:

Go into your IP Camera’s WEB GUI and go to Setup, then on the left you will see Camera. Click on the arrow to reveal your Camera Settings then select Video and finally Snapshot

Below you will see the correct settings.

* Note: the Interval if changed here has to match the settings on the Plugin.

Correct Settings

Voila! You can recall your camera with this plugin while you are using your XBMC App in your Apple TV or any device that XBMC is compatible with.

XBMC Configure

If you would like to see a video demonstration on the exact steps I have detailed above, click on the video below

After I went through all this hassle, I was not convinced from just having 3-second snapshots and feeling as if i was in the old days watching a cartoon reel – in this case a really slow cartoon reel. So once again i did some research and started with the RTSP feed the can be utilized to stream the video from a camera. I tried many plugins that were already out there that claim to do this, at least to handle the video format. It struck me I can just simply try something simple. This was the first thing I thought but I wanted a Plugin. It is as simple as this code here

rtsp://xx.xx.xx.xx:554/cam/realmonitor?channel=1&subtype=0&unicast=true&proto=Onvif

Where the xx.xx.xx.xx is your Camera’s IP Address. I went ahead and did the following: I created a file using notepad with the following code inside of it and named it camview.strm. I uploaded the file to my Apple TV using the same method as before, then you would go to Video Tab and choose the file and a soon as the XBMC app recognized the stream it showed up on the screen and it even let me surf for other content while playing the camera feed in the background.

As I was creating the streaming file for the XMBC, I wondered if i could make it even easier for everyone. I went and teamed up with one of our Web Developers, Damon Delcoro, and we built a Generator that will get you both the .RTSP File and the .STRM file. The .STRM is for your XBMC application or Plex and the .RTSP is for Applications such as Quicktime Player and any player or service that will utilize this format, this will also help many people that are trying to stream their IP Camera to services like http://www.ivideon.com/.

http://www.securitycameraking.com/calculator-rtsp-generator.html

I also spent most of my Sunday writing code for an app so that our customers could accomplish this in their Roku Boxes. After I was 60% done with everything I was able to upload and view a camera but still had some bugs and while I was researching to fix all of these I came across a forum where someone had already started this before, I tried to find that code with no luck. The developer sent me a PM and pointed out he had already finished the Application and that was the reason the code was no longer out there. It was in the Public Side of the Roku apps and not in the Private. He pointed out that he had two different apps: one for Screenshots and another that would save up to 64 IP Camera Addresses, same as what i had found out for the XBMC Plugin. The Application is called WebCam One and WebCam One Plus. The WebCam Plus Application will not support live video, but does add a Web interface for entering cam addresses.

Credit Goes to everyone that gave me Ideas such as looking into the Roku Player, and Damon Delcoro for taking his time to not only build this generator, but making it user friendly.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail