Blue Iris vs Security Spy

Posted on
Wed Jul 03, 2019 9:00 am
FlyingDiver offline
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Location: Southwest Florida, USA

Blue Iris vs Security Spy

Hoping this doesn't turn into a Ford vs Chevy discussion....

I'm trying to decide whether to stick with Security Spy or switch to Blue Iris. SS has served me well, but with the SS5 release I need to decide whether to pay the upgrade fee or pay for a BI license instead. And if I go BI, I'll need another Parallels or Fusion license too. It's about $100 for the SS5 upgrade for my 8 camera license. $70 for BI plus VM. But if I want to add any more cameras, It's a couple hundred more for an SS 16 camera license. The BI license is good for more cameras than I could ever use.

I currently run SS on an upgraded 2010 Mac Pro (12 core, 40 GB RAM). It runs between 300-400% CPU for my eight cameras. I installed BI in a Fusion VM on the same system, and configured it with the same eight cameras. CPU usage of the VM is slightly more than SS.

What I have not tried to do yet is configure BI to write the video files directly to one of the Mac Pro's drives. I don't want them stored in a virtual drive in the VM. And I haven't played with the web interface to BI yet. Nor have I tried using the BlueIris plugin yet.

So, general questions -

At least one BI user called SS "expensive garbage" in a thread in this forum. I agree it's expensive compared to BI. But I have not had any usability issues with SS. So I'm wondering what the basis was for that characterization?

How hard is it to get BI in a VM to auto-start properly and to use the physical drives for storage? How hard is it to get the web server working properly in the VM?

How does the functionality of the BI plugin compare to the SS plugin?

Major functionality differences between SS and BI? SS5 has H.265 and the new AI driven motion detection. I don't see anything like those in BI, but maybe I just missed them.

Thanks!

joe (aka FlyingDiver)
my plugins: http://forums.indigodomo.com/viewforum.php?f=177

Posted on
Wed Jul 03, 2019 10:30 am
peszko offline
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Joined: Mar 07, 2012

Re: Blue Iris vs Security Spy

I haven't run BI before but had SS for quite a while before switching to Hikvision NVR. SS was working well for me and I had no major problems with it. Other then the fact it was using a lot of resources and sometimes cameras didn't re-connect after an outage. I would not run anything HA related in a virtualized environment together with non virtualized. Seems like unnecessary complication. From the forums here its seems like a lot of people are running SS with no issues. I would recommend SS over BI.

BTW, I'm very happy with my decision to go to a dedicated NVR. It works with Indigo, and the Mac and iOs interfaces are very good (replays and scrubbing are almost instantaneous). Also having a separate and dedicated box ends up using way less power in my setup. It also allows me to have several monitors directly connected to it greatly simplifying viewing. My wife now loves the setup as she can just glance at the monitors in different rooms. This setup would have been quite hard to replicate with SS.

Posted on
Wed Jul 03, 2019 10:32 am
FlyingDiver offline
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Re: Blue Iris vs Security Spy

Thanks for that feedback. What model NVR and how is it integrated with Indigo? At some point I'm going to have to decommission the Mac Pro and I'll need an alternative.

joe (aka FlyingDiver)
my plugins: http://forums.indigodomo.com/viewforum.php?f=177

Posted on
Wed Jul 03, 2019 10:53 am
peszko offline
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Joined: Mar 07, 2012

Re: Blue Iris vs Security Spy

I have the Hikvision DS-7616NI-k2 model. Takes 16 4K cameras (I use all 16 channels). I have written a plugin to control it and grab images. I can of course share it with however wants it. I didn't publish it in the plugin store as I think it would need a bit more work. Hikvision publishes publicly the full API so adding functions isn't very hard.

Similarly as in your case, I got the NVR when I retired my Mac Pro. As a bonus now my UPS can run my whole setup including all the routers and POE cameras for six hours as opposed to less then one hour before.

Posted on
Wed Jul 03, 2019 2:54 pm
neilk offline
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Joined: Jul 13, 2015
Location: Reading, UK

Re: Blue Iris vs Security Spy

I took a look at SS but the big jump in price ruled it out for me for the 16 cameras. I have no experience running it on a VM, but on a dedicated Dell Optiplex i7 ex corporate from eBay with an SSD for Windows and BI and a big video drive. It runs really well headless with Teamviewer on it and has been rock solid. I have no axe to grind but would say if you can stomach the windows box or VM, BI is extremely capable and the functionality in Glenn's plugin is excellent and growing. No AI in the motion detection but it is hugely tunable and very effective to reduce false positives, mask zones etc. So I have no need for anything more than BI does in that regard. I would also say the native BI web client and the IOS app are both way more capable than SS (but I haven't looked at the new versions).

On your CPU usage comparison bear in mind if you are running the BI demo license the CPU usage is much higher than the paid version as you cannot use the "direct to disk" encoding, so the streams need to be transcoded.

Posted on
Wed Jul 03, 2019 2:59 pm
FlyingDiver offline
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Re: Blue Iris vs Security Spy

neilk wrote:
On your CPU usage comparison bear in mind if you are running the BI demo license the CPU usage is much higher than the paid version as you cannot use the "direct to disk" encoding, so the streams need to be transcoded.


I did not know that. I had read that BI was much more efficient, but the initial experience did not show that. Glad to know there's a good reason.

Not a fan of the VM solution, though a number of users here do so successfully.

joe (aka FlyingDiver)
my plugins: http://forums.indigodomo.com/viewforum.php?f=177

Posted on
Wed Jul 03, 2019 4:15 pm
mundmc offline
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Blue Iris vs Security Spy

Following!
I also am in a predicament with SS’s camera limit.
I thought my Amcrest NVR would mitigate that, but the UI and API are lacking; Amcrest’s forum is filled with NVR complaints.
VM is kinda a no-go for me, though I have an older but capable work PC that may get repurposed for this.
I am curious about anything BI does better than SS...

Edit- also very curious about the security of the web server. I am very reticent to let my cams face the internet. I tend to just use refreshing url images via Indigo.

Posted on
Wed Jul 03, 2019 10:59 pm
chase offline
Posts: 49
Joined: Oct 27, 2013

Re: Blue Iris vs Security Spy

How hard is it to get BI in a VM to auto-start properly and to use the physical drives for storage? How hard is it to get the web server working properly in the VM?

How does the functionality of the BI plugin compare to the SS plugin?

Major functionality differences between SS and BI? SS5 has H.265 and the new AI driven motion detection. I don't see anything like those in BI, but maybe I just missed them.


Run BI as a service... It will always auto-start - non issue

Assign BI's storage path to whatever drives you prefer - non issue

Webserver runs perfectly in the VM (of course you want the VM to have it's own network adapter/MAC address and static IP)... start up BI, type the IP and the assigned port of the BI web server in the browser of your choice and it will launch) - non issue

BI supports H.265 and H.265+ (has for at least 2 years) - non issue
BI supports AI driven motion detection with Sentry (they are just rolling out LPR as well). non issue

BI has the direct to disc recording which is way more efficient for recording as well.

I can't comment on the SS vs BI plug ins, but the BI plugin is very good.

I really can't say anything that SS does better than BI... a few features are equal, but most are superior in BI (or don't exist in SS)....

Posted on
Thu Jul 04, 2019 12:00 am
autolog offline
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Joined: Sep 10, 2013
Location: West Sussex, UK [GMT aka UTC]

Re: Blue Iris vs Security Spy

FlyingDiver wrote:
neilk wrote:
On your CPU usage comparison bear in mind if you are running the BI demo license the CPU usage is much higher than the paid version as you cannot use the "direct to disk" encoding, so the streams need to be transcoded.


I did not know that. I had read that BI was much more efficient, but the initial experience did not show that. Glad to know there's a good reason.

Not a fan of the VM solution, though a number of users here do so successfully.


Another useful tip is to drop the frame rate for the live display video in the Blue Iris window. I have mine set at 4 fps.
The video is still recorded at the full frame rate (or whatever you have set it to) and is not affected by this.
This drops the CPU usage significantly.

I have 5 cameras ( 3 at HD 1080 reolution and 2 at 4K) and the CPU is just under 20% (VMWare Fusion, on 2017 iMac i7). :)

Posted on
Fri Jul 05, 2019 5:54 am
neilk offline
Posts: 243
Joined: Jul 13, 2015
Location: Reading, UK

Re: Blue Iris vs Security Spy

mundmc wrote:
also very curious about the security of the web server. I am very reticent to let my cams face the internet. I tend to just use refreshing url images via Indigo.


I am no real expert in this area but with BI I do not expose individual cameras, but just the BI web server, and I use stunnel to provide https which works well (and detailed instructions are published) and port forward only to the BI instance. The https is supported then for the web server and IOS app. I am sure the refreshing url approach via Indigo is more secure given the effort the guys go to, and the commercial service but you can still use that approach. Again a different set of potential concerns but you can also use team viewer (or your preferred desktop sharing tool) and remove the need to access the server remotely if it is a real concern, or indeed setup a VPN connection (I use the Unifi Security Gateway). You would lose the excellent new web UI that I tend to use all of the time (and SS even the latest version looks really basic in comparison) if you are worried about the port forwarding security.. I also use Glenn's plugin to PushOver animated GIFS based on conditions (Alarm armed and DoorBird doorbell pressed) that again remove the need for manual updates. I also expose motion triggered captures on the control page.

Glenn's latest addition also allows you to trigger based on user login to the BI server, so you could drive notifications based on unexpected login's etc, but I realise this may not help if the port forward needed is used as a general attack vector.

I am sure people better qualified than I am have better insight and views, for me I see it as a reasonable risk, but quite rightly people have a different risk appetite in this area.

Looking at the AI stuff in SS, it looks to me as more of a novelty at this stage, I am more interested in valid motion triggers rather than false positives (or missed activity). I don't personally have a use case for a person vs car type scenario. As this evolves my view is that a specialist AI tool/service with consolidated training data is always going to be they way to get viable capability as otherwise you will never generate enough in a single instance to drive the level of accuracy needed, but just my view and that opens up a whole new world of privacy and security concerns. I would imagine given the more widespread adoption of BI, you are likely to see a number of tools and technologies integrated into BI. To be fair both would integrate the same way with any of these tools so I don't see massive differentiation in this regard.

Posted on
Fri Jul 05, 2019 3:25 pm
mundmc offline
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Joined: Sep 14, 2012

Re: Blue Iris vs Security Spy

^ Thanks for your thoughts @neil. Bringing a decommissioned Dell i5-3750 home from work as we speak. @FlyingDiver I’ll be able to run a comparison once i scrub this thing and load it up.

Posted on
Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:26 am
neilk offline
Posts: 243
Joined: Jul 13, 2015
Location: Reading, UK

Re: Blue Iris vs Security Spy

You may want to take a look at https://ipcamtalk.com/wiki/optimizing-blue-iris-s-cpu-usage/ to optimise the CPU usage. I have also started the Sentry AI free trial in BI5, which is an external and paid service. The focus seems different in it just looks to detect people in alerts that BI has already detected, so it does not differentiate. It was extremely simple to setup up and I will keep you posted, I have not real need but just curious. I also found a "free" and local tool that someone has built as well.

Neil

Posted on
Sun Jan 19, 2020 12:11 am
hamw offline
Posts: 1191
Joined: Mar 31, 2008

Re: Blue Iris vs Security Spy

peszko wrote:
I haven't run BI before but had SS for quite a while before switching to Hikvision NVR. SS was working well for me and I had no major problems with it. Other then the fact it was using a lot of resources and sometimes cameras didn't re-connect after an outage. I would not run anything HA related in a virtualized environment together with non virtualized. Seems like unnecessary complication. From the forums here its seems like a lot of people are running SS with no issues. I would recommend SS over BI.

BTW, I'm very happy with my decision to go to a dedicated NVR. It works with Indigo, and the Mac and iOs interfaces are very good (replays and scrubbing are almost instantaneous). Also having a separate and dedicated box ends up using way less power in my setup. It also allows me to have several monitors directly connected to it greatly simplifying viewing. My wife now loves the setup as she can just glance at the monitors in different rooms. This setup would have been quite hard to replicate with SS.


Peszko,

Have you posted any more documentation on the plugin? Would be interested.

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