Does anyone have any experience with Zoneminder on Ubuntu?
Not on Ubuntu, but on CentOS...
Largely based on this thread, I bought Hikvision cameras for my new house. In particular, I'm using the DS-2CD2132F-I model. The first one I bought from Amazon, and the next two I bought from MCM Electronics. I tried to buy one from AliExpress, but that order fell through. From my research, it looks like there are three ways to buy Hikvision cameras in the USA:
- From an actual Hikvision authorized retailer. This is the highest priced option, but guarantees you get the warranty and can do firmware upgrades. If you go to the Hikvision website, at the top right there is a link for "Authorized Distributors". That's where I got MCM Electronics; I picked them because I had ordered from them before. I also found a coupon code for 10% off. So I got a true retail box camera from an authorized seller for about $144 (after 10% coupon, list price is $160).
- A non-US model from a Chinese seller like AliExpress. On these, you won't get a warranty, and a firmware upgrade will likely revert your device to Chinese. Not sure if it can be turned back to English if you have a friend who can read Chinese. But the one I attempted to buy from AliExpress was listed at $70, so less than half of what I paid for the "true" model.
- A "grey market" camera from a non-authorized USA seller. I believe this covers cameras sold on Amazon. Last I checked, all the Hikvision cameras on Amazon were sold by third parties, not by Amazon directly. So it's kind of unknown what you'll get. I ordered my first camera from Amazon, and paid about $115. It looks like a true retail box, but the seller isn't on the authorized distributors list, so not sure if the warranty will be honored (if I need it).
I see a lot of love for BlueIris, but my issues were (1) not free, and (2) Windows-only. The Windows-only thing was the bigger issue for me, as the cost of BlueIris seems pretty reasonable. But ZoneMinder (ZM) is free and runs on Linux. I almost didn't try ZM though, as basic web searching gave a lot of "ZM sucks" threads. However, I gave it a try anyway, and found it to be wonderful
I'm running ZM 1.30.0 on CentOS 7.3. I installed via zmrepo. I am a seasoned Linux guy; however, I didn't need to tap into any of my "deep" Linux knowledge/experience to set this up. Installing via zmrepo was really just a matter of following the (very clear) instructions. Once it's up and running, you do everything through the web GUI, which is mostly self-explanatory, and reasonably well documented beyond that.
I did a series of posts on the ZM forums detailing this particular camera: Hikvision DS-2CD2132F-I
. In those posts I talked a lot about hardware and performance. The short version is the Athlon X2-3600 I was originally using was fine for one camera with the settings I wanted to run, but not powerful enough for additional cameras. I've since upgraded to an i5-6500 w/8GB of RAM, and now have more than enough CPU power.
Basically, with ZM, the general idea is to do a minimal config of the actual cameras. In my case, I just set the admin password to something secure; created a minimally-permissioned user that can basically only view the live stream; changed from static IP to DHCP; setup NTP; changed the on-screen display name; reduced resolution from 1080p to 720p; reduced framerate from 30FPS to 15FPS. Note: you don't have
to lower the framerate and/or resolution; I did it simply because 720p / 15FPS seems to be more than enough for my purposes. I might still bump that down to 12 or even 10 FPS.
Furthermore, these Hikvision cameras (and others as well I assume) actually support two
live streams: one is the primary, high-quality stream; the other is the lower quality "substream".
What I do with ZM is have motion detection ("modect" in ZM speak) on the high-resolution/primary streams, and a full-time recording ("record") of the low-resolution/secondary stream. I feel this is the best of both worlds, without requiring a ludicrous amount of disk space.
Also, regarding POE: I originally went with a Microsemi PowerDsine 9024G, which worked fine. But I decided it's way overkill for simply running a few IP cameras. My main issue was power and noise: it used 30 watts with zero POE devices attached, and had loud/whiny fans. I replaced it with one of the passive POE injectors from Wifi-Texas (I used the WS-GPOE-12-48v60w). It uses practically zero watts with no devices attached, and is fanless.
I don't have experience with other camera brands or other camera software. But in my experience so far, I have no complaints with either Hikvision or Zoneminder.
Note that ZM is for the most part agnostic when it comes to cameras. If you can get a reliable video stream from your camera, it should work in ZM. I haven't done this, but it makes it easy to experiment if you have a smart phone with a camera. If you can find an app that lets you do a live stream of the phone's video, then you should be able to use it in ZM. This makes it easy to test and play with ZM with virtually no investment.