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Blue Iris vs. Milestone XProtect (for me)

acecase

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I recently decided to give the free version of XProtect a shot. It's free for up to 8 cameras, and I made the common false assumption that, being a commercial package, it would be "better."

I installed it once and let it find all of my cameras automatically. It's a home system, so they are all on the same subnet/vlan as my DVR server. It found all 5 cameras, but it assigned a different, and less capable, driver to one of them. All of the cameras are the same model.

I fought with the wrong driver issue for an hour or better, during which I came to the realization that documentation for XProtect was sparse where it counted. There are probably thousands of pages of documentation, but it's mostly either generic "this is what this feature does," or, the all too common in the commercial world, marketing embedded "this is how XProtect can integrate with insert-corporate-system-here." Blue Iris' official documentation is significantly better, and well beyond that, the web is full of helpful user content that walks through problem solutions, setups, and modifications of about any type you're likely to run in to. Next to none of those exist for XProtect. Blue Iris identified all of my cameras correctly and assigned the appropriate driver to expose full functionality.

The next, problem that I ran in to was when I wanted to rotate the image for one of my cameras. It's located in an area where my best coverage comes from using a wide angle camera and rotating the physical camera 90degrees. In Blue Iris, I simply rotate the image, and I get a correctly oriented view of the camera. This is not possible in XProtect unless the camera can rotate the image pre-stream (some can).

So, at this point, I'm looking at one camera in Cliffhanger mode (looks like people are walking up a cliff), and one camera that can no longer do face detection because it's using the wrong driver for no apparent reason, but I decide to move on to motion detection.

With Blue Iris, I do motion detection on the server, because it has a much better feature-set for tweaking and tuning than my cameras have (I have 5 IPC-HDW4431 of 2 variants. 2 wide angle and 2 standard). All of my cameras are outdoors, and I have significant tree coverage over a good portion of the property. This means a lot of shadows during sunlit hours. Even with Blue Iris, it was a small task to get my cameras tuned to catch motion that I am interested in and not tree shadows etc. After literally 2 long days of trying, I've come to the conclusion that it is not possible with XProtect. Three key features that Blue Iris has that make it possible for me to get motion detection working well here are shadow cancellation, minimum duration, and trigger settings based on schedules.

Shadow cancellation does exactly what it sounds like. It doesn't do an amazing job, but this is the kind of feature we don't expect to be perfect. It helps a little, and that goes a long way.

Minimum duration is huge. The way I assume it works, and the way it appears to work is it dictates how long the pixel changes must be present to trigger a motion event. I set mine to 0.3seconds and it goes a long way toward differentiating tree shadows from people in the image.

Schedule-based motion trigger settings allow me to have different settings under different lighting conditions (day/night). This is great for obvious reasons. To be fair, I never truly confirmed that XProtect doesn't allow me to change motion detection settings based on a schedule. I did dig at it for a good bit and it does have a scheduling feature that allows me to define daylight and dark hours. That can be tied to an event that will allow me to change "camera settings." However, the motion settings are separate from camera settings, and I never found a way to adjust those with an event/schedule. Blue Iris allows almost all (possibly all) settings to be adjusted by profile and all profiles can be triggered on a schedule.

XProtect has 3 things going for it. It looks nicer, it is very slightly less CPU intensive under similar settings, and it's free for up to 8 cameras.

XProtect may be fine for a very static environment, like indoors. However, grass in the wind and tree shadows will make it near impossible to get what I consider good motion detection performance.

While XProtect is professionally developed for commercial use, Blue Iris is personally developed by someone who seems to care about it.
 

bp2008

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Last autumn I tried to set up XProtect with a little garbage ptz camera I have in my office for looking at computer monitors remotely. I also wanted to peek at whatever web interface they had to see how it would compare to UI3 for Blue Iris, but I never got that far. It was a disaster for a lot of reasons:

1) They wanted all kinds of personal information before letting me download the program.
2) The download was HUGE (> 1 GB) and their server was slow. It took hours to download even though my office has a 500 Mbps internet connection.
3) Installation was complex and slow, so I ended up going home and leaving it going overnight.
4) Finally with it up and running, it detected my camera but couldn't pull a video stream from it. I could not find any way to manually override whatever automatic settings it came up with, and couldn't find a way to add a camera with manual specifications. So that was it. I shut down the VM I had created for it and haven't looked back since.
 

SantiagoDraco

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I had the same kinds of issues you did bp. Use cluster Fk of a program. I was looking forward to playing with it's "search" features but gave up before I even got my first camera working.
 

acecase

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On the 4th point, they have
Last autumn I tried to set up XProtect with a little garbage ptz camera I have in my office for looking at computer monitors remotely. I also wanted to peek at whatever web interface they had to see how it would compare to UI3 for Blue Iris, but I never got that far. It was a disaster for a lot of reasons:

1) They wanted all kinds of personal information before letting me download the program.
2) The download was HUGE (> 1 GB) and their server was slow. It took hours to download even though my office has a 500 Mbps internet connection.
3) Installation was complex and slow, so I ended up going home and leaving it going overnight.
4) Finally with it up and running, it detected my camera but couldn't pull a video stream from it. I could not find any way to manually override whatever automatic settings it came up with, and couldn't find a way to add a camera with manual specifications. So that was it. I shut down the VM I had created for it and haven't looked back since.
They seem to have improved on your 4th point. I was able to select the drivers to "try" when I did a manual device add. However, it still refused to use ONVIF for one of my 5 (same model) cameras. Selecting ONVIF as the only driver to try resulted in failure to add the camera. And now that I've typed that, nevermind. Your point still stands. You cannot select a driver manually.

More importantly, UI3? I'm using UI2, and loving it. Wasn't aware of a 3. I'll have to look in to that.
 

acecase

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I had the same kinds of issues you did bp. Use cluster Fk of a program. I was looking forward to playing with it's "search" features but gave up before I even got my first camera working.
The search feature looks better in their marketing videos than in practice. I honestly missed the Blue Iris interface.

At this point, I sound like I'm trying to sell Blue Iris. I'm honestly not. I looked at XProtect because I'm about to have to renew my Blue Iris license. I wish it was better. XProtect would probably be great for a system using Axis cameras where the cameras handle motion detection, but who can afford Axis at home?
 

SantiagoDraco

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Pretty crazy huh? Considering how deep the features are of BI it's pretty amazing that it's a perpetual license for 60 bucks and unlimited cameras.
 

awahl101

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I run milestone for work, the cpu usage does seem to be a bit lower and works well if your camera is supported. It does not have nearly as many features however and pricing is much more expensive. the new free version layout is extremely confusing compared to the old ones of the past and you are limited to 1 user and not alerting or archiving/recording to network devices. it is however now unlimited recording time vs 5 days in the past.

I had issues with my cheap cameras on xprotect which lead me to give blue iris a try, my cameras literally loaded right up without issues.


the new milestone app is confusing as well but it is free, for $10 id still purchase the blue iris app any day.


I wish I could roll out blue iris at work as I feel the app and web server with ui3 are great.

the pre built husky systems are sooooooooo expensive, building them is much cheaper even with better hardware.


all my personal stuff I recommend blue iris, and I will continue to do so.


Hopefully one day we can get gpu decoding for say nvidia/amd
 
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If you have a few high Megapixel camera's and high frame-rates, then the CPU usage difference is very noticeable.
It's not so much that BI5 is getting more hungry, just that each version of Xprotect appears to be getting more efficient.
PS: With either, if you can stay away from GPU decoding. It's really inefficient and power-hungry.
 

fenderman

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If you have a few high Megapixel camera's and high frame-rates, then the CPU usage difference is very noticeable.
It's not so much that BI5 is getting more hungry, just that each version of Xprotect appears to be getting more efficient.
PS: With either, if you can stay away from GPU decoding. It's really inefficient and power-hungry.
You need to compare apples to apples, you can drastically reduce blue iris cpu consumption by limiting decoding and using the cameras motion detection which is what milestone is doing to achieve the lower cpu.
 

nambi

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Here BI app for the phone is 15$ so If I want this on my phone my spouses phone and my table I'm out 45$ is this correct? Plus the BI cost for the server software.

I use Hikvision their NVR for 4 cams is 150$ app is free.

BI I need a PC and a POE too,

Why should I use BI instead of an actual NVR/ DVR if the cost is more?
 

Edcfish

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In my opinion, the BI app is entirely optional.
My wife and I use OpenVPN and the UI3 web page for remote viewing via our phones.
For all viewing within the network we simply use the UI3 web page.
I don't know what the difference in notification speed would be between the app vs other methods.
This does not even get into the additional features, customization options and reliability of BI over every other NVR product I have used.
 

fenderman

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Here BI app for the phone is 15$ so If I want this on my phone my spouses phone and my table I'm out 45$ is this correct? Plus the BI cost for the server software.

I use Hikvision their NVR for 4 cams is 150$ app is free.

BI I need a PC and a POE too,

Why should I use BI instead of an actual NVR/ DVR if the cost is more?
The app is 10 dollars and both the apple and google stores have family share options.
A pc to run your cams is 100 a poe switch is 40 and blue iris is 58+10. Yes its a bit more, but the HIK NVR is a junk toy compared to an NVR, I would never use it. If a few dollars is going to break you, keep using the NVR, if you never had a steak, then you will be forever happy with a hotdog. There is a reason it is so popular here, there are many threads that discuss the benefits, however you need to see it for yourself to appreciate it. Note that most vms charge 50-150 PER camera.
 

nambi

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I'll give it a test,

I don't have enough experience with DVR software to understand the full benefits of BI, I run Hik PCNVR it's been working but I want something with software security updates.

I want full control of my footage on in my possession, I don't want any company passing my footage through their servers.
 

fenderman

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I'll give it a test,

I don't have enough experience with DVR software to understand the full benefits of BI, I run Hik PCNVR it's been working but I want something with software security updates.

I want full control of my footage on in my possession, I don't want any company passing my footage through their servers.
you dont pass your footage through anyones servers with BI or Hik NVRs
 

biggen

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I have licenses to both XProtect and BI. BI wins hands down in every facet of the game. I wish I had never spend $1k on the XProtect licenses to begin with.
 
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