Monocle: View IP Cameras with Alexa (Echo Show, Echo Spot, Fire TV, Fire Tablet)

Discussion in 'Home Automation' started by Monocle, Mar 30, 2018.

Share This Page

  1. Monocle

    Monocle n3wb

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2018
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    USA
    [​IMG]

    Hello IPCamTalk members,

    I just wanted to introduce a new service and Alexa integration skill named Monocle.

    Monocle is a gateway service that enables seamless integration of your private IP-based network cameras with smart home automation services such as Amazon Alexa®.

    Monocle enables you to view any RTSP/RTP camera stream from your private network cameras with Alexa video-enabled devices such as the Amazon Echo Show, Echo Spot, Fire TV and Fire Tablets.

    We are officially still in BETA, but welcome you to register today and kick the tires.

    LINKS:

    SUPPORTED CAMERAS:
    Amazon Alexa camera support is currently limited to IP cameras that support a RTSP stream with H.264 encoded video and AAC/G711 encoded audio.

    KNOWN ISSUES:
    Amazon Alexa devices seem to be incompatible with some cameras (namely Foscam and ReoLink cameras) when attempting to connect direct from the Alexa device to the IP camera. We have a workaround that seems to get past this issue but will require you to run a small application on your local network to act as a bridge between the camera and Alexa device.
     
    xlarons likes this.
  2. Monocle

    Monocle n3wb

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2018
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    USA
  3. Monocle

    Monocle n3wb

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2018
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    USA
    The Monocle Alexa skill has now been released in the following additional countries:
    • Canada (English)
    • Austrailia
    • India (English)
    Please note that Amazon only supports the Echo Spot device in these regions at this time.

    A full listing of supports regions/countries can be found here:
    Supported Regions | Monocle

    Thank You,
    Robert
     
  4. Kahuna.

    Kahuna. n3wb

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2018
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    US
    Just a note to say I have this up and running on my system and am able to connect to Dahua cams directly through the rtsp feeds. It works great for places around the house where multi cam views aren't needed. e.g. If I hear my driveway alarm go off I can open up the feed from that camera directly in a room where there is an Echo Show and no computer. Love the fact I dont have to say " Alexa, tell Monocle to open Blue Iris and show Garage" or some other nonsense like with a lot of other skills. "Alexa show garage" and it is on the screen.
     
    wpiman likes this.
  5. CliveS

    CliveS n3wb

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2016
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    3
    Just installed this skill running on my Fire 8" HD with mixed results.

    Using a Dahua IPC-HDW5231R-ZE it works fine but with the same settings (and it works in VLC) the Dahua IPC-HDW5831R-ZE just responds "Hmm..The camera is not responding". Both cameras are on the latest firmware 2.640.0000002.0.R, Build Date: 2018-05-23.
     
  6. Kahuna.

    Kahuna. n3wb

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2018
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    US
    Weird that it works with one and not the other.

    Did you...
    1. Put the url in format: rtsp://192.168.1.XXX:XXX/live
    2. Set authentication to digest and input your credentials there?

    I have never used it but I think VLC has the username and password in the URL whereas Monocle doesn't. That was my mistake to start.

    Then I had the device named something different in Alexa which created issues.
     
  7. CliveS

    CliveS n3wb

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2016
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    3
    1 >> Did not have /live at the end of the URL but adding it, same result, 5231 works, 5831 doesn't.
    2 >> Digest and admin username and password, I did have a read only username and password but testing with admin for now.
    >> Just downloaded VLC to test the rtsp as per the troubleshooting guide.

    Both are setup exactly the same except for the IP so I expect it is something that will be sorted in the beta stage.

    Screen Shot 2018-06-27 at 16.23.07.png
     
  8. Kahuna.

    Kahuna. n3wb

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2018
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    US
    I'm not much help so far pointing out the obvious but check what the device is called within Alexa App>Smart Home>Devices. I had to delete the cam then rediscover to get mine working, then I had changed the name slightly so was asking Alexa for the wrong thing.
     
    CliveS likes this.
  9. Monocle

    Monocle n3wb

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2018
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    USA
    @CliveS,

    It is odd that one is working and the other is not. Most of the DAHUA based cameras I have tested use a RTSP URL like this:

    rtsp://192.168.1.100:554/cam/realmonitor?channel=1&subtype=0

    Where "subtype" can be either "0" for the primary stream or "1" for a secondary (lower resolution) stream.

    If you camera firmware offers a choice in audio codecs, select "AAC". Alexa devices seem to have issues with some G711 audio codecs on certain cameras.
    Some new Dahua cameras support H265 video encoding and have that set as their default codec. Alexa will only work with H264, so check you camera settings to make sure it is using H.264.

    You may want to try the proxy server workaround (Proxy Server Workaround for Incompatible Cameras | Monocle), although I don't recall any Dahua cameras requiring that before.

    Thanks, Robert
     
  10. Monocle

    Monocle n3wb

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2018
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    USA
    Also, for clarification, in VLC and other command line tools like FFMPEG you can embed the BASIC or DIGEST username and password into the URL like this:

    Code:
    rtsp://USERNAME:pASSWORD@IPADDRESS/PATH
    
    In the Monocle web UI, we provide separate username and password fields so that we can encrypt and securely store your camera credentials.
    At runtime, when you request a camera to be displayed from Alexa, we pass the RTSP URL to Alexa and we include the credentials exactly as formatted above in the RTSP URL.

    Thanks, Robert
     
  11. Roger

    Roger Getting the hang of it

    Joined:
    May 30, 2014
    Messages:
    61
    Likes Received:
    33
    Location:
    Bellevue, WA
    I set it up on my Kindle tablet. Set Front door first and that was working fine. Added Garage and that works, but now the Front Door can't be found. Haven't had time to dig into it since then.
    So this morning, VPN'ed in on my Kindle from work and they are both working.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2018
  12. Monocle

    Monocle n3wb

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2018
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    USA
    @Roger,

    When you get a chance, try removing the two camera devices from your Alexa App under Smart Home devices and then ask Alexa to discover devices again.

    Thanks, Robert
     
  13. CliveS

    CliveS n3wb

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2016
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    3
    I tried /cam/realmonitor?channel=1&subtype=0 and the working camera could not be found, back to /live and all working so I then changed audio to AAC and it could not be found, back to G711 and working sound.
    Both cameras are set to H264 and I cannot try the proxy server as it fails to load on Windows 10 Pro which runs Blue Iris because it cannot find MSCVR100.DLL.
     
  14. Terk

    Terk Pulling my weight

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2018
    Messages:
    249
    Likes Received:
    105
    I think you need the Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 SP1 attributable package for it to find that DLL.
     
    CliveS likes this.
  15. Roger

    Roger Getting the hang of it

    Joined:
    May 30, 2014
    Messages:
    61
    Likes Received:
    33
    Location:
    Bellevue, WA
    Is there anyway to launch it without using voice? I can only view it on my tablet and when I say "Alexa, show me the garage" one of the other echo's in my house answers that it cannot display videos. Limits the usability. Assume other than changing the wake word on the tablet to be computer.
     
  16. CliveS

    CliveS n3wb

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2016
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    3
    Yes it is annoying when the tablet is in your hand and the Dot 10 feet away responds!, hopefully when the new "Show Mode Charging Dock for Fire HD" is released in July the software update will mute non show mode devices.

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BNXZDJ3
     
  17. CliveS

    CliveS n3wb

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2016
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    3
    Looking around that seems the only way but to have to load 8 year old software on Windows 10 released 3 years ago seems ridiculous to me.
     
  18. Monocle

    Monocle n3wb

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2018
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    USA
    Hi Roger,

    On the Alexa supported devices there is currently not other method to launch/open a camera stream view other than by voice command.

    We (Monocle) plan on offering Android and iOS apps down the road as alternative methods, but this would really a separate and independent app, not integrated with the Alexa RTSP player. That is unless Amazon offers some new API to allow integration with their IP camera viewer via some direct API method rather than only voice control.

    Thanks, Robert
     
  19. Monocle

    Monocle n3wb

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2018
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    USA
    Honestly I thought that Windows 10 came with the VC++ runtime preinstalled. I just installed a new Windows 10 machine clean this morning and you are right -- that DLL is missing.
    We do plan on building an installer for this tool soon which would include any prerequisites like this DLL; however, in the meantime you can download and install the VC++ runtime (32-bit) from this link:

    Download Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 SP1 Redistributable Package (x86) from Official Microsoft Download Center

    or from:

    Mscvr100.dll Missing or Not Found on Windows [Solved] - Driver Easy


    Thanks, Robert
     
  20. jking3

    jking3 n3wb

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2015
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
  21. Monocle

    Monocle n3wb

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2018
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    USA
    @jking3

    That looks like a MJPEG stream, so that won't work. The Alexa devices will only work with a H264 encoded video stream.
    If the Blue Iris provides a RTSP stream using H264 video and either AAC or G711 audio, then it should work.

    We have a Troubleshooting Guide that can help you test the stream and validate the audio and video codecs using VLC:
    Troubleshooting Guide | Monocle

    Most users are just pulling the camera feeds directly from their IP cameras or dedicated NVR hardware but it would be great to know if anyone is able to use Blue Iris and get a compatible stream directly from the NVR software.

    Thank You,
    Robert
     
  22. TonyR

    TonyR IPCT Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2014
    Messages:
    2,448
    Likes Received:
    2,016
    Location:
    Alabama
    FYI, for anyone reading this, here's URL to pull a H.264 stream from Blue Iris .
    Code:
    http://BlueIrisIP:port/h264/{cam-short-name}/temp.h264
     
  23. Monocle

    Monocle n3wb

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2018
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    USA
    Also just a couple of tips to help reader avoid some common pitfalls.

    TIP #1
    Any Alexa device running FireTV OS 6.x or later must additionally run our Monocle Gateway software service to act as a communications bridge between the Alexa devices and the IP cameras. This is because Amazon has enforced tighter security restrictions on how Alexa devices can communicate with IP cameras. These restrictions make a lot of sense for cloud connected cameras but not for locally connected cameras running in your private network. Nevertheless, the Monocle Gateway can help overcome this hurdle by implementing all the Amazon enforced requirements.
    These devices currently include:
    You can find the latest information about Monocle's support for Amazon devices here:
    Additional information about Monocle Gateway can be found here:

    TIP #2
    Some cameras/NVRs including but not limited to Foscam, ReoLink, D-Link, TrendNET, TPLink, SV3C are not directly compatible with Alexa's RTSP player.
    Many of these cameras can be made to work by using the Monocle Gateway service to overcome some of the incompatibilities.
    Additional information about Monocle Gateway can be found here:

    TIP #3
    Some Alexa devices are limited to playing camera streams with a maximum resolution of 1080P.
    These devices currently include:
    You can find the latest information about the maximum supported video resolutions for Amazon devices here:

    Thank You,
    Robert
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2018
  24. CliveS

    CliveS n3wb

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2016
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    3
    Just a followup on this.

    The Fire HD8 would not work with AAC set or the Dahua 8mp camera, just purchased and installed an Echo Show which works fine on /cam/realmonitor?channel=1&subtype=2 and then tried the Fire HD and that also now works so it seems the Show set some flags that the Fire could not.

    I needed to use the Sub Stream 2 of the Dahua's as anything above 1280x720 just has a massive delay and eventually locks up.
     
  25. Roger

    Roger Getting the hang of it

    Joined:
    May 30, 2014
    Messages:
    61
    Likes Received:
    33
    Location:
    Bellevue, WA
    I have an Amcrest IP8M-2496EB that was working on my fire tablet and now I just get "Camera isn't responding" Other 2 cameras work. Have deleted it and re-added it a few times now.
     
  26. Monocle

    Monocle n3wb

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2018
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    USA
    I also have an Amcrest IP8M-2496EB on hand and its working great for me. One of the best cameras I own.
    SEE: Amcrest IP8M-2496EB

    If I recall, this camera may be defaulted to using the H.265 codec. (which Alexa devices do not support)
    So make sure to change the video codec to H.264.

    For testing you may want to also bump the resolution down to 1080P or lower. Some Alexa devices don't support resolutions above 1080P. I'm not sure which, if any, Fire Tablets are affected by this, but I know the Echo Spot, FireTV Stick and the new Toshiba FireTV Edition 4K TV are all limited to camera feeds of 1080P or lower.

    Thank You,
    Robert
     
  27. Roger

    Roger Getting the hang of it

    Joined:
    May 30, 2014
    Messages:
    61
    Likes Received:
    33
    Location:
    Bellevue, WA
    My settings are as follows:
    rtsp://192.168.0.85:554/cam/realmonitor?channel=1&subtype=0
    Video resolution: 1280 X 720 (16:9) <720p>
    Video Codec:H264
    Audio Codec: AAC
     
  28. Monocle

    Monocle n3wb

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2018
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    USA
    Those settings look perfect.
    I'm assuming you have already tried rebooting the Fire tablet and IP camera.
    Can you confirm the RTSP address is woking using another tool like VLC?

    I was seeing issues with Alexa earlier today not working with a number of my cameras.
    Not sure if they had a problem but they seem to be working better now.

    In your Monocle account via the web portal you can use the small icon button "Camera Feed History" on the right side of the camera listing to see what details we are sending to the Alexa service when you request the camera.
    You might look here just to confirm we are sending the appropriate URL to Alexa when you request this camera.

    Thanks, Robert
     
  29. Roger

    Roger Getting the hang of it

    Joined:
    May 30, 2014
    Messages:
    61
    Likes Received:
    33
    Location:
    Bellevue, WA
    Hi Robert, Had some time to look at the issue again. Have installed the camera again under a different name to see if it works. Verified in VLC that stream works. Camera history is here:
    [
    {
    "timestamp": "2018-08-12T16:45:58.749Z",
    "request": "InitializeCameraStreams",
    "response": [
    {
    "uri": "rtsp://%USER%:%PWD%@192.168.0.85:554/cam/realmonitor?channel=1&subtype=0&unicast=true&proto=Onvif",
    "proxy": "rtsp://proxy.monoclecam.com:443/767c8155-13e0-4cfd-bf54-75040be43d79",
    "resolution": {
    "width": "1024",
    "height": "576"
    },
    "authorizationType": "BASIC",
    "videoCodec": "H264",
    "audioCodec": "AAC",
    "protocol": "RTSP"
    }
    ]
    },
    {
    "timestamp": "2018-08-12T16:45:57.073Z",
    "request": "InitializeCameraStreams",
    "response": [
    {
    "uri": "rtsp://%USER%:%PWD%@192.168.0.85:554/cam/realmonitor?channel=1&subtype=0&unicast=true&proto=Onvif",
    "proxy": "rtsp://proxy.monoclecam.com:443/b77162d0-3d08-4457-810f-a198c16acbf0",
    "resolution": {
    "width": "1024",
    "height": "576"
    },
    "authorizationType": "BASIC",
    "videoCodec": "H264",
    "audioCodec": "AAC",
    "protocol": "RTSP"
    }
    ]
    },
    {
    "timestamp": "2018-08-12T16:45:54.628Z",
    "request": "InitializeCameraStreams",
    "response": [
    {
    "uri": "rtsp://%USER%:%PWD%@192.168.0.85:554/cam/realmonitor?channel=1&subtype=0&unicast=true&proto=Onvif",
    "proxy": "rtsp://proxy.monoclecam.com:443/6b67addf-901f-4e69-9966-a8615b526b54",
    "resolution": {
    "width": "1024",
    "height": "576"
    },
    "authorizationType": "BASIC",
    "videoCodec": "H264",
    "audioCodec": "AAC",
    "protocol": "RTSP"
    }
    ]
    },
    {
    "timestamp": "2018-08-12T16:42:52.870Z",
    "request": "InitializeCameraStreams",
    "response": [
    {
    "uri": "rtsp://%USER%:%PWD%@192.168.0.85:554/cam/realmonitor?channel=1&subtype=0",
    "proxy": "rtsp://proxy.monoclecam.com:443/c9482470-2109-4365-8461-d65c229a1218",
    "resolution": {
    "width": "1024",
    "height": "576"
    },
    "authorizationType": "BASIC",
    "videoCodec": "H264",
    "audioCodec": "AAC",
    "protocol": "RTSP"
    }
    ]
    },
    {
    "timestamp": "2018-08-12T16:42:51.168Z",
    "request": "InitializeCameraStreams",
    "response": [
    {
    "uri": "rtsp://%USER%:%PWD%@192.168.0.85:554/cam/realmonitor?channel=1&subtype=0",
    "proxy": "rtsp://proxy.monoclecam.com:443/dc65da8b-c89d-4ba0-a86e-2ae9320cfae7",
    "resolution": {
    "width": "1024",
    "height": "576"
    },
    "authorizationType": "BASIC",
    "videoCodec": "H264",
    "audioCodec": "AAC",
    "protocol": "RTSP"
    }
    ]
    },
    {
    "timestamp": "2018-08-12T16:42:48.670Z",
    "request": "InitializeCameraStreams",
    "response": [
    {
    "uri": "rtsp://%USER%:%PWD%@192.168.0.85:554/cam/realmonitor?channel=1&subtype=0",
    "proxy": "rtsp://proxy.monoclecam.com:443/630f27f7-04cb-4e37-88f4-8a051b1193dc",
    "resolution": {
    "width": "1024",
    "height": "576"
    },
    "authorizationType": "BASIC",
    "videoCodec": "H264",
    "audioCodec": "AAC",
    "protocol": "RTSP"
    }
    ]
    }
     
  30. Monocle

    Monocle n3wb

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2018
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    USA
    Hi Roger,

    Please open a ticket here and I think we can get you up and running with this camera.
    Contact Support | Monocle

    Thanks, Robert