The case of Sricam SP series

Dec 5, 2016

Some time ago, I reviewed the IP cameras SP009 and SP012 from Sricam.

Both are based on the same hardware and have the same specification with the addition of Pan and Tilt control for the later model.

These devices use a GM8135S chipset (cheaper Hi3518 equivalent) that is well able to process HD resolution (1280x738).

However, many users have reported that, the Sricam SP series cameras could only send the video stream in 640x360 pixels,
which differs from the samples I received.

It is unfortunately not rare to see IP cameras providing HD resolution only through their dedicated mobile application while streaming only lower resolutions trough other channels.
Eyesight, Escam and many others have models with the same limitation.

What makes the Sricam situation different is that a part of their production was able to stream HD video via RTSP.  The samples I've reviewed can do that but it appears however that many users could only get 640x360 using the same URL (rtsp://ipaddr:554/onvif1)!

There's no visible difference between the samples I tested and the limited ones (I don't have those but got info from readers). They're all on firmware v.14.00.00.52, HardwareId 2.1 and equipped with the Grain Media GM8135S chipset.




What I get with the samples received: 1280x720 using rtsp://...:554/onvif1


What most people get:
Below are screenshots (Grazie per l'aiuto Vittorio!) from another Sricam SP012.
Look at the Risoluzione from VLC: 640x386 using /onvif1, and low res as well from Onvif Device Manager (hard to read but you can tell that's not HD anyway)





Why is it a problem? 
This is not an issue for people who use only the native mobile application and rely on the UPnP to arrange their access from the cloud. (Read "Do your IP camera put your privacy at risk?")

However, the paranoid geeks -that I'm part of- prefer to use more secure 3rd party applications.
This is why most IP cameras also implement RTSP/554 to send their video stream.
And when the highest achievable resolution via that channel is 640x360, it is a problem!

A lie?
To me, it's a lie by omission:
When a manufacturer advertise: "Maximum image resolution is up to 1280x720, 25fps." (which you indeed get with the mobile application) along with "Integrated ONVIF standard", they strongly suggest that HD is supported by any mean provided.

What to do?
If streaming video in HD outside the mobile application is important to you: 
- avoid buying, not only the SP series from Sricam, but any IP camera not clearly indicating the presence of HTTP protocol. It seems that the streaming resolution limitation is much more prevalent in Cloud-only cameras.
- do not apply updates from Sricam. Some lucky users who got HD streaming in the first place, lost that feature once they updated the firmware to v.21.0.0.23. 
Contact Sricam support: 
I tried to get an explanation from Sricam some time ago but it was a waste of time and I couldn't make any sense of their answer!
It remains important to contact them so they start to realise the impact of this limitation and. maybe, eventually act on it.



7 comments:

  1. This exact topic gets aired a fair bit on ipcamtalk.com with some descriptors such as 'junk' and 'garbage' thrown in.
    Examples : https://ipcamtalk.com/search/64639/?q=sricam&o=date
    I'm almost tempted to take a look at the firmware (it it's downloadable) and see if there are any easy opportunities to hack it into something more useful.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Bubbah - do you by any chance have telnet root access to the camera, or know where the firmware as installed can be downloaded from?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Alastair. I've been close to buy another Sp012 from a random eBay shop to compare with my sample, but I finally decided that I spent enough time on it and sold both SP009 and SP012.

      Delete
    2. The firmware update is done through the Sricam app and I don't think they published it anywhere.

      Delete
    3. I think you are right about it not being published. I had a good google around but didn't find anything - just some iffy links.
      I don't feel inclined to go delving inside an app. Some packaged firmware maybe.
      But I've gone off the idea already.

      Delete
    4. I also confirm that the onvif1 stream has 640x386 resolution
      I own a 14.0.0.57 firmware

      Delete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete