Veskys (and Digoo BB-M2) IP Cameras: ONVIF, PTZ, HD, IrCut, Night vision and... Web interface!

Jan 1, 2017

The Veskys "P2P WiFi IP Camera 1.0MP 720P" and Digoo BB-M2 are new PTZ IP cameras that recently appeared in the shops.
I decided to order both of them to see if they are really the same.




I initially wanted to review the Digoo because it was the only one giving a detailled description and stating the presence of a HTTP interface.
However the Veskys arrived first while the Digoo BB-M2 was still in pre-sale so that's the one being tested in this article.


The Digoo BB-M2 started on pre-sale at the very attractive price of 15€ (now 19.55€) at Banggood. Its twin brother, branded Veskys is priced 22.63€ at Gearbest.

Appearence and design:
The camera looks small on pictures and this is probably due to its proportions. In fact it is comparable in size to the other PTZ competitors.
The base holds the pan and tilt motor, the antenna, and the Mini-USB power connector. Providing that kind of connector allows various ways to power the camera, as long as it receives 5V/1A.
The head holds all the camera part with microSD slot, PCB, sensor, lens and LED.




Are they really identical?
I had reservations on Veskys because of their brief product description as opposed to Digoo, but it appears that both models have the same Web interface, work with the same mobile app (Netcam360), and share the same components and features. They're basically the same APKLink-based product, only the price differs, with Veskys about 15% more expensive.
Visually, the only difference is that Veskys is equipped with an antenna. 
Documentation: 
The ridiculous leaflet is insufficient to make a easy start with this camera and many users will find the lack of details frustrating. A user manual can be downloaded for the Netcam mobile and PC viewers, but with only basic software usage information.

Setting up:
When powered on the first time, the camera greets you with a chinglish prompt "Welcome to use, please connect"
The first thing to do is transmit the local router address to the camera, which is done through Netcam360 (The good news is that you don't need to register for a user account on-line to use this app.). Several ways are available. The "One key to add" and the audio link method seems the most straightforward.












Note: Each time the camera is powered up, it says "Welcome to use, connection successful". Voice prompts can be muted in the settings.






Once configured, the camera can be used directly with Netcam360, or located on the network with a search tool and accessed via the browser or a 3rd party viewer.


Netcam360? any good?
Netcam360 has a very low rate of satisfaction in the user reviews. However, despite having hardly evolved since I first tried it in 2015, I found it complete enough, with access to most features in quite the same way as the native web interface.




PC Client: An old "Device Client", that didn't work for me, and the newer "Netcam/U-Home X" PC viewer can be downloaded from www.netcam360.com. The functions are mostly the same as the mobile app but without the access to the camera setup.




Native Web Interface
Web interface in IP Cameras are unfortunately getting rare nowadays. They are good to have for several reasons:
- They contribute to the compatibility with 3rd party viewer, including the Onvif compliant ones.
- They make the camera to control in a non-P2P configuration.
- They also allow to learn more about the camera CGI functions by inspecting the page sources, and in turn, control some parameters that are not promoted in the user interface.

This interface remains quite the same as the older versions I tested in the past, with IE (ActiveX) interface being the most complete, with HD resolution (1280x720) and 2-way audio support, while the applet-less simplified interface (for Chrome, FF, Edge, ...) only providing 640x360 video and no audio.

Finally, the web interface is the only place, for this model, where the firmware can be updated, if the manufacturer ever publishes any improved version.

Video and Audio
The video quality is good by day although, again, the picture is tuned for mobile phones and a bit too compressed.  The lens can be turned to adjust the focus and it was necessary to manually adjust it with the Digoo.
I thought initially that the automatic night/day mode didn't work but it is fine but and just can takes a long time to return to day mode (turning off the IR LED). This is particularly true for the Veskys while the Diggo changes mode much faster.
The audio quality is clean but regrettably only available through Netcam360, which leads us to the next topic.



Third-party and ONVIF compatibility




The non-standard attribution of ports for the various services keeps the camera from being detected straight away by the 3rd party viewers and requires a bit a searching.
The RTSP port can be found in the settings, but the Onvif port is not specified.

The camera is made by Netcam Inc. around a Hi3518E from Apk-Link Technology Corp, from which I tried 2 other cameras in the past (SL-C702 and E6830), so I could figure out the correct port from these previous experiences. Inspecting the html source of the web interface also confirmed this information:






Streaming URL's
http://192.168.1.206:81/snapshot.cgi?user=admin&pwd=admin (bmp/640x360)
http://192.168.1.206:81/videostream.cgi?loginuse=admin&loginpas=admin (MJPEG 640x384)



rtsp://user:password@192.168.1.206:10554/tcp/av0_0 (H264 1280x720)
rtsp://user:password@192.168.1.206:10554/tcp/av0_1 (H264 640x360)
The framerate depends on what has been set in the web interface 



Unfit for use as Onvif camera: 
The camera is unfortunately not a good candidate for use with ONVIF clients: Since the RTSP channel don't stream the audio, nor does ONVIF.
The ONVIF channel also tends to drop after a few minutes.
When that happens, there is no way to reach the camera with any Onvif agent anymore on port 10080 before rebooting it. Strangely enough, everything else remains operational via Netcam360 and RTSP.
If PTZ does not work with your onvif viewer, try selecting the "against pre-bit" parameter in the camera web interface.








Finding more about the camera:
Most app and documentation can be found on the Netcam360 page, but the Chinese page has more information like the IPC_SDK!
This is useful to perform actions that are not permitted through the user interface, like tuning video or re-assigning default ports.

https://www.ispyconnect.com/man.aspx?n=APKLINK

Below are some URL's found by tracing the Netcam PC client:
http://192.168.x.x:81/get_onvif.cgi
http://192.168.x.x:81/get_status.cgi
http://192.168.x.x:81/get_rtsp.cgi
http://192.168.x.x:81/get_params.cgi
http://192.168.x.x:81/get_camera_params.cgi

http://192.168.x.x:81//set_onvif.cgi?next_url=rebootrtsp.htm&loginuse=admin&loginpas=admin&onvifenable=1

http://192.168.x.x:81//set_rtsp.cgi?next_url=rebootme.htm&loginuse=admin&loginpas=admin&rtspport=10554&rtspenable=1




Network security/privacy (“Perfect paranoia is perfect awareness.” -Stephen King)
Why do I hate Peer-to-peer and Cloud-only cameras?
For the casual user, this is cool! (translates "easy to set up").
For control freaks, this is a nightmare! (translates "who else is watching me?")
Chinese IP cameras tend to be chatty, and not only with their owner. These models are no exception and, while their outbound traffic, facilitated by the uPnP protocol, is initially designed to interact with Cloud services, who knows what else they send and where?

Below is a list of outbound connection attempts from one of the cameras.


Fortunately I keep them in a pool of IP's that is only allowed to talk to my NVR, so any other traffic is dropped.



Conclusion:
The Digoo BB-M2 is found on Banggood.com for only ~15€ and its look-alike equivalent from Veskys is sold by Gearbest for ~22€, and DX for ~25€.
They are decent cameras for use with their Netcam360 app if you manage to buy them at their lowest price.
Those, like me, planning to extend or renew their ONVIF camera network should pass due to the lack of audio support and stability issue affecting the Onvif channel.
Next in my list is the Wanscam HW0036 (priced around 20€) but I fear it's just a clone.

Good:
● USB powered
● Audio and video quality
● Price

Not so good:
 IR LED's turn ON automatically but never turn off (stay in night mode) Works fine, just can take a while to change mode.
 No Audio through RTSP/Onvif channel
 Unjustified outbound udp traffic
 Unreliable ONVIF service (crashes)


17 comments:

  1. Thanks for the review. Nice indeed to find a camera with a web interface, these are getting really rare now ! No option for a 1280x720 still picture with a direct url ? Does it send 3 (or more) pictures in an email alert like the good old Foscams ? Thanks !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, pretty sure there's no HD still picture but I still have to check the sdk. I will test the email alert when I'm back from travel, but I think it's just 1 picture per alert. Cheers!

      Delete
    2. I confirm: 1 picture per email. Web UI has an option for the number of pictures to upload but that's only for FTP. Cheers.

      Delete
  2. Thanks for checking, that's too bad. Got to hand it to Foscam for having really good options/software.
    It seems you have the new Xiaomi, I have a couple on order myself, how do you like it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. IV had to put my review on hold for this one as I could not make it detected by Xiaomi Home, but I suspect that they still had to update the app to support this new model. It seems to be of good quality though and I hope to get it to work when I return.

      Delete
  3. Such a low cost!
    Just for info -
    "The non-standard attribution of ports for the various services keeps the camera from being detected straight away by the 3rd party viewers and requires a bit a searching.
    The RTSP port can be found in the settings, but the Onvif port is not specified."
    The 'ONVIF port' can be found in the URI at the bottom of ONVIF Device Manager. You will no doubt know that - but worth mentioning for others.
    As you say - it is rare that it is documented in product literature, and varies quite a lot.
    Best Wishes for 2017!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually, ODM did not detect the camera until I specified this unusual port manually in the URI.
      All the best for 2017 Alastair!

      Delete
  4. Nice review! I have the Digoo BB-M2. It turns out it can not connect to a wifi network with a hidden SSID.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anyone figure out a username and password for telnet?

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  6. Very good review! My has arrived yesterday and I can't make it work from outside my LAN. It also has usless DDNS because there is only china DDNS services that you can't use and dyndns that you must pay! There is no free service like noip.com.

    Is there any advice what to use so I can get motion detect notifications?

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  7. Download the android app on play store "netcam 360" or the OEM onde (and buggy) "Digoo".

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  8. I have the Digoo BB-M2 and for it's purpose, it's worked good so far. I've just got this running through Blue Iris for monitoring our egress window. Has anyone figured out how to control the PTZ in Blue Iris? I can get the video feed fine, but haven't been able to control it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I could not make it work either with my Synology but I saw it working with Onvif Device Manager
      If you can see the same with ODM, that might be something that the Blue Iris devs could fix.

      Delete
    2. Ok, I got it working by selecting an option under PTZ settings in the web interface called "against pre-bit". Now PTZ works with Synology, HappyTime onvif client (Windows) and Onvifer (Android). That should also work for Blue Iris.

      Delete
    3. Thanks Bubbah, with the help of someone on Facebook I was able to get PTZ working by using the Sricam. PTZ works great, just not presets, which I'm OK with. Have you seen audio working through any of the ONVIF clients?

      Delete
    4. Unfortunately the audio is not at all streamed with the rtsp video channel (/tcp/av0_0) and Onvif relies on that. Beside the fact that I found the Onvif channel to drop randomly (while everything else remain operational), the lack of audio is really frustrating. I contacted Digoo and Wanscam (their HW0036 is just a clone) about this and their answers gives very little hope to see this fixed anytime soon.

      Delete
  9. Would be nice a new firmware, what fix the lack about connect to other onvif recorder (like synology) with ptz and audio support without freezing

    ReplyDelete