Tuya/Smartlife IP Camera: Howellcam YT08 - Gadget Victims

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Tuya/Smartlife IP Camera: Howellcam YT08

Following the rather good experience with the outdoor IP Camera HowellCam QJ05, I went on to try another smart camera, an indoor model this time: the YT08




First look


The HowellCam YT08 is available on eBay for around 30€/40$.

Package List:
1 * Camera
1 * Mounting the Bottom Cover
1 * Cable
1 * Power Cable
1 * Charger
1 * Screw Package
1 * Reset Needle
1 * Instruction Manual

Specifications:
Sensor type: 1/3 inch CMOS sensor
Resolution: 1920*1080 pixels
Lens: 3.6 mm
Viewing Angle: 78°
Day/Night View: IR-CUT Dual Filter
Night View Distance: 10 meters
Wireless WIFI: (IEEE802.11b / g / n)
Wireless Connection: One-click connection via sound wave matching, no network cable required
PTZ Angle: vertical 355° horizontal 120°
Image compression method: H.264, MJPEG
Frame Rate: 25fps, 15fps
ONVIF: Support
TF Card Slot: up to 64GB
Two-way Audio: Support
Chipset: INGENIC T21

Installation and usage through the app

Soon after being powered for the first time, the camera emits a chime on regular interval while it's waiting to be set up through the Smart Life app.

Once the Wi-Fi AP (2.4Ghz) details are entered in Smart Life,
a QR code will appear on screen which has to be shown to the camera.
Immediately after, the installation will begin, with the various phases announced out loud through the speaker.


Same qualities, and same lacking features

The camera is equipped with a RJ45 connector, which indicates that it's not limited to a cloud-only setup. It could be installed and used on your network without even using the Tuya/Smart Life app if you wish.


However, integration with the cloud services is what makes the camera smart and capable of being used in an automation scenario or just to work with Alexa and Goole Home.


The camera itself delivers a very good video quality in 1920x1080 and good audio in both directions. Of course it does night vision.


As for the QJ5 outdoor camera, this one has the same set of parameters available, which means it lacks some important ones:

- There's no way to control the volume of the speaker. And that's a bummer because the audio quality is very good and it would make a good 2 way intercom, something many cameras claim to be capable of but just don't achieve.
The camera likes to speak loud on many occasions: "connection start" "setup successful", "update completed", etc...
The YT08 happens to restart sometimes, for no reason, just like that (I suspect it could be my Synology NAS talking dirty to it through the Onvif channel). In a good week, it won't exceed twice a week so I don't mind too much, but it once restarted 3 times at night and I could hear it speaking out loud from my bedroom.

Well, I'll sleep better now that is unplugged the speaker...


- There's no way to change the admin password (which is...admin) through the native app.
At least this can be done with a 3rd party Onvif Device Manager, as explained in the next section.

- There's no way to set the Home PTZ nor any position presets.
Like most PTZ cameras, the YT08 does a full rotation on start and stops on a hard-coded home position, which may not be the optimal position for you.
I couldn't redefine that position, even with 3rd party Onvif software unfortunately.

The previous generation of Howellcam product used Bluecam Cloud which had all the controls. Unfortunately they have been lost in the transition to Smart Life.

3rd Party compatibility 


ONVIF (and Synology Surveillance Station)

The ONVIF port is 8080
The default authentication is:
user: admin
password: admin

It is possible to change this password using Onvif Device Manager > User Management
The connectivity to Tuya Smart Home is not affected by this change.


As seen with the Wanscam K21, being ONVIF compliant does not always means being compatible with Synology Surveillance Station, but the YT08 works very well with SS8.2!




RTSP Streaming
The RTSP port is 6554

MediaProfile_000: 1920x1080@10fps + PCM Audio
rtsp://192.168.1.70:6554/stream_0 (or just rtsp://192.168.1.70:6554)

MediaProfile_001: 640x360@10fps + PCM Audio
rtsp://192.168.1.70:6554/stream_1

Visiting this page from any browser will show a snapshot
http://192.168.1.70:8080

There's an undocumented HTTP interface on port 9527.

It's old fashioned and limited but you can do a few useful things, but still not change the admin password.

Additional details found in the review of the outdoor model still apply to this camera.

Conclusion

The Howellcam YT08 is an affordable (30€/40$) and good quality IP camera that easily integrates with local and cloud surveillance solutions alike.

Some important settings are missing from the available user interfaces (Mobile and HTTP). This is particularly frustrating because they should be simple to fix through a software update.


The great strength of this product is to be compatible with Smart Life and also with ONVIF, offering the best of both worlds. It remains a very affordable camera at



πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘
- Very easy installation with Smart Life (or Tuya)
- ONVIF compatible
- Not Cloud-restricted, you can control it without registering to someone else's computer.


πŸ‘ŽπŸ‘ŽπŸ‘Ž
The main problem of this camera is the absence of control on some parameters:
- no volume control for speaker
- no way to set the PTZ Home position
- no option to change the default admin password from official app.
- restarts randomly (about 3 times a week)



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