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More than that, many companies provide solutions aimed at converting current CCTV video surveillance systems to IP based systems, keeping current equipment and infrastructure. In the article, I would like to share some of my experience in working with different IP video cameras and video servers from different manufacturers. The provided information is related mostly to accessing these StarDot Express 8 Video Server from your own application, which may be a simple application for your personal needs, or something more sophisticated and even close to some sort of video surveillance application.

As a demo application to the article, I am providing a C application, which allows single camera viewing as well as multiple camera viewing simultaneously.


The application StarDot Express 8 Video Server simultaneous view of not only several cameras from a single video server, but allows many different cameras of different manufacturers at a time. The range of supported video sources by the application is: What are IP cameras? The main difference and advantage of IP cameras is that they provide output in digital form, and can be plugged directly to an Ethernet switch and accessed over an IP network. To achieve this, IP cameras not only have the camera, but also a small computer on board, which usually run embedded Linux.

The purpose of this computer is to: Video servers are much more sophisticated devices, and usually come without cameras. Instead of this, they are equipped with several video input connectors usually from 1 to 6and the user may plug any analogue camera he would like to these connectors. Like IP cameras, video servers also convert image from analogue cameras to digital form and provide access to it through an IP network, but they also provide additional options for video archive creation for this reason, video servers are equipped with hard drives.

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The fact that IP cameras and servers can be accessed over an IP network is a great benefit. It allows monitoring not only from the actual location of these cameras, where you have specially equipped monitoring systems, it also allows doing it from any other IP-enabled point of the world using special video StarDot Express 8 Video Server applications, like web browsers see image below. And do it as from a usual workstation, or from PDAs and cell phones.

The range of applications for IP-enabled video solutions is far away from just doing monitoring and storing video archives. The format is just usual JPEG. Most cameras allow retrieving a single image from them by accessing a special URL should be documented by the camera manufacturer. For example, the following URL allows retrieving an image from an Axis camera: This approach has advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that a monitoring application can easily control the maximum frame rate on its own — it will access the URL to get the next frame StarDot Express 8 Video Server any arbitrary speed once per minute or 15 times per second, if the network and camera speed allows it.

When the client application does not want to receive video data any more, it closes the connection with the camera. But in this approach, you cannot control the frame rate so easily.

In case you would like to change it, you will need to add some extra parameters to the URL. This sounds not so problematic, but in reality, it may lead to some problems.

Suppose you requested or it was the default setting 15 frames per second from a certain camera. But, it so happened, that somewhere on the way between you and your camera network speed went down and you receive only 5 frames per second.

Suppose your camera has buffer for 30 frames, for example. So, your camera generated 30 frames per 2 seconds, but you consumed them only per 6 seconds. That means that you will see the last frame with a 4 StarDot Express 8 Video Server delay — which will be too late in most cases.


Of course it is just a sample, cameras will flush their buffers from time to time and do something else to avoid such sort of delays. But, here is a real sample I saw. One guy once entered a room monitored by some camera, spent there a short period of time, and StarDot Express 8 Video Server he went to another room and saw himself walking in that previous room in the camera monitoring application the application provided by the camera manufacturer. Also, some cameras support not only video, but sound transmission as well, and even bidirectional.

Read buffer, total, ! StarDot Express 8 Video Server

FromStream new MemoryStream buffer, 0, total ; But, don't forget that most cameras are not free with open access like in the sample above. Most probably, you will want to protect your camera with a password, which should be specified somehow: First of all, let's take a look at the response content type. It should look something like this: In this case, the boundary value is "--myboundary". Now, let's take a look at an actual stream data: Parse response content type to extract the actual boundary value; Read the initial portion of the stream, searching StarDot Express 8 Video Server the first boundary; Read binary data until the next boundary; Extract an image from the read buffer; Process the image display, do whatever else ; Continue with steps in a loop. The Express 8 Video Server is a small standalone server that converts up to eight standard analog CCTV StarDot Express 8 Video Server video sources to compressed digital video.

Buy STARDOT SDEXP8 Express 8 Video Server Review STARDOT SDEXP8.


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