Viewing Swann Security Camera’s Feed in Linux

I’ve run into a problem trying to get Linux to view my home security system.

I have the DVR8-1525 recording unit, which for this system is all that matters, since all of the cameras are analog. (960H picture, just in case that has any relevance. The picture isn’t the best, but for just a security system is fine for me.)

SwannView Plus works fine on Android, most of the time. Of course, just when I wanted to take a look at it today is when it finally failed me for the first time. I even went so far as to completely reboot my phone and the DVR, and that’s still not getting it to work again, so I don’t know what that’s about. Somewhat in the same vein, I’ve also had very intermittent luck with getting the Windows-based software to work with the system. I played with it a lot, and all of a sudden one day it was working. At that point I stopped messing with it, but really didn’t have any understanding of just what had changed. Then some time later it stopped working again, and nothing I do seems to have an affect. I don’t know if it’s some weirdness with my network, or something else. Since it’s not a very current product, even though I bought it recently, I’m not really expecting much support for it. I can always go back to the DVR and view things there, so I’m okay with it, I guess.

Anyway, I found how to view the live feed on a Linux system, using only VLC. I think that it would work on any OS, but that’s what I’ve tested it on. I pieced together info from different pages, none of which had the complete picture. (Not that it’s terribly complicated, but there are so many different systems that maybe it’s just too much work to get all of the info for each one.)

In VLC, under the ‘Media’ menu item, click the ‘Open Network Stream’ choice. Then you enter in:

rtsp://user:password@server/Streaming/Channels/CamNum0Size

user is just a user on your box. I’ll use ‘admin’ in the example below.
password is that user’s password on the DVR. I’ll use ‘123456’ in the example.
server is the address of the DVR. In the example this is ‘192.168.0.200’
CamNum is the camera number that you want to view. This box has 8 possible cameras, so this can be a number from 1-8.
The size can be 1 or 2. 1 shows up about twice the size as 2.

So for example, this would view camera 4, with a large size:

rtsp://admin:123456@192.168.0.200/Streaming/Channels/401

There might be plenty more addresses that it would respond to, but this is what I have figured out so far.

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