Camera for ActionTiles (Again...)

I have spent hours searching the ST Forum, ActionTiles Forum, and ST Facebook Group…so be gentle…

I am looking to add 3-4 wired cameras (poe or not) to my household (2 indoors, 2 outdoors) and I am so lost/confused with the mountain of options, security issues, etc. I understand some recent cameras that worked with ActionTiles now don’t or need a work around. ST integration would be nice, but not a deal breaker.

I don’t want to use Blue Iris. I’m a mac guy and don’t want to run windows if possible.

Any simple (human speak) advice would be very helpful. I have a reasonable budget to spend on them, but who doesn’t love a deal if they are cheaper…

I can start the answer process by specifying the criteria:

Based on current ActionTiles Compatibility

  1. Access to the image must be via http (preferably https). rtsp:// is not compatible.

  2. Basic HTML Authentication is no longer possible except in some alternative browsers. Chrome and Android Webview block “http(s)://user:password@address” for embedded sources. We hate that this happened.

  3. Thus, the only universal authentication must be as URI parameters (eg, ?user=x&pwd=y).

  4. The stream must by MJPEG (possibly FFMJPEG). Other formats tend to be shipped over RTSP or require a plug-in. Best if the camera can be configured with slower frame rates and/or resolution if you display multiple Media Tiles.

  5. If no MJPEG, then snapshot mode (JPG,…) works quite well… Maximum refresh of 1 second.

  6. Obviously: Proprietary cloud locked cameras won’t work (unless hacked). Kuna doesn’t work. Nest works if no password. Blink is proprietary but has an API we may eventually tap into, …

  7. Foscam / Armcrest have several models that are compatible and many that are not.

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Terry, you actually took the extra 1/2 second to Italic the word “current”. Out of curiosity, was that because of stuff coming down the pike? Of course, if it’s due to possible new abilities, it’s understandable that you wouldn’t want to give detail… but it would be encouraging to hear that there may be something coming.

Thank you for the quick reply. I was aware of most of the current criteria, however, it is very hard and cumbersome to find makes/models/details that are guaranteed to fit this criteria.

I know discussion of current compatibility lists has taken place, but there is nothing up to date out there (that I have found). As of December 2017, can anyone chime in on makes/models that are fully functioning.

I haven’t used Fully Kiosk yet, but plan to implement it going forward.

Terry, in case you haven’t heard it lately, thank you. You are an awesome ambassador for this forum, ST, and AT.



Nah… I emphasize “currently” just out of general optimism and to indicate that readers should follow or revisit our Forum from time to time as we might overcome some of the hurdles someday.

Because ActionTiles has so many valuable features (and Feature Requests!) other than Video, we’ve taken an MVP approach: some minimal number of camera models work, and Blue Iris within LAN… while the rest are outside our scope indefinitely).

A miracle may happen. Perhaps a way to handle authentication, or Chrome suddenly allowing RTSP natively… Who knows? :sunny:

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No hidden agenda :slight_smile:

Currently = CYA - Especially if specific camera capabilities remove specific functions. Nest is an example. Although we are able to view our cameras from within AT, I don’t think it was their intent to be able to allow us to actually do this. We aren’t actually putting in the public url for the Nest Camera. You have to dig deeper and go into the actual source of the public url and actually grab the entire url that exists within that source and is contained as a jpg, making it valid for use in AT.

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Not ActionTiles specific. I still have two tablets running SmartTiles b/c I haven’t found any other cameras to replace the still functioning Amcrest IP2M-841B cameras. I did have to roll back their firmware earlier this year as it broke basic auth so now I remind myself never to click upgrade when that popup comes up if I’m in the amcrest app. Besides that, the amcrest cameras still also work fine on my Honeywell Tuxedo Touch keypads so I’m stuck for a while. Now if only someone or somehow a future workaround can be developed for my other Hikvision and Dahua cameras, I’ll be elated.

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Have you tried them in ActionTiles by any chance?

(There isn’t a substantial difference in the way Media/Video Tiles are handled it ST vs AT.)

No, I never migrated to AT since my kids didn’t want to lose the customized look that I did for them in ST. I’m fairly confident my amcrest cameras will work fine in AT had I transitioned. After the amcrest firmware upgrade/rollback fiasco in March, I told them I won’t make any more changes to their ST tablets until AT or another dashboard can somehow incorporate RTSP streams in the future.

I have tried half a dozen times. No dice. I gave up.

Tried that. Didn’t work.

Here are the details of the Nest Cam snapshot based solution (but I have not tried it myself):

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Yep, a big kludge and I could not get it to work reliably anyway. For me it’s easier to use the Nest UI when I want the camera views. The Nest interface is awesome anyway. For my desktop view (I currently do not use AT on any tablets), I just side by side them …

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It does work. What specifically didn’t work for you?

Each camera has to be setup for Public viewing without a password.

Then you open a browser, either Chrome or IE (the latter is what I had to use) with that public url to view the actual “source/contents” of that webpage and get the actual url “…” all the way through the 560 at the end.

Then you paste that into a Media Tile as a Still Image and 2 seconds for the Refresh Rate. This works for anyone with a Nest Camera.

You said it was a “big kludge”, so I was hoping you would give us a more detailed explanation of what didn’t work for you. Yes it’s a slightly backdoor approach to be able to view your cameras in AT, but it’s rather simple once you know where to look to get it. On top of that it’s a 1000% better than those who can’t view their camera feeds at all…

On top of that, if I want to go directly to my Nest Application from ActionTiles, I have a Shortcut Tile with that launches and opens my Nest Application immediately (bottom left corner of screenshot). I also have added a direct link “Nest Report” to open Google Sheets (bottom right) where I have all my cameras “Motion” Alerts being stored and recorded automatically via IFTTT that contains a url link in one of the columns so I can view the actual event that occurred.

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Yes, I’m aware of that. I won’t open up my inside cameras that way. I did try it for my outside cameras.

The ‘video’ done this way is quite delayed and that’s an unacceptable frame rate for me. I pay good money for the Nest service and having still images update at 2 sec intervals is kludgey and dumbing down what Nest can do.

I mentioned above that I do not use AT on a tablet (or phone) so my use case is different. I use it on a desktop and thus linking to the Nest app is not applicable. I do have a link to the Nest Website should I want to see the Nest UI in a large window otherwise I have it in a smaller browser window all the time as I showed above. The latter gives me the best Nest experience and all the Nest UI has to offer.

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You could run IP Webcam app on cheap Android phones/tablets…

Not sure if anyone is running IPwebcam on their ActionTile based wall mount tablets? I want to attempt this on a Kindle Fire7 someday.

The app also has motion detection and can access sensors on the phone. I don’t know if anyone has attempted to interface all this to SmartThings???

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I have 4-6 IP Webcam devices running at any one time, but they won’t interface into ActionTiles if you use the username/password authentication, at least not with Chrome browser. Chrome seems to have blocked the abiliity to load “sub-resources” using URL-embedded usernames and passwords, and ActionTiles can’t get around that. There’s a lengthy discussion on their forum about it.

As a workaround, I have IP Webcam automatically e-mail motion detection clips to my GMail account. Then, I have a Google Sheet that runs every x minutes and looks for new messages with labeled attachments. It moves them to a Google Drive folder (creating it if necessary), marks them as processed, deletes the email messages, deletes any files in Google Drive older than x days or over a certain number of files or total size of files, then updates the spreadsheet with the statistics. Credit to Amit Agarwal for the original concept.

If you make it public…can someone find your link on the internet? Is it still somewhat secure?