CCTV and Actiontiles on tablet

Good Afternoon,

I am trying to put together a security system for my house as well as some automations with the devices we already have. We are currently trying out vivint but I am not happy with the service and I didnt like how limiting the automations were. So I am attempting to put together a system using the Smartthings ADT panel, the ADT switches and motion sensors etc. We can’t really afford some Arlo cameras right now and were looking into some cheaper CCTV options that a friend was recommending we look into. Specifically, I have been looking into the Swann, Sannce, and Amcrest 8 CH DVR systems.

Here is my problem…my wife is not the best when it comes to technology. If we go with the Smartthings ADT panel…which cant control any of our locks or view cameras or change the thermostat…I already know this is going to cause issues.

Here is what im trying: I would like to have a couple tablets using actiontiles placed in the house. I also want for her to be able to get on her computer at work and be able to view camera and control things all from one website/app. This is why Im looking into Actiontiles. I have searched for the last few days on how you can integrate camera systems with it and have a live feed tile. There are so many conflicting posts so here I am. If you have any advice on what camera system I could get that would work I would greatly appreciate it! I really like the idea of the DVR local storage and those camera bundles are around $200 for 8 cameras and 1TB of storage.

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Thanks for your interest in ActionTiles!

  1. If you really want to run 8 cameras and concurrently view them, then a cheap NVR is not likely the best option. They usually do not offer “plain MJPEG” web page output. If you think you’ve found one that does, please point me to the manual and I can try to confirm.

  2. We have many customers using Blue Iris as an IP Camera based NVR. Somewhat more expensive (but not outrageous…) and it does offer MJPEG streaming compatible with ActionTiles.

  3. Similarly (and cheaper, but less stable), use of tinyCam Monitor Pro App on Android for transcoding is working out for some customers. tinyCam is compatible with a lot of camera models and some NVR. See their list here (and other FAQ, etc.):

  4. If watching multiple cameras concurrently is your primary use case for a monitor, then ActionTiles is not the optimal software to be running. In this case, we have customers running two Tablets: One for a matrix of their cameras, and one for controlling SmartThings via ActionTiles.

Thank you for responding so quickly! I basically have to make my decision by tomorrow because the window to cancel the vivint service ends. The main purpose for the monitor isn’t just for the cameras. We have door locks and hue lights and Sonos speakers and a nest thermostat…all of those we would like to control or view from one app just to make things seamless and easier for my wife. You can somewhat control a lot of those things with the vivint panel but not with the smartthings adt panel…which is why I was thinking actiontiles on a couple tablets would allow us to control everything and look at the cameras too if we wanted to. Sure we could just use the separate app since the cameras offer that…as well as remote viewing online through their website. We still would need actiontiles with smartthings to lock doors or set temperatures etc.

Does this make sense? I’ll have to look into blue iris and see what that offers. Could I set an action tile to open the security camera app instead of a live feed tile? So when you click on it then it would just log into the app and show the cameras that way?

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Basically what it boils down to is this: over the course of the vivint contract we would be spending way more than if we went the smartthings adt route. I have no problem doing the set up myself. My wife is going to be less than pleased that we got all this set up with vivint just to take it down. So if I can do all the same stuff, if not better, for a quarter of the price, then I’m trying to make sure it will work before I open this can of worms and get this butt chewing haha. So if I can set all of these functions up using actiontiles and she can log in on her work computer and check on the dogs and control the house…then she will be a happy camper haha therefore I will also be a happy camper

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It is difficult to compare SmartThings & Vivint in a rush, unfortunately - they are very different platforms.

SmartThings has a lot of flexibility and power, but is “overall” less reliable than Vivint or other monitored security platforms. The SmartThings ADT Security Hub variation is proving to be a good way to get better reliability with optional no-contract monitoring.

Camera monitoring and storage is a subset of home security and need not be tightly integrated with the rest of your platform - though some integration sure is convenient! At least don’t rush into picking an NVR, since cutting costs on that area is more likely to cause disappointment. There are hundreds of NVR systems - I wish I could recommend one, but certainly not with this little time.

An actual pretty good camera choice with minimal cloud storage (and easy remote access) are now as inexpensive as $20 to $30 + shipping: Wyze V2 and Wyze Pan (available on Amazon etc.). But it is cloud storage only with no NVR compatibility (does not work with Blue Iris even…). In other words - not a silver bullet, though it has a lot of fans and some degree of ActionTiles compatibility.

So… I personally think you can piece by piece put together a system that sufficiently replaces Vivint; but you would need to start with less functionality for a while. Give yourself time to learn how SmartThings works (and consider the ADT Hub), and try various cameras or NVRs.

Have you checked out the Foscam NVR systems? Some of their HD cameras support MJPEG modes so you can use them with ActionTiles and SmartThings and you can use their NVR system to record the videos.
These are some very capable cameras with excellent features and picture quality.

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I have somewhat but apparently not that closely! Are there any you would recommend from personal experience? Or that you’ve heard good things about? I’ll look into some of their 8 camera systems.

The R2 is an excellent Camera.

Try asking for experience with the NVR on this forum. Thousands of users using Foscams and many of them using NVR’s


Thank you for your help. I ended up canceling the vivint service and am putting together an equipment list. Ive been doing a lot of research over the last couple days and think ill go with a foscam system like you suggested. I just havent picked one out yet and ill ask about that on the other forum you sent me. Ill be using the ST ADT panel so we can use ADT monitoring. Ill have some of their motion sensors and window sensors etc. The ring pro doorbell. Nest thermostat 3rd gen. Kwickset smartcode 910. If you have any other suggestions to add to that please let me know.

I was reading through that forum that you sent and will ask some questions there about camera preferences etc. Are those instructions to add the cameras to ST still applicable/updated for the current software and hardware? I also wanted to ask if you had a personal preference on outdoor and indoor cameras? Dome vs bullet for outside and inside cameras, resolution preference, any placement preferences…stuff like that.

You can do this with actiontiles, including creating a dashboard specifically for your wife that can be intuitive to use.

If you want to integrate a group of IP cameras or an NVR with actiontiles, then you just need to keep in mind that, like terry said, that requires an mjpeg stream.

You can get bogged down pretty quickly in all the packages available from different camera makers.

A site like might be a good place to check out if you really want to compare all the nitty gritty details.


Thank you for your response! I think that is what I am leaning towards at the moment. A couple people have suggested blue iris and running it on a local PC. My only concerns are the effects on the PC and components if data is constantly being processed. I’m not sure if that is actually something to worry about or not since I haven’t ever done this before. You’re rigt about getting bogged down, there are so many options it’s insane. I’ll take a look at that link and will maybe get a good direction to go off of. Thanks again I appreciate it!

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So just to follow up, Ive made up my mind that I definitely want to start off with a hardware NVR as opposed to using a PC and BI. That being said, I am having a really hard time figuring out what will work with AT. I found plenty that said HTTP or HTTPS but I didnt really see any that said MJPEG under their specifications. Will H.264 cameras work with AT? Ive been spending the majority of my time looking at Amcrest and Reolink cameras. I would appreciate any help i can get figuring this out. Thanks!

If it doesn’t say MJPEG then it most likely will not stream to a browser (including not to ActionTiles).

If you are satisfied with refreshed “stop motion video”, then any standard image format snapshots are often provided (JPG or PNG).

rtsp, onvif, etc., are just not handled by browsers. I don’t know why NVRs don’t stream out supported HTML5 formats (like YouTube, etc. does) but they don’t.