Smonet Anyone?



  • Before I break down and just buy an Alexa certified camera, has anyone attempted an SMONET?

    • It supports H.264, I am in US, I have enabled the skill.

    • It is 960 MP, I can see it fine hooking up the NVR to my TV. Looks great.

    • Linked my accounts but Alexa says camera is not responding, though I can see the device name now as a smart home device.

    • Generating the URL from iSpy listed 3 Smonets, with JPG, which I figured those would not suffice (MPEG not supported). I’ve even changed it to match the camera’s IP address.

    • Streaming is via the Eseenet app or IPCloud app, which worked a long time ago and now does not. (not important to me).

    • There is access via www.dvr163.com, but nothing loads. (not important)

    • I have tried each troubleshooting suggestion, and searched for answers here, and this is my last resort.

    I thought this would be fun, but I’ve hit my limit. I do not care (for now) whether I can view remotely on my phone. I just want to view the feed on my Echo Show 5. I bought 2 cameras/NVR a year ago for $209, but I’m beginning to think the cost of one pre-configured out of the box sounds a lot more attractive and a lot less frustrating.

    The reviews suggested this to be simpler than I’ve experienced, and I don’t know what to even ask for or provide at this point. I do think the URL may be the issue but the instructions do not make sense (cgi-bin/snapshot.cgi?chn=[CHANNEL]&u=[USERNAME]&p=[PASSWORD]) and yes, I tried my username & password, but Monocle required removal of same from the URL), or I can get a paid membership to Agent. I refuse to invest even the $5 when things already do not look promising.

    Before I go on a shopping spree, has anyone even had any luck with Smonet brand? Is there a set of simpler instructions if I merely want to stay within my own private network?

    Thank you.



  • @Kit_Samad ,

    Never heard of Smonet before. There are just so many brands out there its hard to be aware of each of them.

    I took a brief look at a Smonet camera on an Amazon listing and it does look like it supports a H.264 video stream, but its unclear if it supports a RTSP stream. RTSP is required to use Monocle and Alexa. You may be able to email to Smonet and ask. I saw their support email in this product listing: https://www.amazon.com/SMONET-Outdoor-Security-Resolution-Bracket/dp/B01IR4TXA8/ref=asc_df_B01IR4TXA8/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=241899609306&hvpos=1o2&hvnetw=g&hvrand=9381858406835815422&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9013461&hvtargid=pla-569325562240&psc=1

    Of course, just because it supports RTSP and H.264 does not guarantee it works with Alexa. A number of cameras simply don’t work while many other need some form of workaround including Foscam and Reolink cameras.

    What “Alexa certified camera” were you considering? I assume one of these would have it’s own Alexa skill and you may not need Monocle in this case.

    If you are looking for a suggestion that is known to be working with Alexa and Monocle, then I personally use the Amcrest cameras. I believe these are re-badged Dahua cameras and they perform well (among the best we have seen) with Alexa via Monocle. I have several models, and I could suggest one if you provide your goals, needs and budget.

    If you are buying on Amazon, please use our link which will give a small kickback to this project without costing you anything: http://www.amazon.com/?_encoding=UTF8&tag=monoclecam-20

    One last important note, using the new Amazon Echo Show 5 will require using our Monocle Gateway software running inside your network. Please see this note: https://forum.monoclecam.com/topic/201/echo-show-5-2019

    Thanks, Robert



  • @Monocle This has been enlightening. As frustrated as it’s been, I finally got the app to stream video. The cause being too long of a password on the NVR. Also the DVR163 site says it requires Windows. Then after further research, I realize I do need the gateway anyway, since mine is the Echo Show 5.

    I really like my cameras; they were comparable to the market. I’m not a fan of buying into Ring, Nest, or other Alexa add-on brand, but not strongly opposed either. The new Wink Outdoor Camera advertised looked nice ($99). If I hit a dead end, I will definitely link from here if I’m forced to buy another camera. I am first going to try the Monocle gateway (taking my Chromebook out of the loop too). I may be inadvertently causing my own issues (all but the URL).

    Smonet customer support is fine, but delivers the canned response: “no this does not work with Alexa” (Duh). I’ve been out of networking a while and I guess I don’t understand why my camera’s IP address would not work, versus using the URL though.

    The limitations of my thought process are my worst enemy. Thank you so much for taking the time to explain. I will post an update soon.



  • @Kit_Samad

    The key term is “RTSP” ask Smonet customer support is their camera’s support a RTSP stream. If they do, as k for the RTSP URL to view your camera stream using VLC.

    Here is an example of how to open your RTSP stream using VLC:
    https://monoclecam.com/troubleshoot/validate-rtsp-url

    If you are only able to stream it using their custom app, then that could be a proprietary protocol. RTSP is an open standard.

    I’m not a fan of Dropcam, NestCam, Amazon CloudCam, etc. either – I’m not interested in streaming all my content to the cloud. Many of these cloud cams stream it up to a service, then Alexa can get it from that cloud service. I prefer to keep it all local when possible.

    Thanks, Robert



  • I have an email to their support. So far, I’ve installed the monocle gateway and API token, which runs as described using the cmd. After that, I will add the override of IP address since my devices seem to auto switch between two networks given by Mediacom (regular and another same name with 5G). Since it all boils down to whether the camera has RTSP, I will pause until I get that answer.

    Should this not work, I will look at the Amcrest. There seems to be many options available, so yes - I would be interested in your suggestions for a replacement.

    Thank you for taking the time to respond. I will post a follow up once I get my answer from Smonet.



  • @Kit_Samad

    I’ve had great luck with these (see list below). However, not really had an issue with any of my Amcrest cameras. I think these are pretty good cameras in this price range. I do run all of my cameras hardwired (ethernet) and powered via POE where possible. Gigabit backbone on internal network. Most of these seem to have free returns on Amazon, so little risk in trying them out if needed.



  • @Kit_Samad said in Smonet Anyone?:

    RE:

    After that, I will add the override of IP address since my devices seem to auto switch between two networks given by Mediacom (regular and another same name with 5G)

    The Monocle Gateway just needs a reliably unchanging IP address that is on your local network. The Alexa devices will use this IP address to connect to the Monocle Gateway, then the Monocle Gateway will attach to your IP camera and proxy the stream across the gateway to Alexa. This private IP address is registered to a unique DNS record (look for FQDN in your log during startup) by the Monocle Gateway and Monocle Web Services. Amazon actually requires that Alexa devices connect to a DNS hostname rather than a direct IP address. The gateway will accommodate IP address changes, but the propagation delays and DNS caching can sometimes take a while, therefore an unchanging IP address is better. Static if possible.



  • @Kit_Samad

    Just a heads-up – some of these Amcrest cameras (as well as other models) are on sale for Amazon Prime Days.

    https://amzn.to/2lv4xyX
    https://amzn.to/2lwG5gE



  • @Monocle Just an update to the Smonet. There is not an RSTP, and the camera has its’ own proprietary software and app. I even ended up at Red5.Org, and decided then that it was just too much work to try to solve the issue. I will donate the cameras as someone may find a use for them.
    I got a cheap camera during Prime Days for indoors, and got what I paid for. Movelli brand with issues reading the QR code, complete dud.

    I am looking at indoor ptz cameras for inside now. There were other Amcrest models around the $50 range. Since this is for indoors, am trying to save a little.

    I have a smaller home, do not want to pay for cloud storage, and do not want a trial period, or a fast recycle of my video. I also want an app that is reliable, and works with 2.4 and/or 5G (I have both). I would like the Wi-Fi because I may move it around occasionally. Local storage is nice, and with Amcrest already stating they are Alexa certified, I am leaning towards this brand.

    With my criteria above, are there any other tips or suggestions with models before I dive in?

    Thank you very much.



  • @Kit_Samad

    Most of my experience with WiFi PTZ cameras are with the

    The 2K model is running about ~$55 and the 1080P model is ~$46. All of the unit I have purchased (as far back as 2016) are still operating today. Honestly for the small difference in price, I would personally go with the 2K model. Not because of the higher resolution, but its just newer and I have had less minor issues with it. In fact you may only run it at 1080P or less if you plan on running it over WiFi. Either one is probably a solid choice in this price range.

    Any cameras I have tried cheaper than this price range have mostly been garbage. Many times the software and experience are just not worth it for the numerous cheap cameras out there. These Amcrest cameras are by no means perfect, but for the money they have held up well and perform solidly with the Alexa devices.

    Thanks, Robert


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