(Last Updated: May 18, 2020)

Video Doorbells

  • With the boom of video doorbells with the likes of Ring, Skybell and Next doorbell cams, I came to the realization that I did not want to be cloud dependent for this type service for long term reliability, privacy and cost.
    I finally found last year a wifi video doorbell which is cost effective and support RTSP and now ONVIF streaming:

    The RCA HSDB2A which is made by Hikvision and has many clones (EZViz, Nelly, Laview). It has an unusual vertical aspect ratio designed to watch packages delivered on the floor....
    It also runs on 5GHz wifi which is a huge advantage. I have tried running IPCams on 2.4GHz before and it is a complete disaster for your WIFI bandwidth. Using a spectrum analyzer, you will see what I mean. It completely saturates the wifi channels because of the very high IO requirements and is a horrible design. 2.4GHz gets range but is too limited in bandwidth to support any kind of video stream reliably... unless you have a dedicated SSID and channel available for it.

    The video is recorded locally on my NVR. I was able to process the stream from it on Home Assistant to get it to do facial recognition and trigger automations on openLuup like any other IPCams. This requires quite a bit of CPU power to do...
    I also get snapshots through push notifications through pushover on motion like all of my other IPcams. Movement detection is switched on and off by openLuup... based on house mode.

  • How is it's reliability, has there been any time if failed to capture. I have installed multiple video systems for customers, For convienence the wireless ones are OK, but you can not beat a fully wired system for reliability and security.

  • @Elcid
    You are correct. There is no way WIFI can beat wired in terms of reliability and security. At best it will be equivalent and this would require an ideal situation.
    I did have a pretty heated debate with one of the mods at IPcamtalk on this as he was claiming that wireless is and will always be unacceptable. I can only say that a big part of the reliability problem is the I/O intensity over 2.4GHz. Moving to 5GHz is a huge improvement but comes at the cost of a shorter WIFI range but it can work and can be more than acceptable.
    I triple stream mine 24/7 (Home Assistant, NVR recording and cloud though this is only event based.) and only have had some mysterious wifi reset once every few months. I shared that on IPCam talk and also authored the original post to recover from that situation. When you have dealt with vera... I call this very reliable in comparison.

    At the time I purchased it, the 5GHz wifi and RTSP were the two key selling points which were unique on the market. I don't think any other one offers this and I tested a large number of them being an early adopter of Ring and skybell...

  • Again I come to a thread and am taken to the first post, not the first unread post


  • @rafale77
    That does sound more reliable than some customers have had me install.

    The reason i mentioned it. is when i install a wired system i rarely get follow up calls , but wifi customers often call saying the camera didn't capture the incident, therefore I do not recommend wifi as it's difficult to keep customers that are pissed.

    Keep us informed on the reliability and if it misses anything, as then i could recommend this device but with disclaimer.

  • @CatmanV2 same issue here .

  • @Elcid
    I have had mine since October so it's been a while... It survived the winter...
    It rarely has dropped frames. All reports from the thread on IPCamtalk that I can remember are very positive but... you do need to have the WIFI AP close as I mentioned.

  • Clicked title. Taken to first post


  • Rafale, how did you manage to get "instant" notification and talk back via your phone with that hikvision? And secondly how did you manage to use the original chime? I always keep relying on a 8 or 12v physical doorbell next to the smart part.

  • @sender

    Thank you for bringing this up... The big massive main discussion around this doorbell on IPCamTalk is about power and the old chime. When I switched to Skybell I had moved from an electronic chime to a more traditional mechanical chime. As a result I never faced any problem. It appears that electronic chimes are less standardized and various models can give problems.

    In the US doorbells are powered by low voltage AC (similar to yard lighting) with a lot of tolerance on voltage. This doorbell takes both AC and DC... 12 to 24V... but this must work with the chime too. In my case I had to upgrade my power supply to a 30W one. This tiny wires over long runs have a lot of power loss so I went to 20V AC. You get more power loss with DC than AC. You also get more power loss with lower voltages. (Joules law)

    As for your first question, you can install this in your chime:

    For less than $5, you get a zigbee doorbell notification. I don't use the talk back function, only the snapshot. If I need the inter phone functionality, I can enable the cloud function which is free. I keep mine enabled but I have redundancy... so I am as not to be cloud dependent.

    For information, this is the thread I have been mentioning with the 101 about this unit which summarizes almost everything:

  • Hmmm ... that way it is not really a doorbell but a snapshotter :-). I have that for years... haha...
    A hikvsion cam connected to synology surveillance station and parrallel to a fibaro universal sensor. Before the cam was in vera (directly) and the veraalerts app sent me a snapshot via mail when motion was detected.
    Recently I moved to home assistant, integrated the vera devices there, have node red, telegram and now I receive an INSTANT notification when doorbell is pressed and an instant snapshot from 2 cameras, doorcam and front yard cam. Only thing I would really like (for after corona period) to talk back and have an instant video and audio stream...

  • My door is covered by a hidden microwave sensor. when triggered reactor sends a http request to my phone or tv box, depending on home or away. My phone/box uses Automate to receive the http request, Automate then opens the camera app and displays the camera. I can talk and listen though the camera app. Normally takes 5-10 seconds to complete. If i am home vera sends a TTS to alexa, informing me there is some one at the door.

  • Tell me more about the microwave sensor 🙂

  • I use a

    connected to a Shelly 1, which is integrated with @therealdb Virtul HTTP Switch as a sensor.

  • This post is deleted!

  • Ordered... let's play 🙂

  • @sender
    Be careful with the placement as these sensors can see through doors and thin walls, You can block the sensor with thin metal to stop false trips.
    I mounted my sensor in meter cupboard and place a section of angle iron at bottom to stop trips from cats etc. The white box at bottom contains the sensor and Shelly

  • Thanks, will remember. Think I will use esp 8266 as switch cheap and easy with tasmota.

  • Video over wifi is ok IF the bandwidth is efficient. Usually that is not the case when you start adding multiple wifi cameras to your network and you quickly understand how unreliable a wifi connection can be.

    My suggestions here is always:

    • Keep wifi cameras on a dedicated WLAN network.
    • Calculate your bandwidth and never go more than 80% of recommended throughput depending on your wifi specs.
    • If you are distributing the camera feed to multiple clients ALWAYS configure your camera/dvr/clients to use multicast.

    When it comes to the topic at hand and just for informational purposes my doorbell is from DoorBird and is connected through POE and so far it's been the most reliable/flexible solution I've tried yet.

  • Second the doorbird

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