Ubiquiti Kills Any Hope Of Open Platform Video

Many have hoped that Ubiquiti would emerge as an American alternative to Dahua and Hikvision for low cost IP cameras that work with 3rd party systems. Their newest move makes it very clear that Ubiquiti wants no part of that.

Ubiquiti has never supported ONVIF.

Now, Ubiquiti has officially removed RTSP streaming from cameras to third party VMSs in release 3.0 of their UniFi Video platform. But immediately after that announcement, they released a new feature: RTSP streaming from the server controller. Details below.

First, the pertinent section of their firmware/3.0 software release:

UniFi Video is not airVision - it aims to provide superior reliability for the surveillance system. This comes with tighter coupling of all cameras with the controller software, which means that there are no ways left to control cameras with third party software after the firmware upgrade to 3.0. Feature-wise, this translates to:

  • Firmware 3.0 is designed specifically for UniFi Video
  • RTSP is not supported in 3.0 firmware (it might still be accessible on some models)
  • WebUI of the devices is reduced to provide only the basic functionality to hook your cameras to the controller

Essentially, they've made Ubiquiti cameras fully proprietary to UniFi video, with the web interface used only to connect the camera to the server, which they now refer to as a "controller." This terminology is very similar to enterprise wi-fi systems, which function the same way. Settings changes can only be made through the controller UI, not the camera.

The RTSP "retranslation" announcement essentially allows third party recorders to view/record RTSP streams which are sent from the UniFi video controller. It looks like a simple configuration change, which gives you the RTSP URL to copy and paste, seen here:

Gone is any sort of hope of ONVIF conformance or open platform. Ubiquiti apparently plans to continue their strategy of appealing to their admittedly rabid fanbase.

Any thoughts on these feature changes for existing or potential Ubiquiti video users? Is restreaming video from the server any sort of desirable feature?

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