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How to turn your old RTSP IP camera into an Onvif IP webcam in C#

This description demonstrates how the Onvif IP camera server works with RTSP cameras and why it is useful. To implement a server, you must have OZEKI Camera SDK installed, and a reference to OzekiSDK.dll should be added to your Visual Studio project.

Architecture of Onvif IP camera server for RTSP camera

First let us clarify why it is needed to use an Onvif IP camera server instead of a simple application which can establish connection with RTSP cameras. RTSP cameras have just one main stream, which means they can provide streaming to just one client at a time. Onvif IP camera server helps you to reach the image of the RTSP camera as a client by RTSP (Real Time Streaming Protocol) and transmit it as a server to multiple viewers simultaneously. (Figure 1).

How to set up an Onvif IP camera server for an RTSP camera
Figure 1 - Architecture of Onvif IP camera server for RTSP camera

Aftre installing the architecture, your RTSP camera will work almost like an Onvif IP camera apart from the limits of most RTSP cameras have e.g. no PTZ control, unability to set the lighting, no authentication, etc. These feature problems can be resolved by building-in the Onvif IP camera server e.g. you need to authenticate to the server in order to use the RTSP camera. The PTZ feature can be resolved by optical zooming and by installing a PTZ device, but it is not recommended because it's price is higher and the quality of optical zoom is worse than a new IP Camera's.

Where can you use it?

The RTSP cameras price and image quality is higher then most USB cameras, and they are not too expensive compared to IP cameras. If their resolution and FPS (Frame Per Sec) is enough for you than this device is a good choice for you. The RTSP cameras have one or two streams (most of them provide only one) and they can support just one or two clients at a time. This property of RTSP camera regulated the usability because nowadays a multi-client support is a neccesity. The OZEKI Camera SDK is a good solution because you can develop Onvif IP camera server software for RTSP cameras with this SDK.

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FAQ

Below you can find the answers for the most frequently asked questions related to this topic:

  1. How can I get the URL of the camera?

    You can get the URL from the producer of the camera. (In the 10th tutorial you can find information on how to create an own IP camera discoverer program.)

  2. What's the difference among USB camera, RTSP camera and ONVIF camera?

    If we use USB cameras we do not need the camera url and some functions like moving, zooming etc. will not be available. In the case of RTSP cameras and ONVIF cameras there are more functions available. The difference between the RTSP camera and the ONVIF camera is the following: the RTSP camera has only one stream in comparsion with the ONVIF camera having multiple streams at a time.