Thanks to the advances in today’s technology, achieving some peace of mind can be done more easily. Unlike the older days, you don’t need a fancy and expensive security camera system just to monitor your properties anymore.
With apps like the Blue Iris Software, you can already set up a reliable remote monitoring system without needing costly equipment and services.
What is Blue Iris Software?
You might be wondering, what exactly is Blue Iris? In the simplest of terms, Blue Iris is a professional video monitoring platform. Unlike CCTV and other security systems, it makes use of the camera equipment you already have at home. As a result, it offers an uncomplicated and cheap way to set up a camera security monitoring system in your home or place of business.
We have tested a number of video surveillance software, see our post on best IP camera software ; Blue Iris software came out on top, you will see why in this detailed post.
What We Like About Blueiris Software
There are a lot of things that we like about the Blue Iris software. These are as follows:
- It’s very easy to set up, even for first-timers.
- The interface is very simple and newbie friendly.
- There’s no need to purchase expensive equipment to start monitoring the space you wish to secure.
- You can easily tweak the settings depending on your needs.
- There are several options for triggering the recording process, guaranteeing you of fuss-free monitoring.
- You can choose how to start monitoring after the trigger has been pulled. You can set the software to either start recording, take a snapshot of the area, or automatically notify you through an email or your phone so you can check it out yourself.
- The footage it takes has timestamps which are absolutely necessary when investigating events in the past.
- The recordings are easily accessible.
- Advanced features like file uploading and remote viewing are available.
- You can choose between the Lite edition (LE) and Full versions, giving you choices in providing security to your space.
- Regular updates are available so you can be sure that your system is always in top form.
- It’s compatible with different camera brands and models.
- It definitely offers great value for your money.
What I Don’t Like
While there are lots of things I liked about this product, there are still a few things that I was not particularly thrilled about. Some of them are the following:
- The manual isn’t exactly very friendly. It’s easy to read and digest if you’re someone with knowledge and experience with computer software and apps but if you’re not, it might not be that easy to follow.
- The LE version feels too limited as it only allows 1 camera to run. For its price and the number of cameras allowed to be used on the Full version, this number feels very limited when you think about it.
See video below for more information:[Link]
A Closer Look at the Blue Iris Software
Want to get to know the Blue Iris software better? Here’s a rundown of the features of the latest Professional Version (4 as at the time of this review) to help you get a good grasp of what the product has to offer.
Straightforward Interface Design
It’s no secret that Blue Iris’ user interface is one of its major draws among folks who are looking into setting up their own security systems. It’s pretty much the very thing you’re paying for because compared to other surveillance software, it has the most user-friendly design.
Upon loading up the program onto your computer, you’ll already be presented with pretty much everything you need to see on its dashboard. You’ll automatically see the live views, clips, and a timeline overview by default on your screen. You can also play up with the layout by just selecting from the different settings so you can get the most effective one for your needs.
Aside from the camera view, the design of the UI (user interface) in itself is also notable. It’s very easy to work with because every item has a drop-down menu for it. You can just select the setting you want and you’re pretty much good to go. Everything is also labeled nicely so it’s hard to get lost in the interface, especially if you have even a little idea of what you’re doing.
Wide Camera Compatibility
In terms of equipment, Blue Iris is easy to work with because it’s compatible with a wide array of camera brands and models. This makes it a more convenient option as it won’t require you to buy specific pieces of equipment to make their surveillance system work.
What are the cameras compatible with Blue Iris? The creators have listed down the makes and models of the items that the program is tested to work with. Check out the Blue Iris camera list on their website and you might not even need to make additional purchases anymore. You can see the most commonly used compatible cameras by scrolling to the end of this post.
Optimal Capture Performance
While the captured clips quality relies largely on your equipment, the software is configurable to work with different FPS settings which you can tune for best recording performance. As the program is integrated with DirectShow, so you can also take advantage of it.
Smooth Digital Scaling
Further providing you the top-notch quality and performance you need is Blue Iris’ Direct X integration. It guarantees smooth digital scaling so you can easily view and review your clips and footage without a hitch. It can promise a frustration free security monitoring.
Time Slip Viewing Capability
This system can also ensure that there will be no lapses in its security monitoring as its DVR file format allows time-slip viewing. So even while you review your footage and clips, you don’t have to worry about missing out on some stuff because the system will continue to record.
Various Triggering Options
Another way the Blue Iris expands its functionality is its use of different triggering options for its video recording. It comes with the classic motion detection trigger but you can also set it up to start recording through an audio trigger. You’ll need cameras with audio recording capabilities for this purpose, however.
Different Recording Options
You can also choose how you want your footage to be recorded with the Blue Iris. You can opt to record JPEG images, MPEG or even Windows Media movie format in the full version. With the videos, you can also opt to record continuously or periodically, depending on your preferences.
Optional Audio Recording
Aside from video recording, you can also turn on audio recording on the cameras with such capabilities. This might prove to be very useful in many situations and locations so you might want to give it a shot as well.
Timestamps and Other Video Details Overlays
To further ensure the usefulness of your recorded footage, you can also opt to put timestamps and other overlays on the clips that you’ll capture. Some even opt to put logos in them which comes in handy when live streaming videos.
Various Notification Options
Blue Iris can also notify you whenever your system has been triggered so you can take appropriate actions accordingly. You can choose to receive email, text, voice phone call, or instant message alerts for it. The system can also notify you through your loudspeaker or an external program or script, depending on how you wish to set up the system.
Another great feature that this program has is that you can be accessed from anywhere in the world as long as you have a web connected device. You can log into a webcam website or use a mobile app to access all of the cameras in your system.
Customizable Webcam Homepage
When viewing your surveillance system on the web, you can also opt to further customize the display on your website. This can guarantee easy monitoring even when you can’t access the software.
You can Stream or Search Large Files without Downloading
The experience with the webcam website is also guaranteed to be seamless as it is designed to allow you to stream and search through large files without having to download them first. This feature will further guarantee that your webcam experience will be nearly identical to the use of the software itself.
Zoom and Pan Capabilities
Need to look more closely at certain items that your cameras are displaying? You can zoom and pan the cameras even on the webcam page which further allows it to offer similar functionalities to the software.
What is Included?
What can you get when you get the Blue Iris Software? As there are two different versions available, the inclusions are different for the two.
Of course, if you’ll get the Full version, you’ll get the full suite of features of the program. The most notable in the list include:
- The ability to save files in Windows Media format.
- The ability to use up to 64 cameras in your system.
- Support for multiple cameras through USB or network IP based
- Motion detection capability/configurable trigger settings
- Direct disk recording
- Screen capture capabilities
- Multiple image size formats
- Multiple frames per second (FPS) configuration options
- 2-way talk support
- Archive searching options to view old footage
- Webcasting options
- Alarm sound activation
- SMS/email push notifications
- Camera scheduling (auto activate or turn off)
- Pan/Tilt Zoom support
- Camera angle adjustments
- FTP server support
- Remote access configurations
Which Platforms is Blue Iris Available On
To make the most out of Blue Iris, you also need to know the technical aspects of it. The very first thing that needs to be addressed is which platforms it’s available on. By answering this query, you’ll be able to learn more about its usability and full potential.
So in which platforms can you use the Blue Iris? Here are your options:
Blue Iris for Windows PC
Since this software is originally a desktop client, you can definitely use it on a PC or laptop. What you’ll actually get upon downloading the product is the Blue Iris Windows client. You can also run it on a server OS.
If you’re wondering if Blue Iris for Linux computers is available, the answer would be not necessarily. While some folks get to find a workaround, the software doesn’t work the same way as it would on a Windows OS.
Blue Iris is also not available for Mac users. There are quite a few alternatives available for the users of this OS, though, so you might want to check those instead.
Blue Iris App
Aside from the official Blue Iris Android app, you can also find and use other mobile applications on the Google Play Store to operate this software on your phone. You can also get the Blue Iris APK for the Blue Iris mobile app online should you wish to crack or modify it further.
You can also get this app for your iPhone and iPad. If you’re worried about how to set up the Blue Iris iPhone app on App store, you don’t need to fret. The Blue Iris iPhone app setup procedure is very simple as it’s a lot like setting up the actual web app.
Unfortunately, you can’t use the iPhone and iPad app if you want to access Blue Iris on your Apple TV. Lots of people found effective workarounds, though, so you might want to look those up as well.
Blue Iris on Amazon Echo
Does Alexa work with Iris? Yes. Blue Iris just recently rolled out their Alexa integration so you can now more monitor your spaces with great ease. You can get more details here.
What Works with Blue Iris
Another area about the Blue Iris that you might want to get to know better is the equipment you can use with the software. While it is designed to simplify your surveillance and security monitoring work, it still has quite a few requirements that you should take note of.
The Blue Iris compatible cameras are some of the first things that you should know of when you’re planning on getting the software. With this information, you can better weigh your options and determine whether this software would prove to be an economical pick for you.
Learning more about Blue Iris camera compatibility details will also guarantee a smooth and painless system setup for you. On top of this, you’ll also readily know what you’ll get from the system since you’re already familiar with the equipment you’ll be using.
What are the Blue Iris supported cameras you should get your hands on? Here’s a quick list of some of the Blue Iris recommended cameras you should look for:
Foscam Blue Iris Compatible Cameras
Hikvision Blue Iris Compatible Cameras
Blue Iris Compatible Samsung Smartcams
If you don’t want to be very particular with the model, most cameras from Reolink are also Blue Iris compatible cameras. This brand might just make setting up the system easier, since almost all their cameras work with this surveillance software.
How to Install, Use, and Get the Most Out of the Blue Iris App
To make the most out of the Blue Iris security monitoring system, you should know how to install and fully utilize its features and functionalities. To help you with that, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Make sure to meet the Blue Iris system requirements
Aside from cameras, there are other pieces of equipment that you need to make good use of the surveillance software in question. To ensure that it will work without a hitch on your setup, you should make sure that you meet the Blue Iris minimum requirements at the very least.
The good news is, the Blue Iris hardware requirements aren’t that much. You don’t need sophisticated devices to start securing your property with this system. In fact, the Blue Iris recommended hardware is pretty affordable and easy to scale, depending on how small or big you want your system to be.
As for the Blue Iris CPU requirements, you just really need the following at the very least:
- 2GHz processor or better
- System RAM of 2GB or more
- A server OS or a Windows XP SP3 or newer version
- 1 or more cameras
Some users, however, recommend getting more system RAM than the minimum requirements. The Blue Iris CPU usage is significantly heavy so to avoid any frustrations and issues, make sure to keep this in mind.
Follow the Blue Iris recording setup instructions
Like with any other thing that you need to set up, it’s best to read the Blue Iris manual first when you’re installing the said software. While the Blue Iris setup is simplified by the creators, you might still make some mistakes in the process. To avoid making errors that can cost you time and some peace of mind, it’s best to learn how to set up the Blue Iris monitoring software directly from the creators.
Additional research can also help you cinch the software’s installation without a hitch. If the manual proves to be too technical for you, you can always turn to online tutorials. Since our featured software is quite popular, you won’t have a hard time finding information on its installation.
You should also be very particular when setting up the Blue Iris port forwarding. By doing this properly, you can be guaranteed of seamless use of the system on your Wi-Fi network.
Make use of the different features available to you
Again, due to the nicely designed user interface of this monitoring system, there are quite a few features and functionalities on its dashboard that you can take advantage of. For example, you can configure how you want to view the Blue Iris viewer for starters. You can tweak it so it’s easier for you to use.
There’s also the software companion known as the Blue Iris Tools that can further boost the functionality of our featured software. It offers the following functionalities and more:
- Weather overlays
- Automatic re-booting in case of crashing
- IP address monitoring and management
- Folder monitoring
- Activity notify
- Web server file management
- Update management
Take advantage of the Blue Iris remote view platforms
Blue Iris’ remote accessibility is one of its most attractive features so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t set it up to be used even when you’re away from your computer. As there are quite a few different ways to gain Blue Iris remote access, you have tons of options on how to view your security system wherever you may be.
How to view Blue Iris remotely? Here are some of your options:
- Through the official app and other Blue Iris viewer apps that you can use on your phone or tablet.
- Through a webcam website.
Check for Blue Iris updates
Like any other software, the Blue Iris is still continuously being updated so its features keep getting better. To make things easier for you, you can turn on its auto-updater so you don’t have to manually do it. However, this feature will turn off automatically as well once your support plan expires. So to avoid any hassle, keep track of when you should renew your support plan.
Updates will also be announced in advance, so if there are any significant changes that might affect how you want to use the program, you should be able to learn about way before your software is updated. That is if you bother to read the announcements. So if you’re very particular with what you want from this software, you should also stay abreast with the latest news.
How does it compare with other video management software? See below.
Blue Iris vs Ispy vs Zoneminder
If you want to be more thorough and learn of your other options when it comes to stress free remote monitoring systems, you might also find yourself drawn towards the ISpy and Zoneminder. These two are popular alternatives to the Blue Iris so it’s easy to see why you’d feel compelled to check them out.
How do they hold up against the Blue Iris, though? Let’s take a look at the other two systems to find out.
The ISpy software is a free open source video surveillance software. This means that you don’t have to pay for it since it is an open source software. However, it might require a bit more of computer know-how to work with.
What makes it a solid option is the fact that it will let you work with an unlimited number of cameras. As the Blue Iris has a limit of 64 cameras on the Full version, ISpy’s offerings can be a bit more attractive to many.
It also records audio, snapshots, and time-lapses, has a recording schedule, automatic motion detection, local network and remote access, desktop recording, cloud and website uploading, website embedding, and password protection. You can also further enhance its features by purchasing additional plug-ins that will give you license plate and facial recognition, cloud recording, various types of alerts, and many others.
Another plus this software has it that it won’t just limit you to the use of webcams and USB cameras. You can also add NVRs (Network Video Recorders) and DVRs (Digital Video Recorders) in your system. With this capability, the program can really offer great flexibility when it comes to monitoring your space.
There’s just one caveat, however. It’s not that simple to work with if you’re not particularly adept with technology. While the installation of the software is simple enough, the addition of the cameras, especially the analog ones can prove to be quite tricky.
Like the ISpy, the Zoneminder is also a free and open-source surveillance system. It shares a lot of similarities with the ISpy which might explain why the two are often compared to other available camera security systems.
What makes the Zoneminder stand out, however, is its flexibility. Aside from letting you monitor your space from just about anywhere, it also allows you to set up a system that is tailor-fitted to your needs. It will also manage your data according to your own preferences as well as keep track of it intuitively.
Another plus is that it also allows third-party integration so you can further customize it according to your needs. This makes it extra handy if you have very specific requirements for your surveillance system.
Like the ISpy, however, the Zoneminder’s interface is a bit outdated. So it might have great capabilities but if you can’t fully understand the operation of its dashboard, you won’t get much out of it.
Is the Blue Iris Software Better?
With the solid offerings the ISPy and Zoneminder have, it’s easy to see why people find themselves torn between these two and the Blue Iris software. The fact that the two software are available for free gives them a leg up in the competition. So why should you still give Blue Iris a shot?
It’s simple really, Blue Iris is a professional system that is offered at a very friendly price point. It’s also a lot simpler to work than the rest of the softwares. Aside from the friendly interface, the fact that it works on Windows OS makes it generally compatible with most users’ equipment. So if you want an easy solution to your security and monitoring needs, the Blue Iris comes out on top among the three.
To help you further weigh your options, here’s a list of a few good alternatives to the Blue Iris software:
- Security Spy
- Motion Eye
With all of the things we’ve shared about the Blue Iris software in this review, we hope we were able to shed some light about the product and help you weigh your options among other security systems. While there are tons of other great alternatives out there, Blue Iris is a good fit for a lot of home and business owners.