Using Docker to Add RTSP Functionality to WYZE Cameras via a Synology NAS

Yes this headline is a mouthful! But I stumbled across a great solution for Wyze camera users who want to keep their cameras up to date yet still use them via RTSP to their own security NVRs. Setting this process up is the subject of my latest “how to” video.

With Wyze pulling their official RTSP firmware some super smart community members figured out a way to build a “bridge” that takes video out of the Wyze cameras and makes that video available as an RTSP, RTMP or HLS stream that can be used by any compatible security DVR/NVR. It does this through the use of a Docker container that can run on just about any compatible Linux based device.

Once installed and logged into your Wyze account, any compatible camera on the same network as the computer hosting the container will be available. Your security NVR will connect to the stream on the container which will in turn bridge the video from the camera. Since this process mostly passes a relatively low bandwidth video stream it’s not very resource intensive and even a Raspberry Pi can get the job done.

As of the time of this writing it’s compatible with most Wyze cameras with the exception of their new “OG” cameras and their Video Doorbell Pro. It’s likely Wyze is disabling whatever loophole existed in their older hardware to prevent this circumvention around their subscription services on newer devices. You can learn more about their push to subscriptions in my recent video on the topic.

In my Docker how to video we connected my cameras to Synology’s Surveillance Station – a pretty robust NVR that’s included with most Synology NAS devices. I did a tutorial series a few years ago on it. But this should work with just about anything including some of the popular open source projects.

Docker is something I’ve been learning about over the last year or two and this is a great first project to play with if you’re interested in dipping your toes into containerizing applications. Synology has a great graphical Docker interface that helped me wrap my head around how it all works.

If you’d like to learn more about Docker I found this video from Networkchuck to be a great summation of its power and potential.

Is the Wyze Free Ride Over?

Last week I got in the new batch of cameras that Wyze is rolling out, including their “OG” camera and the latest Pan Cam. One thing I noticed right out of the gate was that functionality that was once free on their old cameras now requires a subscription fee. I dig into that in my latest video.

The biggest change is that their new cameras will no longer get any free cloud storage. In the events feed you’ll only see a still image – not a video clip. In the past the cameras would store 12 seconds of video clips in the cloud each time a motion event triggered something. Additionally the older cameras also benefited from some of Wyze’s AI technology which could cut down on false alarms by only triggering when a person was detected for example.

Wyze went through some financial difficulties during the pandemic as their business relied upon hardware sales for solvency. When component supplies became constrained they couldn’t sell cameras and they had a hard time paying the bills for their cloud server overhead.

Their solution was to create a “name your price” subscription plan called “Cam Plus Lite” for their existing camera line. Customers could declare a price of 0 and continue using their cameras for free, but they did require everyone with an existing camera to sign up for the plan in an effort to reduce the load on their cloud services.

Wyze’s new cameras are not eligible for Cam Plus Lite. The only option is to subscribe to their “Cam Plus” subscription plan. Cam Plus currently costs $1.67 a month per camera but subscribers can also opt for the “unlimited” option that costs $99 a year and connect as many cameras as they’d like.

Competitively it’s fairly reasonable but I think many loyal Wyze customers will feel like the rug is being pulled when they buy a new camera and find it won’t work the way the prior ones did without coughing up a few more bucks on an ongoing basis.

Additionally Wyze has stopped development on their RTSP firmware that allowed their cameras to work with security NVRs like Synology’s Surveillance Station. While old cameras with the RTSP firmware installed will still work, the firmware is no longer available on Wyze’s website for download. There are no plans to offer it with the new cameras.

Stay tuned for reviews of the new Wyze cameras! I wanted to get this piece out first so people knew what to expect. In the meantime I have some first impression videos up on the Extra’s channel.