I have been a user of Blue Iris for a very long time, and ever since I heard about Zoneminder being an option, I have wondered which would fare better.
Video surveillance software being an essential part of my home security, I decided to give Zoneminder a chance and compare it with Blue Iris to hail the winner.
|Software compatibility||Compatible with only Windows||Compatible with only Linux-based OS|
|Hardware compatibility||Compatible with most ONVIF cameras||Compatible with most ONVIF cameras|
$34.95 to $69.95
$29.95 to $99.95
|Video Security features||Yes||Yes|
|Remote management functionality||Yes||Yes|
|Hardware support||Up to 64 cameras||No limit|
Priority support available
Zoneminder is only compatible with Linux-based operating systems, whereas Blue Iris is locked to be compatible with Windows.
I have analyzed all pros and cons of both services and carefully curated this article so that you can make your decision about the best video surveillance software for your needs.
Compatibility: Zoneminder vs Blue Iris
One of the most important aspects you might look for in video surveillance software is the compatibility of the software with your devices.
It just doesn't make sense to go for the best software out there for video surveillance if your main computer and/or your cameras won't work seamlessly with it.
Blue Iris, being one of the most popular video surveillance out there, gets its fame for being highly compatible with a lot of surveillance cameras in the market.
Blue Iris supports most compatible cameras that follow standard protocols such as RTSP, MJPEG, etc.
But it is best compatible with cameras that follow the ONVIF protocol, which is widely followed by almost all surveillance cameras.
As for other standards, here is the list that Blue Iris specifically lists for its compatibility:
- MJPEG streaming.
- JPEG images.
- MPEG4 over RTSP streaming.
You can check whether your specific model of camera has been tested and works flawlessly with Blue Iris here.
But do note that this is not an ultimate list, and there are many untested cameras that might work seamlessly with Blue Iris.
Coming to its compatibility status with the main server or computer, here is where it falters a bit.
Blue Iris is only compatible with Windows machines.
So if you are using a Linux, Mac, or any other operating system on your server computer, then you are out of luck.
Zoneminder supports cameras that are compatible with the ONVIF standard too, so most of the surveillance cameras on the market are bound to be supported.
That being said, some cameras that have an inbuilt cloud video surveillance software can pose some issues with compatibility.
But in general, it should have almost the same compatibility that is provided by Blue Iris, with support for the following compatibility standards:
- JPEG images.
- MPEG videos.
- MPEG4 over RTSP streaming.
As for the compatibility list for Zoneminder, you can check it out here.
Do note that this is not the final compatibility list, and there are a lot of devices and models that go untested, that might work seamlessly with Zoneminder.
Coming to the Zoneminder software compatibility, it is primarily meant to be video surveillance software for Linux-based systems.
Therefore, Zoneminder is compatible with most open-source operating systems like Ubuntu, RedHat, Debian, etc.
Zoneminder is not compatible with Windows and has no plans to include support for Windows in the near future.
Cost: Zoneminder vs Blue Iris
Software products nowadays have become so mainstream that it can often outvalue the hardware that it supports.
The cost and expenditure for powerful software like Blue Iris and Zoneminder can be well justified by the utility that it provides, with its video surveillance capabilities.
Blue Iris provides its software for a price, with an initial licensing fee and a yearly maintenance fee.
Initially, you can use Blue Iris free of cost during its 15-day demo period, after which you will have to get a license.
Here are the initial license costs you might be responsible for if you plan on taking up Blue Iris:
To use Blue Iris, you will need to pay a license fee to access it, and the license fee comes in two ways: Lite Edition (LE) version and the Full version.
With the LE version license, Blue Iris will only support video surveillance for one camera.
With the Full version license, Blue Iris will support up to 64 cameras.
Do note that the license is provided on a per-PC basis, meaning you will need to purchase a new license if you have plans to set it up for multiple computers.
Here are the maintenance costs you might be responsible for if you plan on taking up Blue Iris:
|Extended support and maintenance||$34.95 for one time|
$29.95 with automatic renewal enabled
The support and maintenance fees are waived for one year from the date you got your license.
After that, you will have to pay up for extending support.
This extension basically provides you with version updates, version upgrade protection, and customer support access.
Do note that this is not a necessary expense, and you can use your Blue Iris with all the features that you paid for even if you don't pay the maintenance fees.
But if you want version updates and priority customer support, you will have to pay for it on a yearly basis.
Zoneminder is open-source software and therefore has no charges or hidden expenses.
You can use the full-fledged software without any hassles, and you can even build your own package to suit your needs.
Features: Zoneminder vs Blue Iris
A software program for video surveillance expands the range of features you can squeeze out of your video surveillance cameras.
All of a sudden, the potential of the cameras is endless, with access to features such as remote management and notification alerts.
Blue Iris offers a variety of features, which can be compiled into the categories given below:
With Blue Iris, you can use the motion and audio sensing capabilities of your surveillance cameras to trigger useful features such as follows:
- Event recording.
- Continuous recording.
- Periodic recording.
You can overlay the current day/date/time/logo on the screen so as to identify footage much faster.
You can also disable audio directly from the Blue Iris software.
It is also possible to use a timer mechanism to determine when the system is to be armed or disarmed.
Capturing footage is also made easier by using widely compatible formats such as JPEG images, MPEG movies, or Windows Media movies.
There are also user authentication and permission-based viewing features baked in for added security.
You can also set Blue Iris to alert you via loudspeaker, email, messaging, or an external script, giving you ample leeway to program the system as per your needs.
It is also possible to run Blue Iris as a windows service, enabling you to have total control over its operation on a shared PC.
Blue Iris also allows you to remotely monitor and manage the surveillance without you needing to be on the same room or network.
It has mobile access functionality, which lets you view live and recorded footage from your surveillance cameras remotely.
It is also possible to control specific camera features such as PTZ, IR, etc while even enabling a two-way talking function.
This is all thanks to the Web Server (UI3) that is built into the Blue Iris software.
Zoneminder provides almost all the functionality that is provided by Blue Iris, but more.
Instead of being limited to only 64 cameras, Zoneminder has no such limit and therefore can run any number of cameras.
Of course, this is all dependent on the system that you use the software on.
Blue Iris does have a specific set of system requirements listed on its website, but Zoneminder is light enough to run on even lesser powerful systems.
Customer Support: Zoneminder vs Blue Iris
Speaking of customer support and other luxurious amenities that come with the two software, it is safe to say that both follow wildly different paths.
Blue Iris, unlike iSpy, is a closed-source video surveillance software program. This allows it to be a paid product, thus having the capital to offer customer support to its users. This is included in the maintenance fee you are bound to pay up on a yearly basis.
Although email support is included in their basic plan, if you want priority email support you will have to get the extended package.
There is also a premium priority plan available for users for the highest priority customer service, with added support via phone and remote desktop.
Zoneminder, being open source means you have no such amenities once you set it up.
But since this is open source, any bugs or issues can be reported to developers who can patch it up.
In fact, if you are a programmer you can view, edit and raise flags for any bug fixes, which might ultimately reflect on the final software for all users.
Zoneminder seems to be a fantastic alternative to Blue Iris, especially considering it is free of any costs.
But unfortunately, Zoneminder is not available on Windows and Blue Iris is exclusive to Windows.
This makes it a huge turn-off for any user, as they can only use one or the other depending on the operating system of their main system.
That being said, both are fantastic video surveillance software options that are only held back by their compatibility with their respective operating systems.
I hope my article on the differences between Blue Iris and Zoneminder has been a helpful read and has aided you with the same.
Have a good day!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Can Blue Iris properly run on a virtual machine?
Blue Iris can run flawlessly on a virtual machine without any issues.
Is Blue Iris open-source like Zoneminder?
Blue Iris is closed-source software, and therefore its source code is not available for the public to view and edit, unlike Zoneminder.