Why I switched from Blue Iris

While Blue Iris remains one of the top, cost effective solutions for DIY home surveillance enthusiasts, its no longer my tool of choice.

Blue Iris is one of the top solutions for DIY home surveillance enthusiasts. It's simple to setup, cheap to use, and has a ton of features. But it's not without its quirks and issues. Here are the main reasons why I no longer use Blue Iris.

Windows Dependency

While originally a main selling point for me (simply download and install Blue Iris on any Windows PC), the requirement for Windows is now an annoyance. I try to minimize my home dependency on Windows (its a great OS for consumers, but overkill for service providing).

I try to containerize all my self hosted services. This makes them easier to backup, maintain, upgrade, and migrate. There is no non-windows Blue Iris version and no official Blue Iris container. Almost all Blue Iris competitors and modern day DIY home survelliance solutions have no Windows dependency and can be containerized.

High Resource Utilization

With 24 cameras, 24x7 recording, clip recording and snapshots, and object detection (ex. alert when xyz camera spots a person), the amount of resources Blue Iris needs is quite high. I've even written a post on how to tame this resource demand and have even gone as far as using resource limiting tools like Process Lasso. This issue gets compounded as you add on external dependencies like Deepstack for object recognition.

Other DIY home survelliance solutions have an overall lower resource footprint due to not requiring a full consumer host OS like Windows. They also implement smart techniques on how to do motion detection, clip archiving, object detection, etc. Some even go as far as completely offloading resource demand like object detection to $60 USB dongles like a Google Coral.

Odd Bugs

Blue Iris ran perfectly until it didn't. And when it didn't, it was often an ordeal to diagnose and or fix the issue. From stopped recordings to dropped cameras to corrupt video, I often found myself just reinstalling Blue Iris and reimporting contiguration backups. That is of course when I discovered there was an issue - which was typically when I needed a recording that was unfortunately not available.

Slow Releases

At the time of this writing, the last major release of Blue Iris was over 2 years ago. Same goes for the last "Latest News" article on their website. Technology changes fast and I need solutions that can keep up.

Feels Antiquated

From the mobile, to web, to desktop interface combined with the Windows dependency and external dependencies, the look and feel of the entire stack feels antiquated.

Closed Source

Because Blue Iris is a closed source solution, you have limited insight into issues and limited ability to control its feature set.

So what do I use now? After trying several solutions, I use Frigate with 2 USB Google Corals (but more on that in another post).