DIY NVR with Raspberry Pi: Open Source Solutions for Home Security

If you are looking for a way to set up your own network video recorder (NVR) system for home security or surveillance, you might want to consider using a Raspberry Pi. You can use a Raspberry Pi to create your own NVR system with open source software, which can offer you more features, flexibility, and privacy than commercial solutions.

In this blog post, I will introduce you to some of the best open source NVR solutions that you can use with a Raspberry Pi.

What is an NVR?

An NVR is a device that records and stores video from IP cameras over a network. It can also provide features like live viewing, playback, backup, and remote access. NVRs can be standalone devices or software running on a computer or server.

Why Use a Raspberry Pi for NVR?

A Raspberry Pi is a great choice for creating or using an NVR system, for several reasons, such as:

  • Cost-effectiveness: A Raspberry Pi is very cheap, compared to other NVR devices or computers. You can also use your existing devices, such as monitors, keyboards, or cameras, to connect to your Raspberry Pi. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a powerful and functional NVR system.
  • Customization: A Raspberry Pi is very customizable, both in terms of hardware and software. You can choose from various models, cases, accessories, and add-ons, to create your own NVR system according to your needs and preferences.
  • Compatibility: A Raspberry Pi is very compatible, both in terms of hardware and software.
  • Community: A Raspberry Pi has a huge and active community, both online and offline. You can find various resources, tutorials, guides, forums, blogs, videos, and more, to help you learn, create, and troubleshoot your NVR system. You can also find various projects, ideas, examples, and inspirations, to inspire you to make your own NVR system. You can also join various events, workshops, clubs, and groups, to meet and interact with other Raspberry Pi enthusiasts.


Some of the Best Open Source NVR Solutions for Raspberry Pi

Shinobi (I am personally using this one 😉)

Shinobi is a modern and elegant NVR solution that supports over 6000 IP and USB cameras. Shinobi is written in JavaScript, and uses FFmpeg for video processing. Shinobi can run on various platforms, such as Linux, Windows, MacOS, and Docker. Shinobi can also integrate with various apps, such as TensorFlow, Roon, Daphile, and more. Shinobi has two versions: Shinobi Community Edition (CE), which is free and open source, and Shinobi Pro, which is paid and offers professional support and updates.

Installation Tutorial: How to Install Shinobi on Raspberry Pi

Official Site: https://shinobi.video/

GitHub Repo: https://github.com/ShinobiCCTV

PiNVR:

PiNVR is a software that transforms a Raspberry Pi into a network video recorder. It supports ONVIF compatible IP cameras and provides features such as streaming, recording, notifications, motion detection, transcoding, and camera discovery.

GitHub Repo: https://github.com/geerlingguy/pi-nvr

Official Site: https://www.pinvr.net/

ZoneMinder:

ZoneMinder is an open source video surveillance software system that can run on various platforms, including Raspberry Pi. It can monitor, record, and analyze video from IP cameras and other sources. It also offers web and mobile interfaces, cloud storage, event notifications, and integrations with other applications.

Installation Tutorial: How to Install ZoneMinder on Raspberry Pi

Official Site: https://zoneminder.com/

GitHub Repo: https://github.com/ZoneMinder/zoneminder

Viseron:

Viseron is an open source NVR that uses machine learning to detect objects and start recordings. It runs on Docker and can use Google Coral TPU for hardware acceleration. It also supports motion detection, face recognition, MQTT, Home Assistant, and zones.

Official Site: https://viseron.netlify.app/

GitHub Repo: https://github.com/roflcoopter/viseron

Moonfire NVR:

Moonfire NVR is an open source NVR that saves H.264-over-RTSP streams from IP cameras to disk in a hybrid format. It can construct MP4 files for arbitrary time ranges on the fly. It also supports advanced storage management, device replacement, and cross-system layouts.

Installation Tutorial: Installing Moonfire NVR

GitHub Repo: https://github.com/scottlamb/moonfire-nvr.

Frigate:

Frigate is an open source NVR that uses real-time AI object detection to monitor security cameras. It runs on a Google Coral TPU and can handle multiple streams with low CPU usage. It also supports cloud-based storage, computer vision analytics, device replacement, and integrations with Home Assistant and MQTT.

Installation Tutorial: Installing Frigate NVR On the Raspberry Pi

Official Site: https://frigate.video/

GitHub Repo: https://github.com/blakeblackshear/frigate

motionEyeOS:

motionEyeOS is a Linux distribution that turns a Raspberry Pi into a video surveillance system. It uses motion as a backend and motionEye as a frontend. It can discover, view, record, and manage IP cameras and IoT devices. It also supports smart search, image classification, remote access, and masks. You can download motionEyeOS from this websitehttps://github.com/motioneye-project/motioneyeos/wiki.

Installation Tutorial: Install MotionEyeOS on Raspberry Pi 

GitHub Repo: https://github.com/ccrisan/motioneyeos

Nx Witness:

Nx Witness is a cross-platform IP video management system that can discover, view, record, and manage IP cameras and IoT devices. It offers features like cloud-based storage, computer vision analytics, device replacement, and integrations with various systems and platforms.

Installation Tutorial: Build a Mini Raspberry Pi NVR

Official Site: https://www.networkoptix.com/

GitHub Repo: https://github.com/networkoptix

Below is the information organized into a comparative table:

NVR SolutionMotion DetectionWeb InterfaceMobile App SupportEasy InstallationCommunity SupportThird-Party IntegrationResource UsageCustomization OptionsSupported SBC Models
ShinobiYesYesYesModerateActiveYesModerateHighRaspberry Pi 3, 4
PiNVRYesYesYesEasyGrowingLimitedLowLimitedRaspberry Pi 3, 4
MotionEye OSYesYesYesEasyActiveLimitedLowModerateRaspberry Pi (Various Models), Odroid, Nano Pi, Tinker Board, etc.
FrigateYesYesYesModerateActiveYesModerateHighRaspberry Pi (Various Models), Google Coral Accelerator
Moonfire NVRNoBasic Web UINoEasyLimitedNoLowLimitedRaspberry Pi 2, 3, 4
ViseronYesNoNoEasyLimitedLimitedLowModerateRaspberry Pi (Various Models), amd64, aarch64, armhf
ZoneMinderYesYesYesModerateActiveYesHighHighRaspberry Pi 3, 4
Nx WitnessYesYesYesModerateActiveYesModerateHighRaspberry Pi 3, 4

Conclusion:

In the realm of open-source NVR solutions for Raspberry Pi and other Single Board Computers (SBCs), there are several noteworthy options catering to diverse user needs. Each solution presents its unique features and capabilities, providing a spectrum of choices for users seeking flexible and customizable surveillance setups.

After a comprehensive review of the listed NVR solutions, it is evident that Shinobi stands out as a robust and versatile choice. Marketed as “The Next Generation in Open-Source Video Management Software,” Shinobi has evolved from a pet project into a full-fledged solution, supporting over 6000 IP and USB cameras. It is written in JavaScript, powered by FFmpeg, and runs on various platforms, including Linux, Windows, and MacOS, supporting both x86 and ARM architectures.

Shinobi’s commitment to offering both a free, community-supported version (Shinobi CE) and a professional-grade version (Shinobi Pro) with dedicated support and regular updates adds to its appeal. Notably, Shinobi excels in hardware-accelerated video recording, WebSocket streaming, and AI-powered real-time motion detection using TensorFlow.

The support for a wide range of video/audio formats, remote storage management, deep camera controls, LDAP compatibility, and scripting during pre-defined events contribute to Shinobi’s comprehensive feature set. Its ability to switch between transmission modes, automatic alerts, and camera scheduling further enhances its usability for users with varying surveillance requirements.

While other solutions such as MotionEye OS, Frigate, ZoneMinder, and Nx Witness offer competitive features, Shinobi’s balance of functionality, active community support, and dedication to both open-source principles and professional-grade solutions make it the editor’s choice.

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