Just when I thought it wouldn't happen, the rabbit was pulled out of the hat: Wyze Cam v3 now officially endorses RTSP (Real Time Streaming Protocol). As a matter of fact, it's been on board since September 23, but this news managed to give my radar the slip. This might turned out to be a silver lining for thrifty shoppers seeking an affordable security camera that delivers satisfactory video streams. Home Assistant aficionados and private NVR managers have been on high alert for this feature since the announcement of Wyze's third-generation security camera.
The same old Wyze
However, not everything in the garden is rosy. As has been the case with previous Wyze Cam models, the RTSP feature isn't baked into the official firmware, but is delivered as a separate, experimental firmware. And as has also been the case in the past, that firmware is already outdated. If that can't dissuade you from considering the Wyze Cam v3 for its RTSP capabilities, there is one additional deal-breaker.
Why RTSP support for the Wyze Cam v3 matters
Like every other security camera manufacturer, Wyze is angling for you to use their app. This is their platform to entice you into purchasing their cloud storage services and trap you in their ecosystem. However, this doesn't extend an olive branch to Wyze Cam v3 owners wishing to utilize third-party software, such as the highly acclaimed Frigate or Blue Iris. In fact, you're even barred from viewing the camera's stream on your Home Assistant dashboard.
Fortunately, Wyze cottoned on to the fact that many tech-savvy users were intrigued by their low-cost, high-quality cameras, but were put off by the app restrictions. In a surprising move, unlike many other providers who sell not only cameras but also cloud services, Wyze decided to make a peace offering in the form of a special RTSP-enabled firmware.
RTSP isn't restricted to tech enthusiasts. As RTSP lets you use a local NVR, there's no need to expose your camera to the internet. In theory, at least. Moreover, if Wyze were to go belly up, the RTSP functionality would enable you to continue using your camera.
Downsides of installing the RTSP firmware on the Wyze Cam v3
As I touched on earlier, the current RTSP firmware from Wyze is based on an already outdated version. The most recent official firmware boosted the camera to version 220.127.116.11, while the RTSP firmware is stuck in the mud at version 4.36.2.X. This means those running the RTSP firmware are missing out on the latest security enhancements and bug rectifications.
A more glaring issue is that, even when using RTSP, the Wyze Cam v3 insists on an internet connection. This has been corroborated by multiple accounts on the Wyze forums, so I believe it's a fair assumption. The requirement of an active internet connection for a security camera boasting RTSP capabilities could be a stumbling block for many considering the Wyze Cam v3.
Alternatives to Wyze Cam v3
For those in the market for a user-friendly security camera, complete with an app and RTSP support, I'd point you towards Reolink's offerings. The Reolink E1 Zoom and E1 Pro (excluding the E1) closely mirror the Wyze Cam v3's features and are only slightly pricier.
Reolink has even compiled a rundown of the capabilities of each NVR software with their cameras. They've also produced a handy guide on how to integrate Reolink cameras with Blue Iris.