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How Does Adding a Camera as ONVIF Differ From RTSP

What is ONVIF and RTSP

ONVIF (Open Network Video Interface Forum) protocol has been developed to ensure compatibility between several surveillance and security devices for smooth operation in a network. In short, ONVIF can be seen as a bridging protocol. An ONVIF connection is an IP-based protocol that can be used by NICs, servers, network devices, and mobile devices. The RTSP protocol is a protocol that is mainly used for streaming video or audio over a network connection.

RTSP (Real Time Streaming Protocol) is a procedure that enables multimedia streaming on the Internet and helps in establishing and controlling sessions between two or more devices in a network.


The main difference between ONVIF and RTSP is the use case of both protocols. ONVIF was designed for system integration and interoperability and is mainly used for establishing surveillance systems. Whereas RTSP can be used in other applications such as streaming audio/video or live broadcast - multi-platform content distribution.

RTSP is an application layer protocol that manages transmission of multimedia data. It is a signaling protocol that ensures establishment of data transmission sessions. RTSP uses many methods to maintain the steam.

ONVIF protocol is developed by ONVIF for unifying the standards across all the manufacturers and vendors. The purpose of this protocol is to make the exchange of video resources easy for all. This enables law enforcement agencies, surveillance companies, monitoring centers and other organizations to quickly and successfully access the live and stored video or image data.

ONVIF Features

ONVIF also provides more enhanced features and control function to manage and operate IP cameras and I/O devices, including the following:

  • Controls camera pan, tilt, and zoom functions.
  • Controls recording on the device or on an external storage device.
  • Controls digital zooming.
  • Controls pixel format conversion.
  • Supports live viewing and playback of recorded video.

The communication between client is done by using two ports: ONVIF Port 80 and RTSP Port 554. ONVIF Port 80 is used by the client to submit commands. On the other hand, RTSP Port 554 is used to stream the video.


RTSP is a media streaming protocol that has limited control on how this streaming shall be done. Whereas ONVIF protocol is to ensure compatibility of various surveillance devices (ex. IP cameras, centralized servers and storage devices through bridging servers). ONVIF is becoming the popular and universal protocol in video surveillance. ONVIF uses RTSP so, by definition, more systems will support RTSP than ONVIF. However, ONVIF adds lots of advanced functionalities (camera configuration, authentication, VMD, PTZ control, i/o, etc.) beyond the basic streaming that RTSP supports.

OpenEye ONVIF Profile Compatibility

ONVIF has multiple profiles for different types of compatibility. An ONVIF profile is specific to the type of devices used and the features that are needed to communicate.ONVIF profile S is in IP camera systems. Devices with different profiles can still work together, but they should match.

Please see the ONVIF profile comparison. It goes over what profile has what compatibility features:

If a device is ONVIF compliant, they usually also list what profile they are compliant with. For example, the manual for the OE-C1011d4-S camera shows its ONVIF-compliant profiles:


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