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How to play audio from an Axis IP camera without Internet Explorer

musical notes over axis grey and yellow linesListening to sound from an IP camera can be a headache when using a web browser other than Internet Explorer (IE). Most camera manufacturers create ActiveX controls for handling sound which are limited to IE only, resulting in no audio at all for other browsers.

It’s not widely known, but Axis cameras have another facility for playing audio; Java. This means that users with Mac or Linux computers can listen to audio, as well as Windows users who don’t use Internet Explorer.

Some configuration changes are required, but it can be accomplished in a few minutes.

Install Java

Before you start, you need to ensure that an up-to-date version of Java is installed on your system. You can test to see if Java is installed by going to the Java verification site. You will be instructed whether the version you are using is up to date or whether a newer version is available.

If you do not have Java installed, you can download the latest version from the Java website. Follow the download procedure for your specific operating system and install it. You can then test the installation using the test page above.

Set up the camera

For this demonstration we have used an Axis P3344, but the configuration will be the same for all Axis cameras that support audio.

Firstly, you have to enable the audio features. Once you have logged into the camera, click the “Setup” link at the top right to enter the settings page. Under “Video & Audio” on the left hand side, click “Video Stream”. In the centre of the page click the audio tab.

enable the audio features in an Axis IP camera

Click the “Enable audio” checkbox and click the “Save” button at the bottom.

Next, the streaming protocol must be adjusted. Click on “Audio Settings” further down the list on the left.

The audio encoding settings on an Axis IP camera

The Java applet will only support G711 encoding so make sure that this is selected and click on the “Save” button at the bottom.

Lastly, Java needs to be selected as the default viewer for non-IE browsers. For this, click the “Live View Config” heading on the left. In the middle of the page you will see the “Default Viewer” heading.

Live view configuration page from an Axis IP camera

The “Other Browsers” option by default will be set to “Server push”. Change this to “Java applet” and click the “Save” button.

Using the audio

Now that you’ve configured the camera, it’s time to test. Go to the “Live View” page in the camera as you would normally. As the page loads, the Java applet will ask you to log in again. Once you enter your credentials a second time, some new tabs for video and audio will be shown underneath the image.

The audio tabs displayed when using the Java viewer on an Axis Camera

You can adjust the levels here, but should now hear audio coming through the browser.

Troubleshooting

Most of the problems that we have seen with this tend to be with the external hardware being used. If the microphone is external and uses power, ensure that the “Enable microphone power” box is ticked on the “Audio settings page” in the camera.

Finally, ensure that the microphone and speakers (if required) are plugged into the correct ports. It’s very easy to get the two mixed up and the results can be misleading. Also, ensure that the sound levels on your computer are set at an audible level.

Published on May 18th, 2011 by James Drinkwater

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