This post arises from a question posed by someone via Quora. I’m not all that engaged with that Q&A platform, but this question seemed novel, so I offered an answer. I thought the answer worth sharing in a little more depth, so I offer it here as well.
The question was, “How can I use the RTSP stream from an IP camera as a source for a WebRTC application?”
There are two parts to solving this puzzle; (1) Connect to the RTSP stream and (2) Make it appear like a webcam to the client application.
Obvious Answer: vMix
At the outset, let me say that I would address this using vMix. vMix solves both parts of the puzzle handily. If this is all that you needed to achieve, the $60 Basic HD license would suffice.
Of course, you’d need to learn a little about the application, which is deep. To my mind it’s fun, but some might find it daunting. Further, vMix requires a considerable host platform. You’re not going to run it on trivial hardware.
Let’s just say that we’d like to solve the problem with less spending and requiring less knowledge overhead.
Less Obvious Answer: VLC & NDI Tools
VLC is the ubiquitous, open source media player. Available on all platforms it can play anything I’ve every wanted to open. Beyond files, it can open network streams. I’ve used it to listen to my local PBS radio station. I’ve also used it to watch video streams from our Grandstream surveillance cameras, as shown below.
It’s as if laptop makers have started playing a little game of hide-the-webcam. In their zeal to offer borderless displays the built-in webcam gets relocated to the most unfortunate places, often with terrible consequences.
This trend started in 2015 with Dell’s XPS. While the InfinityEdge display was lovely, it forced them to move the webcam from the usual location in the top edge of the display. In their wisdom, Dell put it in the “chin” under the display, and even under the logo. It’s literally right above the keyboard.
This location makes for some odd viewing angles. It’s been referred to as the “Nosecam,” which seems appropriate. Others have more specific observations here, here and here.
As a rule, I only recommend devices or services that I have actually used. Today I see that Amazon is offering nice deals on two Logitech products that I’ve been using for a long time.
Logitech C920 Webcam
As you may know, I’ve had a long-running exploration of the world of webcams. In fact, I’ve tried an irrational number of models myself. The dregs of those experiments litter my office. That said, for everyday use atop my monitor, the venerable Logitech C920 remains my choice.
The C922x model is, in actuality, the C920 hardware with a minor firmware update that allows it to stream 720p60. This new capability, while novel, is of very little real value in most use-cases.
Logitech MX Master Mouse
Early in 2016 I fell prey to a bout of tendonitis. Given my change in working circumstance, my physician was not at all surprised. He quickly recommended that I use a more ergonomically correct mouse. He was very specific about the Logitech MX Master, which he uses himself.
The doc was right, the new mouse has helped a lot. Further, it’s a joy to use. Highly recommended, especially at today’s offer of just $49.
I’ve put the Brio through a few simple experiments and learned a few things. At least superficially, it does what it says. Connected via USB 3.0 it delivers a 2160p30 (aka 4k) stream using MJPEG encoding to vMix and OBS.
With a commanding 73% market share, Logitech is the leader in webcams. They’ve been very successful at diversifying their product range, introducing the ConferenceCam, GROUP and PTZ Pro models aimed at business users.
These business oriented offerings have vaulted the company to new heights in the VC/UC space. Yet the meeting/huddle room focus left desktop users clinging to the HD Pro Webcam C920 and C930e. While these are both excellent products, they have been around a very long time.
I presume you recall where left off in this little adventure. I had just finished my initial allocation of 1000 words in a general description of the AVER Information VC520. Let that be the foundation upon which you add the following observations of its use. And use it I did.
Unboxing & Installation
Once unboxed and setup I connected the VC520 to my desktop computer. As a generic UVC device there was no device specific driver to install, although I did install the PTZ remote application and update utility.