This is a followup to https://raspberrypi.stackexchange.com/questions/93254/stream-usb-webcam-with-audio?noredirect=1#comment150507_93254

I, like many other brave tinkerers before me, thought it would be a simple task to take an old USB camera (c920) can pair it with a raspberry pi to make a network streaming device (e.g., baby monitor). As those that have gone before me, I have now realized (after two days of tearing my hair out), that this is an extremely complicated task.

Problem statement: I have a raspberry pi zero and a c920 webcam. I want to use the H.264 bitstream from the webcam and serve it on the pi without transcoding it (the feeble processor would really struggle). I want to combine the video stream with its audio and send it over to a browser (phone, tablet, pc - something HTML5 without NAPI).

My current strategy is to do the following:

ffmpeg -re -f s16le -i /dev/zero -f v4l2 -thread_queue_size 512 -codec:v h264 -s 1920x1080 -i /dev/video0 -codec:v copy -acodec aac -ab 128k -g 50 http://localhost:8090/camera.ffm (this is with dummy audio - I figured I would add audio later)

Followed by sudo ffserver -d -f /etc/ffserver.conf to received the feed and broadcast it as a stream. This is the ffserver.conf file:

`HTTPPort 8090
MaxHTTPConnections 2000
MaxClients 1000
MaxBandwidth 100000
CustomLog -
<Feed camera.ffm>
  File /tmp/streamwebm.ffm
  FileMaxSize 50M
  ACL allow localhost
  ACL allow
  ACL allow
  ACL allow
<Stream stream>
ACL allow    
Format webm

# Video Settings
VideoFrameRate 30
VideoSize 1920x1080

# Audio settings
AudioCodec libvorbis
AudioSampleRate 48000
AVOptionAudio flags +global_header

MaxTime 0
AVOptionVideo me_range 16
AVOptionVideo qdiff 4
AVOptionVideo qmin 4
AVOptionVideo qmax 40
#AVOptionVideo good
AVOptionVideo flags +global_header

# Streaming settings
PreRoll 10

Metadata author "author"
Metadata copyright "copyright"
Metadata title "Web app name"
Metadata comment "comment"

My basic html is<html><head></head><body><video> <source src="http://localhost:8090/stream"> </video></body></html>

The stream however, doesn't work (the browser won't connect) and I get the following: enter image description here

And the browser on the client says (failed) NET::ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED

Thoughts: - https://stackoverflow.com/questions/28435564/begin-stream-simple-mp4-with-ffserver explains that ffserver can't stream .mp4 because of headers or something. This is why I am using webm (which doesn't support h.264 I believe and is causing the really slow performance converting to vp9). I'm not concerned about CPU usage at the moment, just want to get an image to appear on the browser!

  • I hear one issue deals with 'chunking' - that the camera h.264 is a bitstream but h.264 streams for html5 should be chunked. Not sure how that would work.

  • I have tried VLC for some things (RTP) but haven't have success.

  • Most resources (SE and other sites) are from 2010-2015 and it seems as thought v4l2 and other things have developed since then.

  • As my problem is most likely general ignorance of the subject matter, I would appreciate any answers that provide some general understanding as to the theory behind different techniques. I know this makes the question more of a call for opinion and less appropriate for SE, but I'm fixing to throw my computer out the window (you know the feeling).

Thank you!

1 Answer 1


Changing localhost to in the ffmpeg call fixed this issue for me.

  • Then it seems you had some issues with host name resolution.
    – RalfFriedl
    Feb 23, 2019 at 9:31

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