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Looking for a better way to live feed webcam on LAN

by Steven Haninger / April 1, 2015 8:50 PM PDT

We've been assisting with school plays for some time using a webcam to broadcast on the local network to cue actors waiting in a downstairs room. This works OK other than we end up with about a 10 second delay due to an encoding process. We set up the webcam in the room with the stage and broadcast to a PC where the students wait their turn. Because they must ascend a flight of stairs and be there on time, the video delay means they must anticipate the best time to head toward the stage. Reducing that delay would be a help. Right now we're using free MS video encoder (either Encoder 9 or Expression 4) with on Windows 7 PCs. We have a wired connection so it's fairly solid but occasionally the stream breaks. We use WMP in the waiting area and I put a shortcut link to the broadcast URL on the desktop that allows a reset should the broadcast have a glitch. I've tried working with VLC but have not been successful in achieving reliable results or improvement in the delay time. Surely I'm missing something an there's a way to do this in real time without buying all new hardware. Any thoughts would be appreciated. TIA

Steven Haninger has chosen the best answer to their question. View answer
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All Answers

Best Answer chosen by Steven Haninger

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Never mind...This explains better what happens
by Steven Haninger / April 3, 2015 8:26 PM PDT
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Frankly the 10 second delay is fine.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 2, 2015 2:02 AM PDT

Since it's a remote view, delay can't be much of an issue since the viewer would never know if it's taped, delayed or live. I'd not fix that part.

Other solutions are to read up on Ustream and how they broadcast.

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That's (sort of) what I'd expected to hear
by Steven Haninger / April 2, 2015 2:53 AM PDT

I can fiddle with resolution and bit rates some but the change doesn't make much difference. These cameras are very near-sighted (meant more for selfie video) and image quality doesn't matter as much as audio cues. There is a prompter in the room with the kids to tell them when to head out so I'll just need to make her understand that what's being viewed happened about 8-10 seconds ago. Thanks

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There are so many other software solutions
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 2, 2015 3:20 AM PDT

That I can't list them all here. I can't guess why there is such a delay right now as a small video window such as 640x480 may be overkill. Try dropping that to 320x240 and the speed should go up.

I'd also consider other apps.

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I've tried a few others
by Steven Haninger / April 2, 2015 6:04 AM PDT

One that showed some promise was WebcamXP and Webcam7 but our Logitech c920 has had issues when not using some universal driver. Webcam XP achieves nearly instantaneous results through a browser until we add audio and an appropriate plugin...go figure. We might cut 2 seconds off the delay using their free app but others we found are crippled trial versions. WMP serves just fine as long as the connection is stable and it also allows me to make a simple desktop shortcut to reconnect if something happens. The prompter in the waiting area can handle that easily enough without much instruction.

Because there has also been some desire for simultaneous recording of these and other such broadcasts, I'm thinking a better solution would be an IP camera with remote PTZ and a focal range out to true infinity. These little webcams, even if offering HD and high quality lenses, don't give good focus beyond a few feet without some modifications such as negative diopter lenses fixed to them. There's only so much that can be done "on the cheap". I'll keep poking around.

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There are now a lot if IP cameras.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 2, 2015 6:11 AM PDT

Axis has been at this for over a decade.

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