Dearest human can see through walls!
August 19, 2013 2:01 PM   Subscribe

What's the best way to monitor a webcam over a local area network?

I work from home and I have a young dog who I'm starting to trust a little more. She had been restricted to the office with me, then I added the bedroom and hallway. Now, I'm giving her the full run of the house but I'm tired of constantly getting up to make sure she isn't getting into trouble. Every once in a while, I'll catch her doing something she shouldn't (like chewing on the A/C adapter for my laptop). I have a webcam hooked up to a windows computer that will let me keep an eye on her and I have solutions that work okay but aren't ideal.

I've used a program called CamLAN that is almost perfect except that it seems to be intended to be used as a 24/7 security feed and the images flicker if I ask it to stream at a rate higher than one frame-per-second.

I tried VLC and that will stream video well enough but with a bit of a delay. Comically, the delay is exactly as long as it takes for me to get up and go into the office to check if I like the camera position in time to see myself get up and walk to the office. I'm concerned that she'll chomp on something and I'll miss my chance to correct her or she'll have damaged something before I can get it away from her.

I also occasionally watch my neighbor's dog. The two of them get along really well but I hesitate to leave them alone together without being able to keep an eye on them.

There are plenty of solutions for streaming a webcam feed over the internet but I'm on a LAN with plenty of bandwidth and have no need to view the feed from anything more remote than the next room.

So, what other cheap/free programs can I use that will give me a 30 fps feed from the webcam at it's full 720p resolution with little to no delay over my local area network?
posted by VTX to Technology (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Have you turned off all buffering-network and codec, and are you using hardware (using your video card) decoding in VLC?
posted by thewumpusisdead at 2:35 PM on August 19, 2013

What is the camera model? Does it have a network connection or USB (I assume) only? What does the manual say?
posted by humboldt32 at 2:40 PM on August 19, 2013

Response by poster: It's a Logitech C270 hooked up through USB (the only option).

The software and manual have options for streaming over the internet, making video phone calls, and recording video but nothing to do it just over the network.

VLC's setup for streaming is a little complicated for me. It seems to assume that it will used over the internet, it involves a lot of protocols that I know nothing about. I'm having some trouble making it function at all (it was working using a laptop with a built-in webcam but I'm having issues making it work with the Logitech so I thought I'd see if there was a better solution before I did more trouble shooting.
posted by VTX at 2:53 PM on August 19, 2013

Maybe a Skype video chat? Skype claims to use peer-to-peer networking, so it may be able to send video without it going out to their servers and back.
posted by moonmilk at 2:57 PM on August 19, 2013

Response by poster: I fiddled a bunch with VLC's settings and it's working well enough. Now I just need to figure out if I can start the stream without going through the wizard and customizing the settings every time.
posted by VTX at 7:15 AM on August 22, 2013

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