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How to share webcam over network
Olga Weis Olga Weis Last updated Aug 25, 2021

How to share webcam over network: Windows, Mac and Linux [GUIDE]

In a poll conducted recently 158 FlexiHub users said that they use it to share a webcam over network among their Windows machines. This number surprised me, so I decided to see if there are good online guides on how to do it. Google search returned websites with questions and answers, but a proper guide was nowhere to be found. I came across questions of two types – some wanted to gain full control over another PC webcam while others wanted to know how to stream an image from one computer to another or directly to the network.

76% of Windows users suppose that to allow a remote computer access a webcam, one needs to spend a lot of time adjusting Windows settings. But if you were wondering if there is a software that can share webcam over LAN easily - there is one!

To share USB webcam over network, download FlexiHub and install it on both of your computers. Anyway, you shouldn’t worry about your OS - the app supports Windows, macOS and Linux.

Below are the best techniques and tips I picked to share with you.

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Windows webcam sharing tutorial

  • 1.
    You'll need to create a FlexiHub account. Page with registration form will open in your browser — fill it in and click ‘Create Account’. Once account was created successfully, open FlexiHub and enter your login and password. blank
  • 2.

    You may be wondering why is it necessary to create an account when you just want to share your webcam. The answer is you need an account to share devices over network instead of LAN. All devices are shared in your account and won't be openly available to everyone over local network or Internet.

    Back to your camera and software.

  • 3.
    Once you log in to your system with a webcam connected to it and open FlexiHub, you'll see your webcam there (or rather its name displayed). Click Connect on another computer with FlexiHub installed.
    Connect on another computer with FlexiHub
That’s it. Now you can access and share webcam over network and use it from other computer.
The best for multiple webcams in live streams
We use FlexiHub to share more than one webcamera in the live streams we do. FlexiHub makes this possible with almost zero latency. With the best quality it takes 5mb / sec upload but the quality is flawless and the camera video doesn't lag or scatter. We used to try out a few alternatives but FlexiHub is simply the best in this class.

How to stream video from remote webcam

To stream webcam over LAN you will need to use special web platforms, or YouTube, or one-click software solutions.
Note: here we'll talk about video streaming over YouTube. If you prefer streaming video with software – refer to the guide for macOS below, or use Yawcam app for Windows.

To stream videos over network on Windows, follow these steps:

  • 1.
    Go to YouTube features page. Make sure you're logged into the Google+ account you want to stream with.
  • 2.
    Click "Enable" next to "Live Events", you are allowed to do it only if your account is in good legal standing. Read the Terms and Conditions and click "I Agree" to continue.
  • 3.
    Click "Create Event" button. There you can give a title to your stream, add a description and tags and schedule your streaming or start streaming right away.

    In the Privacy Settings you can make your stream either public – anyone can see it, or private – only those accounts you specify will see it.
  • 4.
    For Hangouts plugin to be able to access your webcam, you have to enable Google Hangout on Air, select "Quick" instead of "Custom".
  • 5.
    To activate your webcam and launch Google+ Hangouts, click "Go Live Now". If you don’t have the Google+ plugin, you will be prompted to install it and allow it to access your webcam. Once the Hangouts window opens, it will take a minute or so for the video to buffer and you are set to begin your broadcast.
  • 6.
    Click "Start Broadcast" to start live streaming from your webcam, ‘OK’ to confirm – and the count begins. Your broadcast can last up to eight hours.

    "Control Room" option allows you to manage your viewers – if you find some of them to be disruptive, you can either mute or kick them.
  • 7.
    Clicking ‘Links’ at the bottom of the Hangouts window will get you the link and embedding code you can share with others. The stream will be seen automatically on your channel on YouTube.

Webcam networking on Linux (Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora and CentOS)

For webcam sharing we’ll use USB Network Gate.
  • 1.
    Use these commands:

    To install software on your computer:
    dpkg -i [package]

    To install all dependencies automatically:
    dpkg -i [package]
    sudo apt-get update
    apt-get install -f
    dpkg -i [package]

    To install or upgrade rpm package:
    yum install [package]
  • 2.
    Open the app and do the following:

    1. Go to “Share local USB devices” tab

    2. In USB devices tree select the webcam you would like to share

    3. Click “Share local USB device” button

    4. “Share USB device” window will be invoked. You can see additional info about your webcam (Vendor, Manufacturer, Serial Number, etc.)

    5. The main drawback here is a large network traffic. To decrease it turn on traffic compression. To set traffic compression algorithm go to Options.
That’s it. Other computer gets full access to the webcam as if they were physically connected.

How to stream remote webcam with VLC player

Setting up webcam streaming on Linux is more convenient with VLC player.
  • 1.
    To install VLC on Debian, Ubuntu or Linux Mint:
    $ sudo apt-get install vlc

    To install VLC on Fedora, first enable RPM Fusion's free repository, then run:
    $ sudo yum install vlc

    To install VLC on CentOS or RHEL 6, first set up EPEL repository, and then use the following commands:
    $ cd /etc/yum.repos.d/
    $ sudo wget
    $ sudo yum install vlc
  • 2.
    Verify Webcam in VLC
    Make sure your webcam is detected by your Linux system and VLC.

    You’ll need to know the webcam’s name for that. In the example below, the webcam is named
    $ ls /dev/video*

    Then you have to test video from your webcam. Here is the command you need to use, do not forget to replace "video0" with the name of your device.
    $ vlc v4l2:///dev/video0

    If your webcam is successfully detected by VLC, you should be able to see your video stream.
  • 3.
    Configure Webcam Streaming on VLC
    You have successfully detected your webcam in VLC, next is configuring webcam streaming.

    In this example webcam is streamed over HTTP in WMV format. To configure VLC for webcam streaming, first launch VLC.
    $ vlc

    In VLC menu choose "Streaming".

    On the screen select your webcam’s or audio device’s name, e.g., /dev/video0 for webcam, and hw:0,0 for audio. Tick "Show more options" checkbox and make a note of value strings in "MRL" and "Edit Options" fields. These strings will be used later in the tutorial. Click "Stream" button.

    Verify the video source, e.g., v4l2:///dev/video, and click "Next" to continue.

    Choose the destination, i.e., streaming method/target, of webcam streaming. In our example we choose HTTP from the drop down list, and click "Add".

    Next, specify port number and path of a streaming service. For port number, type 8080; we assume the port number is not occupied, for path - "/stream.wmv". For transcoding choose "Video - WMV + WMA (ASF)" profile from the drop down list. Click "Next".

    The next screen displays automatically generated stream output string. Make a note of it and click "Stream" button.

    At this point, VLC should start streaming video from your webcam over HTTP. Streaming traffic is sent directly to localhost at TCP port number 8080, so you won’t be able to see anything in the VLC window.

    To verify that VLC is running correctly at TCP port 8080, run the following command, and look for VLC.
    $ sudo netstat -nap | grep 8080
  • 4.
    Watch Streaming Video from Webcam
    Once a streaming server starts running, the webcam live feed is available at
    http:// <ip_address_of_webcam_host>:8080/stream.wmv

    You can use VLC player or MPlayer to access the webcam feed as follows.
    $ vlc http:// <ip_address_of_webcam_host>:8080/stream.wmv
    $ mplayer http:// <ip_address_of_webcam_host>:8080/stream.wmv

    If you are testing the feed from the same host, use loopback address instead.

    Ask your questions in the comments below.

Webcam networking on Mac (Mojave included)

We used FlexiHub for Mac for this guide.

First, download and install it in the Applications. Do it for all Macs that need shared access to the webcam.

To begin sharing webcam on a host computer running macOS, follow these steps:
  • 1.
    Launch FlexiHub and sign in with your FlexiHub account you have created. In the interface, you will see the list of USB devices currently connected to the host computer.
  • 2.
    You don’t have to make any additional steps on the host computer. You also may lock the devices you don’t want to be shared, but in our case the Webcam should be unlocked (it is set by default).
  • 3.
    Once you are done with setting up the configuration for the remote webcam, click Connect on the local computer.
Now the webcam should be connected to another Mac and can be used there. If this webcam sharing method does not work for you or for some reason you do not find it suitable, try to set up video streaming.

How to Broadcast webcam on Mac

Follow this step-by-step guide:
  • 1.
    Find an app to stream your webcam.
    Note: Compared to online streaming platforms, YouTube or encoders these apps are usually less functional, i.e. they have less features, less customization options and the streaming quality is lower. They work perfectly fine though if you need them for monitoring your house or office, as they are simple, easy-to-use and reliable.
  • 2.
    Download and install the app.
  • 3.
    Allow the app to access your webcam. Note that you might need to update your Flash plugin for this to work.
  • 4.
    Start streaming!

    "Go Live" button starts streaming video from your webcam to a video player at a designated URL. You can view this URL on your browser or through the app on your mobile device.

    Go to the app's settings and change the values to get the video quality and resolution you want.
  • 5.
    Share the URL on social media to get an audience for your live stream.

    The best thing about using the app is that it is simple – download, install, stream, and share. All it takes is a few minutes and a couple of clicks.

    Just like with other live streams, you can manage viewers of your video – remove background, those you do not like; or watch it yourself – set it as ‘private’ in the Settings."
Share webcam over network
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