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How to share webcam over network
Olga Weis Olga Weis Last updated Apr 29, 2024

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.

The lack in straightforward, easy-to-follow information has motivated me to create a definitive guide on webcam sharing across different operating systems - Windows, Mac, and Linux. Whether you're looking to establish remote control over another PC's webcam, or simply want to stream an image from one computer to another, this guide aims to provide you with the best techniques and tips. Additionally, I'll introduce you to FlexiHub, a versatile application that simplifies network webcam sharing, regardless of your operating system.

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.
— Administrator in Broadcast Media 5.0 Learn more

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.

Step 1: Download and Install SplitCam

  1. Open your browser and go to the download page for SplitCam.
  2. Click the download link for the version compatible with your computer.
  3. After downloading, run the installer file and execute any instructions flashed on the screen to install SplitCam successfully.

Step 2: Configure Webcam Settings

  1. Launch SplitCam.
  2. On the “Media Layers” pane, click “Add a new capture source layer” (the plus button).
  3. From the menu, choose “Webcam” and select your webcam from the list of available cameras.
  4. In the “Add Camera” dialog, expand the resolution and frame rate drop-downs and select your preferred webcam parameters.
  5. Click “Add Camera.”

Step 3: Choose a Streaming Service

  1. In the upper right, expand “Stream Settings.”
  2. From the pop-up menu, click “Add channel.”
  3. In another dialog, select your preferred streaming service and click “Settings.”

Step 4: Obtain Streaming URL or Key

After selecting a service, obtain the corresponding stream key from your streaming channel. This will enable your service to access your webcam through the network.

  1. In the streaming channel settings on SplitCam, click the “Stream Key” text field and paste your stream key.
  2. Click “Encoding.”
  3. Configure your encoding preferences as needed and click “Save and close.”
  4. Your streaming service can now access your camera.

If you want to share it across multiple services, such as Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook, go to “Stream Settings” > “Add channel” again and repeat the process for the other channels.

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

We used FlexiHub for Mac for this guide.

First, register for a FlexiHub account, 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; for example, it could be CamTwist.

    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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