Simple video streaming with ffserver

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In this example we use the Logitech QuickCam Express web camera to stream video to web page using ffserver

ffserver is part of the ffmpeg package.

apt-get -y install ffmpeg


ffserver creates a network socket that is available from client machines to view the video. Once started, you attach an ffmpeg process to the server to do the encoding. Configuration of ffserver is done via the /etc/ffserver.conf file.

Typical ffserver.conf file

Port 8090 
# bind to all IPs aliased or not 
BindAddress 0.0.0.0 
# max number of simultaneous clients 
MaxClients 1000 
# max bandwidth per-client (kb/s) 
MaxBandwidth 10000 
# Suppress that if you want to launch ffserver as a daemon. 
NoDaemon 

<Feed feed1.ffm> 
File /tmp/feed1.ffm 
FileMaxSize 5M 
</Feed> 

<Stream test.swf>
Feed feed1.ffm
Format swf
VideoCodec flv
VideoFrameRate 15
VideoBufferSize 80000
VideoBitRate 100
VideoQMin 1
VideoQMax 5
VideoSize 352x288
PreRoll 0
Noaudio
</Stream>


To get things going, start the server

ffserver &


Attach the ffmpeg process to do the encoding. This is done via a loopback socket.

ffmpeg -r 25 -s 352x288 -f video4linux -i /dev/video0 http://localhost:8090/feed1.ffm


Parameters are

  • -r - rate in frames per second
  • -s size in pixels width x height (width must be a multiple of 16) and should match the values in the above config file.
  • -f gets input from the video4linux driver
  • -i is the v4l device (if this is not present refer to Logitech QuickCam Express)
  • Lastly the loopback socket

Now you should be able to browse to the server address (or localhost if it's the same machine) and see some live video.

The name of the file will be as defined in the <Stream> section above.

See also