View security camera RTSP stream using VLC Media Player

Reviewing footage is as important as having it. Cameras now allow you to use VLC Media Player to remotely view footage live, regardless of where you are.

This is all thanks to the Real-Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP) video stream that is supported by all kinds of security cameras. By transferring audio and video in real-time, users can watch their footage live.

Below, you will learn how to use VLC Media Player and view your footage from IP systems using an RTSP stream. It should also work with systems that use recorders, such as DVRs and NVRs.

Learning to use VLC Media Player to live stream

Here’s a quick video that shows you the details on how to stream a security camera on VLC. (YouTube).

If you are unaware, VLC Media Player is free software that can be downloaded on Windows devices and used to stream live video using the RTSP protocols. Thus, allowing users to watch and play back footage that was recorded on their cameras on a computer through the VLC media player.

Furthermore, you can access an individual IP camera when you use VLC Media Player. Or, if you prefer, connect to your recorder (DVR/NVR) and stream from it. But remember, you won’t be able to view all the cameras connected to that recorder.

Prior to issuing the RTSP protocol, you’ll need to locate the camera’s settings. Specifically the RTSP URL that allows the connection to be established.

This address is similar to an IP address that uses information like your credentials to connect. The number “554” is commonly known as the port default number, but the user can change it.


For instance, an RTSP URL is built by using the following formula: “rtsp://IP Camera Address/Stream#.” In this case, you will type in your particular camera’s stream number and IP address.

These formulas differ at times. For example, an RTSP URL that is password protected will differ as there will be a need for you to input the correct credential.

For a password-protected URL, use the following formula: “rtsp://Username:PASSWORD@IP Camera Address.” Again, you are not going to type the above into a search engine. But instead, replace the words with your information.

Additionally, you can add commands to the end RTSP URL to further specify what you want. For instance, you can add the subtype or channel. If you are unaware of the commands to use, look over your camera’s manual. Whether physical or online, as you can find them on the company’s website.

How to play CCTV footage when you use VLC Media Player

You will need to download and install the software in order to use VLC Media Player. It can only be downloaded on Windows, and you can get it from the official VLC website.

After the download and installation are complete, you are ready to use VLC Media Player. Launch it on the computer and find the “Media” menu. Then select “Network Stream” to launch the wizard. You may also use the shortcut “Ctrl + N.”

VLC Player Open Network Stream

Moreover, inside “Network,” you will be able to type in an URL for your RTSP streaming using the formulas we previously covered. Once done, hit “Play.”

Remember that the URL format you use to stream through RTSP using the VLC Media Player differs depending on your camera’s brand, model, and manufacturer.

This information can be easily accessed by looking through the camera’s manual or searching for it online, particularly on the company’s official website.

Below you can see an example of this. A Hikvision product was used along with an RTSP URL to connect the camera and be able to use VLC Media Player.

RTSP command to view security camera on VLC

Feel free to explore other available options by selecting “Show more options” when setting up the live streaming of the camera. You will then see a menu with various options you can select and configurations to choose from.


When ready, click on “Play,” but make sure the address is correct. If it is, you should see and be able to monitor the stream. If not, check for typos and make sure you input the correct information.

Additional settings when you use VLC Media Player

When using VLC, there are other options you can choose from to transmit the camera and stream via RTSP.

You can choose to stream via TCP, UDP, or HTTP. It is entirely up to you, and all of these options can be located in the settings. You might need to toggle on options such as “Use RTP over RTSP (TCP),” so make sure to read thoroughly.

Axis camera on the VLC player

Final Thoughts

The connection process should be pretty straightforward. If you experience any issues with the formula, go back and double-check if you are not missing or mistook a number and/or letter. One can make a difference.

If the issue continues, you can contact your camera’s manufacturer or company for support. But for the most part, when you use VLC Media Player, it is a simple and quick process.