VLC to display USB camera

VLC is industry standard video player and rarely there is a computer without installed copy. Thus makes it very accessible tool to have quick camera preview. It has own drawbacks though:

  • Requires many clicks and some manual parameter adjustment in order to view MJPEG 1080p video
  • After some time video starts lagging until video freezes
  • In early versions there was an option to call camera properties menu, but in recent updates this option is gone

Screenshots below indicates what and when to press to have camera preview

Open VLC and click Open Capture Device...

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Select desired camera

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There is one more nifty parameter hidden under Show more options checkbox. By default VLC uses 300ms to delay camera view. If real-time video is needed, change to 0ms. But disabling cache has bugs and some video sources will not work at all. For initial testing leave caching untouched.

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Now click Advanced options... button, in new window type 16:9 Picture aspect ratio n:m and check Device properties checkbox.

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Feel free to adjust camera properties or leave as is

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Choose MJPEG compression, 30 FPS and 1920x1080 image size.

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One more window to skip

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And finally preview is live