My apartment building is broadcasting security cameras via a TV channel. I want to watch this broadcast on an IP camera viewer software (and there combine it with IP cameras that I am using). Is that possible?

I have been looking into TV cards/sticks for PCs but I would not know how to convert the incoming video signal into something an IP viewer software can accept.

I know I could buy a PC, hook in a TV card, output via HDMI to a TV signal encoder box and use that signal on the network but this solution seems overkill to me. I am looking for something compact & simple.

Ae this is a multi-layered question and every option in one layer changes the solutions / problems for the next later, I don't know where to start. So here is the list of questions I have:

  • how to best get the TV signal into a computer?

I could go with a TV tuner USB stick, but if the output for those then specific to the app that is shipped with it or rather a universal standard that can be used by other software such as VLC? Since I will need to tune to a specific channel where the cam feed is broadcasted, I am not sure if VLC (or other "generic" software) can tune into that.

  • what computer to use to get the signal to the network?

Do I need a full PC with relevant computing power? Could it be an Arduino? Can Arduinos connect to TV sticks at all?

What processing power do I need? The video stream is likely only 640x480.

Sorry if this is too vague or off-topic.

  • I think you need to learn to use Google. Start by looking at ffmpeg which, on its own, will do all of this. Of course "IP camera viewer software" is completely vague. VLC almost definitely does all of this in itself.
    – Ken Sharp
    Commented Mar 3, 2020 at 8:02
  • There are others, but I think ffmpeg is the goto app to try anything. Works with hardware (GPU) encoding too, if it's set up correctly.
    – Ken Sharp
    Commented Mar 3, 2020 at 8:05
  • I guess I need to rephrase my question.
    – uncovery
    Commented Mar 3, 2020 at 8:07

1 Answer 1


I think I can see what you are asking, and Ken seems to have missed a big part of the question.

So assuming you are saying that the camera you want to watch is being broadcast as a TV channel that is connected to via an aerial (or equiv). Then as you have said, you will need something to capture that with. That's going to depend a little on the hardware you are using with the capture device. But I am capturing local TV channels on a xbox usb tuner through a Ubuntu box. But there are loads of low cost devices out there.

I am then using a bit of software called TVHeadEnd to grab that and spit it out as an IP stream. That can be watched on loads of devices. Of course if you want to watch this outside you home network, you are going to have to open ports on your router, and likely use something like DDNS (no-ip is a good provider for this) to find your router. Just make sure what ever device you get to capture the broadcast and stream it, is compatible with the software you use to broadcast the stream. Research before you purchase is recommended.

Lastly I think you will probably get away with running all this on something like a rasberry pi, depending on if you have to transcode the stream (which you would use FFMPEG to do, over an above most internal transcoders, but that's a whole different story).

There may be much simpler solutions out there, with everything just built in, perhaps a HDHomeRun, but I have not used one, worth a looks to see if it fits your need, it may remove the need for a PC all together.

Without more details this is all the info I can offer at the mo. I hope it's enough to get you started.

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