I have a VGA/HDMI video feed that I need to input into the Pi and stream to a server, but I don't know how to input the feed and once it is input, how to grab it and send it to ffmpeg to compress it so that I can stream it to the server.

The video feed is HD and I need the latency to the server to be low (within a second or two). I'm kind of desperate at this point, so any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • The input is a VGA or HDMI feed. That cannot be changed. Jul 31, 2015 at 18:44

2 Answers 2


Note that I have no experience with using any of these products, but I stumbled upon a couple of options:

This VGA to USB capture device. According to the specs it can grab AND convert any VGA input source, and has software that works with Linux. However, at 300 bucks this might be a bit more than you were willing to spend, or you might have even been considering to replace this device with an rPi because of this reason. It does look like an entire out-of-the-box solution for your end-to-end problem though.

There are alternatives as well, such as this device from StarTech priced at $188. This captures HDMI as well as VGA, but I'm not sure of its Linux compatibility. EDIT: As you correctly mentioned in a comment, this device uses USB3. There is a similar USB2 device from StarTech.com as well, which currently sells for $123 on Amazon. Works with component, composite and HDMI, including pass-through, so you can see the feed on a monitor while the device records the input and delivers it to you via USB 2.0. Unfortunately, I cannot find anything promising regarding Linux support.

Your best bet however is the Hauppage USB-Live2, currently selling for $43. There have been some efforts to get this device to work with Raspbian (see here at Raspberrypi.org) 3 years ago, and you might find that you can get this to work in the current release. The RaspberryPi.org forum post contains quite some details on what to look for. It does require some kernel recompilations though.

  • Thanks for the helpful response. The Hauppage USB-Live2 doesn't accept VGA or HDMI and the StarTech device uses USB 3.0 output while the Pi only has USB 2.0 ports. The VGA to USB device might work though, although it is expensive. I'll have to try it out to see. Jul 31, 2015 at 19:00
  • How can I use the VGA to USB device with ffmpeg? I don't really understand how video4linux plays into everything. Jul 31, 2015 at 19:56
  • The Hauppage takes a composite Input ... You can use a converter like this one to turn VGA into composite.
    – Phil B.
    Aug 1, 2015 at 0:01
  • I've tried the Hauppauge USBLive2 mentioned. It will cause the device to crash at times. Having a stronger power supply improves reliability but now even with a 20Amp supply it still will crash when in use. If you need hdmi/vga input to work reliably I'd suggested a different solution. After 3 days of working with the Hauppauge I will switch to the Auvidea HDMI inputhttps://vimeo.com/153959180
    – cyphunk
    Aug 4, 2018 at 14:41

I seriously doubt that you will be able to reverse the hdmi port and use it for input, but It would require at a minimum a different kernel, disabling the X server and the frame buffer and writing a custom driver, if it is possible. You may have some luck with the camera port, but I know very little about it. Vga would require high speed a/d circuitry. It would be a fun project but nothing quick.

  • As far as I know it's not possible to reverse the HDMI port and although there was a kickstarter campaign to build an HDMI input at kickstarter.com/projects/1419380698/… it was stopped. Also, I wouldn't have any idea how to go about modifying the kernel or writing a custon driver, but thanks for the effort. Jul 31, 2015 at 2:23

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