I wish to use the Raspberry Pi as a local device, connected by HDMI to a monitor and outputting the display from a local USB microscope webcam.

Is this possible to achieve with minimal delay (<50ms) between the webcam and the monitor? This is possible with normal computers, but due to the lower speed of the RBP I am unsure if this is possible.

The intent is to have the setup act as the output of the USB microscope, so the operator can observe images and perform manipulation of the magnified objects without having to look into an eyepiece.

  • March Ho, did you complete your project? I have a similar desire and need. I know this is an 18-month old post, but maybe you're still listening in... Thanks!
    – ITDawg
    Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 3:33

1 Answer 1


Depends on the resolution of your webcam. according to superuser.com/questions/434532/what-data-transfer-rates-are-needed-or-streaming-hd-1080p-or-720p-video-or-stan:

MPEG-4 AVC Video at 18000 kbps for 1080p MPEG-4 AVC Video at 8000 kbps for 720p DTS-HD Master Audio

So you need the processor to be able to process about 20mbps if you want 1080p (some extra for Raspbian). You can check the online benchmarks, but sometimes your pi is "special", so download a processor benchmark calculator, or make one yourself using python. Another BIG difference is which Pi Model you have. 2 could probably handle it. A+ might not. B+ maybe. Just estimating here based on my own experience.

  • Thanks for the answer, but do you have more definitive information than "maybe"?
    – March Ho
    Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 8:42
  • Sorry about that. Need a bit more info.
    – Kachamenus
    Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 14:05
  • 1
    @March Ho, with the information you've given, I agree that this is a complete answer. It depends mostly on your webcam- if you were to edit your question to include its format and resolution, as well as some processor benchmarks from your Pi, you could get less or more than just "maybe". Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 23:30

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