I want to use my RPI as a IP camera to capture 4K images and stream them to another device or save them to SD card. Can I do this? Is RPI Version 3 capable of doing this?

Is there any documentation or sample code to do this?

1 Answer 1


No on every count I think. It's just not enough of a machine to pull off 4K video at usable frame rates.

The Pi camera module relies on hardware H.264 compression on the main Pi board to get the raw image capture down to a manageable size. It can't keep up with that amount of data at a usable (>24 fps) frame rate. Neither can the network controller or the USB sockets, which have maximum data rates of around 20MBps, which is slower that you'll need to successfully stream 4K footage.

  • what about reduced frame rate? for example 20 fps or even lower . What frame rate it can generate and stream via USB or ethernet or save to SD card?
    – mans
    Oct 24, 2016 at 19:46
  • I think I might have seen a related question that put it at around 5-10 fps max for 4K H.264 capture. Transmission is entirely data rate bound - you've got about 20MBps to play with. If it fits in that you should be able to stream it. Data rates vary with content, so you'd need to do some tests to figure out what's possible.
    – goobering
    Oct 24, 2016 at 20:22
  • 1
    The GPU's H.264 encoder has a maximum horizontal resolution of 1920 (apparently this is the limiting factor and has something to do with the number of parallel units available for things like DCT). So, no, you're not going to manage 4K video with that, sorry.
    – Dave Jones
    Oct 25, 2016 at 20:40

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