Stream over HTTP

This page explains how VLC Media Player can be used to stream a media file over HTTP in the local network. Streaming over the local network means that the streaming device and all the receiving device(s) should be connected to the same router for the streaming to work.

To stream a media file over HTTP, do the following in the std module:

  • Set access=http, and

  • Set dst=:port/path (where port is the port number and path is the optional path name).

Sending the stream

To stream a file (sample.mp4) over port number 8090 and path name sample (you can choose your own port and path-name), the code will be:

$ vlc sample.mp4 --sout="#std{access=http, mux=ts, dst=:8090/sample}"

Note: It is important to specify the mux in std, otherwise the streaming fails.

Receiving the stream

As we did not mention any IP address while specifying the dst, the stream will be published over the IP address of the streaming device.

As an example, let us assume that the IP address of the streaming device is

To receive the stream on the same device, you can do any of the following:

  • Run $ vlc http://:8090/sample.

  • Run $ vlc http://localhost:8090/sample.

  • Run $ vlc

  • Run $ vlc

To receive the stream on a different device, we need to specify the IP address of the streaming device. Hence, run the following code on a new terminal in the receiving devices:

$ vlc

Diagramtically, this is how the network might look. Notice that as http is a pull protocol, the stream is sent to a device only when it requests for it.

digraph http { rankdir=TB; node [shape=circle]; { node [width=0 shape=point label=""]; idle; } { node [shape=plaintext]; "$ vlc sample.mp4 --sout=\"#std{access=http,\nmux=ts, dst=:8090/sample}\"", "$ vlc"; } "Receiving Device \n IP:" -> "Streaming Device \n IP:" [label="The receiving device requests\nfor the stream."] "Streaming Device \n IP:" -> "Receiving Device \n IP:" [label="The server then sends the\nstream to the client's IP\nat the specified port."] "Streaming Device \n IP:":w -> "$ vlc sample.mp4 --sout=\"#std{access=http,\nmux=ts, dst=:8090/sample}\"":w [style=invis] "Receiving Device \n IP:" -> "$ vlc" [style=invis] "Idle Device \n IP:" -> "Receiving Device \n IP:" [style=invis] idle -> "Streaming Device \n IP:" [arrowhead=none] idle -> "Idle Device \n IP:" [arrowhead=none] [label="This device is idle because it has not\nrequested for the stream. Although, it can\nsend a request any time and begin receiving."] subgraph devices { rank=same; "Streaming Device \n IP:", "Receiving Device \n IP:"; } subgraph arrow { rank=same; idle, "Idle Device \n IP:"; } }

In case of streaming over HTTP, the access output part (at the end of the sout pipeline) works a little differently than in other cases. This is because in case of HTTP-streaming, the data isn’t sent anywhere until a client machine requests for it, while in other scenarios (like when streaming over UDP, or when saving the file), the data is “pushed” to relevant address specified through the dst parameter.

Alternate syntax

Instead of using the #std{access=http syntax, we can use the alternate syntax #http{ to stream over HTTP. The alternate syntax is just a stortcut for calling the access=http part of the std module, so all the other parameters remain the same.

Hence, the following code:

$ vlc sample.mp4 --sout="#std{access=http, mux=ts, dst=:8090/sample}"

is equivalent to:

$ vlc sample.mp4 --sout="#http{mux=ts, dst=:8090/sample}"