VLC and Axis RTSP network cameras

Many people wonder how vlc connects to an RTSP network camera (especially the Axis ones)? Well, the answer to this question is to use RTSP.

What is this RTSP thing?

RTSP is a application level protocol designed for controlling delivery of data with real-time properties. The data is such as audio and video either live or stored (video on demand). RTSP 1.0 is described in RFC 2326. It defines a way to start media resources on a server and typically uses port 554 to listen for incoming requests.

RFC 2326 fails to specify how the RTSP URL (paragraph 3.2, page 14) should exactly be used to identify data (eg: audio and/or video). The lack of standarisation of the RTSP URL is exactly where the trouble starts for most people. What interpretation does your RTSP server have of the URL? How do I know which RTSP URL it expects? Well, there is no way to know. The RTSP standard does not describe a way to determine the URL scheme the server expects. So how does one know what URL scheme to use? The answer is: "You cannot".

The only way to know is by reading the documentation from your network camera. Or ask the manufacturer.

What RTSP URL scheme to use for connection to Axis network cameras?

Luckily this is described in the documentation of your Axis camera. You do need to look for it though. The examples below use vlc as application to remotely view your network camera.

Older Axis (eg: 207, 210) network cameras use the following scheme for an H264 stream (replace mpeg4 with mpeg2 to change the video format).

vlc rtsp://myaxiscamera/mpeg4/media.amp --rtsp-http

Newer Axis (eg: Q 1755/Q 1755-E) network cameras use this scheme:

vlc rtsp://myaxiscamera/axis-media/media.amp --rtsp-http

In both examples you need to replace myaxiscamera with the name (or ipaddress) of the network camera, eg: rtsp:// or rtsp:// The vlc option --rtsp-http is used for traversing home gateways and firewalls.