Skip to content

USB Camera Device Service RTSP Streaming Guide


The EdgeX usb device service is designed for communicating with USB cameras attached to Linux OS platforms. This guide will help configure and build the usb device service and start streaming video from the USB camera.

This service provides the following capabilities: - API to get camera metadata - Camera status - Video stream reference - Capture video frames and stream them to an RTSP server - An embedded RTSP server

System Requirements

  • Intel™ Core® processor
  • Ubuntu 20.04.4 LTS
  • USB-compliant Camera

Time to Complete

10-20 minutes

Other Requirements

You must have administrator (sudo) privileges to execute the user guide commands.

Tested Devices

The following devices have been tested with EdgeX USB Camera Device Service:
Note: Results may vary based on camera hardware/firmware version and operating system support.

  • AUKEY PC-LM1E Webcam
  • HP w200 Webcam
  • Jinpei JW-01B USB FHD Web Computer Camera
  • Logitech Brio 4K
  • Logitech C270 HD Webcam
  • Logitech StreamCam


The software has dependencies, including Git, Docker, Docker Compose, and assorted command line tools. Follow the instructions provided here to install any dependency that is not already installed device-usb-camera/docs/

Install additional Tools

Install the media utility tool:

sudo apt install mplayer v4l-utils
  • mplayer is used to view the video stream
  • v4l-utils is used to determine the video stream path of a usb camera

Download and Run EdgeX Services

Download EdgeX Compose Repository (if not already downloaded)

  1. Create a directory for the EdgeX compose repository:

    mkdir ~/edgex

  2. Change into newly created directory:

    cd ~/edgex

  3. Clone the EdgeX compose repository

    git clone

Run the Service

  1. Navigate to the Edgex compose directory.
cd ~/edgex/edgex-compose/compose-builder
  1. Run EdgeX with the microservice:
  2. For non secure mode
    make run ds-usb-camera no-secty
  3. For secure mode
    make run ds-usb-camera

Verify Service and Device Profiles

  1. Check the status of the container:
docker ps

The status column will indicate if the container is running and how long it has been up.

Example Output:

CONTAINER ID   IMAGE                                         COMMAND                  CREATED       STATUS          PORTS                                                                                         NAMES
f0a1c646f324   edgexfoundry/device-usb-camera:0.0.0-dev                        "/docker-entrypoint.…"   26 hours ago   Up 20 hours>8554/tcp,>59983/tcp                         edgex-device-usb-camera                                                                   edgex-device-onvif-camera
  1. Check that the device service is added to EdgeX:
curl -s http://localhost:59881/api/v2/deviceservice/name/device-usb-camera | jq .


   "apiVersion": "v2",
   "statusCode": 200,
   "service": {
      "created": 1658769423192,
      "modified": 1658872893286,
      "id": "04470def-7b5b-4362-9958-bc5ff9f54f1e",
      "name": "device-usb-camera",
      "baseAddress": "http://edgex-device-usb-camera:59983",
      "adminState": "UNLOCKED"
   "apiVersion": "v2",
   "message": "fail to query device service by name device-usb-camera",
   "statusCode": 404

Adding Devices using REST API

Devices can either be added to the service by defining them in a static configuration file, discovering devices dynamically, or with the REST API. For this example, the device will be added using the REST API.

  1. Run the following command to determine the Path to the usb camera for video streaming:
    v4l2-ctl --list-devices

The output should look similar to this:

NexiGo N930AF FHD Webcam: NexiG (usb-0000:00:14.0-1):

For this example, the Path is /dev/video6.

  1. Edit the information to appropriately match the camera. The device's protocol properties contain:
  2. name is the name of the device. For this example, the name is Camera001
  3. Path is a file descriptor of camera created by the OS. Use the Path determined in the previous step.
  4. AutoStreaming indicates whether the device service should automatically start video streaming for cameras. Default value is false.
curl -X POST -H 'Content-Type: application/json'  \
   http://localhost:59881/api/v2/device \
   -d '[
      "apiVersion": "v2",
      "device": {
         "name": "Camera001",
         "serviceName": "device-usb-camera",
         "profileName": "USB-Camera-General",
         "description": "My test camera",
         "adminState": "UNLOCKED",
         "operatingState": "UP",
         "protocols": {
            "USB": {
            "CardName": "NexiGo N930AF FHD Webcam: NexiG",
            "Path": "/dev/video6",
            "AutoStreaming": "false"

   Example Output: 

## Start Video Streaming
Unless the device service is configured to stream video from the camera automatically, a `StartStreaming` command must be sent to the device service.

There are two types of options:
- The options start with `Input` prefix are used for the camera, such as specifying the image size and pixel format.
- The options start with `Output` prefix are used for the output video, such as specifying aspect ratio and quality.

These options can be passed in through Object value when calling StartStreaming.

Query parameter:
- `device name`: The name of the camera

For example:
curl -X PUT -d '{
    "StartStreaming": {
      "InputImageSize": "640x480",
      "OutputVideoQuality": "5"
}' http://localhost:59882/api/v2/device/name/<device name>/StartStreaming

Supported Input options: - InputFps: Ignore original timestamps and instead generate timestamps assuming constant frame rate fps. (default - same as source) - InputImageSize: Specifies the image size of the camera. The format is wxh, for example "640x480". (default - automatically selected by FFmpeg) - InputPixelFormat: Set the preferred pixel format (for raw video). (default - automatically selected by FFmpeg)

Supported Output options: - OutputFrames: Set the number of video frames to output. (default - no limitation on frames) - OutputFps: Duplicate or drop input frames to achieve constant output frame rate fps. (default - same as InputFps) - OutputImageSize: Performs image rescaling. The format is wxh, for example "640x480". (default - same as InputImageSize) - OutputAspect: Set the video display aspect ratio specified by aspect. For example "4:3", "16:9". (default - same as source) - OutputVideoCodec: Set the video codec. For example "mpeg4", "h264". (default - mpeg4) - OutputVideoQuality: Use fixed video quality level. Range is a integer number between 1 to 31, with 31 being the worst quality. (default - dynamically set by FFmpeg)

Determine Stream Uri of Camera

The device service provides a way to determine the stream URI of a camera.

Query parameter: - device name: The name of the camera

curl -s http://localhost:59882/api/v2/device/name/<device name>/StreamURI | jq -r '"StreamURI: " + '.event.readings[].value''

The response to the above call should look similar to the following:

StreamURI: rtsp://localhost:8554/stream/NexiGo_N930AF_FHD_Webcam__NexiG-20201217010

Play the RTSP stream.

mplayer can be used to stream. The command follows this format:

mplayer rtsp://<IP address>:<port>/<streamname>.

Using the streamURI returned from the previous step, run mplayer:

mplayer rtsp://localhost:8554/stream/NexiGo_N930AF_FHD_Webcam__NexiG-20201217010
  • To shut down mplayer, use the ctrl-c command.

Stop Video Streaming

To stop the usb camera from live streaming, use the following command:

Query parameter: - device name: The name of the camera

For example:

curl -X PUT -d '{
    "StopStreaming": "true"
}' http://localhost:59882/api/v2/device/name/<device name>/StopStreaming

Shutting Down

To stop all EdgeX services (containers), execute the make down command:

  1. Navigate to the edgex-compose/compose-builder directory.

cd ~/edgex/edgex-compose/compose-builder
1. Run this command
make down
1. To shut down and delete all volumes, run this command
make clean


Configuration Options

Configurable RTSP server hostname and port

The hostname and port of the RTSP server can be configured in the [Driver] section of the /cmd/res/configuration.toml file. The default vaules can be used for this guide.

For example:

  RtspServerHostName = "localhost"
  RtspTcpPort = "8554"

Sample: Snippet from configuration.toml



To verify the usb camera is set to stream video, use the command below.

Query parameter: - device name: The name of the camera

curl http://localhost:59882/api/v2/device/name/<device name>/StreamingStatus | jq -r '"StreamingStatus: " + (.event.readings[].objectValue.IsStreaming|tostring)'

If the StreamingStatus is false, the camera is not configured to stream video. Please try the Start Video Streaming section again.