Setting up a Raspberry Pi IP camera can be rather technical demanding.

Well, if you are keen to the Raspberry Pi IP camera solution for external HDD or live view, you may consider connecting an affordable IP camera to Raspberry Pi to set up a Raspberry Pi surveillance camera at little cost.

So, how to connect Raspberry Pi to IP cameras? What components do you need to build a Raspberry Pi surveillance camera network? What should you pay attention to during the whole process?

Below you will find out the answers to all your doubts about making a Raspberry Pi IP camera quickly and easily.


Can I Connect IP Cameras to Raspberry Pi

"I've been playing around with my pi for several months now, using the likes of Raspbmc or openELEC. I've recently installed a wireless IP camera outside which is connected to my home network.

My question is this: is it possible for my Raspberry Pi to connect to my camera and maybe record images/videos to an external HDD?"

Certainly! You can connect the Raspberry Pi to IP camera for live view, and more than that, set up Raspberry Pi security camera motion detection.

Components Needed When Connecting an IP Camera to Raspberry Pi

In order to make a Raspberry Pi IP camera viewer, you require certain items:

  • Raspberry Pi
  • Keyboard
  • Raspberry Pi IP camera monitor
  • IP camera
  • Wireless adaptor

First of all, you need Raspberry Pi itself. There have been several generations being released, including Pi model A, model B, A+ and B+ models, Pi 2 model B, and the latest Raspberry Pi 3 model B.

Then you require a keyboard for the Raspberry Pi IP camera. Power is required which is provided by a Micro USB.

To view the live video from Raspberry Pi IP camera, you will need to attach a Raspberry Pi security camera monitor. This can be an HDMI or VGA model.

A wireless security camera or PoE IP camera is required to capture your images and videos. The higher the quality of the camera, the better the images and video quality will be.

Finally, a wireless adapter is required to ensure that the whole Raspberry Pi security camera setup process runs smoothly.

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Detailed Steps to Make a Raspberry Pi IP Camera Viewer

When you prepare all the things required for the Raspberry Pi security camera project, here comes the most important part: how to make your own security camera with Raspberry Pi.

Step 1. Select and install a screen for your Raspberry Pi surveillance camera (Adafruit PiTFT, NeoSec/Tiny, etc), so that you can view the camera feed on it. You can pick the perfect LCD or touch screen compatible with the Pi on Amazon and other online stores.

Connect Rasberry Pi to IP Camera

Step 2. Install Raspbian for your Pi. Raspbian is the official supported Raspberry Pi operating system. Or you can use NOOBS, an easy installer for Raspbian to help you set up the raspberry Pi IP camera software.

Step 3. Then you will need an internet connection for your Raspberry Pi IP camera. It is best to set up WiFi on it, which enables you to run your Pi without a monitor. You can SSH in remotely using the IP address, username and password.

To set up WiFi for Raspberry Pi, you will need to connect your screen, keyboard, mouse and WiFi adapter to the Pi, and then log into the Terminal. Set up the adapter and then input your WiFi network information, so that the adapter knows how to connect to WiFi. If you have problems with it, you can turn to Raspberry Pi forum to get suggestions.

Step 4. Use the command: sudo reboot to reboot your Pi and test to see if your Pi is truly WiFi enabled.

Step 5. Get the user name and password of your Raspberry Pi IP camera. If you forget, the only way is to reset the IP camera to go back to its default password.

Step 6. Choose a proper player used as a Raspberry Pi IP camera viewer. Generally the MPlayer is OK, for it is easy to use. You can also choose other players to satisfy your needs.

Step 7. Start access the Raspberry Pi security camera video stream from the player. Make sure you change the IP address, username and password to match your IP camera.

Done! After a while, you can see the live Raspberry Pi IP camera stream. If it fails, try to install MPlayer once again.

DIY Security Camera System Raspberry Pi

Connect IP Cameras to Raspberry Pi: Things to Consider

When you decide to connect IP cameras to Raspberry Pi, make sure you have the proper equipment. You should also ensure that the IP address you record and use is correct. You can check this through the command prompt in Raspberry or through the main Raspberry interface that displays your connection information.

To turn off your Raspberry Pi, avoid unplugging the power cord. You can use the following command:

pi@raspberrypi~sudo shutdown now

Is Using a Pi as Security Camera the Best Option

"There are lots of ready-made IP cameras on the market and I was just wondering whether these might be a better option (practically or cost-wise)."

If you're willing to go through the learning curve and have the required equipment at hand, it's a good try to set up your own Raspberry Pi security camera.

However, if you are looking for a Raspberry Pi network camera solution for extra HDD storage or distant monitoring (200 feet or so), there could be easier solutions.

For example, the PoE security IP camera can be connected to the NVR for 2TB and more storage and placed up to 220 feet away with a simple Ethernet cable connection.

Reolink RLC-410

PoE Bullet IP Security Camera with Audio

5MP/4MP Super HD; Outdoor/Indoor Protection; 100ft Infrared Night Vision; Audio Recording; Mobile Remote Access & Control.

And after you connecting the NVR system to a monitor, the live view will just appear – No software or IP camera configuration needed.

Or you may connect it to your PC directly without running the Raspberry Pi security camera software (Click here for step-to-step guide).

Issues with a DIY Raspberry Pi Security Camera

One of the best parts of a Raspberry Pi surveillance camera is low-costing. Raspberry Pi, a tiny, affordable computer, can be used for video monitoring along with a cheap IP camera.

However, there are also downsides of this the Raspberry Pi IP camera system.

#1. Blurry Images

The Raspberry Pi IP camera recording is a little fuzzy, compared to videos/images of HD security cameras, which could reach 4MP, 5MP or even 4K images these days at an affordable price.

#2. No Multi-Screen Viewing

Unlike the NVR security camera system, the Raspberry Pi security camera kit can't be manipulated altogether. That's to say, through the Raspberry surveillance camera monitor, you can't see several cameras at the same time.

#3. Complex Installation

The whole installation for Raspberry Pi based security surveillance camera is far more complicated than that of the PoE or WiFi IP cameras, which are real plug-and-play.

To make the installation even easier, many people have switched their IP camera on Raspberry Pi to the battery powered wire-free cameras which can be setup for live view and motion detection in 5 minutes!

Final Thoughts About Raspberry Pi IP Camera

In summary, setting up a Raspberry Pi surveillance camera is useful and cost-efficient to providing video surveillance for home. But if you want more, like the Raspberry Pi motion camera, or the Raspberry Pi with night vision, etc, a professional and high quality home security camera is a better choice.

  • Kuan Wai Lai

    May I know if you could stream it from rpi so that you could watch it from the internet?

    • Streaming it on the internet will need further attempts, and we fail to make it happen at the moment . But watch IP camera live stream from any browser can be realized easily. If you are using a Reolink IP camera, you can access the live videos on IE 10, IE 11, Edge, Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, with simple clicks.

      • Kuan Wai Lai

        I am currently doing it with xiao mi yi home camera since it is what I have at the moment and actually considering other models depending on its price and functions that able to be used by rpi (for instance, audio output, file transfer (clip that recorded during movement detection), and perhaps status signals from IP camera to rpi). I used apache2 with VLC, only Firefox is still supporting the VLC plug-in. I shall look into Reolink IP camera for its spec, thank you for your information and kindly share with me when you successfully stream it on the internet. Thank you in advance!

  • disqus_ayvQwhvS6h

    this article is pollution

  • jtrpop

    You should look into Orchid for the Raspberry Pi ( Free with unlimited retention & cameras. I have it running on my Raspberry Pi 3 connected to 8 ReoLink cameras. Seems to work fine at about 4 cameras regardless of resolution, but adding more makes the Orchid service restart when trying to access the web page viewer. RAM & CPU usage is very low, so its not a hardware issue. Until they work out the kinks with Orchid and more cameras, I have it as my backup NVR recording to a 500g attached drive recording the secondary lower bandwidth stream.

    • mike

      I have 4 Reolink IP cameras (RLC-420 and 410) and I could not get the cameras to join the Orchid server on my Raspberry Pi 3. Is there a special configuration I need to do to get this working?

  • Jim

    Thank you for the article. Just the right amount of information!

    • Hi Jim. I'm really glad that this article actually helps.

  • Jim Johnson

    What's the entire string to use for mplayer to a Reolink camera? I tried this with the correct IP, port, username, and password, but it doesn't work:
    mplayer fbdev2:/dev/fb1 ””

    • Hi Jim,
      You may refer to this FAQ (/faq/get-url-of-jpeg-image-captured-reolink-camera/) to get the right URL to use for mplayer. Thanks.

      • Brandon Smith

        Is there a new link to this?

        • Hi Brandon, sorry for the inconvenience. The link has been updated, you may check it now. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to let us know. 🙂

  • Hi Steven, thank you for reaching out. For instructions of connecting the Reolink RLC-410 to your raspberry, you may contact our support team via email at If you want remote viewing, we recommend you to simply download the free Reolink app here: /software-and-manual/ . And then you can see live view and receive push notifications via your phone.

  • Thanks for your comment! So glad this post helps.

  • Hi Steven, our team is now testing all Reolink cameras, including the 410 model, on their compatibility with Raspberry Pi. As you can see, some users have successfully added Reolink cameras to their Raspberry Pi system, but we still need to do a further test for detailed information.

    And here is a video that might be helpful: . If you have any questions during the connection, please leave your comment here and we'll discuss together.

  • Hi Steven, which video stream are you using? You may try rtsp:// for mainstream video viewing, and the rtsp:// for substream viewing, and see how it works. 🙂

  • Ty Hero

    I have a wireless home network set up through access points.
    2 cams to transmitter than from receiver through cat 6 into a router.
    My question is, am I able to view cameras on a monitor using a raspberry pi as a camera lan connection to video?

    • Hi Ty. You can use the Raspberry Pi as a security camera. Here is a setup guide for your reference:

      In fact, if you've got an IP camera, you can simply download the security camera software to view the live stream and recordings anywhere. Hope the information helps.

    • Amanda

      Hi Ty. You can use the Raspberry Pi as a security camera. Here is a setup guide for your reference:

      In fact, if you've got an IP camera, you can simply download the security camera software to view the live stream and recordings anywhere. Hope the information helps.

  • Anb Bna

    Can Raspberry Pi connect 4 IP camera and save video on it by connect 2 hard drive or network map.
    at this time Raspberry will become surveillance station ( look like surveillance station app in Synology ).

    Thank you

    • Amanda

      Hi there, it theoritically works, but remember to get the external HDD with a USB cable and its own power supply. Otherwise, the Raspberry Pi will not have enough power to run it. You may try and share with us the results! : )


        Yes, such a setup will work.
        Keep in mind: might be a good idea to disable WiFi as it will use the same USB bus as the HDD.
        Disabling the WiFi will also consume less power.

  • Satish Singh

    Can we connect 4K IP camera, my need is to cover long distance like 220 ft and I ahve 4K camera which covers 200 ft distance. Can we connect IP or non IP 4K camera with Raspberry ..?
    Please suggest.

  • Abel Eduardo Hernández

    It's a interesting topic Amanda now I will make test

    • Amanda

      Hi Abel, you may share with us your progress here. Can't wait to see the result. 😀

  • Jared

    I have a Hikvision doorbell (rca-branded) that I'd like to set up the Pi3 for...specifically as a monitor for my wife and kids to be able to see who's at the door before they open it. The doorbell runs wirelessly through Blue Iris now. This possible?

    • Jdopp911

      if your IP camera uses an RTSP stream then yes you can.

  • Amanda

    Hi there, yes, as long as you have applied Reolink cameras that supports RTSP and HTTP protocol (B800, battery-powered security cameras & WiFi security systems excluded). You may check out the two links below and learn how to set up motion detection from Reolink cameras on RPi: & Feel free to contact us if you need further assistance. 🙂

    • Jean-Michel Binette


      Is it possible to have access to the document you are referring to with the snapshots ?
      I am greatly interested


      • Amanda

        Hello Jean, would you like to please specify how you would like to connect and use Reolink cameras with the snapshots?

        • Jean-Michel Binette


          I am trying to integrate trigger events in SmartThings. That is why I asked and interested with the features available from url.

          Also, is reolink planning on releasing SmartTHings support or Device Handlers ?


          • Amanda

            Hello Jean, I have talked to our R&D team about your request and they figure out that you can only connect Reolink cameras to the SmartThings platform with a third-party cloud. So, it would be rather difficult for you to set it up alone.
            We don't have any plans on releasing the SmartThings support as of now. We will let you know if there any updates. Thank you for your support! 🙂

          • Jean-Michel Binette

            Hello Amanda,

            Thank you for your answer 🙂

            I want to use a third party (Raspberry Pi).
            That is why I asked if I could get access to the document you used to extract the ”GetMdState” function. It would be useful for the programming of a solution.

            Same thing applies for an API, would be greatly appreciated! Do you know if one exists ?


          • Amanda

            Hello Jean, you can connect Reolink PoE & WiFi IP cameras (B800, E1, battery-powered cameras & WiFi security system excluded) to Raspberry Pi with the document below,,
            If you don't want to request via token, you may replace the token with the username and password as the document that I share with RPiNovice. Hope this helps.

          • Eng A Qattan

            Hi all
            if I like to use GetMdState from NVR,,, like to get from one cam out of 4
            can I use it with specific cam i.e. ch2 for example

          • Amanda

            Hi there, it depends on whether your NVR supports this feature or not. Please take a screenshot of your NVR info via the Reolink app or Reolink Client and send it to lorenz@reolink. com (Lorenz is one of our marketing team members). We will send you the CGI-API document asap when we confirm your NVR does support this feature. Hope this helps.

          • Amanda

            Hello Jean, if you need the document, please send an email to Our team member will send that document to you via email. Thanks.

          • Alex Queens

            Hi Amanda, i need that documentation too but i get no response from lorenz..

          • Amanda

            Hi Alex, Lorenz was on a holiday leave a few days ago and she has just sent the documentation to you via email. Please check your email later and let us know if you have any questions. 🙂

  • Richard Plenty

    I would like to project my 4K reolink camera live 24X7 (or the new 810A) on a 4K Smart TV full screen (HDMI). I have a great mountain view. I have the 4K NVR. Can I use a Pi for that?

    • Amanda

      Hello Richard, you may not use Pi for that now since the 4K NVR system doesn't support live stream in 4K via RTSP or RTMP stream now. Hope this helps.

  • Royal Pro

    This is okay and all but saying its not possible to view multiple cameras seems unfair. I have displaycameras running on a raspberry pi and it can do 6 streams at once. Why can't we have a reolink program for the raspberry pi? It's possible to run and record if you have the proper hardware. Granted this was written atleast 4 years ago but an update would be awesome!

    • Amanda

      Hello there, thank you for sharing your ideas with us. We appreciate your suggestion a lot but we are sorry that we don't plan to release a program for the Raspberry Pi. Also note that recently we have released a new desktop software and you may find it here, /software-and-manual/. 🙂

  • Amanda

    Thank you for your sharing! We appreciate your work a lot and hope this will help others who are looking for the same solution. 🙂



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