How to configure VLC media player to play RTSP/RTP streams from Wowza Streaming Engine

This article explains how to configure the VideoLAN VLC media player to stream live or on demand streams through RTSP/RTP over TCP (RTSP/RTP interleaved). While HTTP streaming is a newer standard offering more features, RTSP/RTP streaming may work better when streaming through a firewall/router, which doesn't have UDP streaming open.

If you haven't done so already, set up the live application in your Wowza Streaming Engine™ media server software to send a live stream to players. To do this, follow the instructions in How to set up live streaming using an RTSP/RTP-based encoder. You can also configure the vod application that's included with Wowza Streaming Engine by following the instructions in How to set up video on demand streaming.

Note: VLC media player can also be used to test and play multicast MPEG-TS streams that are wrapped in RTP. This can be done using the Stream Targets feature in Wowza Streaming Engine software. For more information, see How to use MPEG-TS to distribute live streams.

More resources

How to troubleshoot RTSP/RTP playback
How to re-stream video from an IP camera
How to use VLC as a live stream encoder with Wowza Streaming Engine (MPEG-TS)

Changing the stream transport protocol

To switch VLC from HTTP streaming to RTP/RTSP streaming:
  1. On the VLC media player Tools menu, click Preferences.
  2. In the Simple Preferences dialog box, click Input / Codecs in the contents panel.
  3. In Input & Codecs Settings, in the Network area, change the Live555 stream transport option from HTTP (default) to RTP over RTSP (TCP).
  4. Click Save.

Starting stream playback

By default, VLC media player is configured with a very small caching buffer. This can lead to choppy playback initially but it will eventually smooth out over time as VLC automatically increases the size of this buffer. The steps below explain how to change the default cache size before connecting to the stream.

To set the default cache size and play a live or on demand stream:
  1. On the VLC media player Media menu, click Open Network Stream.
  2. At the bottom of the Open Media dialog box, select the Show more options check box.
  3. Set the Caching value to a higher value such as 1200 ms. This value is retained between VLC media player playback sessions and restarts.
  4. Enter the URL of the stream that you want to play in the Please enter a network URL field and then click Play.

    The examples below show possible stream URLs for each type of application:





    Where [wowza-ip-address] is the IP address or domain name of the Wowza media server.

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