viewing RTMP Streams on the Raspberry Pi

In this tutorial we will be showing you how to view RTMP streams on your Raspberry Pi by using 3 simple pieces of software.

For those who do not know, RTMP stands for Real-Time messaging protocol. It was initially a proprietary protocol developed by Macromedia for streaming audio, video and data over the Interface, primarily between there Flash player technology and a server.

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However, when Adobe purchased Macromedia they released an incomplete version of the specification of the protocol allowing the development of software such as rtmpdump. It also allowed other companies to be able to implement the protocol in their own software.

Equipment List

Below are all the bits and pieces that I used for this guide on viewing RTMP Streams on your Raspberry Pi.


Raspberry Pi 2 or 3

Micro SD Card

Ethernet Network Connection or Wifi dongle (The Pi 3 has WiFi inbuilt)


Raspberry Pi Case

Viewing RTMP Streams on the Raspberry Pi

1. Before we get started with setting up the Raspberry Pi to view RTMP Streams we will first need to ensure our Raspberry Pi is completely up to date.

We can do this by running the following two commands on the Raspberry Pi.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

2. With the Raspberry Pi up to date we can now proceed with installing the software that we will be utilizing. There is 3 pieces of software that were will be requiring, the first of these being rtmpdump.

rtmpdump is a toolkit designs to handle RTMP streams, we will use this to connect to the RTMP server and capture the stream from the network. While you would normally pass this stream to a file we will be passing it into a video player.

The second crucial piece of software that we will be utilizing for viewing RTMP streams on our Raspberry Pi is mkfifo. This piece of software allows us to create a special named pipe to which we will be dumping out RTMP stream to.

The third and final piece of the puzzle is omxplayer. This is the video player that we will be utilizing to playback our RTMP stream on our Raspberry Pi. Omxplayer is a video player that is specifically made for the Raspberry Pi’s GPU so it is perfect for our task.

Two of these may require installing, while omxplayer comes on most installations of Raspbian some lite versions of it may exclude it so we will include it in our installation command.

Run the following command on your Raspberry Pi to install rtmpdump and omxplayer.

sudo apt-get install omxplayer rtmpdump -y

3. Now with the software that we need installed we can begin setting up everything we need. The first thing we need to do is create a named pipe. This named pipe is essentially a FIFO (First in First Out) memory buffer that we can reference by a name. We will be dumping our RTMP stream into this pipe.

To create this named pipe we need to run the following command on the Raspberry Pi. In our example we will be naming our pipe “rtmp_pipe“, but you can name this anything you want. If you change this remember to change everything instance of rtmp_pipe in this tutorial with it.

mkfifo rtmp_pipe

4. Finally we get to the interesting part of the stream, and that is actually dumping and playing back our RTMP Stream. For this example we will be using “rtmp://” for our stream. This is a stream of Big Buck Bunny by the Blender Institute, it’s the same video I used as an example in the Kodi tutorial.

To view this stream we will be passing it into rtmpdump, this will then dump the stream into our pipe, which will then be loaded in by omxplayer. To do all of this run the following command on your Raspberry Pi.

rtmpdump -r rtmp:// --live -o rtmp_pipe  | omxplayer rtmp_pipe

5. The stream should now be loaded in omxplayer and be playing on your screen. If the video successfully loads and plays then you have completed this tutorial correctly.

Hopefully by now you have successfully setup OMXPlayer and RTMPDump and are able to stream RTMP streams to your Raspberry Pi without any issues.

This is a fun little media project for the Raspberry Pi that I hope you didn’t run into any issues. Feel free to drop a comment below if you enjoyed this Raspberry Pi RTMP tutorial or you find yourself needing some help getting it up and running.

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