HDMI Video Capture via USB Adapter

R-Pi Video displayed on a Mac Mini

View your Raspberry Pi (Zero, 2, 3, 4) display on-the-go without VNC or prior configuration. Great inexpensive device for your toolbox! Laptop required 🙂

I have a bunch of R-Pis of various flavors. I also use R-Pi cameras (regular, IR and HQ) on a regular basis. I don’t always know the WiFi or network config for where I’m going. Sure, you can change files on your SD Card to configure things for WiFi or connect to a laptop via VNC (if you know about access point configs or know the network ahead of time). A GREAT tool I’ve added to my toolbox is an inexpensive video encoder – also known as an HDMI Video Capture USB Device. I picked up 2, at different times, off eBay for about $15/each. They are very small and light – about 2″ x 1″.

Video Capture Adapter

I was prompted to write this as I saw an Adafruit Tweet that mentioned their (new) product, “USB 2.0 to HDMI Video Capture Adapter.” A good deal at $20 with HDMI cable. All you do is plug your video-out from an R-Pi into the HDMI input and plug-in the adapter to a USB port. It then acts like a webcam in that you can use apps to view the R-Pi display on Mac, PC or Linux laptop (or desktop). This is an awesome, easy way to view video to focus a camera or preview an image or video stream – without stutter or dropped frames – that you get using VNC.

16 thoughts on “HDMI Video Capture via USB Adapter”

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  3. An interesting alternative.

    So far I have no application for two HDMI ports — I would have much prefered a fast connection to a disk like SATA.
    I have heard of a SATA HAT but I think it uses an USB port…not too sure about that.

    1. Hmmm – I don’t think so 🙁 The video adapter has USB output and I’m not sure that an iPad will accept/record/play video from USB

    1. Original description on Adafruit said a cable was included BUT I guess that’s no longer true. You can also find the same device on Amazon for less (also without a cable).

    1. I’ve found the video to be VERY good – depending on the S/W you are using to view on your PC or Mac – and the resolution of its monitor. I see full HD on my hi-res Mac monitor using QuickTime app in “high-resolution” mode. And smooth 😉

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  6. This usage seems like a great option so I ordered myself an HDMI to USB adapter as I have several RPiS in use around the house.
    How do I actually see the captured screen? I tried ‘detecting’ an extra monitor but that did not work.

    Thank you!


    1. Hi Fred, The USB adapter inputs into your computer just like an external webcam – so any S/W that works with a webcam (Skype, Zoom, Quicktime, OBS, etc.) will work with the adapter.

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