How to Play an RTSP Stream With VLC on a Mac

By Andrew Schrader

An RTSP stream, short for Real Time Streaming Protocol, is a standard for efficiently streaming audio/visual data to large groups of people. VLC Media Player, a free media player and converter for Mac and PC computers, supports playback of many types of streaming media, including HTTP, MMS and RTSP streams simply by pasting the stream's URL into the proper field.

Things You'll Need

  • VLC Media Player

Step 1

Download the latest version of VLC Media Player for Mac OS X (see Resources). Double-click the ".dmg" program file when download is complete to run the installation process. Follow the on-screen prompts, agree to the terms of use and open VLC Media Player.

Step 2

Click the "File" tab and select "Open Network."

Step 3

Copy and past the URL of the RTSP stream into the "URL" field at the top of the screen. Click "Open" to load and play your stream in VLC.

Tips & Warnings

  • If RTSP streams fail to open, click "VLC" and "Preferences." Select the "All" button in the bottom-left corner of the screen. Click the "Input/Codecs" arrow to reveal more options. Click the "Demuxers" arrow and select "RTP/RTSP." Enable the "Tunnel RTSP and RTP over HTTP" option -- or disable it if it was already enabled -- save your changes and try opening the stream again.
  • Copy-protected streams may not open in VLC Media Player.