At first I thought this would be off-topic, but it has Audio, Video, and Science (AVS) so I'll post about it. In hindsight I would have paid myself $50 for this post.
It also has very high WAF since it was her idea to have it.
She wanted an owl box cam.
Details below or skip to the bottom for the links to the end result...
I agreed to make one even though we don't have many, if any, owls in the yard. It is sort of like a chicken before the egg thing, but anyway... First was the camera research and most of the solutions involve those "old-fashioned" RCA connected cameras requiring a connection to a DVR or capture card. I decided on an IP cam and Foscam (now running the FI8910W http://www.amazon.com/Foscam-FI8910W-Network-Camera-Two-Way/dp/B006ZP8UOW
) was the cheapest with the most features. Even though it is an indoor cam, I figured I'd try it anyway and went on to design a housing for it that would mount to a typical sized owl box. I build the box and mounted the cam and everything worked great. Sharing was done with a few people, friends and family, proving simple port forwarding to the cam software running on the server. It also monitors for motion and saves video clips to the server and sends email alerts with jpg captures. This was fine for a couple people here and there.
Then we waited and waited and had a few visitors (various birds, squirrel, opossum, more birds...), but no owls and no nesters other than Starlings that we ran off. So finally after about 2.5 years we get two White-Breasted Nuthatches interested a couple days after running off another pair of Starlings. I went and got the "hole" that I cut out of the box and cut a nuthatch size hole in it and plugged the larger owl/starling hole.
Now that they are nesting it was time to share it. After posting a link on her Facebook page the local bird watching supply store that my wife spends too much money in wanted to add it to their monthly newsletter. First thought from her was great, first thought from me was bandwidth. So I went searching for options and decided that a streaming site such as ustream.tv was the best solution. That means one stream out from me can be shared to an unlimited number of people, and my server is more secure since nobody is connecting through my forwarded port and deciding to snoop around for other openings. However, to stream to these sites isn't as easy as pointing it to my camera. First of all the cam is MJPEG. If it was RTSP then it would be very easy, but the cam would be about $900 instead of $70.
First solution that I got to barely work was using H264 Webcam which creates a RTSP stream with a .sdp file to access. Using VLC I was able to transcode it to the proper format using some batch file that isn't fun to learn. Then there is another program JTVLC that uploads that transcoded stream to justin.tv. Now the video is being transcoded twice and picture quality takes a huge it and is macroblocked and laggy. The plus to this was that it also transmitted audio.
The next solution that is typically used on these sites is Adobe Flash Media Live Encoder (FMLE). Both Ustream.tv and Justin.tv provide preconfigured .xml files for FMLE streaming to your channel. However, this program wants a webcam type of device which the IP cam is not. The solution here is to use WebcamXP or Webcam7 which links your IP camera as a webcam device which then shows up in FMLE. This works great for the picture quality because it isn't being transcoded. Whatever FMLE does with its video input it looks the same to me on its output. But this solution has no audio because FMLE wants one of the Windows microphone devices. I spent another two days trying to solve this issue until I stumbled upon the hidden device Stereo Mix which takes what plays on your computer and runs it through a microphone device. Now I just had to play the audio on my server using the first program, H264 Webcam, and have FMLE linked to the WebcamXP video and the Stereo Mix audio. Worked on my laptop when I tested the idea, but not on my server. After a few hours of trying and Google I discovered you had to have SOMETHING plugged into a speaker jack. I took an old 3.5mm mono plug that was cut with nothing on the other end and plugged it in, it worked! Done!
The VLC crappy video method took a day to figure out. The better picture, but no audio took another day to discover WebcamXP with FMLE. The better picture with audio took another two days. My Intel Core2Duo E8400 with 8GB RAM uses about 16% CPU running each FMLE session and about 5% running the H264 Webcam program for audio and monitoring. That is about 40% CPU usage 24/7 and about 2Mbps internet bandwidth. The same 16% CPU process used only 6% on my 3rd gen i7 laptop.
Here are the links to the end result. Both sites have the same quality feed.http://justin.tv/baaojenkins
The site can be seen at http://www.nuthatchcam.com
Box without the camera housing
Foscam in the camera housing
Bird's eye view