Once again, life proves when it comes to commercial offerings, you get what you pay for.
I found a £13 (~US$20) USB device with 4 composite video inputs, and one audio input, called an EasyCAP 4 channel device, on Amazon. I was planning on streaming 4 video captures from it at some quality. The unit turned up very efficiently, and emblazoned across the stick is “4 CHUSB DVR”, and a neat little Win32 utility called Multiviewer 2.0, by Zhong Kai Ran.
Fire up the software and an impressive 4-screen display is shown, however, its not until you plug in a video camera to one input that you can see that the device rotates through each of the video inputs; it doesnt appear to be able to stream all four simultaneously. A pity. So, if you’re looking for a “poor man’s multi-camera CCTV”, this is a very good choice, but be aware that you’ll only get (configurable) number of seconds from each channel in sequence (or selectable) but not a live continuous stream of all four inputs.
At least, that’s my experience under MS Windows thus far. I haven’t yet thrown it at a Linux system yet to see if it detects the device and/or it works any differently, but I’d suspect not.
Either way, it’s a start at what I’m looking to do anyway, so I am not too disappointed.
Next up, a small PC to house it in that I can run my GStreamer video processing on… hmmm… I want an Asus Eee Box B204 with its cute built in HDMI… its flirting with me promising Full-HD 1080p, but I guess if/when I have a spare £300 to play with I may find its also a little short!