Tools

Streamlink – Stream Online Videos Via Your Favourite Video Player

Streamlink – Stream Online Videos in Linux Terminal
Written by Martins D. Okoi

Streamlink is a cross-platform command line utility tool (and API) with which you can stream videos from several streaming services including Twitch and YouTube Live via any video player app of your choosing e.g. VLC and MPV player.

Being a fork of Livestreamer, Streamlink’s main purpose is to help users avoid buggy and/or CPU-heavy flash plugins in order enjoy an excellent video streaming experience. The CLI tool also has an API that developers can use in their applications for free.

Features in Streamlink

  • FOSS – Streamlink is free and open source with its source code available on GitHub.
  • API – developers can make use of Streamlink’s API and even take advantage of its comprehensive tutorials.
  • Multi-service Support – add your favorite streaming services if they aren’t already included out of the box.
  • Multiplayer Support – use Streamlink with any of your favorite media player apps.
  • Plugin Support – see the several plugins you can use with Streamlink here.
  • Support for avi/mov VOD streams for rtve.
  • Support for Beam VOD and HLS streams for live.
  • Stream videos stored on Google Drive and Google Docs.

As a result of the plugin system implemented in Streamlink, users can always add services of their choosing. The currently supported services straight out of the box include Livestream, Twitch, UStream, Dailymotion, and YouTube Live.

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How to Install and Use Streamlink in Linux

I advise that you install Streamlink via the terminal to add its PPA so you can always have an updated version.

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install streamlink
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On Fedora distribution, run.

# dnf install streamlink

For other Linux distributions, installation instructions can be found at: https://streamlink.github.io/install.html

It is easy to use Streamlink’s CLI. For example, to stream a video from Google Drive, run Streamlink with the link of the video you intend streaming to see the available streaming formats:

$ streamlink https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B0tRrdcY7CwJWGdVdHEyYWpfTTQ

The available formats will be listed like so:

[cli][info] Found matching plugin googledrive for URL https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B0tRrdcY7CwJWGdVdHEyYWpfTTQ
Available streams: 360p_alt, 480p_alt, 360p (worst), 480p, 720p, 1080p (best)

Pick the format you want to use by adding its stream link to the end of the command and you should be good to go:

$ streamlink https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B0tRrdcY7CwJWGdVdHEyYWpfTTQ 1080p

Streamlink uses VLC to stream by default but you can specify a different video player to use via --player argument.

For example, to use MPV player to stream your videos use the command below:

streamlink --player mpv https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B0tRrdcY7CwJWGdVdHEyYWpfTTQ 1080p 

For more Streamlink CLI usage, visit: https://streamlink.github.io/cli.html

What’s your take on Streamlink? Have you used it before or do you know an app that is better? Drop your comments in the section below.

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About the author

Martins D. Okoi

Martins Jr. (Dillivine) Okoi is a graduate of Computer Science with a passion for Linux and the Open Source community. He works as a Web designer & developer, technical writer, and programmer.

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