Home FAQ Streamlink – Watch Online Video Streams From Command Line

Streamlink – Watch Online Video Streams From Command Line

By sk
Published: Last Updated on 5757 Views

Streamlink is a command line streaming utility that allows you to watch online video streams in popular media players, such as VLC, MPlayer, MPlayer2, MPC-HC, mpv, Daum Pot Player, QuickTime, and OMXPlayer etc. It is written using Python programming language, and was forked from LiveStreamer, which is no longer maintained. Streamlink currently supports popular live video streaming services, such as YouTube, Dailymotion, Livestream, Twitch, UStream, and many more. Streamlink is built upon a plugin system which allows support for new services to be easily added. A full list of plugins currently included can be found on the Plugins page. Streamlink supports GNU/Linux, *BSDs, Microsoft Windows, and Mac OS X.

Streamlink is available in the default repositories of most Linux distributions.

In Arch Linux and derivatives: 

$ sudo pacman -S streamlink

Also, you can install it from AUR using AUR helpers such as Yay.

$ yay -S streamlink

On Fedora:

$ sudo dnf install streamlink

On Ubuntu, Linux Mint:

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install streamlink

Since Streamlink is written using Python, we can easily install it Pip - a python package manager. If your system doesn't have pip, install it as shown below depending upon the distribution you use.

To install PIP on Arch Linux and its derivatives, run:

$ sudo pacman -S python-pip

On RHEL, Fedora, CentOS:

$ sudo yum install epel-release
$ sudo yum install python-pip


$ sudo dnf install epel-release
$ sudo dnf install python-pip

On Debian, Ubuntu, Linux Mint:

$ sudo apt-get install python-pip

Once PIP installed, run the following command to install Streamlink.

$ sudo pip install streamlink

The typical usage of Streamlink is:

$ streamlink [OPTIONS] <URL> [STREAM]

Here, URL indicates the online video stream URL. It could be any YouTube or Dailymotion video link. STREAM indicates the video quality. You can use “best” or “worst” for highest or lowest quality available. And also, you can specify fallback streams using a comma-separated list as shown below:


If no stream is specified and --default-stream is not used then a list of available streams will be printed.

Streamlink will play video streams in your default video player i.e VLC in most cases.

$ streamlink https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8NPllzkFhE best

Once you run this command, Streamlink extracts online video stream from the specified URL and pipes it into the default or any video player of your choice in highest available quality.

Sample output:

[cli][info] Found matching plugin youtube for URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8NPllzkFhE
[cli][info] Available streams: audio_mp4, audio_webm, 144p (worst), 240p, 360p, 720p (best)
[cli][info] Opening stream: 720p (http)
[cli][info] Starting player: /usr/bin/vlc

Here is the sample playback output in my Linux desktop.

To play the above video stream in lowest quality, use "worst" at the end.

$ streamlink https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8NPllzkFhE worst

This command will play the online video in lowest available quality i.e 144p.

To view the list of available streams, don't specify STREAM value (best or worst).

$ streamlink https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8NPllzkFhE

Sample output:

[cli][info] Found matching plugin youtube for URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8NPllzkFhE
Available streams: audio_mp4, audio_webm, 144p (worst), 240p, 360p, 720p (best)

As you see in the above output, the available streams are audio_mp4, audio_webm, 144p (worst quality), 240p, 260p, and 720p (Best quality).

To play a video in a specific stream quality, for example 360p, run:

$ streamlink https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8NPllzkFhE 360p

If you just want to listen to it, use “audio_mp4” or "audio_webm" instead of “best” as shown below.

$ streamlink https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8NPllzkFhE audio_mp4

The above command will play only the audio stream in your default player.

If you want to play the video streams with different video player, you can specify it with --player option as shown below.

$ streamlink https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8NPllzkFhE 720p --player mplayer

This command will play the given video stream in 720p quality using MPlayer.

Similarly, you can watch twitch.tv and other popular video streaming services.

$ streamlink twitch.tv/sscait best

For more details, refer the man pages.

$ man streamlink

Please note that Streamlink will not play the video streams if there isn't any media players available on your system. So, just make sure you have installed a media player on your system. Streamlink works well with VLC and mpv.


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