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Command-Line Interface


Livestreamer is command-line application, this means the commands described here should be typed into a terminal. On Windows this means you should open the command prompt or PowerShell, on Mac OS X open the Terminal app and if you're on Linux or BSD you probably already know the drill.

The way Livestreamer works is that it's only a means to extract and transport the streams, and the playback is done by an external video player. Livestreamer works best with VLC or mpv, which are also cross-platform, but other players may be compatible too, see the :ref:`Players` page for a complete overview.

Now to get into actually using Livestreamer, let's say you want to watch the stream located on, you start off by telling Livestreamer where to attempt to extract streams from. This is done by giving the URL to the command :command:`livestreamer` as the first argument:

$ livestreamer
[cli][info] Found matching plugin twitch for URL
Available streams: audio, high, low, medium, mobile (worst), source (best)


You don't need to include the protocol when dealing with HTTP URLs, e.g. just is enough and quicker to type.

This command will tell Livestreamer to attempt to extract streams from the URL specified, and if it's successful, print out a list of available streams to choose from.

To select a stream and start playback, we simply add the stream name as a second argument to the :command:`livestreamer` command:

$ livestreamer source
[cli][info] Found matching plugin twitch for URL
[cli][info] Opening stream: source (hls)
[cli][info] Starting player: vlc

The stream you chose should now be playing in the player. It's a common use case to just want start the highest quality stream and not be bothered with what it's named. To do this just specify best as the stream name and Livestreamer will attempt to rank the streams and open the one of highest quality. You can also specify worst to get the lowest quality.

Now that you have a basic grasp of how Livestreamer works, you may want to look into customizing it to your own needs, such as:

Configuration file

Writing the command-line options every time is inconvenient, that's why Livestreamer is capable of reading options from a configuration file instead.

Livestreamer will look for config files in different locations depending on your platform:

Platform Location
Unix-like (POSIX)
  • $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/livestreamer/config
  • ~/.livestreamerrc
Windows %APPDATA%\livestreamer\livestreamerrc

You can also specify the location yourself using the :option:`--config` option.


  • $XDG_CONFIG_HOME is ~/.config if it has not been overridden
  • %APPDATA% is usually <your user directory>\Application Data


On Windows there is a default config created by the installer but on any other platform you must create the file yourself.


The config file is a simple text file and should contain one :ref:`command-line option <cli-options>` (omitting the dashes) per line in the format:


or for a option without value:



Any quotes used will be part of the value, so only use when the value needs them, e.g. specifiying a player with a path containing spaces.


# Player options
player=mpv --cache 2048

# Authenticate with Twitch

Plugin specific configuration file

You may want to use specific options for some plugins only. This can be accomplished by placing those settings inside a plugin specific config file. Options inside these config files will override the main config file when a URL matching the plugin is used.

Livestreamer expects this config to be named like the main config but with .<plugin name> attached to the end.


Platform Location
Unix-like (POSIX)
  • $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/livestreamer/config.twitch
  • ~/.livestreamerrc.ustreamtv
Windows %APPDATA%\livestreamer\

Have a look at the :ref:`list of plugins <plugin_matrix>` to see the name of each built-in plugin.

Plugin specific usage

Authenticating with Twitch

It's possible to access subscription content on Twitch by giving Livestreamer access to your account.

Authentication is done by creating an OAuth token that Livestreamer will use to access your account. It's done like this:

$ livestreamer --twitch-oauth-authenticate

This will open a web browser where Twitch will ask you if you want to give Livestreamer permission to access your account, then forwards you to a page with further instructions on how to use it.

Authenticating with Crunchyroll

Crunchyroll requires authenticating with a premium account to access some of their content. To do so, the plugin provides a couple of options to input your information, :option:`--crunchyroll-username` and :option:`--crunchyroll-password`.

You can login like this:

$ livestreamer --crunchyroll-username=xxxx --crunchyroll-password=xxx


If you omit the password, livestreamer will ask for it.

Once logged in, the plugin makes sure to save the session credentials to avoid asking your username and password again.

Neverthless, these credentials are valid for a limited amount of time, so it might be a good idea to save your username and password in your :ref:`configuration file <cli-livestreamerrc>` anyway.


The API this plugin uses isn't supposed to be available to use it on computers. The plugin tries to blend in as a valid device using custom headers and following the API usual flow (e.g. reusing credentials), but this does not assure that your account will be safe from being spotted for unusual behavior.

HTTP proxy with Crunchyroll

You can use the :option:`--http-proxy` and :option:`--https-proxy` options (you need both since the plugin uses both protocols) to access the Crunchyroll servers through a proxy to be able to stream region locked content.

When doing this, it's very probable that you will get denied to access the stream; this occurs because the session and credentials used by the plugin where obtained when logged from your own region, and the server still assumes you're in that region.

For this, the plugin provides the :option:`--crunchyroll-purge-credentials` option, which removes your saved session and credentials and tries to log in again using your username and password.

Sideloading plugins

Livestreamer will attempt to load standalone plugins from these directories:

Platform Location
Unix-like (POSIX) $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/livestreamer/plugins
Windows %APPDATA%\livestreamer\plugins


If a plugin is added with the same name as a built-in plugin then the added plugin will take precedence. This is useful if you want to upgrade plugins independently of the Livestreamer version.

Playing built-in streaming protocols directly

There are many types of streaming protocols used by services today and Livestreamer supports most of them. It's possible to tell Livestreamer to access a streaming protocol directly instead of relying on a plugin to extract the streams from a URL for you.

A protocol can be accessed directly by specifying it in the URL format:

protocol://path [key=value]

Accessing a stream that requires extra parameters to be passed along (e.g. RTMP):

$ livestreamer "rtmp:// live=1 swfVfy="

Most streaming technologies simply requires you to pass a HTTP URL, this is a Adobe HDS stream:

$ livestreamer hds://

Supported streaming protocols

Name Prefix
Adobe HTTP Dynamic Streaming hds://
Akamai HD Adaptive Streaming akamaihd://
Apple HTTP Live Streaming hls:// hlsvariant://
Real Time Messaging Protocol rtmp:// rtmpe:// rtmps:// rtmpt:// rtmpte://
Progressive HTTP, HTTPS, etc httpstream://

Command-line usage

$ livestreamer [OPTIONS] [URL] [STREAM]
.. argparse::
    :module: livestreamer_cli.argparser
    :attr: parser