How to Get an M3U8 Stream URL Link for Your Live and VOD Streaming

M3U8 URL links play a very important role in live and VOD streaming. Video players use the information in these text files to locate audio and video files for a stream. An M3U8 link is a crucial component of HLS streaming technology, enabling the integration of your stream with mobile apps and Smart TV apps like Roku and Apple TV.

In this post, we’re going to discuss how to generate and create an M3U8 URL for live and VOD streaming. Before we get started, it’s important to note that the M3U8 links feature is not activated by default on Dacast, so you’ll have to activate it manually.

Table of Contents:

  • How to Generate and Use M3U8 URL Links
  • Testing Your M3U8 Link
  • What to Know About Direct M3U8 links on Dacast
  • Additional Resources

Since using the M3U8 links directly causes many important features such as detailed analytics to be disabled, Dacast’s live streaming platform users will have to contact their Account Manager and request access to the M3U8 privilege.

Note that this feature is included with Dacast’s event plans and above, and available with Starter pricing plans for an additional price.

How to Generate and Use M3U8 URL Links

In order to use the M3U8 link, you must navigate to the “Sharing” section under the “General” tab of your live stream or video. Locate the “M3U8” link. Copy this link and paste it into Roku TV, Apple TV, or any private web TV channels and mobile app:

The full link in this example is:

Testing Your M3U8 Link

Before testing your M3U8 player link with VLC Media Player, you need to know that this is only available for Edgio channels. When you create a live stream, select a stream and go to « choose other options »:

Here you can select the appropriate stream slot type:

Follow these steps to test your new link:

  1. Enable your stream (and launch your stream for live streaming)
  2. Double-check that your stream is playing correctly, using the preview button in the back office or the share link
  3. Open VLC media player
  4. Click on “Media” and select “Open a Network Stream”
  5. Paste your new M3U8 link into the field. 

Once you complete these 5 steps, Your stream should appear in VLC.

What to Know About Direct M3U8 Links on Dacast

As you dive into mobile streaming, you should be familiar with M3U8 links. Like we mentioned, Dacast offers the option of using M3U8 links to ensure compatibility with Roku and the development of mobile apps. Direct M3U8 links don’t support several valuable features such as the video paywall, in-depth video analytics, referrer restrictions, and geographic/IP restrictions. In order to make up for these unfortunate downfalls, Dacast offers live streaming SDKs as an alternative to supplement this option.

If you have any questions about accessing or using direct M3U8 URL links for live streaming, VODs, or our SDKs, feel free to contact us directly. Not yet a Dacast user, and interested in trying Dacast risk-free for 14 days? Sign up today to get started.

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Additional Resources

Jose Guevara

Jose is a part of the Dacast Customer Onboarding team and started working with the company in 2016. He has vast experience in customer service/engagement and live streaming support.