M3U8 files play a very important role in live streaming. Video players use the information in these text files to locate audio and video files for a stream. An essential part of HLS streaming technology, an M3U8 link makes it possible to integrate your stream with mobile apps and Smart TV apps such as Roku, Apple TV, and the like. In this post, we’re going to discuss how to get access to the M3U8 link for your live stream. Before we get started, it’s important to note that the M3U8 feature is not activated by default on Dacast, so you’ll have to activate it manually. Since using the M3U8 links directly causes many important features such as detailed analytics to be disabled, Dacast users will have to contact their Account Manager and request access to the M3U8 privilege. Note that this feature is included with event plans and above, and available with Starter plans for an additional price.
How to Generate and Use the M3U8 Link
In order to use the M3U8 link, you must navigate to the “Advanced Links” section under the “General” tab of your Dacast dashboard. Drop down the “Advanced Links” tab and 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
Follow these steps to test your new link:
- Launch your stream
- Double-check that your live stream is playing correctly, using the preview button in the back office or the share code
- Open VLC media player
- Click on “Media” and select “Open a Network Stream”
- Paste your new M3U8 link into the field
Once you complete these 5 steps, Your live 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 paywall, in-depth analytics, referrer restrictions, and geographic/IP restrictions. In order to make up for these unfortunate downfalls, Dacast offers SDKs as an alternative to supplement this option.
If you have any questions about accessing or using direct M3U8 links for live streaming or our SDKs, feel free to contact us directly. Not yet a Dacast user, and interested in trying Dacast risk-free for 30 days? Sign up today to get started.
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- Introduction to Live Streaming with Dacast: A Walkthrough