VLC Media Player Tutorial: How to Stream Radio Using Icecast

Access hundreds of Internet radio streams using Icecast

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VLC media player is enormously popular, no doubt because it is free and cross-platform, and it supports almost all audio and video file formats without needing additional codecs. It can play videos as they are downloading and stream music. If you are a fan of streaming Internet radio stations, VLC is the way to go.

In older versions of VLC media player, the program included a built-in feature for accessing and streaming Shoutcast radio stations. This useful tool is no longer available, but you can still access hundreds of radio stations that broadcast over the Internet using another network: Icecast.

How to Use Icecast to Stream Radio Stations on Your Computer

Accessing the Icecast feature isn't obvious when you use VLC media player unless you are already familiar with its interface. However, it is easy to set up a ​playlist so you can start streaming your favorite radio stations straight to your desktop PC. Before you set up Icecast, you must already have an up-to-date version of VLC media player installed on your computer.

  1. On the VLC media player main screen, click the View menu tab. From the list of options, click Playlist to open the playlist screen.

  2. In the left pane, double-click the Internet menu to see other options.

  3. Click the Icecast Radio Directory feature. Wait a few moments for the list of available streams to display in the main pane.

  4. Look down the list of stations to find one you want to listen to. Alternatively, if you're searching for something specific, use the search box located at the top of the screen. This box acts as a filter; you can type in the name of a radio station, a genre or other criteria to see relevant results.

  5. To start streaming an Internet radio station on the list, double-click an entry to connect. To choose another radio stream, just click another station in the Icecast directory list.

  6. Tag any stations you want to bookmark in the VLC media player by right-clicking the station in the main pane and selecting Add to Playlist from the pop-up menu. Stations you have tagged appear in the Playlists menu in the left pane.

The free VLC media player is available for Windows, Linux, and MacOS computers, as well as Android and iOS mobile apps. All the platforms support Icecast.

What Is Icecast?

Icecast is a streaming-media server platform that supports online radio, private jukeboxes or any stream-over-Internet use case that depends on files in the Ogg (Vorbis and Theora), Opus, WebM and MP3 formats. Icecast is free and open source, released under version 2 of the GNU public license.