VLC Media Player Tutorial: How to Stream Radio Using Icecast

Access hundreds of internet streaming radio streams using Icecast.

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VLC media player is popular, no doubt because it's free, cross-platform, and supports almost all audio and video formats without need for 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.

VLC media player is free and available for Windows, Linux, and Mac computers, as well as Android and iOS devices. All platforms support Icecast.

What Is Icecast?

Icecast is a streaming media server platform that supports online radio, private jukeboxes, or any other streaming service 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.

How to Use Icecast to Stream Radio Stations on Your Computer

Accessing the Icecast feature isn't obvious unless you're already familiar with the VLC 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. From the VLC media player main menu bar, select View and then Show Sidebar.

    Show Sidebar may already be selected by default.

  2. From the sidebar on the left, select Icecast Radio Directory. Wait a moment for the list of available streams to display in the main window.

  3. Browse the list of stations to find one you'd like to listen to. Alternatively, if you're searching for something specific, use the search box 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.

  4. To start streaming a radio station on the list, simply double-click the title to connect. To choose another radio stream, just click on another station in the directory list.

  5. To bookmark a station, click and drag the the title to one of the playlists listed under Library in the sidebar.

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