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Listening to BBC Radio with mpv

The BBC publishes high quality 320 kbps HLS AAC streams that can be used to listen to radio from the command-line using mpv. Here are the URLs and some aliases to start listening quickly.

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BBC Radio feeds

To the annoyance of some the BBC removed support for Windows Media and have migrated to using the AAC codec and http streaming. The good news is that the AAC streams are high quality and freely available. Matthew Peet shared the links to the 320 kbps HLS AAC streams on his site.

Listening with mpv

mpv is a fantastic cross-platform media player that can handle most formats thrown at it. It is based on mplayer and mplayer2. Playing a BBC stream is just a case of passing the URL to it. Magic.

mpv 'http://a.files.bbci.co.uk/media/live/manifesto/audio/simulcast/hls/uk/sbr_high/ak/bbc_6music.m3u8'

Some useful aliases

I made some aliases for the stations so I can stream with simple command. Running playbbcr6 for example plays BBC 6 Music.

alias playbbcr1="mpv 'http://a.files.bbci.co.uk/media/live/manifesto/audio/simulcast/hls/uk/sbr_high/ak/bbc_radio_one.m3u8'"
alias playbbcr4="mpv 'http://a.files.bbci.co.uk/media/live/manifesto/audio/simulcast/hls/uk/sbr_high/ak/bbc_radio_fourfm.m3u8'"
alias playbbcr5l="mpv 'http://a.files.bbci.co.uk/media/live/manifesto/audio/simulcast/hls/uk/sbr_high/ak/bbc_radio_five_live.m3u8'"
alias playbbcr5lsx="mpv 'http://a.files.bbci.co.uk/media/live/manifesto/audio/simulcast/hls/uk/sbr_high/ak/bbc_radio_five_live_sports_extra.m3u8'"
alias playbbcr6="mpv 'http://a.files.bbci.co.uk/media/live/manifesto/audio/simulcast/hls/uk/sbr_high/ak/bbc_6music.m3u8'"

Listening to iPlayer Radio content

It is also possible to pass any URL from iPlayer (audio and video) to mpv. More magic

mpv http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07z4djf

Listening from outside the UK

Whilst I was over in the USA (virtually at least) listening to these streams was not possible so there looks to be geo-blocking on these streams. A UK VPN would work I imagine.

playbbc6
Playing: http://a.files.bbci.co.uk/media/live/manifesto/audio/simulcast/hls/uk/sbr_high/ak/bbc_6music.m3u8
[ffmpeg] http: HTTP error 403 Forbidden
[lavf] avformat_open_input() failed

Further reading

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