Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How to Stream Al-Jazeera Live In Ubuntu

Al-Jazeera has emerged as an indispensable news source for these turbulence times in the Middle East and North Africa. If you live in the United States, you are limited to watching Al-Jazeera on the web using your browser, unless you happen to live in one of the few areas where the local cable provider carries Al-Jazeera.

However, if you are running Ubuntu, you can also stream Al-Jazeera directly to your desktop via rmtpdump + mplayer, thereby bypassing your browser completely.

Here's how you do it:
  • Step 1: Fire up Terminal

  • Step 2: Install rmtpdump by typing
    sudo apt-get install rtmpdump
  • Step 3 (optional): If you are running a firewall, ensure that TCP port 1935 is open for the rtmp service.

  • Step 4: Copy and paste the following in terminal:
    rtmpdump -v -r rtmp://livestfslivefs.fplive.net/livestfslive-live/ -y "aljazeera_en_veryhigh" -a "aljazeeraflashlive-live" -o -| mplayer -
  • Step 5 (optional): For lower quality use "aljazeera_en_high" or "aljazeera_en_low" - For arabic version use "aljazeera_ar_veryhigh"

Alternatively, you can also create a shell script (.sh) and give it permission to run, as follows:
  • Step 1: In a text editor, copy-and-paste the following:

    #!/bin/sh
    rtmpdump -v -r rtmp://livestfslivefs.fplive.net/livestfslive-live/ -y “aljazeera_en_veryhigh” -a “aljazeeraflashlive-live” -o -| mplayer -

  • Step 2: save it in a file, e.g., aljazeera.sh

  • Step 3: Start up terminal and change permissions to x:

    chmod +x aljazeera.sh

  • Step 4: Then run the script from the commandline:

    ./aljazeera.sh
Enjoy watching the live stream of Al-Jazeera to your Ubuntu desktop.

NEWLY ADDED: Other Channels that you can watch using rtmpdump in Ubuntu

Thanks to tip #836999 on gist.github and Harish Pillay.