What is Livestreamer and why use it?

Livestreamer is a command line tool that allows you to watch your favorite streams from your personal video player. It pipes video streams from various services such as Twitch and YouTube Gaming directly to your video player such as VLC.

Avoid Flash Plugins

Adobe Flash Player has been buggy and filled with vulnerabilities for many years. A large number of companies have opted to phase out Adobe Flash Player in favor of a less resource intensive and safer option, such as HTML5.

Using livestreamer lets you avoid sluggish and slow interfaces. If you have a slow computer, using livestreamer will speed up your computer and create a more enjoyable viewing experience.

Bypass Advertisements

When watching Twitch through livestreamer, you can avoid advertisements completely because livestreamer only pipes video streams to VLC, not advertisements.

This option can be good or bad. By disabling advertisements, Twitch streamers who you support will no longer earn ad revenue.

However, if you enjoy ad-free experiences then livestreamer already has a “built-in” feature.

Circumvent Content ID

A little over a year ago, Twitch introduced audio recognition. Audio recognition will not store audio from any videos containing unauthorized third party audio.

Up to 30-minutes of audio can be removed if copyrighted audio is detected. Even if only a few seconds of copyrighted audio is played.

Many broadcasters choose to play music while searching for games, but will pause during gameplay. Legitimate portions of live commentary/gameplay audio may be removed. And attempting to retrieve lost audio will prove futile as it’s lost forever.

However, there is a way to preserve Twitch audio. As of the writing of this article, Twitch will not takedown live content. It means the only way to preserve audio is to record Twitch streams live with livestreamer.

Note: We are not encouraging you to bypass copyright infringement. This is for Twitch broadcasters who want to edit/remove copyrighted content from their VODs to later upload to YouTube or other services.

Prerequisites 

In order to watch/record with Livestreamer you need to install three dependencies. The first is python which Livestreamer is dependent on to run its script. The second is VLC Media Player which is the default media player Livestreamer utilizes to launch its streams and finally Livestreamer itself.

  1. Python 3.4
  2. VLC Media Player
  3. Livestreamer

Usage

Watching with Livestreamer

Watching Twitch streams with livestreamer is easy. Once you have livestreamer installed, all it takes is a few simple steps.

On Windows, open the run dialog by pressing “Windows Key + R” and then type the following command:

livestreamer twitch.tv/day9tv best

Change the Twitch URL and/or parameter to the stream and quality you want.

Livestreamer run dialog

If you have a slow internet connection, then you may need to adjust the parameters.

For example:

livestreamer twitch.tv/day9tv high
livestreamer twitch.tv/day9tv medium
livestreamer twitch.tv/day9tv low
livestreamer twitch.tv/day9tv mobile

If you have a fast connection I recommend watching at “best” quality. But if you experience lag then adjust accordingly.

Recording with VLC

  1. Launch VLC Media Player
  2. Click on the View Tab and select Advanced Controls
  3. Now advanced controls should pop up at the bottom of the player
  4. Clicking the red button will record videos
Recording with VLC
Enable Record Button

After enabling advanced controls a red button located at the bottom left should pop-up.

VLC Record Button
Recording Button

It’s simple, click the button and the recording will start, click it again and it will stop.

Changing Recording Directory

You may want to change the recording directory. Here is how to do it.

  1. Go to Tools -> Preferences -> Input / Codecs
  2. Under Files -> “Record directory or filename
  3. Click Browse and change directories

Downloading Twitch Streams with Livestreamer

In a previous article, I mentioned livestreamer’s multi-functional features. Streams can be watched live through VLC player, recorded or downloaded with livestreamer’s command-line and the entire process can even be automated with a script.

Let’s get started. There are three ways to download with livestreamer.

Downloading Past Broadcasts

Related: Four Awesome Ways to Download VODs from Twitch

Similar to the above instructions.

Press “Windows Key + R” to open the Run Dialog and type in the following command.

livestreamer "VOD URL" best -o "C:\filename.mp4"

  1. Replace VOD link “VOD URL” with your own link.
  2. Change filename and/or directory

Downloading/Recording Livestreams

Same exact instructions as above, except you don’t need a direct link to a VOD.

Press “Windows Key + R” to open the Run Dialog and type in the following command.

livestreamer "Twitch URL" best -o "C:\filename.mp4"

  1. Replace VOD link “Twitch URL” with your own link.
  2. Change filename and/or directory

Automate Process with Batch Script

Using a simple script you can automate the process, instead of typing in the commands every time.

To Watch:

To Download:

  1. Create a New Text Document
  2. Paste the Script
  3. Save as Batch

Double Click the file and livestreamer will activate.

Downloading/Recording Automatically with a Script

For full automation, you need something more complex than a batch script. Using a Python script, you can monitor when a Twitch stream comes online and then record automatically 24/7.

This is by far my favorite method, since it requires little work. All you have to do is activate the script once and leave it running for as long as you want.

The script can be made to check streams every five minutes to down to every few seconds.

If you run into any problems or have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below.

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