Live episodes - What is the Playback URL and How do I obtain one?

Modified on Thu, 23 May 2024 at 08:01 AM

Live podcasting is an exciting innovation that enables real-time audio and video streaming through supporting podcasting apps

In this article, we'll focus on how to obtain the Playback URL (also known as the "playlist file" or "m3u8 manifest"), which is necessary to schedule a live episode using the Dashboard. Refer to [2] in the image below:

The Live Episode interface in the Dashboard

When setting up a streaming server for live podcasting we should be looking for two things:

- Real-Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) for receiving real-time audio and video signals

- Allow generating a playable URL called “playlist file”, also called “m3u8 manifest”

An RTMP server receives real-time audio and video signals through a specific URL, which usually requires a stream key. An RTMP URL is a web address that might look like this:


The stream key is a unique value used by the server to identify the sender of the stream (usually a registered user). It also provides added security to prevent unauthorized streams from being sent to the RTMP server (known as RTMP hijacking).

A typical RTMP stream key is a long alphanumeric hash, such as:


To obtain the aforementioned RTMP URL and streaming key, you have two main options:

Option 1: Use a Cloud-Based Service (Recommended)

- There are a number of companies that offer streaming capabilities, such as Wowza, DaCast, and Viloud.

- Sign up in your chosen application and obtain your RTMP and Playback URL.

For podcasters new to live streaming, we recommend Viloud for its user-friendly interface, which is much simpler than other services. Viloud also offers a trial account that supports live streams of up to 60 minutes, making it an excellent choice for those experimenting with live episodes for the first time. In the screenshot below you'll find where to find the RTMP URL, the Stream Key, and the Playback URL. The latter corresponds to the Playback URL you'll need to insert in the Dashboard when you schedule a live podcast episode.

Viloud's interface makes it simple to create and obtain a Playback URL, which can be used to stream live audio and video podcast episodes.

Option 2: "Do it yourself" Server (only for technical users)

- Use services like AWS for a robust setup or local solutions for low-budget setups.

- If you go for the latter, make sure that your external IP address is accessible and maps to your computers' local IP. Make sure configuring the NAT settings in your router and optionally setting up a Dynamic DNS service.

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