There are internet providers that are also TV providers and the user is able (at least in France) to see at least some of the TV stations (he/she is paying for) in VLC on a computer connected to an Internet connection provided by the aforementioned TV & internet provider. The TV stations are accessed as a playlist or as a VLC addon - at least for some providers: like this. This VLC addon was not updated for VLC 3.x and (now I notice) is even absent at that address - while it can still be installed from within VLC, even from VLC 3.x, only it shows no stations in that version.

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When it works it looks like this:

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The list of channels can still be accessed and played as a playlist (like this). That VLC addon (lua file) that works in 2.x is this.

I was wondering whether those TV stations can be played by other video players beside VLC.

That playlist cannot be played by mpv, smplayer or other video players that I have tried until recently, and I was convinced that only VLC can: but, testing in Kubuntu 18.04 I have seen that Kaffeine can play it too.

What does it take for a video player to be able to play those TV stations? Is it a codec? Can they be played by other video players? Is it limited to VLC and Kaffeine? (I think Kaffeine is based on Xine, but Xine-ui cannot play those TV stations either.)

  • There’s nothing special about IPTV. It’s just a playlist that contains the multicast groups VLC has to subscribe to. That should not require any plugins. – Daniel B May 15 '18 at 9:05
  • @DanielB - the question is: what does a player need to play those stations. Given the answer below, I am aware of only a few that can: VLC, Kaffeine, Totem, Dragon (but the latter has no playlist display, cannot switch stations). – user162573 May 15 '18 at 11:32

For Freebox TV streams in particular, the requirements are RTSP support, and whatever video/audio codec is necessary to decode the streams (here, H.264 and MPEG-2 audio). I would expect most video clients to be capable of handling the video and audio, but RTSP support isn’t as widespread; at least Totem can access the playlist and display the streams, so it’s not just VLC and Kaffeine.

The playlist itself (available here on a Free connection with TV) is a M3U playlist with extensions; these aren’t necessary to understand the TV streams:

#EXTINF:0,2 - France 2 HD
#EXTINF:0,2 - France 2 
#EXTINF:0,2 - France 2 (bas débit)

(the extended information provides the channel name and number), but are for radio streams:

#EXTINF:0,10001 - Europe 1
#EXTINF:0,10004 - RMC Info

This doesn’t stop other players from displaying the radio streams, but the user needs to manually select the appropriate track.

  • I would expect most video clients to be capable of handling this - instead of "most" you should say "other". The majority of video players that I use because I consider them most capable allaround (excepting vlc: mpv, smplayer, gnome-player, qmplay2) cannot play that list. - As for RTSP support, and whatever video/audio codec is necessary to decode the streams (here, H.264 and MPEG-2 audio): I think that is the answer. Amusingly, Dragon Player can play the stations but it is missing a playlist display itself, so one cannot switch between them. – user162573 May 15 '18 at 11:25
  • I'll look at Totem when I'll find myself in a gnome-related desktop, I'm here in KDE and that player is coming with a lot of gnomish stuff. - I'll wait a bit more before marking your answer as definitive because I'm curious about other answers. – user162573 May 15 '18 at 11:28
  • Updated, you’re right; I suspect RTSP to be the main factor here. – Stephen Kitt May 15 '18 at 11:30
  • Video players with RTSP support – user162573 May 15 '18 at 11:48

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