ExoPlayer supports HLS with multiple container formats. The contained audio and video sample formats must also be supported (see the sample formats section for details). We strongly encourage HLS content producers to generate high quality HLS streams, as described here.

Feature Supported Comment
Closed captions/subtitles    
CEA-608 YES  
ID3 metadata YES  
Content protection    
AES-128 YES  
Sample AES-128 NO  
Widevine YES API 19+ (“cenc” scheme) and 25+ (“cbcs” scheme)
PlayReady SL2000 YES Android TV only

Creating a MediaSource

To play an HLS stream, create an HlsMediaSource and prepare the player with it as usual.

// Create a data source factory.
DataSource.Factory dataSourceFactory =
    new DefaultHttpDataSourceFactory(Util.getUserAgent(context, "app-name"));
// Create a HLS media source pointing to a playlist uri.
HlsMediaSource hlsMediaSource =
    new HlsMediaSource.Factory(dataSourceFactory).createMediaSource(uri);
// Create a player instance.
SimpleExoPlayer player = ExoPlayerFactory.newSimpleInstance(context);
// Prepare the player with the HLS media source.

The URI passed to HlsMediaSource.Factory.createMediaSource() may point to either a media playlist or a master playlist. If the URI points to a master playlist that declares multiple #EXT-X-STREAM-INF tags then ExoPlayer will automatically adapt between variants, taking into account both available bandwidth and device capabilities.

Accessing the manifest

You can retrieve the current manifest by calling Player.getCurrentManifest. For HLS you should cast the returned object to HlsManifest. The onTimelineChanged callback of Player.EventListener is also called whenever the manifest is loaded. This will happen once for a on-demand content, and possibly many times for live content. The code snippet below shows how an app can do something whenever the manifest is loaded.

    new Player.EventListener() {
      public void onTimelineChanged(
          Timeline timeline,
          @Nullable Object manifest,
          @Player.TimelineChangeReason int reason) {
        if (manifest != null) {
          HlsManifest hlsManifest = (HlsManifest) manifest;
          // Do something with the manifest.

Customizing HLS playback

ExoPlayer provides multiple ways for you to tailor playback experience to your app’s needs. The following sections briefly document some of the customization options available when building a HlsMediaSource. See the Customization page for more general customization options.

Enabling faster start-up times

You can improve HLS start up times noticeably by enabling chunkless preparation. When you enable chunkless preparation and #EXT-X-STREAM-INF tags contain the CODECS attribute, ExoPlayer will avoid downloading media segments as part of preparation. The following snippet shows how to enable chunkless preparation:

HlsMediaSource hlsMediaSource =
    new HlsMediaSource.Factory(dataSourceFactory)

You can find more details in our Medium post about chunkless preparation.

Customizing server interactions

Some apps may want to intercept HTTP requests and responses. You may want to inject custom request headers, read the server’s response headers, modify the requests’ URIs, etc. For example, your app may authenticate itself by injecting a custom token in the URIs that access the media segments. You can achieve these behaviors by injecting custom HttpDataSources into the HlsMediaSource you create. The following snippet shows an example of request header injection:

HlsMediaSource hlsMediaSource =
    new HlsMediaSource.Factory(
            dataType -> {
              HttpDataSource dataSource =
                  new DefaultHttpDataSource(userAgent);
              if (dataType == C.DATA_TYPE_MEDIA) {
                // The data source will be used for fetching media segments. We
                // set a custom authentication request header.
                dataSource.setRequestProperty("Header", "Value");
              return dataSource;

Customizing error handling

Implementing a custom LoadErrorHandlingPolicy allows apps to customize the way ExoPlayer reacts to load errors. For example, an app may want fail fast instead of retrying many times, or may want to customize the back-off logic that controls how long the player waits between each retry. The following snippet shows how to implement custom back-off logic when creating a HlsMediaSource:

HlsMediaSource hlsMediaSource =
    new HlsMediaSource.Factory(dataSourceFactory)
            new DefaultLoadErrorHandlingPolicy() {
              public long getRetryDelayMsFor(...) {
                // Implement custom back-off logic here.

You will find more information in our Medium post about error handling.

Creating high quality HLS content

In order to get the most out of ExoPlayer, there are certain guidelines you can follow to improve your HLS content. Read our Medium post about HLS playback in ExoPlayer for a full explanation. The main points are:

  • Use precise segment durations.
  • Use a continues media stream; avoid changes in the media structure across segments.
  • Prefer demuxed streams, as opposed to files that include both video and audio.
  • Include all information you can in the Master Playlist.

The following guidelines apply specifically for live streams:

  • Use the #EXT-X-PROGRAM-DATE-TIME tag.
  • Provide a long live window. One minute or more is great.


In case a live stream with limited availability is played, the player may fall behind this live window if the player is paused or buffering for a long enough period of time. In this case a BehindLiveWindowException is thrown, which can be caught to resume the player at the live edge. The PlayerActivity of the demo app exemplifies this approach.

public void onPlayerError(ExoPlaybackException e) {
  if (isBehindLiveWindow(e)) {
    // Re-initialize player at the live edge.
  } else {
    // Handle other errors

private static boolean isBehindLiveWindow(ExoPlaybackException e) {
  if (e.type != ExoPlaybackException.TYPE_SOURCE) {
    return false;
  Throwable cause = e.getSourceException();
  while (cause != null) {
    if (cause instanceof BehindLiveWindowException) {
      return true;
    cause = cause.getCause();
  return false;