Media items

The playlist API is based on MediaItems, which can be conveniently built using MediaItem.Builder. Inside the player, media items are converted into playable MediaSources by a MediaSourceFactory. Without custom configuration, this conversion is carried out by a DefaultMediaSourceFactory, which is capable of building complex media sources corresponding to the properties of the media item. Some of the properties that can be set on media items are outlined below.

Simple media items

A media item consisting only of the stream URI can be built with the fromUri convenience method:

MediaItem mediaItem = MediaItem.fromUri(videoUri);

For all other cases a MediaItem.Builder can be used. In the example below, a media item is built with an ID and some attached metadata:

MediaItem mediaItem = new MediaItem.Builder()

Attaching metadata can be useful for updating your app’s UI when playlist transitions occur.

Handling non-standard file extensions

The ExoPlayer library provides adaptive media sources for DASH, HLS and SmoothStreaming. If the URI of such an adaptive media item ends with a standard file extension, the corresponding media source is automatically created. If the URI has a non-standard extension or no extension at all, then the MIME type can be set explicitly to indicate the type of the media item:

// Use the explicit MIME type to build an HLS media item.
MediaItem mediaItem = new MediaItem.Builder()

For progressive media streams a MIME type is not required.

Protected content

For protected content, the media item’s DRM properties should be set:

MediaItem mediaItem = new MediaItem.Builder()

This example builds a media item for Widevine protected content. Inside the player, DefaultMediaSourceFactory will use these properties to create a DrmSessionManager, which is then injected into the created MediaSource. There are more DRM properties that you can use to tailor the DRM configuration to your needs.

Sideloading subtitle tracks

To sideload subtitle tracks, MediaItem.Subtitle instances can be added when when building a media item:

MediaItem.Subtitle subtitle =
    new MediaItem.Subtitle(
        MimeTypes.APPLICATION_SUBRIP, // The correct MIME type.
        language, // The subtitle language. May be null.
        selectionFlags); // Selection flags for the track.

MediaItem mediaItem = new MediaItem.Builder()

Internally, DefaultMediaSourceFactory will use a MergingMediaSource to combiend the content media source with a SingleSampleMediaSource for each subtitle.

Clipping a media stream

It’s possible to clip the content referred to by a media item by setting custom start and end positions:

MediaItem mediaItem = new MediaItem.Builder()

Internally, DefaultMediaSourceFactory will use a ClippingMediaSource to wrap the content media source. There are additional clipping properties. See the MediaItem.Builder Javadoc for more details.

When clipping the start of a video file, try to align the start position with a keyframe if possible. If the start position is not aligned with a keyframe then the player will need to decode and discard data from the previous keyframe up to the start position before playback can begin. This will introduce a short delay at the start of playback, including when the player transitions to playing a clipped media source as part of a playlist or due to looping.

Ad insertion

To insert ads, a media item’s ad tag URI property should be set:

MediaItem mediaItem = new MediaItem.Builder()

Internally, DefaultMediaSourceFactory will wrap the content media source in an AdsMediaSource to insert ads as defined by the ad tag. For this to work, the the player also needs to have its DefaultMediaSourceFactory configured accordingly.