Supported formats

When defining the formats that ExoPlayer supports, it’s important to note that “media formats” are defined at multiple levels. From the lowest level to the highest, these are:

  • The format of the individual media samples (e.g., a frame of video or a frame of audio). These are sample formats. Note that a typical video file will contain media in at least two sample formats; one for video (e.g., H.264) and one for audio (e.g., AAC).
  • The format of the container that houses the media samples and associated metadata. These are container formats. A media file has a single container format (e.g., MP4), which is commonly indicated by the file extension. Note that for some audio only formats (e.g., MP3), the sample and container formats may be the same.
  • Adaptive streaming technologies such as DASH, SmoothStreaming and HLS. These are not media formats as such, however it’s still necessary to define what level of support ExoPlayer provides.

The following sections define ExoPlayer’s support at each level, from highest to lowest. The last two sections describe support for standalone subtitle formats and HDR video playback.

Adaptive streaming

DASH

ExoPlayer supports DASH with multiple container formats. Media streams must be demuxed, meaning that video, audio and text must be defined in distinct AdaptationSet elements in the DASH manifest (CEA-608 is an exception as described in the table below). The contained audio and video sample formats must also be supported (see the sample formats section for details).

Feature Supported Comments
Containers    
FMP4 YES Demuxed streams only
WebM YES Demuxed streams only
Matroska YES Demuxed streams only
MPEG-TS NO No support planned
Closed captions/subtitles    
TTML YES Raw, or embedded in FMP4 according to ISO/IEC 14496-30
WebVTT YES Raw, or embedded in FMP4 according to ISO/IEC 14496-30
CEA-608 YES Carried in SEI messages embedded in FMP4 video streams
Metadata    
EMSG metadata YES Embedded in FMP4
Content protection    
Widevine YES “cenc” scheme: API 19+; “cbcs” scheme: API 25+
PlayReady SL2000 YES Android TV, “cenc” scheme only
ClearKey YES API 21+, “cenc” scheme only
Live playback    
Regular live playback YES  
Ultra low-latency CMAF live playback YES  

SmoothStreaming

ExoPlayer supports SmoothStreaming with the FMP4 container format. Media streams must be demuxed, meaning that video, audio and text must be defined in distinct StreamIndex elements in the SmoothStreaming manifest. The contained audio and video sample formats must also be supported (see the sample formats section for details).

Feature Supported Comments
Containers    
FMP4 YES Demuxed streams only
Closed captions/subtitles    
TTML YES Embedded in FMP4
Content protection    
PlayReady SL2000 YES Android TV only
Live playback    
Regular live playback YES  

HLS

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 Comments
Containers    
MPEG-TS YES  
FMP4/CMAF YES  
ADTS (AAC) YES  
MP3 YES  
Closed captions/subtitles    
CEA-608 YES  
WebVTT YES  
Metadata    
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
Server control    
Delta updates YES  
Blocking playlist reload YES  
Blocking load of preload hints YES Except for byteranges with undefined lengths
Live playback    
Regular live playback YES  
Low-latency HLS (Apple) YES  
Low-latency HLS (Community) NO  

Progressive container formats

Streams in the following container formats can be played directly by ExoPlayer. The contained audio and video sample formats must also be supported (see the sample formats section for details).

Container format Supported Comments
MP4 YES  
M4A YES  
FMP4 YES  
WebM YES  
Matroska YES  
MP3 YES Some streams only seekable using constant bitrate seeking**
Ogg YES Containing Vorbis, Opus and FLAC
WAV YES  
MPEG-TS YES  
MPEG-PS YES  
FLV YES Not seekable*
ADTS (AAC) YES Only seekable using constant bitrate seeking**
FLAC YES Using the FLAC extension or the FLAC extractor in the core library***
AMR YES Only seekable using constant bitrate seeking**
JPEG motion photo YES Only the MP4 content is extracted

* Seeking is unsupported because the container does not provide metadata (e.g., a sample index) to allow a media player to perform a seek in an efficient way. If seeking is required, we suggest using a more appropriate container format.

** These extractors have FLAG_ENABLE_CONSTANT_BITRATE_SEEKING flags for enabling approximate seeking using a constant bitrate assumption. This functionality is not enabled by default. The simplest way to enable this functionality for all extractors that support it is to use DefaultExtractorsFactory.setConstantBitrateSeekingEnabled, as described here.

*** The FLAC extension extractor outputs raw audio, which can be handled by the framework on all API levels. The core library FLAC extractor outputs FLAC audio frames and so relies on having a FLAC decoder (e.g., a MediaCodec decoder that handles FLAC (required from API level 27), or the FFmpeg extension with FLAC enabled). The DefaultExtractorsFactory uses the extension extractor if the application was built with the FLAC extension. Otherwise, it uses the core library extractor.

RTSP

ExoPlayer supports both live and on demand RTSP. Supported formats and network types are listed below.

Supported formats

  • H264
  • AAC (with ADTS bitstream)
  • AC3

Supported network types

  • RTP over UDP unicast (multicast is not supported)
  • Interleaved RTSP, RTP over RTSP using TCP

Sample formats

By default ExoPlayer uses Android’s platform decoders. Hence the supported sample formats depend on the underlying platform rather than on ExoPlayer. Sample formats supported by Android devices are documented here. Note that individual devices may support additional formats beyond those listed.

In addition to Android’s platform decoders, ExoPlayer can also make use of software decoder extensions. These must be manually built and included in projects that wish to make use of them. We currently provide software decoder extensions for AV1, VP9, FLAC, Opus and FFmpeg.

FFmpeg extension

The FFmpeg extension supports decoding a variety of different audio sample formats. You can choose which decoders to include when building the extension, as documented in the extension’s README.md. The following table provides a mapping from audio sample format to the corresponding FFmpeg decoder name.

Sample format Decoder name(s)
Vorbis vorbis
Opus opus
FLAC flac
ALAC alac
PCM μ-law pcm_mulaw
PCM A-law pcm_alaw
MP1, MP2, MP3 mp3
AMR-NB amrnb
AMR-WB amrwb
AAC aac
AC-3 ac3
E-AC-3 eac3
DTS, DTS-HD dca
TrueHD mlp truehd

Standalone subtitle formats

ExoPlayer supports standalone subtitle files in a variety of formats. Subtitle files can be side-loaded as described on the Media source page.

Container format Supported MIME type
WebVTT YES MimeTypes.TEXT_VTT
TTML / SMPTE-TT YES MimeTypes.APPLICATION_TTML
SubRip YES MimeTypes.APPLICATION_SUBRIP
SubStationAlpha (SSA/ASS) YES MimeTypes.TEXT_SSA

HDR video playback

ExoPlayer handles extracting high dynamic range (HDR) video in various containers, including Dolby Vision in MP4 and HDR10+ in Matroska/WebM. Decoding and displaying HDR content depends on support from the Android platform and device. See HDR Video Playback to learn about checking for HDR decoding/display capabilities and limitations of HDR support across Android versions.

When playing an HDR stream that requires support for a particular codec profile, ExoPlayer’s default MediaCodec selector will pick a decoder that supports that profile (if available), even if another decoder for the same MIME type that doesn’t support that profile appears higher up the codec list. This can result in selecting a software decoder in cases where the stream exceeds the capabilities of a hardware decoder for the same MIME type.