timdoug's tidbits


How to Watch Sopcast/Ustream Feeds with VLC on Mac OS X

For certain international sports, the two most popular kinds of streams I've come across are Sopcast and Ustream. Both require a bit of work to set up, but they tend to provide 720p-quality and in VLC they don't contain the endless barrage of advertisements or cause Flash Player-related CPU hogging. I suggest you set everything up well in advance and test with non-sport streams.


  1. Install Xcode through the App Store. This is needed to build the following tools.
  2. Download VLC and make sure to copy it to /Applications.
  3. Install Homebrew. The instructions on the page should be self-explanatory.
  4. Open Terminal.app and type:
    1. brew install rtmpdump
    2. sudo bash -c "CFLAGS=-Qunused-arguments CPPFLAGS=-Qunused-arguments easy_install cffi"
    3. sudo bash -c "CFLAGS=-Qunused-arguments CPPFLAGS=-Qunused-arguments easy_install python-librtmp"
    4. sudo easy_install livestreamer
    These installation instructions you only need to do once.
  5. Once you've got a Ustream URL, open Terminal.app and type livestreamer http://www.ustream.tv/eukanuba substituting the URL appropriately. It'll spit out a list of quality settings.
  6. With that quality setting, now type livestreamer http://www.ustream.tv/eukanuba 480p (note the suffixed quality value) and it'll open VLC and start your stream. Make sure to leave Terminal.app open, or your stream will stop.


  1. Download the Mac .dmg from here.
  2. Mount the downloaded disk image but don't do anything with the application.
  3. Open Terminal.app and type mkdir -p ~/bin && cp /Volumes/SopCast/SopCast.app/Contents/Resources/binaries/m32/sp-sc-auth ~/bin. You can now unmount and remove the disk image. Everything up to now you only need to do once.
  4. When you've found a stream, open Terminal.app again and type ~/bin/spsc-auth sop://broker.sopcast.com:3912/xxxxxx 3000 3001 (substituting the Sopcast URL appropriately) and leave it running. If you quit Terminal.app it'll stop the stream.
  5. Open VLC and go to File -> Open Network.... In the URL field type http://localhost:3001 and click Open; you should be good to go.

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