Streaming Radio Stations on Android

Streaming radio stations or audio files hosted on streaming servers on Android is pretty straight-forward. But then, Android has it’s limitations. It won’t stream just any file or radio station. In this post, I would not be specifying the formats or protocols that Android supports. Rather, this example is just a walk through of how the MediaPlayer class should be used to stream audio files/radio stations.

For an example here, I have used a SHOUTcast radio station. The URL for the source is:
http://shoutcast2.omroep.nl:8104/

The accompanying sample project contains a ProgressBar, two Buttons (for playing and stopping the MediaPlayer).

Before running the example, one should look into the documentation of the MediaPlayer class. A look at the state diagram would perhaps help you clear to understand how it actually works.

To initialize the MediaPlayer, you need a few lines of code. There you go:

MediaPlayer player = new MediaPlayer();

player.setDataSource(“http://shoutcast2.omroep.nl:8104/”);

Now that the MediaPlayer object is initialized, you are ready to start streaming. Ok, not actually. You will need to issue the MediaPlayer’s prepare command. There are 2 variations of this.

  1. prepare(): This is a synchronous call, which is blocked until the MediaPlayer object gets into the prepared state. This is okay if you are trying to play local files that would take the MediaPlayer longer, else your main thread will be blocked.
  2. prepareAsync(): This is, as the name suggests, an asynchronous call. It returns immediately. But, that obvisouly, doesn’t mean that the MediaPlayer is prepared yet. You will still have to wait for it to get into the prepared state, but since this method will not block your main thread, you can use this method when you are trying to stream some content from somewhere else. You will get a callback, when the MediaPlayer is ready through onPrepared(MediaPlayer mp) method, and then, the playing can start.

So, for our example, the best choice would be:

player.prepareAsync();

You need to attach a listener to the MediaPlayer to receive the callback when it is prepared. This is the code for that.

player.setOnPreparedListener(new OnPreparedListener(){

            public void onPrepared(MediaPlayer mp) {
                     player.start();
            }
 

});

Once, it goes into the prepared state, you can now start playing. Simple???? Yes, of course. Just to wrap it up, to stop the MediaPlayer, you need to call the stop() method.

There are several other helper methods which lets you query the progress or status of the player. Jump to the docs page and you will find more information on them. You can checkout the source code here.

Project source for the new Eclipse + Android tool chain. Download here.

NOTE: This sample project is tested on Gingerbread(2.3) and should work on Froyo(2.2) and above.