Technical Q&A QA1634

AVAudioPlayer Streaming Support

Q:  Does the AVAudioPlayer provide support for streaming audio content?

A: The AVAudioPlayer class does not provide support for streaming audio based on HTTP URL's. The URL used with initWithContentsOfURL: must be a File URL (file://). That is, a local path.

As mentioned in Core Audio Essentials, the AVAudioPlayer class is ideal for applications that require a simple Objective-C interface for audio playback, are not concerned about audio positioning or precise synchronization, and are not playing audio from a network stream.

To play streamed audio, connect to a network stream using the CFNetwork interfaces from Core Foundation, such as those in CFHTTPMessage. Parse the network packets into audio packets using Audio File Stream Services (AudioToolbox/AudioFileStream.h) and play the audio packets using Audio Queue Services (AudioToolbox/AudioQueue.h). You may also use Audio File Stream Services to parse audio packets from an on-disk file.

AVPlayer (available in iOS 4.0 and later) may also be used to stream audio content.


A sample called AudioFileStreamExample demonstrates the use of Audio File Stream APIs and can be found in the Mac OS X Reference Library.

SpeakHere - Demonstrates Audio Queue Services.

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