How to add NOAA weather radio (or another streaming radio station) as a radio channel in TVHeadEnd

I confess, this has nothing to do with Satellite TV, but there are times when you may be watching recorded TV or even a saved video on your HTPC and the weather outside starts to have ominous rumblings.  Wouldn’t you like to be able to quickly tune to your local NOAA weather radio station to hear the current forecast and any weather alerts?  I realize most of you will tune to a local TV station or grab your phone to check the weather, but there are satellite TV viewers in parts of the country that lose all local TV reception in severe weather.  So as long as your Internet connection stays up, and assuming there is a stream covering your area, you can do a quick check just by tuning to the NOAA weather radio station.

Of course you should not rely on this as your sole way of getting weather information, since it could unexpectedly go down for a number of reasons.  But another reason for publishing this was to show the basic method of setting up a radio station in TVHeadEnd that originates from a streaming source.  Once set up in this manner, you can listen to it live or even record it using TVHeadEnd’s Digital Video Recorder (Time Schedules).

First, if you have not already created an IPTV Network, see my previous article, Fixing the audio on live TV from a certain network (which shall remain nameless) in TVHeadend and generally follow the process shown there, up to the point where it shows the pipe URL usage. In this case, the pipe command you will want to use should look something like this:

pipe://ffmpeg -loglevel fatal -i http://ADDRESS_OF_STREAM -vn -c copy -strict -2 -metadata service_provider=RADIOPROVIDER -metadata service_name=RADIONAME -f mpegts -mpegts_service_type digital_radio pipe:1

Replace http://ADDRESS_OF_STREAM with the URL to your NOAA weather radio stream. You can go to this Weather Underground page and if a city in your area is on the list of available stations, right click on the mp3 URL link for that city and copy the link. So for example, if you are in Los Angeles, the address would be (as of the date when this article was written – note these links could change over time!).

Optionally, replace RADIOPROVIDER with something meaningful, like NOAA or Weather_Underground. Do not use spaces or punctuation (underscores in place of spaces are okay).

Replace RADIONAME with a meaningful name, like NOAA_Weather_Radio. Again, do not use spaces or punctuation.

Also in the Add Mux screen, make sure the Scan Status is set to PEND and that EPG Scan is disabled. Also it is important that you fill in the Mux Name field with something meaningful, since this will be the default channel name.  Click the Create button and it should find the stream and add it to the Services tab, and from there you can map it to a channel. It seems that with these streams mapping the channel in the normal manner does work.

Here is how the MUX configuration screen should appear after it’s been created and scanned (the Scan Status here shows IDLE, but when first created you’d use PEND):

NOAA Weather Stream Configuration

I won’t guarantee this will work with all audio streams you encounter on the Internet, but it’s always worth a try. In particular, I don’t know how it would work with stream URLs that do not start with http://. But at least this will get you started. If you have a “recipe” for another specific type of stream, please feel free to leave it in the comments.

EDIT: If you are using Tvheadend 4.3 or newer and you get an error such as “iptv: libav: Could not open input ‘pipe:///usr/bin/ffmpeg … (blah, blah) … ‘: Protocol not found”, you probably need to uncheck the box “Use A/V Library” in the IPTV network settings, and/or select “Do not use” in the dropdown for the “Use A/V Library” setting in your Mux settings – see this thread in the Tvheadend forum for details.

You may also be wondering if it’s possible to build a TV channel from an online streaming video source. Well of course it is possible, I just don’t know the “formula” for the pipe command at this time. Credit goes to this thread on the Kodi forum and user kaiseruk for providing the basic format of the pipe URL shown above.

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