An M3U file, also known as Moving Picture Experts Group Audio Layer 3 Uniform Resource Locator, is a computer file engineered for a multimedia playlist. This M3U file simply just points to an audio file so that the media player can keep them in line for a playback. These are audio playlist files that are stored with the .m3u extension. These M3U files have a texted based file format which also stands for MP3 URL, which gives you access to stream free online videos and music websites.
.M3U File Format
Considering the format of the M3U file, we’ve studied that there is no such specific file format. It is known to be the de-facto standard. M3U files contain a text playlist of any local audio playlist or a link to the respective audio content. It is just a simple text file that functions using the .m3u extension. This media player lines them up for an audio stream and also supports video file references.
How to Create a M3U Playlist File?
The simplest method of creating an M3U file is to encrypt a .txt file onto your computer, which you can later edit with the help of the notepad. You can add in songs, movies, channels, or video clips. As said before, an M3U file is a plain file that contains index entries to each item stored in it.
Every single file must contain a 2-line description that directly points out the online source. It is necessary to use the proper syntax. Here is an example of a syntax source:
The number that is following the “#EXTINF” section is the audio length denoted in seconds. You can simply drag and drop all your media files from your desktop into the newly created M3U playlist.
Below are some of the directives used as an extension for M3U files:
- #EXTM3U – The file header indicates Extended M3U and must be the first line of the file.
- #EXTENC: – Text encoding. It must be the 2nd line of the file.
- #EXTINF: – Used for track information and other additional properties.
- #PLAYLIST: – The title of the playlist
- #EXTGRP: – Begin name grouping
- #EXTALB: – Album information
- #EXTART: – Album artist
- #EXTGENRE – Album Genre
- #EXTM3A – Single file playlist for album tracks or chapters.
- #EXTBYT: – File size in bytes.
- #EXTBIN: – Binary data follows.
- #EXTIMG: – Logo, Cover or other images.
Software’s that can Open M3U Playlists
- Media Monkey
- VideoLAN VLC Media Player
- RealPlayer Cloud
- K-Lite Codec Pack
- Media Player Classic 1.9.1
- Microsoft Media Player
How to Convert an M3U File?
As an M3U is a plain text file, it means that you cannot change or convert the respective file into MP3, MP4, or any other media format. You can only change the M3U file into another playlist format.
1. Copy the URL you want to convert.
2. Open VLC media player, and click on the “Media” tab icon, and select “Open Network Stream.”
3. This opens up a new window, and you can paste the copied URL and click “Convert.”
4. Another window will open up for you to choose the RL conversion settings and save the file in your desired destination. Next, select “Start.”
5. Wait for the process to complete, and you can play an M3U audio file as an MP3 or MP4 file.
How to Play M3U Files on VLC, Windows?
1. Download the M3U file list and open it and copy one of the URL links mentioned below in the image.
2. Open VLC media player and click on the “Media” tab located at the top-left, and select “Open Network Stream.”
3. Click on “Network” and paste the copied M3U URL into the box, and next click on “Play.”
4. After the above process has been completed, you can play any M3U file with the help of a VLC media player.
How to Play M3U File with iTunes?
iTunes is also widely used to play M3U files. Here you can simply import all the M3U files directly. It is a popular way to start audio playback with the help of streaming media. Below are the steps to play an M3U file with iTunes:
1. Open iTunes and select “Open Stream” under the file.
2. Copy and paste the download M3U URL within the space provided in the pop-up window.
3. Play the audio in the “Internet Songs” section under the library.
Furthermore, when you directly save an M3U file into iTunes, make sure that your network is unblocked because if the network gets disconnected, you won’t be able to access the audio files.
How to Play M3U files with Kodi?
If you want to play an M3U file on Kodi, you will have to install the PVR Simple Client add-on, which is backed by an IPTV subscription.
1. Open Kodi and scroll to “System Settings” and open the new window.
2. Next, click on “Add-ons” and tap onto “Install from repository.”
3. The next page opens, selects PVR Clients and click on “PVR IPTV Simple Client” on the right sidebar.
4. Click install, and once the installation is complete, go to Settings > Add-ons > My Add-ons.
5. Open PVR clients and select PVR IPTV Simple Client M3U Playlist URL.
6. Under the current tab, select Configure and tap on “M3U Playlist URL”.
7. Type in the best M3u Playlist URL free that your provider gives.
8. Click “OK” and Exit Kodi, and now you can play the M3U file with Kodi.
How to Play M3U File on FireStick?
1. In the FireStick Menu tab, scroll to Settings and select “My Fire TV.”
2. Select on Developer Options and tap to switch on the option “Apps from unknown sources.”
3. Download the ‘Downloader’ app.
4. On the other hand, open the URL path to the free M3U Playlist Player that is, Perfect Player App. Type in the required URL when prompted.
5. Allow the App to install the files and click “Done.”
6. To import the files, open Perfect Player App on your Fire Stick > Settings > General > Playlist and paste in the URL offered by your IPTV provider and save it.
How to Play M3U on Android?
M3U IPTV Player is one of the apps we’ve recommended to play M3U files on an Android device.
1. Download M3U IPTV Player on Mobile or Tablet and Launch the app.
2. On the main window of the app, you will see 2 options: From Network and Local Path.
3. If you want to play an M3U file from the desired network, simply just copy-paste the M3U URL into the “From Network” space.
4. On the other hand, if you are going to select a playlist from your local drive, click the “Browse” and add the respective drive playlist.
5. Once you have clicked either of the options, press “Play,” and the M3U Player will immediately play your playlist.
We have carefully curated a list of in-depth guides on Using M3U Files and How you can open/play them using different software apps. With an M3U file, you are not restricted to watch your favorite TV shows, movies, and music only on the television or radio but can listen to them on your desktop and mobile devices too. We have also helped you understand an M3U file and how you can open it on your Windows 10 Desktop.