“How can I create an M3U playlist? Am I able to create M3U playlist ever to watch my favorite video streams? Please show me some detailed operation steps to create M3U playlist.”

An m3u playlist is a list of IPTV channels contained in an m3u file format and usually provided by an IPTV service provider. Users can use this playlist to watch their favorite channels online on their preferred devices like TV, computer, smartphones, and tablets. The m3u file can be used using a media player particularly VLC player.  

The m3u file contains a list of channels as well as connection information of each channel such as the name of the channel, channel ID, and direct channel address on the server. You could play back M3U playlist with VLC media player, PotPlayer, Windows Media Player, etc.

The media player processes the m3u file or URL and shows you the channel list. You can select a channel to watch. Once you select the channel, the player will send a request to the server and the server in return send packets that are converted into images on your device and you will be able to watch the channel live.

Then, how to create M3U playlist? The basic method to create an m3u playlist is to create a .txt file onto your computer, which you edit with Notepad (or your preferred text editor). In this file you will add, one by one, paths to songs, movies, channels, or video clips you want.

The m3u playlist is just a file that contains the index entries to each individual item in it, but it’s not a real audio/video file. Each file path should contain a 2-line description that points to the online source. The syntax of the source should look like this:

#EXTINF:-1, Pro Sport 2

The number following the “#EXTINF” section is the audio length in seconds. If the audio is being streamed online and no length is set, then you will see -1. And the m3u URL is the relative path of m3u file.

You can drag& drop audio/video files from your computer into the m3u playlist, and then import it to your device using a preferred app or media player that supports m3u file format.

This guide would show you 4 different tools to help you create M3U playlist on your computer.

Part 1. How to Create M3U Playlist on VLC

The well-known VLC media player has many useful features. You could convert DVD, video & audio with VLC, merge videos with VLC, edit media files with VLC media player,  as well as use VLC to play some rare files. You can also use VLC to create playlist in M3U, M3U8, XSPF, etc.

If you want to create an M3U playlist with VLC media player but have no idea how to do it? You could check the below steps:

  1. Open VLC media player. If you haven't installed this program, visit the link and download the compatible version for your computer:
  2. Click on "View" on the toolbar and choose "Playlist". You can also press Ctrl+L to open the playlist window quickly.
  3. Right-click on the playlist window, select "add files…" or "add folder…" and import audio files or a folder from your computer into VLC. Or you can drag and drop the target files or folder to the window. The drag-and-drop mode also applies to rearranging the orders of audio files.
  4. When you play the M3U file with VLC next time, VLC will queue the audio files as you have arranged.
  5. Select "Media" on the upper-right corner or click the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Y, choose "Save Playlist to File", specify the output path, rename the file and save the type as M3U playlist.
  6. Finally, click on the "Save" button to create M3U file.

The process will be finished at once. You can check the generated M3U files in the output folder you specified just now.

Part 2. How to Create M3U Playlist with Windows Media Player

If you are using Windows 7 or an older version, you can also use Windows Media Player to create M3U playlist. Windows Media Player 12 can also save M3U files instead the program's default format, WPL. Therefore, you only need to download and install Windows Media Player 12 on your computer and then try to make an M3U playlist with Windows Media Player.

After installing Windows Media Player on your computer, follow the below steps to learn how to create M3U playlist with Windows Media Player in detail:

  1. Create a new folder on your PC and put all audio files into it.
  2. Then drag the folder into the Unsaved List section of Windows Media Player.
  3. You can drag each audio file up and down to shift the order.
  4. Click on the drop-down menu and select "Save list as…" to create M3U playlist.
  5. Rename the file, and choose the output format as M3U.
  6. After that, click on "Save" to create M3U file. The default output path is My Music > Playlist. You can define a new output path as well.

Now you have successfully created M3U playlist with Windows Media Player. It won’t take you long to get the M3U playlist.

Part 3. How to Create M3U Playlist in iTunes

iTunes is not only an iOS data manager center that could help you sync iOS devices and play back/purchase media files, but also an M3U playlist creator that enables you to make M3U playlist easily. After you accumulate audio and video files in your iTunes library, you can sort them into playlists. For example, you arrange videos by the date you added them to the iTunes library, or you make a playlist of road trip songs. You can create an M3U file, which is a text file of a playlist or library that retains the way you have ordered your files.

You could then follow the below steps to learn how to make M3U playlist within iTunes on your computer:

  • Launch iTunes on your computer.
  • Click a category such as "Music" or "TV Shows" under "Library" in the left pane of the iTunes window, or click a playlist under "Playlists" option.
  • Click "File" from the iTunes menu.
  • Click "Library" option.
  • Click "Export Playlist" option. A dialog box opens.
  • Click a folder where you want to create an M3U file.
  • Click the "Format" drop-down menu, and then click "M3U" option. Click "Save" to create an M3U file.
  • Isn’t it easy to create M3U playlist with iTunes? Just take a try to see whether it’s easy or not.

    Part 4. How to Create M3U Playlist for IPTV

    Some people want to create M3U playlist for IPTV. Actually, you can use the above method to create your own m3u playlist for IPTV streaming. Alternatively, there are many sources where you can find pre-defined m3u playlists with TV channels and shows, like  GitHub, for instance. Most playlists are free, but they sometimes expire after a while. But once you sync the list with your device, you have permanent access.

    Then to stream IPTV, you need to use a multimedia player that supports the M3U file type. Depending on the device you’re using there are dedicated apps that you can find you Apple Store or Google Store, such as TV Streams, IPTV, or Smart IPTV. You could follow the below steps to stream M3U playlist

    1. Drag and drop downloaded or your self-created IPTV VLC playlist to Media Library to save it there;
    2. Click on the VLC IPTV playlist drop-down menu and choose a channel like "ABC 7 WWSB" to start streaming.

    You can not only create M3U playlists but also play the files with VLC, Windows Media Player, and iTunes. Please note that, if the M3U playlist points to the audio files on your local device, you can't play it on other devices since the media player can't find the file path.

    However, if the M3U file points to a stream online, you can easily play and even share it when connected to WiFi or cellular network. Last but not least, M3U files are plain text files so it's impossible to convert M3U to a playable MP3 or MP4 media file. Of course, you can open an M3U file with Notepad and find the original path of the actual file, which should be like:

    "#EXTINF:300,Nicki Minaj - Barbie Dreams-NA_mp4_Output_3.mp3

    In this example, file:///D:/music/ is the original location of the audio file. Once you find the audio file, you can convert it to any media format with a converter like Leawo Video Converter, a professional video converter that could help you convert video and audio files between hundreds of video and audio file formats for various media players and mobile devices.