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-   -   What is the format of M3U playlists? (http://www.anythingbutipod.com/forum/showthread.php?t=23979)

jeffw 12-28-2007 11:00 AM

What is the format of M3U playlists?
First off, let me say the sport is very cool. Excellent design and function.

I'm trying to figure out how to get the M3U playlist files formatted properly and transferred from my linux box.

I have a 2Gig sport. Firmware is 1.008

1) Where do M3U files belong? I put them in the Music folder, and the sport seemed to find them but won't play them. So then I looked at my daughter's unit, which is a windows based unit, and saw the Playlist folder, so I tried putting the M3U files there. Sport found them, but again won't play them. That leads to the second question:

2) What is the exact format of the M3U files? Are filenames case sensitive? Does it need complete path names, or is it some shortened relative pathname? i.e. assuming the mp3 or ogg files are in the Music folder, would a M3U line be




or ??

If someone can answer this that would be great. I'll probably end up writing a perl script that properly formats M3U files it finds on the insignia and would be happy to share once I understand the details.

Thanks for any info!
Jeff Welty

Almoxil 12-28-2007 04:59 PM

I hope this article from Wikipedia will help a little.

You can also take a look at WinAmp's forums.

If that's not enough, try googling for "M3U specs" or "M3U specification".

By the way, welcome to ABi! :)

jeffw 12-28-2007 08:08 PM

Hi Almoxil,

Thanks for the reply, and thanks for the forum! I should have said I understand what the format of a M3U file is, the real question is how do they work on the insignia sport with regard to path names and location of the M3U files themselves? If someone had a simple example that would probably be enough. I've tried a lot of variations with no success. Variations I tried include location of the M3U file, relative and absolute pathnames, using backslashes instead of slashes to separate subfolders (what we used to call directories in the old days :) ) Does every audio file specified in the M3U have to be located (because I used one M3U to see if it could find a single file with variations on paths).


jeffw 12-29-2007 10:19 PM

More things that don't work, M3U-testing
I have a mp3 located on the player at:


I made 10 different M3U files like so:

test1.m3u had 1 line:

test2.m3u had 1 line:

test3.m3u had 1 line

test4.m3u had 1 line

test5.m3u had 1 line

The next files "test6.m3u" thru "test10".m3u were identical, except I I used a backslash to separate the directories here's test10.m3u for example:

I put these 10 files in /Music/dan_fogelberg/ The sport shows them as playlists, but when I attempt to play any one of them nothing happens, the player just remains paused.

I put those 10 files in /Playlists and tried again. Same result.

So out of desparation, I went to a windows XP machine, and attempted to load a playlist via the rhapsody software fontend. It claims to have transfered a playlist, but I don't see it on the sport.

So, now I'm wondering, has anyone had any success with M3U playlists on the sport at all?

Sorry to be such a pest, but this is an absolute killer feature -- I'd love to get it working.

Thanks for any info, at all!

epithetless 12-30-2007 05:22 AM

Good luck with this, and let us know if you have any future success. Based on Insignia's so-called implementation of this feature on the NS-DVxG line of players, I'd say they are using some kind of mystery M3U format known to neither beast nor man. It's quite frustrating, actually.

digitaldel 12-30-2007 12:07 PM

The format should look like this:

#EXTINF:2,tone 1wma
#EXTINF:2,tone 2wma

It does work, but we have seen a bug with larger playlists in which it takes an excessively long time to rebuild. The next F/W drop (this will also be supported on the DVxG F/W release) will support more robust M3U's including those created directly from Media Monkey.

epithetless 12-30-2007 02:11 PM

Nice. Many thanks for the info, digitaldel. Looking forward to that new F/W release!

jeffw 12-30-2007 04:52 PM

THANKS digitaldel!

One other thing for the linux folks, I just tried the M3U with standard unix LF line terminators and it did not work. It hit me that the file may need CRLF termination (ala a dos text file). Sure enough that works.

The other important detail is that pathnames need to be separated by backslashes, not forward slashes.

It works with relative pathnames like "mp3\nexus.mp3" and full pathnames like "\Music\mp3\nexus.mp3"

this is sooo cool!

I will work on some Perl code to create properly formated m3u files from any given m3u files, of course it will work with ogg or mp3.

On to the land of Perl :-)

jeffw 01-10-2008 10:00 PM

Just thought I'd report back that I have Perl code that runs under linux, and will traverse a directory tree and reformat any M3U files for the insignia sport.

I regard it as very experimental still, but if anyone is interested in trying it out please say so.

  • recursively searches the directory tree for all existing m3u files
  • works with either ogg or mp3 files
  • uses existing title tags in audio files if available.
  • asks before overwriting each m3u file with format necessary for insignia (this format doesn't work on *nix)

newkev 01-18-2008 08:18 PM


Is there any way I can take a look at your script? I have an insignia DV4G and I'm trying to write some code to generate m3u playlists and I can't get the format exactly right...

jeffw 01-19-2008 10:57 AM

Script temporarily available
I put the script at:


I'll probably move it someplace more formal later.


epithetless 01-20-2008 06:03 PM


Originally Posted by newkev (Post 206152)

Is there any way I can take a look at your script? I have an insignia DV4G and I'm trying to write some code to generate m3u playlists and I can't get the format exactly right...

Newkev, if you're able to get that DV4G script working, would you mind sharing it as well?

shadoweater12081980 03-12-2008 09:21 AM

As long as the m3u is in the same directory as the files you can do it very simply at command line (dos or konsole etc)

dir /b *.mp3 > playlist.m3u

you don't need fancy scripts or software. I've been doing it this way for YEARS!

The output file will be an alphabetically sorted list of the files in the folder (Useful to use track numbers with leading zeros here)

et voilla!

This works in Linux too.


jeffw 04-09-2008 09:01 AM


Originally Posted by shadoweater12081980 (Post 225997)
As long as the m3u is in the same directory as the files you can do it very simply at command line (dos or konsole etc)

dir /b *.mp3 > playlist.m3u

Have you actually tried that? If you read upthread you'll see I tried a bunch of variations on that theme and none work -- it seems the sport is *very* picky about the playlist format, even requiring cr/lf terminators (which linux won't give you by default).

But I wonder now that maybe the problem all along was the cr/lf terminators. Could you please confirm that the simple playlists with only the filenames work on DOS?

EVERYONE -- it seems that the perl script I put on the site is not downloadable -- try again but with this URL:



jeffw 04-12-2008 10:06 AM

I tried the simple listing of audio files using cr/lf line terminators, no luck. The format below still appears to be the only way my sport will support m3u playlists. I am at version 1.008 of the firmware.

#EXTINF:2,tone 1wma
#EXTINF:2,tone 2wma


Mark29 05-07-2008 05:49 PM

I'm new to the forum and new to the Insignia Sport which I got recently for my wife. So I gather from this thread that there is no software known to man that can create & edit playlists on this device? How difficult could it be - isn't a playlist simply a file with 'pointers' to the selected songs?

I have a Dell player purchased several years ago, and at the time I was able to use Rhapsody software to create & edit playlists - without having to transfer the playlist directly from the PC.

The ability to create & edit a playlist independently of music on the host pc should be a very basic thing on a mp3 player, shouldn't it?

By the way, I just got off the phone with Insignia's so-called mp3 support, what a waste of time. So if my post sounds a little bitter, that's why.


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