In this technology world, we are no longer restricted to watch our favorite TV shows or channels. With the internet and IPTV, you can easily stream and watch any tv shows, movies, radio or any song. There is no restriction of a specific time or place to watch it.
IPTV is growing rapidly. So many new providers and services providing IPTV services with more offers alongside traditional TV providers. Let’s learn about IPTV service.
What is IPTV?
IPTV stands for Internet Protocol Television (IPTV). It is a broadcasting service that delivers television programs, videos, songs, and other content through a TCP/IP network, internet connection. You can watch any show or content you want at any time. This is exactly opposite to typical television channel broadcasting which is provided through satellite signals or traditional cable service.
IPTV gives you so many benefits over typical media. It gives you the ability to stream continuously and watch any source media content through the internet.
IPTV content can be delivered through the private network as well as public networks. The network operator can control the video traffic to keep the quality and reliability of the service.
Classifications of IPTV services:
- Video on Demand: With the help of unicast transmission with the Real-Time Streaming Protocol, users can watch their favorite videos from the list as many times as they want. Movie providing sites use this VOD (Video on Demand) streaming. Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime are some examples of VOD streaming service. [Check out HOW TO WATCH NETFLIX IN 4K ON PC]
- Live IPTV: By using Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) version 2, IPTV service allows users to watch live television transmissions. It uses low latency to stream live television.
- Digital-Video Recordings: Digital-Video Recordings are nothing but time-shifted media, which allows you to watch time-delayed television broadcast. You can watch or replay your favorite live events, songs, television shows.
How Does IPTV Broadcasting Works?
IPTV transports digital signals over the internet. IPTV uses IP (Internet Protocol) based network instead of cable or satellite to deliver TV channels to set-top boxes of users. When you stream IPTV, the recorded or live television program is converted into the digital signal from an analog signal.
For the smooth streaming of videos, the service also compresses videos to reduce the size. Most videos are in MPEG2 or newer MPEG4 high-quality format. In this way, program preparation is finished.
IP multicasting is used for web streaming. IPTV service providers use CDN (Content Delivery System) for quick delivery of packets of data in different geo-locations. CDN decreases server load resulting in quick streaming and buffering of programs.
How to use IPTV Service?
You only need a computer and a good internet connection to enjoy IPTV services. You can also use your set-top box and watch the programs on your high definition television sets. The set-top box should be compatible with the internet connection.
Do you know that you can start your own IPTV service too! You can signup to IPTV service providers to upload your content, as they have big server capacity, bandwidth, distribution channels you need. In this way, you can share your videos, creativity with the world.
How to setup IPTV using TV Streams?
You can use TV Streams applications on Android, iOS, tvOS, Windows, and Mac operating Systems to watch IPTV. First, find M3U playlists to add channels to the app. You can get free playlists – M3U Playlists – add it to the app. After adding the list in the app, you can watch your favorite television shows, videos, radio or any songs.
You can sync imported channels with your devices. As some links are free, it expires after 24 hours.
What is an M3U Playlist and M3U Files?
When you watch television programs through IPTV service on your computer, the service uses M3U extension with video or audio files. Video and audio players use this M3U file to identify channels, programs, and playback.
So what does M3U stand for? M3U stands for MP3 URL. The full form of M3U is Moving Picture Experts Group Audio Layer 3 Uniform Resource Locator. It is not an actual audio file itself but it index entries to each required music or videos.
M3U file is a plain text file and is saved with .M3U filename extension. The Unicode version of M3U is M3U8 files, which are important for HTTP Live streaming. These M3U8 files are UTF-8 encoded M3U files.
If you handle M3U files carelessly, it can cause some vulnerabilities. So be careful while editing or opening the M3U file.
How to Open or Build the M3U Playlists?
You can use various multimedia players to open M3U files. VLC player is good for it, as it supports M3U, M3U8, CUE, IFO, PLS, XSPF, CONF, WVX, ASX file formats. You can also use Windows Media Player, Audacious, iTunes or Text Editor.
The multimedia players or audio players you use can create playlists of your favorite shows, movies, songs. These playlists are then collected into a single M3U playlist file. These M3U files can be opened using any text editor because the information compiled in the file is text-based.
For example, this information can be found written in the following syntax:
If you want to build an M3U file, you have to use proper syntax. Here is another example:
#EXTINF:451, Example artist – Example title
#EXTINF:895, Example Artist2 – Example title2
Each channel description contains 2 lines. The first line contains the name of the channel in the playlist whereas the second line contains the direct channel address on the server, username, and password of the user. Username and password allow proper identification and channel ID access.
The application reads both two lines and displays names on the channel list whenever we open the playlist with multimedia or audio players. A request is sent to the intended server. The Player also sends encrypted requests to the server. Then the player receives the packets which are converted to images on your preferred device and the desired channel gets displayed.
Which multimedia players support M3U File Type?
You will need to use M3U file type supported multimedia players to use M3U playlists files. Here is a list of some multimedia players which supports M3U files:
- Astro Player (For Android)
- Foobar 2000 (For Windows)
- GNome Videos
- JRiver Media Center (For Windows)
- JuK (For Windows)
- Media Monkey (For Windows)
- N7 Player (For Android)
- New Nintendo 3DS, XL, 2DS XL with Internet Browser App (For Nintendo)
- PotPlayer (For Windows)
- QuickTime Player (For Mac)
- VLC Media Player
- Winamp (For Windows)
- Windows Media Player (For Windows)
- XMPlay (For Windows)
Tag editors like EasyTAG (For Linux), Puddletag, Mp3Tag (For Windows) has support for creating M3U files.
How to Open M3U files with VLC Player?
First, download the M3U file and open it. Then select the M3U Playlist URL you want and Copy it. Now you have to import M3U URL to VLC Player. For this, open VLC Player and go to Media > Open Network Stream.
In the new window box, choose “Network”, Paste the URL and click “Play”. After clicking Play, your M3U files will start playing media.
You can also Drag the M3U File into VLC Player. The player will automatically play the whole playlist.
How to Play M3U files with iTunes?
Download the M3U file and open it. Then select the M3U Playlist URL you want and Copy it. Open iTunes and go to Files > Open Streams. Now paste the copied M3U audio URL in the window. Now you can enjoy music in the Internet Songs section. You will need a good internet connection for streaming the audio playlist.
How to Convert M3U Files?
As mentioned above, M3U files are just text files, you can convert them into media formats like MP4, MP3, M4A, AVI formats. There are different methods to convert M3U files.
In the VLC player, you can change file format from the menu Media > Save Playlist To File and choose the format you want.
If you want to change .M3U file to .txt (Text file format), you can just rename the extension to .txt to convert the M3U file. There are some M3UExportTools to convert these types of files.
People who like to use the command line can use curl to download M3U container audio with curl. First, copy the URL with cat: cat sample.m3u. Then launch Terminal and use curl -O [url] command syntax. Then specify the URL and protocol, for example,
curl -O http://example.com/example/path/name.mp3
After this, the curl will start downloading the file. You can find the file in the downloaded location. Downloading through browser or command will be good for you, as the file will be stored locally. You will not need to stream the M3U file again online after downloading locally.