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How To Play m3u8 Files on Ubuntu with VLC Player

Ubuntu 8

In this article, we will delve into the details of how to play m3u8 files on Ubuntu using VLC Player. m3u8 is a file format that is primarily used for live streaming and is commonly associated with Apple’s HLS (HTTP Live Streaming) format. We will also explore alternative solutions for playing m3u8 files.

Quick Answer

To play m3u8 files on Ubuntu with VLC Player, open VLC Player, go to ‘Media’ in the menu bar, select ‘Open Network Stream’, enter the URL of the m3u8 file, and click ‘Play’.

Understanding m3u8 Files

Before we dive into the how-to, it’s important to understand what m3u8 files are. m3u8 files are based on the m3u playlist file format, but they are designed for UTF-8, a character encoding standard. This format is used to create playlists for media files. A common use of the m3u8 file format is for creating ‘live stream’ playlists, which are used by various internet radio stations.

Playing m3u8 Files with VLC Player

VLC Player is a popular, open-source multimedia player that supports a wide range of audio and video formats. It’s a versatile tool that can handle m3u8 files. However, it’s important to note that VLC may download each video segment before playing it, which can cause gaps between the streams.

Here’s how to play m3u8 files with VLC Player on Ubuntu:

  1. Open VLC Player. If you don’t have it installed, you can download it from the official VLC website.
  2. Click on ‘Media’ in the menu bar, then select ‘Open Network Stream’.
  3. In the dialog box that appears, enter the URL of the m3u8 file you want to play, then click ‘Play’.

Alternative Solutions for Playing m3u8 Files

While VLC Player is a powerful tool, there are other options available for playing m3u8 files on Ubuntu. Here are a few alternatives:

Banshee Media Player or Rhythmbox

Banshee and Rhythmbox are media players that have good support for m3u files, and they may work well for playing m3u8 files. To play an m3u8 file, simply open the file with either of these players.

Changing the File Extension

Another workaround is to change the file extension from .m3u8 to .mp4. This may allow you to play the video as a regular mp4 file. However, this method may not work in all cases.

Conclusion

Playing m3u8 files on Ubuntu is straightforward with VLC Player. However, due to the nature of live streaming, you may experience gaps between the streams. If VLC Player isn’t meeting your needs, consider trying alternative media players like Banshee or Rhythmbox, or even changing the file extension to .mp4.

Remember, the best solution will depend on your specific needs and the nature of the m3u8 file you’re trying to play. Experiment with different methods to find the one that works best for you.

What is the difference between an m3u and an m3u8 file?

An m3u file is a plain text file that contains the locations of one or more media files, while an m3u8 file is an extended version of the m3u format that is designed for UTF-8 encoding and is commonly used for live streaming.

Can VLC Player play other video formats besides m3u8?

Yes, VLC Player is a versatile multimedia player that can handle a wide range of audio and video formats, including popular ones like MP4, AVI, MKV, and more.

Are there any limitations or issues when playing m3u8 files with VLC Player?

When playing m3u8 files with VLC Player, it may download each video segment before playing it, which can cause gaps between the streams. Additionally, VLC Player may not be able to handle certain encryption methods used in m3u8 files.

Can I use Banshee or Rhythmbox to play m3u8 files on Ubuntu?

Banshee and Rhythmbox are media players that have good support for m3u files, but they may not handle m3u8 files as effectively as VLC Player. However, it’s worth trying them as alternative options.

Will changing the file extension from .m3u8 to .mp4 always allow me to play the video?

Changing the file extension from .m3u8 to .mp4 may allow you to play the video as a regular mp4 file in some cases. However, it may not work for all m3u8 files as they are specifically designed for live streaming and may have different segmenting and encryption methods.

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