M3u Vs M3u Plus: Comparative Guide!

Playlists are curated collections of media files arranged for easy playback. Music, videos, and other multimedia content can be organized and managed through it. There are multiple kinds of playlists that come with different features.

So, what’s the difference between M3U vs M3U Plus?

M3U is a simple text file format, while M3U Plus is an advanced XML file format. M3U has very low memory stability, which makes it 70% lighter than M3U Plus. M3U has access to data for channels, movies, and series. On the other hand, M3U Plus provides you with organizational info along with channels, movies, and series.  

There are a few more factors you need to consider. You will get a clear-cut picture regarding each of the factors in a comprehensive manner.

Table of Contents


M3u Vs M3u_Plus: An Quick Overview of Common Factors

M3U stands for “MP3 URL”. Also, it means ‘moving picture experts group audio layer 3 uniform resource locator”. M3U and M3U Plus both are playlist files that are basically used for storing IPTV channels. 

Despite their similarities, there are some differences between them. Now is the time to figure them out quickly

Factors M3U M3U Plus
File format Simpler (Plain text) Advance (XML)
Access Data for channels, movies, and series. No organizational or additional information Data for channels, movies, series, and organizational and additional information.
Memory Low (70% lighter than M3U plus) High
Channel info Only URL Name, description, logo, EPG data
Ease of use Easy to credit and edit Complex to credit and edit
Versatility No Yes

Detailed Discussion of the Common Factors

A glimpse of the differences between M3U and M3U_Plus may spark an idea. The time has come to discuss them extensively. This will help you get to know the playlist better.

Factor 1: File Format

The file formats of M3U are simpler and consist of plain text. So, the simplicity of M3U allows for a straightforward listing of media URLs or file paths. They are the latest and most up-to-date file format form of a playlist. If you’re still using old xtream code files for a playlist, you should be converting xtream code to the latest m3u.

On the other hand, M3U Plus utilizes an advanced format by adopting a base XML format that embraces a more sophisticated structure. It also supports additional metadata such as titles, descriptions, logos, and EPG data enhancing the overall content presentation.



Basically, an XML file is extensible which you can easily adopt and expand. On the other hand, plain text files are generally smaller in size compared to XML files.

Factor 2: Access

M3U has access to channels, movies, and series information. However, it does not contain any organizational or additional information. Media content is listed in a simple structure focusing on the essentials.

On the other hand, M3UPlus offers advanced data storage. It’s able to store organizational and supplementary info along with channels, movies, and series. It goes to prove that M3UPlus provides a more comprehensive framework.

Factor 3: Memory

M3U exhibits a low memory footprint that is approximately lower than that of M3U plus. It makes M3U more efficient in terms of memory consumption.

In contrast M3U Plus necessities higher memory resources due to its additional features. So, it offers enhanced functionality which becomes possible at the cost of increased memory usage. So, your beast TV buffering can occur while playing from an M3U plus playlist due to low memory.

Factor 4: Channel Info

M3U solely focuses on offering URL information. That serves as a straightforward reference for accessing media content.

On the other hand, M3U Plus provides more information than just URLs. It provides extra information such as provider group names, and EPG tags. It also provides info regarding catchup makers and recognizes channel groups. Unlike, M3U vs MAG, here both provide a variety of information about a media file.

Considering the availability of information, M3U_Plus serves you better service. So you should go for M3U Plus if you want to have a more informative and engaging experience.

Factor 5: Versatility

Comparing M3U and M3U Plus, there is a clear difference in versatility. M3U exhibits a lower level of versatility. So, it offers limited flexibility in terms of its capabilities and features.

On the other hand, M3U Plus offers greater versatility. You will get a broader range of functionalities and options. That makes it more adaptable to different use cases and requirements.  Additionally, M3U Plus offers backward compatibility, as opposed to M3U.

Factor 6: Ease of Use

M3U and M3U Plus consist of a big difference regarding the ease of use of the playlist. M3U playlists offer straightforward editing and creation process. This playlist is known for its simplicity of credit and editing.

In contrast, M3U plus playlists are more complex to make and edit. It comes with advanced features which makes it complex. So, if you want to use M3U Plus, it requires a high level of proficiency and understanding of playlist structure.

So, Which One Is Better- M3u or M3u Plus?

XML or advanced text is beneficial when dealing with structured and complex data. For simple and lightweight scenarios, plain text is preferable. If your requirement is lightweight and intended use is easy, go for M3U.

On the other hand, M3U Plus offers a more extensive data storage solution. It would be a holy grail for those who desire a playlist format that includes additional channels, movies, and series data.

Again, M3U’s lower memory utilization makes it an attractive option for memory optimization. However, M3U Plus is essential for those who have requires high memory.

In contrast to M3U, M3U Plus provides more comprehensive information.  So, those who are happy with only URL info, go for M3U. But if you need an engaging and informative experience, M3U Plus is the best option.

Ultimately, the choice between M3U and M3U Plus depends on your specific requirements and needs. So, it’s recommended to consider your needs first.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

What is the best way to open M3U file?

The best way to open and view using various text editors. The popular text editor is Notepad for Windows and Apple TextEdit for Mac. You can access and examine the textual content within an M3U file simply by opening it with one of these text editors. Also, you can use media players like VLC Media Player, and Windows Media Player to open M3U files.

Does Spotify support M3U?

No, Spotify doesn’t support M3U. However, you can use Spotify by using various third-party tools and applications. To do that you can MusConv import M3U playlists and transfer them to Spotify. Also, you can use your existing M3U playlists with Spotify. Here you would need to manually recreate them within the Spotify application.

How do I play M3U files on Chrome?

To play M3U files on Chrome, there are a number of media player extensions available. Among them, VLC players and Windows media players are the most famous. The extension for VLC for Chrome can be downloaded from the Chrome web store. With the extension installed, you can open an M3U file by selecting open network system from the media menu.


Hopefully, you have to go to know the difference between M3U vs M3U Plus.

Both of the playlists are open in your plan’s access data. You need to go for whichever one you need. To find out the best one for you you can analyze the differentiating factors that have been discussed in the article. So, it’s recommended to thoroughly go to the article to understand both of the playlists clearly.


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