Parsing M3U Playlists in Python with the m3u-ipytv Library

By | October 16, 2023

M3U playlists are a popular format for storing multimedia playlists, and they are widely used for organizing TV channels, radio stations, and video content. In this blog post, we’ll explore how to work with M3U playlists in Python using the m3u-ipytv library. We’ll cover the process of creating a Python script that can parse an M3U playlist file and extract a list of TV channel names. The code we’ll be discussing provides two main functionalities: counting the number of channels and listing the channel names. A popular use case for exporting a list of channel names would be to create TV channel filter lists for your IPTV application (e.g., xTeVe, Plex, etc.).

The m3u-ipytv Library

The m3u-ipytv library is a Python library that provides tools for working with M3U playlist files. It simplifies the process of loading M3U playlists, iterating through the content, and extracting useful information such as channel names. To use this library, you’ll need to install it first. You can do so using pip:

pip install m3u-ipytv

Now, let’s delve into the code that utilizes this library:

from ipytv import playlist
import sys

def safeOpen(path, mode):
    openFile = open(path, mode)
    sys.exit("ERROR: Could not open " + path)
  return openFile

def channel_count(f):
  pl = playlist.loadf(f)
  return print(f'There are {pl.length()} channels.')

def list_channels(f, o):
  outfile = safeOpen(o, 'w')
  channel_list = []
  pl = playlist.loadf(f)
  for channel in pl:

The function includes two methods:

  1. channel_count(f): This method takes the path to an M3U playlist file as a parameter. It calculates and prints the number of channels present in the playlist.
  2. list_channels(f, o): This method takes the path to an M3U playlist file (f) and the path to an output file (o). It loads the playlist file, iterates through the channels, and writes the channel names to the specified output file.

In the code, the safeOpen function is used to open files safely, handling exceptions if the file cannot be opened. This is a good practice to ensure robust file handling.

Python concepts learned

This code introduces and reinforces several fundamental Python concepts:

  1. File handling: The code demonstrates how to open, write to, and close files using Python’s built-in file handling functions.
  2. Exception handling: The try...except block is used to catch and handle exceptions, ensuring that the program doesn’t crash when encountering file-related issues.
  3. Working with Python libraries: The code utilizes an external library, m3u-ipytv, to simplify the parsing of M3U playlists. This showcases how to incorporate third-party libraries into your Python projects.
  4. List iteration: The code iterates through the channels in the M3U playlist and extracts the name of each channel in the playlist.


Working with M3U playlists in Python using the m3u-ipytv library is a useful skill, especially for applications involving multimedia content. This code provides a foundation for extracting channel information from M3U playlists, whether you want to count the number of channels or list their names. Additionally, it reinforces important Python concepts such as file handling, exception handling, library usage, and list iteration, making it a valuable resource for Python developers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.