I would really like to play m3u8 files (more specifically, http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/NTV-Public-IPS.m3u8) but when I try to run it on VLC player, it goes on to multiple .ts files with a very annoying gap between the stream.

Is there any way I can play this stream on ubuntu just as if I were playing it on an iphone (which is what the stream is for).

8 Answers 8

  • m3u8 files are m3u files encoded in utf8.
  • m3u files are a text based playlist format. You can open the file with any text editor and see the that it contains a list with files to be played.
  • if you open the file with vlc, it has to download every single video before playing it. Vlc does not seem to preload the files, this is why the gaps occur.
  • 3
    m3u8 is not m3u, it's based on that playlist format, but it's a different thing. it's a live streaming format. Mar 12, 2012 at 18:02
  • 2
    @KarolyHorvath no its just an addition to the .m3u. M3u is by default not utf8 compatbile Jun 28, 2015 at 13:27
  • 1
    The playlist posted in the question is using Apple's live streaming (HLS) format for multi-bitrate segmented streaming. It's an extension to the m3u(8) format. I wrote a server which supports this kind of streaming. Trust me. My comment (and answer) still holds. VLC (or more precisely older versions of VLC) simply played the segments separately as it wasn't preparred for seamless transition between the segments. Nov 6, 2015 at 16:34

HLS-Player is the way that works for me!


Try using Banshee Media Player (please note I've not tested the stream in question). It has podcast support, and works with m3u's pretty well in my experience, so this should be no different.

Rhythmbox might work just as well actually.


.m3u8 is a apple's live streaming format (hence it plays fine on iPhone).

There is finally an experimental VLC player out there with m3u8 support, try to build it and see if it works ;)


I paste m3u8 file and playlist in "my folder".
Open play list folder. Click any file.
Check its properties by right clicking.
Now copy the path of "play list folder location" and paste it in the m3u8 file. The M3u8 file can be open with a text editor

  • Original path f://xyz/abc_m3u8 contents/
  • New path c:\my folder\abc_m3u8 contents/

Keep only the data of play list files. Remove all other lines from the m3u8 file. Now save file as ". m3u" It can run on any player.


If you really want your video to play then change the extension .m3u8 to .mp4 and that's it. You find it's like other .mp4 files and you can enjoy the video.

  • Thanks, this helped me! I had a .m3u file containing a network stream url which I couldn't get to open by double clicking even though I've tried setting to Open With vlc, Wouldn't work, but when I renamed it .mp3 it works great! Nov 6, 2019 at 4:56

You can install these two plug-ins for firefox and see what happens:

sudo apt-get install mozilla-plugin-vlc gecko-mediaplayer

Open your mousepad or text editor & copy this code

enter code here <EMBED SRC="http://liveips.nasa.gov.edgesuite.net/msfc/Wifi.m3u8" HEIGHT="500" WIDTH="800">

save it as nasa.html

Run it on firefox and you will be asked to

  • install the plugin
  • install run again

and you've got your .m3u8 movie on your file

maybe you need to install gnome mplayer to make it work

it worked for me.

  • My method only works for NASA. M3U8 channels Jul 7, 2011 at 14:04

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