Support Articles

Add Custom Channels with M3U Playlists


With Channels DVR Server, you can add your own custom channels from any kind of streaming source.

Create custom channels from your IP Cameras, online webcams, or any other streaming sources that provide MPEG-TS or HLS streams. Import channels from your SAT>IP equipment, TVHeadend, or other software that publish M3U playlists and provide streams.

Utilizing M3U playlists, you can feed Channels your own special streaming channels. You can do this with a URL to an M3U list, or by pasting the raw playlist text directly into Channels DVR Server.

Full Customization for Channels

We’ve added support for custom tags that let your channels look even better inside the app. By using these tags, you can give your custom channel the right title and guide art to really shine inside Channels.

custom channel metadata


M3U playlists are limited to 500 channels. We do not support illegal IPTV sources. Custom Channels are for streams you have legal access to.

EPG data is updated every 24 hours by Channels DVR Server along with the rest of your guide data.

Supported Streaming Formats

Channels supports these video formats and streaming protocols.

  • MPEG-TS: http, https, rtsp, and satip
  • HLS: http and https

M3U Format

Channels accepts the normal M3U format, but there are a few extra tags you can use to ensure things look great in the app.

Supported Metadata Tags

Standard Tags

This is the list of standard tags that are supported.

  • channel-id: REQUIRED unique ID for the channel
  • channel-number: display number for the channel
  • tvg-logo: channel logo url (4x3 aspect ratio)
  • tvg-name: channel callsign

Note: Be sure not to use a channel number that exists in another source’s lineup. Channels will merge them together and use the prioritized channel.

Channels Extensions

We’ve created these new tags that allow you to provide more information to create a better experience in Channels. These are all optional.

Guide Data

Use this tag to set the station identifier and it will automatically get guide data.

  • tvc-guide-stationid: Gracenote station id
Guide Data Fallback Tags

If your custom channel has no guide data, you can use these tags to create default guide data to look better in Channels.

  • tvc-guide-title: guide item title
  • tvc-guide-description: guide item description
  • tvc-guide-art: guide item art url (4x3 aspect ratio)
Codec Information Tags

These tags help speed up transcoding.

  • tvc-stream-vcodec: stream video codec (h264, mpeg2)
  • tvc-stream-acodec: stream audio codec (ac3, aac)

Example M3U Playlist


#EXTINF:-1 channel-id="JPCAM" channel-number="750" tvg-logo="" tvg-name="JPCAM" tvc-guide-title="Jennette's Pier" tvc-guide-description="Live beach cam at Jennette's Pier" tvc-guide-art="",JPCAM

#EXTINF:-1 channel-id="PCAM" channel-number="751" tvg-logo="" tvg-name="PCAM" tvc-guide-title="Platypus Cam" tvc-guide-description="Live platypus cam from the San Diego Zoo." tvc-guide-art="",PCAM

#EXTINF:-1 channel-id="TCAM" channel-number="752" tvg-logo="" tvg-name="TCAM" tvc-guide-title="Live shot of traffic on the Bay Bridge." tvc-guide-description="Live shot of Times Square in New York City." tvc-guide-art="",TCAM

Protip: View more examples on our custom channels examples GitHub repo.

Adding Your M3U Playlist

Add your M3U playlist like you would any other Source.

choose source channels dvr server

You need to give the playlist a unique name and specify the stream format. HLS or MPEG-TS. You have two options for adding the M3U playlist content.

Add via URL

You can add an M3U playlist by its URL. Enter the URL and Channels will import it. This lets you import an M3U playlist from another source or something hosted elsewhere.

Add via Text

You can add an M3U playlist by directly copying its text into the field. You can edit the content at any time.