HOW TO: Create playlists from third party solutions?

There are a number of different ways to create playlists for our playout applications. These playlists can be opened or imported by either OnTheAir Video, OnTheAir Video Express, OnTheAir Manager or OnTheAir Live

You have mainly 2 choices:

  • .txt files: this is the easiest solution, but you will only be able to add clips. You won't be able to set a logo, add in/out points, etc... for that you'll have to create XML playlists
  • XML: this is more complex, as you need to know how to generate XML files. But this is the most flexible solution as you can really set everything that you would set in the OnTheAir Video playlists: set the playlist in loop, add logo overlay, add audio gain, etc...


Using simple .txt files

One of the easiest ways to create playlists for OnTheAir Video is to create a UTF-8 .txt file that holds only the full path to the clips, each clip being separated by a carriage return.

So the text file would look like this:


As you can see it can't be easier. You can also download the sample file "TxtPlaylist.txt" attached to this article.


How to use it with OnTheAir Video ?

You can open these .txt playlists the same way you would open regular .xpls playlists:

  • simply use the menu "File > Open..."
  • drag and drop the txt file on the OnTheAir Video application

This will create a new playlist with all the clips that are in your text file.


Saving the playlist

Note that OnTheAir Video or OnTheAir Video Express can't save these .txt playlist in that format (they would loose a lot of settings). So when you save the playlist, it will be converted to a .xpls XML document.


Using XML (.xpls documents)

Advantages of XML playlists compared to ASCII

When you save a playlist in OnTheAir Video, they are saved in the XML format. Creating a playlist directly in XML (the playlists native format) is a bit more complicated than creating an ASCII playlist, but has some important advantages:

  • You can add as much information in the XML as if you were doing the playlist in OnTheAir Video: for example, you can add logo or graphic overlays (if you have the necessary option,) Actions, In/Out points, etc..
  • The .vpls playlists are natively supported by OnTheAir Video and won't need to be saved once imported (as with an ASCII playlist)

And you can add a lot more information. You can add document settings to indicate whether the playlist is in loop, in chain, or if the Thumbnails are displayed, etc...). Again the best is to create playlists in OnTheAir Video, save them to disk, then to open them with a text editor and inspect the contents of the saved file to what information you need to add to your XML.


How to create an .xpls playlist document

Proabablythe easiest way is to create a .xpls playlist with OnTheAir Video or OnTheAir Video Express and to check how they are created. But below are a few "tricks" to help you create a playlist.


Download the XSD file

The playlists are in XML, and an xsd file is available online to validate the playlists that you create. You can download it here.


Use an application to validate your xml

If you start your xml and include the link to the XSD file, you can validate your XML with applications such as XML nanny. For that, your document should add this at the beginning:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes"?>
<playlistDocument version="3.0" xsi:noNamespaceSchemaLocation="" xmlns:xsi="">

Then open your XML in XML nanny and let it tell you if it's correctly formatted or not.


Are all keys required ?

Aboslutely not! When you create a playlist with OnTheAir Video and OnTheAir Video Express, a lot of information are included (even for example the thumbnail), but they are not all required. In fact only the path to each clip is required. Below, you will find a file to download called "SamplePlaylist_Minimal", this is the smallest playlist you can create, and if you open it with a text editor, it will look like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes"?>
<playlistDocument version="3.0" xsi:noNamespaceSchemaLocation="" xmlns:xsi="">


Playlist compatibility across our playout products  

Differences between OnTheAir Video and OnTheAir Video Express

OnTheAir Video and OnTheAir Video Express use the same kind of XML documents. The two applications can thus open all playlists documents, but some values might not be used by OnTheAir Video Express or by OnTheAir Video if the smart resize and graphics option is disabled.

For example, Actions are only used in OnTheAir Video, they will not work with OnTheAir Video Express. Or another example is that if you add a logo to your playlist, but open it with OnTheAir Video that has the smart playout and graphics option disabled, the logo will not be overlaid.


Differences with OnTheAir Live and OnTheAir Manager 

Both OnTheAir Live and OnTheAir Manager can open .txt playlists, but for xml playlists:

  • OnTheAir Live can only open .vpls playlists (see below), it can not open nor import .xpls playlists currently.
  • OnTheAir Manager can import both .vpls and .xpls playlists


Handling Invalid clips

When you create a playlist in OnTheAir Video by drag and drop, OnTheAir Video will refuse to import invalid clips. When you import an ASCII playlist or open a vpls playlist created externally, this validation can not occur. Invalid clips will then show as "Offline" (with a red cross). Make sure that all your clips are in a format that can be read by OnTheAir Video.



Differences with .vpls playlists

If you already created playlists for OnTheAir Video 2, or OnTheAir Video Express 1, you should know that the format and extension are different:

  • OnTheAir Video 2 / OnTheAir Video Express 1 worked with .vpls documents that were formatted in the plist format. 
  • OnTheAir Video 3 / OnTheAir Video Express 3 work with .xpls documents that were formatted in the XML format.

The good news is that OnTheAir Video 3 and OnTheAir Video Express 3 can still open the playlists created by/for OnTheAir Video 2 / OnTheAir Video Express 1. However, if the playlists are modified you will not be able to save them in the old format, and a new version with the .xpls extension will be created. So it is recommended that you move to the new document format.


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