2013. október 19., szombat

ASUS O!Play HD2 playlist handling

So I own an ASUS O!Play HD2 and apart of many small problems, I had a huge one: I couldn't make it to load playlists. I've quite large music collection (20,000+ mp3 files), and listening to full folders at a time is just not what I've bought a media center for.


Through UPnP I can see both m3u and pls formats, but whenever I open a playlist it opens, but for each and every song  I receive "File not valid" error from the media center.  Clearly there's a linking problem between the playlist and the media file.

Through SMB I can't see m3u files, just the pls, so I started experimenting with those. The pls format consists of the following:

[playlist] 
And for each track an entry (where # is an increasing number):
File#= Path
Title#= Whatever info is here is shown in the list when opening the playlist.
Length#= Length of track in seconds

Footer with two lines:
NumberOfEntries= number of tracks in the playlist (max of #)
Version=2

Obviously the problem is with the path, Winamp (I think most of us creates playlists with winamp) makes Path an absolute path,  and there's no way to change this in the settings.
Note the drive letter, and the backslashes.
The situation with m3u is the same, just the structure is different. So these files work with Winamp, or any other player, but not with the media center!
As the guys at Asus have never seen Windows, and even if they would have had seen, it surely wouldn't had come with the very expensive Winamp...  so the media center is not prepared to handle the playlists created by this seldom used operating system's nearly unknown software. Whatever.

What I want is to have playlists that work with both the media center, windows and any other OS that I use. The workaround is simple, but having a large collection it's a bit painful: each playlist file has to have the path formatted in Unix way, and it must be a relative path. On wikipedia there's quite a good explanation on it: About path on Wikipedia

Notice the beginning dots, referring to a folder above the playlists folder, and the slashes
Winamp and MS MediaPlayer do recognize this format without problem, Linux players obviously also, so this is just the format we want from our playlists to play them on the media center and anywhere else!

Not to do the change manually or to create new playlists, I found an excellent donateware (there might be others also, but I found this and settled with it) that just does the job: http://www.oddgravity.de/app-opc.php  It's free to download and to use, but if you find it useful, please consider donating to the programmer!

Before creating your first playlist, click on Settings, choose Playlist details from the left list, and on the middle Saving playlist entries section, choose Relative from the dropdown. Make sure you have the "Use forward slashes instead of back slashes" option ticked.

Once you are done, the usage is quite straightforward, open your old playlists, or to make new playlist just drag and drop the music files, folders or even playlists, organize them as you wish, choose .pls format, and click on "create".

Make sure, wherever you save the playlist either that will be its final place, or you understand relative path to know where you can move them, and where not. (I chose to create a folder for playlists on the NAS, so I have all the playlists for all my moods ready to choose and play.)

So that's it. Asus O!Play HD2 does handle playlists just it is a bit picky about the formatting of them.