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Playlists - need help understanding


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We use playlists a lot for video files. In fact, it’s the primary reasons we moved over from Plex, because Emby has so many more options for dealing with playlists.

However, in using it, I’ve learned that there is an oddity with the way that Emby deals with playlists. When Emby makes a playlist, if more than one version of a file exists, Emby chooses a non-specific or random version of the title that you add to the playlist. The user has no idea which version it chooses or why. It won’t always choose the highest or lowest resolution, or the mkv or HEVC. There’s no apparent rhyme or reason. So, if you have more than one file and make any changes to those files (delete the low res version for instance, leaving the other files intact or rename a hard drive - adding the new location while the first still exists to be sure everything matches up), even though those files are still there under the media title, it wrecks or even deletes the playlist automatically. I find this strange.

So, I cannot specify if I want Emby to use the higher def version of a file. It just uses what it wants. However, if that file disappears, instead of just using/playing the alternate file that’s still available for that show or movie title, instead Emby deletes the playlist altogether. Also, for instance, I recently had to move the location of the files on my media drives. I had the files added to my TV Libarary from both drives simultaneously and all the files were pointed to the same titles. However, when I removed the original drive, all my playlists were deleted - even though all the titles were still there, the files were still there, and nothing has changed. I nevertheless lost all my Playlists - once again because they are based on files not titles. What’s more confusing is just now knowing what files it’s choosing to use as the basis for the playlist. This means I have even less control because I have no idea what Emby is using.

Is this a bug or was it designed that way for some reason? I’ve not come across playlists behaving like this before. I like Emby better than Plex, which is why it’s our primary media server now but just as a contrast, regardless of the files and drives that one adds to Plex, the playlists don’t change because they are based on the media title, not the specific files attached to those titles. So, if the files for any given title are changed behind the scenes, it doesn’t wipe out the playlist. I’m wondering why Emby, too, isn’t making the playlists based on the titles themselves, not the files. This would allow the files relating to any given title to change while still keeping the playlist intact, if it based upon the title (letting Emby simply look to play whatever files are available for that title). 

I’d love to hear more about this and perhaps why Emby behaves this way. It’s puzzling, especially as we don’t have any option to choose which files it’s adding to the playlist (for instance the lower or high res, if there are more than one). Any thoughts you could share would be brilliant. Thanks so much in advance!

Edited by raevengel
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi, well think of it this way. If you create your own m3u playlist in your file system, it's going to contain absolute paths to media files. So our playlist support is designed to mimic that.

Your situation here is a tricky situation that I agree we may want to think about how to handle.

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