[OLD VERSION] PS3 Media Guide


Prominent Member
Times have changed and we thought it was a good idea to re-write the original PS3 Media Playback Explained thread.

Big thanks to Uridium who helped me compile this new guide.

By no means is this an exhaustive (although it may feel like it if you read through it ALL!) guide, so if anyone has any other contributions then let me know and I'll get them added.

The main changes are to the areas around HD-streaming, as this section was out-of date.

None of the information below is condoning any form of illegal activity, ripping DVD's etc, as far as i know, is still illegal if you are bypassing copyright protection (although this may of changed now!), so this is a disclaimer to ensure that this guide is not seen to be promoting or actively encouraging the playback of media that may have been obtained via non-legal sources.

I thought that we should approach the guide in a slightly different way this time, covering the following topics :
Different Streaming software applications (what software to use, why, how etc)
HD (High-definition) content (what is it, how to stream it)
SD (Standard Definition) content (how to stream "normal" video)
Music and Photos (what to do with MP3's and your digital camera pics)

Remember, when we mention any USB device we'll assume you already know it MUST be formatted as FAT32 (NOT NTFS). This places certain restrictions on single file sizes but ways of working within these restrictions can be found below. Use this to format your drive to FAT32 - it's tried and tested, very quick, and VERY easy to use.

Different Streaming Software applications

Below is a quick run-down of the available streaming applications that are most popular with Windows users that want to be able to stream content via their PC to their PS3.

Why Stream ?
Streaming is a very flexible way of making whatever is available on your PC, in terms of media i.e. photos/music/videos etc, available to play on your PS3. The following will not go into any detail about the different formats etc, please see the appropriate section for more details, but here's a starting point :
Video formats the PS3 supports "out of the box"
Audio formats the PS3 supports "out of the box"
Photo formats the PS3 supports "out of the box"

Streaming means you don't have to copy things to a USB drive, or to the PS3 HDD, so saves space, duplication of data etc. As most people's media storage solutions are their PC's, it makes sense to be able to open this storage up so you can do stuff like listen to all your music libraries on your PS3, view all your photos on your PS3, and of course, the most obvious, watch your videos on your PS3 and not on a PC monitor...

One downside to streaming is of course the fact your PC must always be on when you want to stream.

Besides just streaming and making things available to your PS3 to play, you can of course COPY most things from your PC to your PS3. This means once the copy is finished, you can turn your PC off, which is particularly good for photos and music, but for videos, internal PS3 storage can soon become a problem (although here's a guide on how to increase your internal storage). You also have different media formats to consider when doing this (see relevant sections).

When streaming, with any software, there are two connection methods : Wireless and Wired
At all times Wired is the preferred method. Being wired means you can connect the PS3 to a Gigabit network (as long as both your router and your PC network card allow this - older setups will connect at 100Mbps), this offers exceptional speed in terms of streaming or copying content. Things will stream quicker, i.e. reduced waiting times if any, videos (especially HD) will hardly stutter during playback, so overall this is the best option. If you can't wire your PS3 directly to your router or PC then you could use Homeplugs. These are clever devices that attach at either end of the router and the PS3, and plug into your mains supply, utilizing your mains to transfer the signal. There are various types of Homeplugs, operating at different connection speeds, the fastest is currently 200Mbps which would be ideal for all forms of streaming.

Nowadays most ISP's will give you a free wireless router. These are fine for streaming content such as photos and music, however as the wireless capabilities of the PS3 aren't great (it's based on a slower Wireless G protocol, not the quickest Wireless N), playback of video can be problematic and majority of people will struggle as their signal strength won't be that great. Some people can stream HD content without much difficulty, but this is rare.

There are numerous guides and walkthroughs about setting up either of the connections, indeed the built-in walkthrough of the PS3 is easy enough to follow so search online if having actual connection problems or ask in the forums.

Streaming with PS3 Media Server (PS3MS) (media server of choice - don't use anything else unless you just cannot get this to work!)
PS3 Media Server is a free DLNA streaming application which you can install on your computer. It can be found here PS3 Media Server

So why use PS3 Media server ?

Written from the ground up specifically for the PS3 by a developer fed up with TVersity and WMP11
Written in Java so truly cross platform (Windows/Linux/Mac)
No codec packs needed, all files needed for basic functionality included in the application install
On the fly MKV transcoding without huge hardware demand
Very configurable should advance users wish to do so
Adds Internal/External subtitle support for SD/HD streams
Internal database for fast XMB browsing
Adds Custom cover art for streamed movies to PS3 XMB (see below)
Restriction of Media Server availability (in case you have more than one PS3 and don't want the kids accessing your media server and viewing your content) is also achievable : Goto Ps3 Media Server>General settings tab>IP Filter, just add in the IP address of the PS3 you do want to receive media streams.

So how do I use it?
Simply download, install and run (Vista/Win7 users should right click and choose 'Run as Administrator' on first Run after install to allow Java update)
With no configuration the application will by default make all drives on your PC available to the PS3 however if you wish so you can customize the application to only display specific drives and/or folders via the 'Navigation/share settings' tab and adding or removing drives in the 'Shared Folders' section.

No other configuration should be needed for you to begin streaming with MKV transcodes should your backend PC hardware be fast enough. (The Developer recommended specs for MKV transcoding are Pentium4 Dual Core for 720p MKV's or Core2Duo or higher for 1080p MKV's).

Adding Custom Artwork for streaming
There's a great site that will generate some very nice thumbnail images that you can use when streaming, it's nicely customizable and has some great in-built searching to find nice source images for you to use :
PS3 Media Server Thumbnail Generator

For a single DVD/Coverart image to display for each Video file just drop a jpg/png named EXACTLY (with a suffix of ".cover.jpg") the same as the video file into the same folder on the PC as the video file e.g.

To apply an image for a whole folder full of video files (Useful for TV show seasons etc..) Just drop an image named 'folder.jpg' in to the same folder on the PC as the Video files.
Folder '24 Season 1' would contain files below and show the same image for each video file.

Helpful Links for PS3MS :
Java PS3 Media Server for dummies – chapter 1 introduction
Java PS3 Media Server for dummies – chapter 2 networking and technical basics
Java PS3 Media Server for dummies – chapter 3 installation and basic configuration
Java PS3 Media Server for dummies – chapter 4a configuration
Java PS3 Media Server for dummies – chapter 4b configuration
Java PS3 Media Server for dummies – chapter 5 Videolan- and Avisynth

Streaming with TVersity (copied from existing guide - not updated due to emergence of PS3 Media Server as preferred streamer)
TVersity is a free media server application which you can install on your computer to allow the sharing of media files. More information about TVersity can be found at its official homepage: TVersity - Home

I've decided not to write a step by step on installing TVersity as the Quick Setup page (TVersity - Quick Start Guide) does a good explains it well enough. I'd only be repeating it! However, if some one wants to write one I'd be happy to add it.

TVersity Troubleshooting
Instead of a setup guide I think a list of common problems and solutions would be pretty handy.

My PS3 cannot find my media server automatically or when I search for media servers, what's the problem?
Check your firewall settings to allow the following file to be accessible through network connection; "C:\Program Files\TVersity\Media Server\MediaServer.exe" (Install location may be different).
Has the TVersity Media Server started ? In the start menu go Start > All Programs > TVersity Media Server > TVersity Tools > Start TVserity Media Server.​

The quality of my video is poor when streamed, what can I do about it?
I need your help here; if you're a user of TVersity please post your TVersity settings, your processor type and speed, amount of RAM, and graphics card.​

Can you suggest any recommended TVersity settings?

Well I can't but thanks to nolive for sharing his:

When to transcode:
Only When Needed
Uncheck "Decrease the bitrate"

Select "Speed"

Connection Speed and Quality:
I selected Wired 100 since that's what I have but pick what best represents your network


Video Resolution:
Select what suits your TV. I have a 1080p so I input 1920 x 1080.

Decoding Speed:
Uncheck "Decode the media as fast as possible" I found this to be extremely important. Otherwise the computer, contrary to how it sounds, can't work fast enough and the videos will pause and time out on the PS3. Changing this allowed them to run all the way through.

I have discovered that while older systems such as mine will stutter in video for the first 30 seconds or so, this is only a buffering process, and will catch up after around that time. They should play flawlessly here on out.

Also, be sure to have ffdshow installed as your divx/xvid/mpg codec.

For reference, my pc specs:
Athlon XP 1800+
1 GB of RAM
Gigabit ethernet card
Windows XP SP2

Why would I use this instead of Windows Media Player 11?
You might come across a file format which the Playstation 3 cannot play back – normally results in you seeing an “Unsupported file format error” if you try. TVersity can convert that file on-the-fly into a format that the PS3 can playback, this is known as transcoding.

Streaming with Windows Media Player (copied from existing guide)
With WIFI technology built into the Playstation 3 connecting your Playstation 3 to a networked PC couldn't be easier.

How do I do that?
You may have come across the term ‘client-server' when dealing with networks. All that really means is one device provides something (the Server) and the other device uses it (the Client). Your PC will be the server, and your Playstation 3 will be the client.

To manage the media access from Playstation 3 to the PC you need a Media Server on your PC. Now that's not as scary as it might sound. If you have Windows Media Player 11 installed then you already have a media server! This part of the guide will explain setting up a media server with Windows Media Player 11.

Using Windows Media Player 11
This method by far is probably the easiest to setup. If you don't already have Windows Media Player 11 because you haven't updated it, you can download it from this link: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/win...1/default.aspx


To have Windows Media Player 11 installed.
To have your Playstation 3 setup to use wireless networking and that it actually works on your network. You can do a network test for this to check.​

Once installed follow these steps:​
  1. Hover the mouse pointer over the ‘Library' button and when the little arrow appears just below it, click that arrow to open the submenu.
  2. In that sub menu click on ‘Add to Library'.
  3. In the window that appears, select ‘My Personal Folder' (See note about this below).
  4. Then use the ‘Add' button to add the folders which contain the media files you want to share. These folders can include music, pictures and video.
  5. Use the ‘Remove' button to remove any folders that might be in the list by default which you don't want to be shared.
  6. When you finish, click ‘Ok' button. If this is the first time you're setting up Windows Media Player 11 to share media you'll have to wait a few seconds while it adds the new files to its library. Click the ‘Close' button when it has finished adding the files.
  7. Turn on Playstation 3 if it isn't already on.
  8. Click on the arrow under the ‘Library' button again, and select Media Sharing. You will see a window that shows all the devices which your PC can see, and which of those devices is allowed access and which isn't. Put a tick in the ‘Share My Media' box.
  9. Your Playstation 3 should show up as ‘Unknown Device' in the middle box, select is and click on the ‘Allow'button. Click ‘OK' to finish.
  10. On your Playstation 3 look in the menus for the different media types. The Playstation 3 should have automatically connected to your Windows Media Player media server and displayed it in the list.
  11. You're good to go, you can now browse and view your media files through your Playstation 3.
When adding folders to the Windows Media Library you have the option of 'My Personal Folders' or 'My folders and those of others I can access'. The first option is the simple just my folders. Whereas the second option lets you also share folders owned by other users of the PC​

OK, so that's you all sorted in terms of which software to use (hint hint use PS3MS!), now it's onto actually streaming content...

Playback of High-Definition (HD) video
The normal HD files that you would want to playback are MKV files.
Others, such as .m2ts/.ts files exist also, but these are rarer and follow different procedures to achieve PS3-playback.

There are two distinct types of HD files, in terms of picture quality/resolution, 720p and 1080p.

If you do not have a FULL HD TV (sometimes known as HD Ready) these can only support 720p content so there is no need to get 1080p files.

FULL HD TV owners can choose between 720p/1080p. Some people say they cannot tell the difference, so it's worth trying as 1080p files are on average 2.5 times the size of 720p files (around 4.5GB for 720p to 10-12GB on average for 1080p).

Depending on what type of file you choose depends on how you can go about playing back this media on the PS3.

The following scenarios assume that you have a FULL HD TV, which is connected to an amp which can playback (decode) DTS sound. If you have an HD-ready TV, then just follow the same procedure, ignoring the 1080p section.....

Streaming 720p

Wireless (if you can't wire the PS3 to the router using CAT5 or using Homeplugs)
Some people are lucky and can actually stream 720p content directly from their PC, as they have excellent signal strength. Most people cannot do this however, they would need to be wired.

Around 99% + of 720p MKV's do not require video transcoding, they just need the header information changed and the audio changed/patched for the PS3 to be able to play it.

If you're lucky and have a great signal strength, you can :
Use PS3 Media Server - Transcode on the fly​

Benefits :
PS3MS is easy to use
Don't need a high-spec PC as it's just converting audio (you could setup a low-powered PC just to do this job if you so wish)
DTS-patching (if your AMP supports DTS) so don't need to downsample to AC3 sound
Only storage required is your PC storage - no need for external storage, no need to upgrade your PS3 HDD​
Disadvantages :
PC always has to be on whilst streaming.​

However, if you have poor signal strength, you can :

Use mkv2vob to pre-convert the files, patching the audio, or downsampling to AC3 if amp doesn't support DTS, or you have no amp (screenshot of mkv2vob with checkboxes etc)
Set Output Type to be "File" (more on the other options later)
Set Video Transcoding to be Automatic
Set Codec to be anything, it should really ever use this (but MAY in the 5% of 720p's that do need transcoding, so be aware)
You then have a choice :
  1. Copy (via streaming software, can use any but again PS3MS is recommended) to PS3 internal HDD - play off PS3 internal HDD
  2. Copy onto USB HDD/stick and playback via attaching to the PS3

Wired (either by "hard-wiring" your PS3 to your router via a cable, or by using Homeplugs)

The choices here are pretty much the same as above. You will however be more likely to have the ability to FFwd and Rwd files. Being wired means the bandwidth available (not to be confused with your internet download speed!) is easily sufficient to stream HD content.

Streaming 1080p

Wireless (no chance of wiring the PS3 to the router using CAT5 or using Homeplugs)
Chances are you will not be able to stream 1080p content (which is decent - i.e. a fairly high bitrate ~ 10Mbps) using a wireless connection. The likelihood is you will get bad stuttering, or the file will not play at all. Your choices here are quite limited :

Around 50% of all 1080p mkv's (UPDATE : Apparently due to some changes, there is now a much lower percentage because most 1080p's are more compliant, meaning it should be less than 10% that require a transcode) will need to be transcoded, meaning the video needs touching, which in turn multiplies the time it takes greatly.

You will NOT be able to transcode on-the-fly using PS3 Media Server. You would need a high-spec PC to do this anyway, but combine this with the limitations due to wireless and the likelihood is you will get bad stuttering during playback.

Only real choice is to pre-convert with mkv2vob :
If your amp can decode DTS then again, allow mkv2vob to patch the file, otherwise check the "Always Transcode DTS" checkbox - giving you AC3 sound.​
Transcode the file :​
Set the Video Transcoding drop-down option to "Automatic"
Choose your codec (MPEG2 is quicker but not as good quality, x264 is best quality but slower, x264 HB is ultimate quality (but unless you have a 60inch display you won't notice))
Transcoding a "normal" (10GB) 1080p mkv file will take a few hours on a fairly high-spec machine, it could take more than a day on a lower-spec one.
You then need to choose your "File Extension" - leave this to be Automatic
You do not need to split the file (bypassing the FAT32 < 4GB limit) with this method​

You should then have a .mpg file as an output. As you're wireless the only real thing you can do is COPY the file over to your PS3 HDD (remember, the internal PS3 HDD is NOT limited by FAT32 restrictions). The time it will take will vary on your signal strength. You can copy using any streaming software, PS3 Media Server, TVersity, Windows Media Player (WMP). As you are not really "streaming", this is literally just relocating the file onto the PS3.

You will then be able to play this file back on the PS3 with no stuttering and have full FFwd/Rwd capabilities.

Benefits :
No stuttering​
Disadvantages :
Transcode could take HOURS
Copy operation could take a long time and could fail if the wireless connection drops
Using internal PS3 storage so you'll soon eat-up your space requiring an HDD upgrade​

Wired (either by "hard-wiring" your PS3 to your router via a cable, or by using Homeplugs)
This is the much better option if watching 1080p content is what you want to be doing regularly.
You can now either use mkv2vob to pre-convert, or you can transcode on-the-fly using PS3MS (as long as your PC is a fairly high-spec). If you are still experiencing stuttering, then it may be because your PC is not up to the task. You may need to alter/tweak some of the quality settings in PS3MS (such as bitrate settings etc) to ensure no stuttering. If you're not sure if PS3MS is transcoding or not there is a simple way of finding out - When you playback a video file, e.g. a h.264 HD-video, press select on your PS3 controller. If MPEG2 is displayed for video codec PS3MS is transcoding, otherwise AVC is displayed which means muxing.

mkv2vob operations are exactly the same as above, you'll still need to transcode etc.

With PS3MS, this app can utilize various encoding engines to try and convert your content on the fly. You can tweak lots of different settings via PS3MS to alter the processing power needed to transcode.

Using a USB device with streaming
Remember with both wired/wireless streaming, you can utilize greater storage by sharing your external USB HDD and storing files on there instead of your PC's HDD, if space is running low. Exactly the same procedures and rules apply with this method as it just acts as another shared folder via the streaming software.

USB playback - 720p & 1080p
If you're not able to stream, either wirelessly or wired, or you want THE most comprehensive playback support (depending on your Output Type), then USB might be the way you choose to achieve HD playback on your PS3.

Using either a USB stick or a USB External HDD (which MUST be formatted as FAT32 - the PS3 will NOT connect to NTFS-formatted USB drives) you can pre-convert mkv's using mkv2vob, load them up onto the USB device, and play off of that by connecting it to the PS3.

One thing of note :- DO NOT set the temp folder for mkv2vob to be this external USB device, the transcoding procedure may produce large files (> 4GB) that may fail as it will try to store them temporarily on the USB device.

The method of pre-converting for USB playback is exactly the same as above, you need to set the File Splitting to FAT32 however. The same comments about the codecs and transcoding times apply.

The only difference is once you have your resultant files, you transfer them to anywhere on your USB device, connect up to the PS3, then play them back.

You need to enable "Sequential Playback" via the PS3 settings to make sure it plays the files back one after another, otherwise you'll need to stop and select the next file manually.

Benefits :
Expands storage capabilities
PC does not have to be on during playback​
Disadvantages :
Requires the "extra step" of transcoding then storing the file
Extra storage space needed
Manoeuvering the USB device to the PS3 all the time (easy with a stick, bit more cumbersome with an HDD)​


This also opens up a new method of playback - AVCHD. AVCHD-playback is, in essence, "tricking" the PS3 into thinking it's playing back a Blu-ray disc. AVCHD has built-in DTS support, as DTS is only supported via external media (i.e. USB or disc) playback. It also has selectable subtitles and selectable audio (if applicable). But the main benefit is 24p playback. This is, if your TV supports it, all to do with the framerate, resulting in a smoother motion on some TV's, eliminating "judder" in panning/fast-action scenes. Your TV must support 24p playback (this only works @ 1080p resolution) and you must enable it via the PS3's settings.

AVCHD and MKV files
The method of pre-converting for USB playback is exactly the same as above, however, you could now choose the Output Type to be AVCHD - USB. This will automatically split the generated files up for you into chunks that are smaller than 4GB, so you can transfer them onto the USB device.

The resultant folder, called AVCHD, should be placed at the ROOT of the drive, for example, if my external HDD was connected via Windows and assigned the "F:" drive letter, it should look like this : F:\AVCHD

You can have other folders/files in the root, but the AVCHD folder MUST be there.

Multiple AVCHD instances in the same folder
There's a great piece of software that enables you to have MULTIPLE "AVCHD" folders at the root level, it's called multiAVCHD. This software is excellent as it allows you to have lots of different movies, it can create bespoke menus for you, you can alter all sorts of things. This software does actually do a similar thing to mkv2vob if required, but i just use it to combine multiple AVCHD folders. When you load up an AVCHD created with this software, it can bring up it's own menu, with selectable movies using your own custom thumbnails etc, you can do a LOT of different things with it. There's a tutorial here.

Say if you have lots and lots of different files you want to make into AVCHD folders, obviously these will only play correctly if they're under the same "root" AVCHD folder on the drive. You can achieve this by following these instructions using multiAVCHD (taken from the tutorial) :

1) You have an existing multiAVCHD compilation - named AVCHD
2) Rename it to AVCHD_old
3) Drag AVCHD_old to multiAVCHD
4) Add new files
5) Make sure you have [x] Move transitional files in Settings checked
6) Select TARGET and TEMP to be the drive where AVCHD_old is - this will speed up things.
7) Create your compilation
8) Close multiAVCHD and remove AVCHD_old folder

When you navigate to the "Video" area on the PS3 XMB, click on your USB device (once connected directly to the PS3 of course!), you should see an "AVCHD" folder appear. You need to PLAY THIS FOLDER. Pressing Start on the folder should initiate playback.

DO NOT navigate into the AVCHD folder. There will be lots of .m2ts files inside a "STREAM" folder, these contain the video and the sound. However if you play these directly, you are losing all the benefits AVCHD playback gives you. If you do this you are now playing back as a normal "file", thus not "tricking" the PS3 any more.

When using AVCHD, you will get a strange result (basically the picture moves up the screen and the black bar that used to be there goes to the bottom) with the following video heights:

< 584 = transcode, which will give you normal black bars at the top and bottom, video centered
>= 584 = no transcode, but will have video pushed up to the top and a black bar at the bottom (unless the file is exactly 1280x720 or 1920x1080. the bar will turn green if you stop/start the movie. need to restart to remove the green back to black) - a FULL transcode will center the image
1280x720, 1920x1080 = video is normal. no transcode, no video pushed to the top, no green/black bar at the bottom

AVCHD - Non-mkv
You can also use multiAVCHD when you have .m2ts/.mts files to start with. If you're not dealing with mkv files and have some other source files (either from a Blu-ray disc that you own and have ripped to enable playback without the disc, or you also find AVCHD folders on the new HD camcorders, or if you have .mts/.m2ts files from a different source) then you can use multiAVCHD to create a single PS3-friendly AVCHD folder, or you can use it to make multiple instances as above. It's fairly self-explanatory to use however there is a guide available here. multiAVCHD will, in essence, prepare any other files to be in a state where they can be played-back on the PS3 using the AVCHD method. It will split up the files into 4GB chunks (it may do this automatically when you choose the PS3 as a target device, if not you can set this in the split options), and it will prepare the AVCHD folder to have the right files in the right places.

Original Blu-ray re-authoring to work on the PS3 via external HDD
When you have the original Blu-ray discs and want to make an electronic copy to be able to play them on the PS3 without having to load the disc and protecting the disc, multiAVCHD can also to do this for you. This will only work as-designed (with all the extras that AVCHD playback gives you) via USB HDD playback :

1) You load the blu-ray BDMV folder into multiAVCHD
2) Answer with [YES] to the prompt to enter RE-AUTHOR mode
3) Click start and select Playstation 3

You'll get a copy of your original blu-ray disc (with original menus) ready for your PS3 external USB HDD.

More info can be found here and here

mkv2vob - Helpful screenshots

The above image shows settings you can use when streaming via PS3MS.
Output Type set to "File"
Video Transcoding set to "Automatic"
Output File Extension set to "Automatic"
NO File Splitting (unnecessary when streaming or copying to internal PS3 HDD)
Transcoding Codec - x264 HB - this is THE SLOWEST codec to use, but provides the best quality. A 1080p transcode using this codec could take more than a day on a low-spec PC.
No other checkboxes checked, apart from auto-update
You can use the above when using a USB device connected to the PC, then copy resulting file over to the USB device and stream

Same as above, but this time, if you're only connected to your TV for audio, or your amp does not support DTS, check the "Always Transcode DTS" option.
All other notes from above apply.
You can use the above when using a USB device connected to the PC, then copy resulting file over to the USB device and stream

Same as above.
Only difference here is we're using "File Splitting - FAT32" - this is assuming you'll be copying to a USB device, and playing back directly off that when it's connected to the PS3.
There is no need to do this if you're using a USB device and just streaming when the device is connected to the PC.
Again, check the "Always Transcode DTS" if your amp doesn't support DTS, or you're connected direct to the TV

The above shows how you can use the AVCHD method of playback
Video Transcoding is set to "Always" - this will ENSURE that the video is aligned correctly when played back (otherwise you may have a big black bar at the bottom) - this however will mean EVERY conversion will take hours, depending on the codec you use.
No need to choose File Splitting as it's automatically split into < 4GB chunks
This method SHOULD NOT be used when streaming, this is only for when the USB device is connected directly to the PS3

Viewing subtitles in HD movies
Unfortunately the PS3 does not as yet support selectable subtitles within HD video files this means to view subtitles in HD movies you will have to do a little 'prep' work should you wish to view the subtitles.

Let PS3MS transcode the MKV and display an internal subtitle stream
When browsing your movie files using PS3 Media Server on the PS3 you will see a folder named &#8216;#Transcode' at the top of the list; navigating to this folder will then display an additional folder for each movie you have on your PC. Open one of these folders and you will see the movie file listed with the different transcoding engines and different language subtitles. Select the movie file with the subtitle language you require and playback. This will involve a full transcode by PS3MS though so is only for faster PC's.

You can if you wish limit the number of languages subtitles are offered in by specifying a country code in PS3MS Transcode settings tab under &#8216;video files engines'>subtitle settings'

Let PS3MS transcode the MKV and display an external subtitle
To use this option you need to ensure the box named &#8216;Autoload *.SRT/*.SUB subtitles with the same filename' check box is ticked. This can be found in PS3 Media Server Transcode settings tab under &#8216;video files engines>Mencoder' in the left hand panel. Then place your .SRT/.SUB subtitle txt file in the same folder on the PC as the movie file is stored in. The movie file will then be displayed in the PS3 XMB with the suffix &#8216;External subtitle'.

Note the .SRT/.SUB must be named identically to the movie file for this to work.

Hardcoded the Subs with a full transcode with MKV2VOB.
This option is more time consuming as it involves MKV2VOB carrying out a full transcode operation on the MKV file (Even if it is a file that only needs a simple remux) Essentially MKV2VOB will &#8216;burn' in an overlay of the subtitles onto the movie.

Open MKV2VOB and click the configuration tab; check the &#8216;Always encode subtitles' box and choose your desired subtitle language from the dropdown button in the option named &#8220;Preferred Subtitle Language' now convert the video as you would usually using your preferred options.

Playback of Standard-Definition (SD) Video

DVD Playback - Streaming option - PS3 Media Server
Streaming SD video via PS3 Media Server is for the most part pretty simple due to the PS3's wide SD codec and container support. There are a thousands of DVD ripping applications out there to get your DVD library ripped to your PC however I've always has good results with DVDShrink.

There are countless DVDShrink guides on the net so I'll just quickly run through how we use it for PS3 streaming. Use the Re-Author tab to rip just the main movie and audio track you want. Also uncheck the 'Split into 1Gb chunks' option. No need to worry about changing the target size as we will be streaming so have no file size limit issue as per USB.

Once ripping is complete you will be left with several output files (1x .Vob file and some .BUP & .IFO files ). Delete the .BUP & .IFO files as they aren't needed then simply rename the .Vob file to the name of the movie and move it to your shared movie storage location on PC.

Should you want the movie to appear on the PS3 XMB with a Boxart image instead of a video thumbnail then this is very easily done, Just download a picture of the DVD boxart (google image search good for this) and save the image file in the same location as the movie you ripped. The image file must be a .BMP or .PNG and must be named identically as per the movie file.

DVDShrink has not been updated now for several years so may have issues with the copy protection on some newer DVD's. Should you find a DVD that it has issues with simply use a Background decrypting application. Generally these applications run in the background and scan newly inserted discs, decrypt them then present them to any other applications as an unprotected disc.
There are many of these decrypting applications around (some free, some paid) the one i use is Slysoft AnyDVD which is a paid application but it works well so i think it's worth the small outlay. There is a fully functional trial version.

If you have a DVD ISO image then it should be just a case of making sure these files are part of your shared library, navigating to them, and playing. There have been some issues regarding ISO-playback previously, so if you're having problems doing this then a quick Google search should help resolve them.

DVD Playback via USB:

Most of us will want to use this method to get rid of loads of old DVD's etc that may be taking up room or gathering dust (and there may be other reasons (!). I'm not going to go into the ins and out's of DVD-ripping, I'll just recommend a method that I have used successfully.


* Most DVD's will be greater (in total size, with menu's, extra's, different languages etc) than 4GB, so they will not fit as one file on the USB HDD.​

Possible solution:

Compress the DVD using DVDShrink (freeware - just google for it). - Follow instructions above as well...

This little program will basically load up a DVD, show you which parts are the main movies (so not displaying extras/languages etc) and will compress it and save it on your PC's file system in one large .VOB file

I have tried using the various compression methods, but I've opted to use the default "Sharp" setting, this seems to work fine. OK, now you have a single .VOB file, you can then either copy this to the PS3 Hard Drive (not sure why) or you can just play it back via your USB HDD.​

Make sure you uncheck the box under Edit > Preferences > Output Files > "Split VOB files into 1GB size chunks (recommended)".
I also change the Target DVD size to "Custom - 3999mb", making sure that any ripping I do will produce ONE large .VOB file around the 4GB mark. - ****NO NEED NOW WITH SEQUENTIAL PLAYBACK****
So that's basically that, to summarise, Original DVD > Rip using DVDShrink > Play on PS3!​

Addendum :
Now the PS3 has a "Sequential Playback" option. Once turned on the PS3 will play all files in a folder sequentially, thus meaning you don't have to play each piece manually by selecting it and pressing "X".​

If you do have a folder with multiple .vob files in it, usually found under a VIDEO_TS folder, then you could use the DOS command prompt to join them up :

Because the VOBs are simply split files created from previously contiguous larger file, you can reconstruct the larger file using the window copy command. To do this:
a) Open a cmd window using the Windows run command.
b) cd to the folder containing your VOB files.
c) At the command line, enter a command similar to:
copy /b vob1.vob + vob2.vob + vob3.vob outputFile.mpg

This will join multiple VOB files into one output file.

Other Video formats
If certain video files are giving you problems, such as MP4 files, or others, then your first point of call should be PS3 Media Server if streaming is an option for you. Opening the #transcode# folder via your PS3's XMB when connected to PS3MS should give you a transcoded version of your problem file. This can help remedy a number of different issues with other formats that aren't natively supported by the PS3.

If streaming is not an option then you'll have to pre-convert the problem file into a natively supported format for the PS3, then playback via a USB drive or stick, or DVD/CD. There are numerous conversion programs out there, if people would like to PM me with ones they have found to generate good results (and include their settings etc) I can post them up here...

Photos and Music


What will it Play?
The PS3 can play back the following files stored on it's internal hard drive:
Memory Stick Audio Format (ATRAC)
MP3 (MPEG-1/2 Audio Layer3), (MP3 Surround)
WAVE (Linear PCM)

In addition if you stream your music files using PS3 Media Server any non supported music files will be transcoded into a PS3 compatible stream. This is particularly useful for Lossless audio files such as FLAC. (FLAC for example will be transcoded to PCM audio so remains in a lossless format)

Playlists can be created and stored on the PS3 internal hard drive, however these are limited to only tracks stored internally. Playlists Cannot at this time refer to tracks stored on an External or streamed media source.

A workaround to this can be to create a Playlist on your PC using something like Odd Gravity Playlist creator and save the playlist as a .PLS playlist. Then simply move the playlist (not the music files) to a PS3 Media Server shared folder on your PC and simply stream the playlist from the Music>Media Sever connection PS3.

Album Art

You can display album art from ID3 Tag's when streaming music if you use PS3 Media Server. You can also display it if the music is on the hard disk.

The Playstation 3 can automatically download album artwork and track data for ripped cds from a source called All Media Guide, however I haven't seen it work...

...So what's the best way to add your own album artwork and what is a Tag?

MP3 music files have some hidden data stored within them called 'ID3 tags' or 'metatags' these tags contain the information that your MP3 player or the PS3 will use to display information about the track. A 'Tag' can also store an Album cover image.

How do I 'Tag' my tracks?
There are lots and lots of Tagging apps around on the Web; WMP and iTunes will even Tag your tracks for you but the results can be a little unpredictable. A couple of the more popular tagging apps are MP3Tag or Jtagger. MP3tag is a more automated solution whereas Jtagger is a little more manual but does offer a little more control.

A brief guide to MP3Tag below:

* we'll assume you have a basic organisation of music on your PC hard drive
  1. Click 'File' > 'Change Directory' and open the directory that contains your album.
  2. Highlight all the songs by Clicking on the first track, hold the Shift Key and click the last track.
  3. Click 'Tag Sources' and select Amazon.com.
  4. Check the album name to search for is correct.
  5. In the search results box select the result that is the most appropriate.
  6. Click 'OK'.
  7. The next window will show you track data and album artwork that will be applied to your album. If it all looks good make sure 'Save image to tag' is ticked and click 'OK' to save the data or click 'Cancel' and start from Step 2 to find another option.
  8. The application will write the data, and after a short time will complete.
  9. If streaming it copy it to your Shared folder on the PS3 or Transfer the album to the Playstation 3 hard drive by copying it to a USB Stick, External USB Hard Drive or over the network.
  10. You should now see the album artwork and track data when browsing the Music menu

You can also add artwork by copying your music to your Playstation 3 hard drive, and then copying the image and then adding it to the album by selecting the track and selecting 'Information', then highlighting the album icon and pressing 'X' to edit and then selecting the image. Though that seems a bit more tedious than the method above!

I personally quite like the built-in PS3 Album that you can utilize when you've transferred photos to your PS3's HDD. Please refer to online documentation or the in-built documentation for help around this functionality.

Unfortunately at the moment Sony haven't seen fit to include Streamed photo use into the Gallery app on the PS3. Until then there isn't too much you can do with streamed photo's; functionality is limited to basic browsing/slideshows but hey it works OK.

Media Storage Organisation on the PS3 HDD
If you copy a lot of content onto your internal PS3 HDD, the chances are you'll have lots of random folders of content floating about and trying to organise it all isn't always the most straightforward task. Thanks to the OP of this thread for some useful information on an easy way to achieve good media organisation on your internal HDD


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Established Member
Tremendous! Thank you very much indeed :)


Established Member
Spot on, but is there any assistance available for streaming from a NAS drive rather than computer drive/USB HD? I have a reasonably elderly Buffalo Linkstation which works like a charm, and it is set up as a Windows Share, so my computers can stream from it. Can the PS3 access the windows shares file structure, or is it a non-starter?


Distinguished Member
Spot on, but is there any assistance available for streaming from a NAS drive rather than computer drive/USB HD? I have a reasonably elderly Buffalo Linkstation which works like a charm, and it is set up as a Windows Share, so my computers can stream from it. Can the PS3 access the windows shares file structure, or is it a non-starter?

PS3 will ONLY stream from a DLNA server. Many NAS drives will allow you to install a DLNA app (Twonkymedia is a popular one for NAS)

So your first step would be doing some research into installing DLNA software on your specific model of NAS.


Standard Member
can you use ps3 to navigate through web pages, search...
This might be a bit of a stupid question but I got yes and now from others..

Jase Winter

Distinguished Member
I have been using my xbox 360 and media centre extender (windows 7) untill I found this thread. Now using my ps3 to stream my media with much more impressive results. Thanks to the OP and to all that contributed info for the first post.


Established Member
Yes, thanks for the heads up:clap:, I am very pleased with PS3MS, I can't get the twonkymedia thing on my Iomega NAS to work for anything, the PS3 just plain refuses to see any files. Most things seem to work with PS3MS, including the subs on the anime I watch. (The PC is running FFDshow etc from the CCCP download)

I bought a Sony Bluetooth PS3 Blu ray remote today, on spec, and can confirm it works perfectly with PS3 Media Server (play FF & frame advance etc)

I fruitlessly searched the 'net for whether it would work or not. Certainly beats "triangle left left left down cross" when you want to stop the video :smashin:
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Established Member
Thanks for the guide - top stuff!

However, I am still struggling :(

I have installed PMS and I can see all of my drives and directories on my PS3 no problem.

But when I go into for example my picture file, all the sub folders, eg holiday 2009, are there, but all I get is 'there are no tracks' when I try to look at pictures.

It is the same for everything! Music, video, pictures etc.

Please help!



Jase Winter

Distinguished Member
Thanks for the guide - top stuff!

However, I am still struggling :(

I have installed PMS and I can see all of my drives and directories on my PS3 no problem.

But when I go into for example my picture file, all the sub folders, eg holiday 2009, are there, but all I get is 'there are no tracks' when I try to look at pictures.

It is the same for everything! Music, video, pictures etc.

Please help!



PSM works in the same way as using the internal HDD or as USB stick in that you have to go to the appropriate section of the XMB for the type of media. From your description it sounds like you are trying to view pictures under the 'music' section of the XMB. Try going to 'pictures' to view your pics, 'music' to listen to music, 'video' for video, you get the drift.


Standard Member
Firstly, thanx for posting a brilliant guide, has come in very handy.

Secondly, I have one quick question which I'm sure will give away my complete lack of knowledge with this sort of thing: is it possible to play my itunes library through the PS3?

New Start Neil

Distinguished Member
Adding Custom Artwork for streaming
There's a great site that will generate some very nice thumbnail images that you can use when streaming, it's nicely customizable and has some great in-built searching to find nice source images for you to use :
PS3 Media Server Thumbnail Generator

What an excellent app! :clap:

Many thanks for this. :thumbsup:


Standard Member
Brilliant tutorial, however I have a slight problem.

I have my PS3 conected to the router via Homeplugs, and the computer straight to the router.
I'm trying to use now a Sony Vaio n31 Dual core 1,7Ghz 1Gb RAM to stream 720p or 1080 to the PS3 via the Homeplugs, with PS3 Media server.

The problem is taht it will not work, the video is choppy almost every second, so is not possible to watch. If I press the Select button on PS3 controler I get the info screen, and in the to right corner, i get speeds of 115Mbps, is fluctuating from 10-20 up to 100 and more, is this normal? My homeplugs suport 85Mbps, and I know a full HD won't have more than 30Mbps, so then why I get those huge speeds and my video is not working.

I have to mention that on Internet conection test of the PS3, i get Upnp: Not available , could be from this?

Thanks everyone who will bother to answer


Standard Member
i was using my xbox 360 with tversity over a hardwired connection and found it somewhat lacking in the usability department, having switched to a PS3 with an 1 TB Buffalo Linkstation attach via DNLA the improvment in functionality is great when watching a movie you can get 1 minute interval thumbnails to see where you are in the movie. I havent even played a game on it yet lol!


Standard Member
Great guide, thanks very much.

I was planning on playing my media from a 1tb USB external drive plugged into the ps3 as my laptop doesn't have enough storage (and this seamed like a neater solution than streaming from my laptop which is plugged into the external drive).

Am I correct in thinking if I re-format my drive as FAT32 it will limit the total drive size (32gb?)? If so this doesn't sounds like a great idea. On a similar note, are there any other disadvantages associated with FAT32 (besides max file sizes)? I back up my laptop onto this drive so don't want to go losing everything



Prominent Member
Great guide, thanks very much.

I was planning on playing my media from a 1tb USB external drive plugged into the ps3 as my laptop doesn't have enough storage (and this seamed like a neater solution than streaming from my laptop which is plugged into the external drive).

Am I correct in thinking if I re-format my drive as FAT32 it will limit the total drive size (32gb?)? If so this doesn't sounds like a great idea. On a similar note, are there any other disadvantages associated with FAT32 (besides max file sizes)? I back up my laptop onto this drive so don't want to go losing everything


Unfortunately Windows doesn't let you format any HDD bigger than 32GB to FAT32. I recently got myself a 500GB external HDD and the only way to format the WHOLE drive to FAT32 was to either use the command prompt or use a seperate program to do it. I think Axum recommended one to me which formatted the drive in less than about 10secs. Can't remember the name of it though. I now have a lovely 500GB HDD completely formatted to FAT32.

The only downside I am aware of is the file size issue, but I'm sure someone with greater knowledge than myself will be able to comment.


Standard Member
Ahh, perfect thanks Hooblue. So formatting the drive in command prompt will not impose a file limit? I've done that before (fat32>ntfs) so can give that a go.



Distinguished Member
Ahh, perfect thanks Hooblue. So formatting the drive in command prompt will not impose a file limit? I've done that before (fat32>ntfs) so can give that a go.


Use this Ridgecrop Consultants Ltd to format the drive to Fat32. This free and easy to use tool will get round the 32Gb Partition size limit.

Just be aware that the Fat32 file system is restricted to a maximum size per file of 4Gb.

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