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PS3 as Media Center & Plex Media Server?!


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#1 rayne

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 08:32 AM

I'm still looking for a decent media center/server solution - I have a MacBook Pro in my room and an unconnected TV in the living room. Originally I planned to buy a Mac Mini to set up as a server in the living room, but I'm now looking at the PS3 instead for financial reasons (costs only half the money and brings Blu-ray and the whole gaming stuff with it!).

Does anyone here have experience with the PS3 as a media center? What would be the best solution to store my media files; connecting the external HD or NAS directly to the PS3 or make my MBP / the Plex Media Server communicate my stuff to the PS3 via Wi-Fi? Or is there some other solution you can recommend?

#2 poofyhairguy

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 04:15 PM

I'm still looking for a decent media center/server solution - I have a MacBook Pro in my room and an unconnected TV in the living room. Originally I planned to buy a Mac Mini to set up as a server in the living room, but I'm now looking at the PS3 instead for financial reasons (costs only half the money and brings Blu-ray and the whole gaming stuff with it!).

Does anyone here have experience with the PS3 as a media center? What would be the best solution to store my media files; connecting the external HD or NAS directly to the PS3 or make my MBP / the Plex Media Server communicate my stuff to the PS3 via Wi-Fi? Or is there some other solution you can recommend?


Before I start let me say that I went the other direction- I came to Plex after my experience with the limitations of the PS3 as a media server frustrated me. But I will tell you what I know.

First, Plex (even the media server) and the PS3 really have nothing to do with each other. Plex is just for Macs. If you want the ability to watch hulu or youtube or other streaming sites on your PS3, the ONLY option is a pay for (like $30) windows program called Playon:

http://www.themediamall.com/playon

It runs well in VMware. Not quite as nice as Plex for the stuff, but it works.

Secondly, no matter what option you choose for media (streaming over network or local storage) be careful about the PS3's name and folder limits. Try to never go deeper than 2 subfolders or the PS3 hates it. Try to take away complicated names (So something like "Gran.Torino[2008]DvDrip[Eng]-Zeus_Dias.avi" needs to be turned into "grantorino.avi" or the PS3 might have problems). The inverse to this problem is to not put to much in a folder for the PS3 as it will take to long to load then (maybe like 20 max). What I did when it was my media server is that I put my downloaded media in folders by the month I downloaded it so no folder would have more than 20 items...

Thirdly, what kind of media do you want to watch?

If its just low def divx, hook up a HD formated in FAT32 will all the media on it. Some might not play since the divx player in the PS3 is picky, but most will.

If you are wanting to play HD on the PS3, get ready for the bag of hurt. The only native HD format the PS3 will play (other than Blu Rays, dvds, etc optical media) is m2ts- so no straight mkvs will not work. You will either need to setup a wired network (802.11g won't work well) and use this program to transcode mkvs on the fly to the PS3 on a REALLY powerful desktop:

http://code.google.c...ps3mediaserver/

Or you will need to use a windows program called mkv2vob to convert the mkvs one at a time and then stream those over a network using the same program. This works better than transcoding on the fly, but it more a pain.

Local storage doesn't work with the PS3 and HD mkv movies as the FAT32 limit won't let you have files over 4 gigs. You have to stream hd over a wired network.

Hope I helped.

#3 Maverick214

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 05:01 PM

I did the exact same thing, I have a PS3, but it's no media center.

PS3mediaserver is best for streaming movies to the PS3, but it's not perfect.
Once I got Plex I stopped using the PS3 for movies, except blu-ray.

PS3 has no movie info like Plex, which in my opinion is what makes it a media center.
It basically has a video thumbnail (which does look cool) but that's it.
Sony is really missing out on the whole media thing.

#4 zn8ke

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 06:02 PM

I agree with Poofyhairguy. PS3 is a picky mofo when it comes to what you can see and not. To use it as a mediacentre
in the true word just wont work if you dont install Linux. You can however (which is inclined above) stream alot of stuff
TO THE PS3. I use Medialink on my macmini and stream from
it to my PS3 in another room. The mini however is a far better "Center" since it can play alot more stuff. I also agree
that with medialink (or similar) you just overview the folders that contains the movies. Not at all the nice look you get
with Plex and a mini. Use your MB pro to convert stuff to DivX movies and they can be streamed from the mac to the
PS3. Don't convert to H.264 or MKV. PS3 can't read that

24057.gif

Mine is not to reason why, mine is but to sell and buy


#5 poofyhairguy

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 08:47 PM

Sony is really missing out on the whole media thing.


I disagree with this statement- I don't think Sony is missing out. It is purposefully avoiding the whole media thing.

The PS3 is the child of bipolarism.

At one end (Sony entertainment or game division) has this console that they need to sell to keep their division going. The prices of this console are higher than the competitors because Sony Corporate bolted on their bid for the next generation of DVDs to make sure that it beats out its competition (Blu Ray vs HDDVD). So they have to sell this whole "10 year console" thing to justify the cost. But they can't make the PS3 too appealing because:

At the other end is Sony's entertainment division- the branch that runs and own the rights to hundreds of movies. The last thing they want is Plex- some device that makes pirating and playing back their content on not their terms. So they do everything they can to neuter the gaming divisions flagship to keep it from aiding pirates (who are in the exact same demographic as those who buy most of the video games out there).

So at every turn the Ps3 gives just enough, but not enough to keep both sides happy.

It is the only game console to boot Linux out of the box. But when you run Linux on it, the system runs in a hypervisor that cuts out the parts of the hardware that might threaten the game division (the GPU). By allowing this dual booting they keep the projecters happy (who want to use the raw power of the PS3 for things like scientific research) without the scene doing the work (and then have the whole thing cracked open like a safe- ala the original Xbox and XBMC).

With media, the PS3 waited as long as it could to not play divx (they did it only after the 360 did, and its way picker than the 360). And it really won't play out of the box any formats loved by movie (especially HD movie) pirates - mkvs. This is to keep the entertainment wing happy.

All in all, the PS3 (or really any hardware - the 360 is no better) sucks as a media center, for the same reason Windows Media Center sucks as a media center- the big companies behind it don't want to lose control. Thats why things like Plex and Popcorn Hours come from small independent groups. The tech industry as a whole is looking out for its entertainment buddies (to make sure they get a cut as content moves from the TV to the PC).

Personally I like my Ps3 as a gaming console when I had it, and its the best Blu Ray player that I have seen. But right now its prices are too high for what they are, and what they are NOT is media centers. If you can't swing a mini, get a Popcorn Hour. Anything big and corporate won't do the job for what this community needs!

#6 Petapaw

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 11:27 PM

This is a great response to a common issue that the PS3 has.

I fell in love with my ps3 because of the games, I loved the Blueray but when I found out it had media center capabilities, I was drooling.
Oddly enough I was impressed with all three, but left wanting more from the media center part. XBMC and Plex just knock everything out of the world.

I am in love with plex and just bought a APTV just to be able to have it on my entertainment center.

I will remain a fan of the PS3 but not for media streaming anymore.




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