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Streaming mpeg4 AVIs to Playstation 3 on Mac OS X

:: Thursday, June 26th, 2008 @ 3:38:22 pm

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Does anyone know how to stream Xvid mpeg4 AVIs to a Playstation 3 using suitable media streaming software on Mac OS X?

My ReadyNas box supports uPNP media streaming out of the box, which seems to work well for formats officially supported by the PS3. The only problem with the ReadyNas’s implementation of uPNP is that it does a full volume scan of whatever I’ve shared once every 24 hours. If I add a new file and want to stream it immediately, I have to go into the admin interface and kick off a manual re-scan, which can take a long, long time.

So now, I’ve switched to using Nullriver’s MediaLink, which is installed on a Mac Mini that I use as a backup server. The Mac Mini has the media volume on the NAS box mounted, and MediaLink shares that volume out to the PS3. So far, it has worked perfectly, except that video and formats not officially supported by the PS3 still don’t work.

The PS3 doesn’t support AVIs (or AAC audio files, for that matter), so the ideal media server needs to support realtime transcoding. The only product I’ve read about that seems to do that is Nero 8′s MediaHome, which is Windows only. MediaHome claims to do real-time transcodes to the following formats:

Audio: MP3 (MPEG-1 Layer 3), AAC (Nero Digital), HE-AAC (Nero Digital) Video: MPEG-1, MPEG-2, Nero Digital (MPEG-4)

This seems ideal! My AAC audio would be transcoded on-the-fly to MP3, and all my unsupported video files would be transcoded on-the-fly to MPEG-4. Music isn’t such a big deal because I’ll stream music to the system using an Airport Express, but being able to play more video formats through the PS3 would be nice.

If I can’t find a solution for the Mac, I may just take one of my extra Windows boxes and use it as a streaming media server.

Here’s where the Mac people in my life come on and say, “But Quicktime and MP4 are the only way to go! You shouldn’t NEED to deal with AVIs, ever!” I’ll preemptively respond to your comments by saying that you are not living in the real world. Or maybe you’re too old to realize how the new generation actually gets their media. ;)

| San Francisco, CA | link | trackback | Jun 26, 2008 15:38:22
  • http://giles.shaxted.co.uk Giles Shaxted

    Eric … When I did all my looking into this there was not even a hack out there for it. Now I see that the firmware update allows DivX and Xvid, but like they say the Xvid must be copied to the PS3 hard drive first. http://kotaku.com/gaming/updat.....335260.php

    I ended up getting a relatively cheap, but great device from Helios Labs that not only upreses everything on my network but so far plays everything apart from mkv’s !! oh and it reads an itunes library. I got the X3000 which works on my wireless network, trouble here is it has Windows only software .. but if the Mac has software like Widows media that creates a media server you are set to go !!

    But yeh Xvid should work on PS3 when copied to their hard drive .. not what you want probably but hey ho. At least you are not as screwed as if you were using Apple TV !

  • http://echeng.com echeng

    Hmmm. It’s actually AVIs encoded with “mpeg4, yuv420p, 624×352″ video track that won’t play back. Lame. Most of my AVIs actually stream just fine…

  • http://giles.shaxted.co.uk Giles Shaxted

    sounds to me like you need a windows media center .. from what I have read Apple tv just doesnt cut it yet ..

    .. the only downfall of my system is it can’t read the .264 files .. but thats ok i just don’t use those files.

  • Curtis

    Hey Eric, send me a sample clip. I have a few NAS boxes and PS3s at work. FreeNas has a feature where you can have it reindex every x time.

  • http://blog.ocliw.com wilco

    it’s not elegant, pretty, or easy, but you should give mediatomb (http://mediatomb.cc/) a look. it isn’t a lot of things, but it is free. i installed it on my NAS and i could stream to the PS3 for the most part, but it should compile just fine on your mac as well. you can set the update frequency for the folders that it scans and it performs pretty well.

    the latest version also supports transcoding. i don’t have enough CPU on my NAS to do transcoding on the fly, which i would suspect would eliminate the rest of the issues that i have been having with streaming to the PS3, but your mac should be able to drive it.

  • http://echeng.com echeng

    Interesting, wilco. I had looked at Mediatomb in the past, but didn’t know that it did realtime transcoding. It looks like I’d have to do some research for the best output settings for the PS3.

  • Frank

    Hey Eric,

    Just install the latest version of Vuze ( Formerly Azureus) Found on versiontracker.com Vuze will find your PS3 by itself (WIFI) First, in vuze, share a file (file/share). Point out what film you want to see. After this it shows in your Vuze library. Now, by just dragging the moviefiles to your PS3 logo,(in Vuze window) your PS3 recognises Vuze and shows the movie in the movies/Vuze/downloads(Or movies) menu on your PS3. If the file is in the wrong format vuze will automaticly convert this for you. AVI files, no problem!

    greetings Frank

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