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Hello Gents,


I am evaluating purchasing a PS3 as a Blu Ray player / Media Player.


I have an XBox 360 w the HD-DVD drive and a Wii. And not enough time to play all the good games on those hehe.. so .... the PS3 would be about the odd exclusive and superb PS3 title, but mostly about DVD and BD playback as well as media center playback.


I am using the XBox360 connected to Vista Media Center right now. It's OK, but the Media Center Extender interface doesn't support a Divx / Xvid and also doesn't support any HD formats with 5.1 or 7.1 audio.


As a result I will either make an HTPC or buy a PS3 as I want both BD and HD as well as network media playback capability. I want to keep it simple for the family, so I really don't want to have "photos and SD DVDs on the XBox, BD DVDs and network HD video on the PS3" sorta thing... I have to keep it within WAF parameters.


My questions relating to the PS3 are:

1. what 5.1 capable video formats does the PS3 support for SD-DVD from network? (I am thinking Divx is the best choice here ??)


2. what 5.1 or 7.1 capable video formats does the PS3 support for HD-DVD from network? (I will probably archive my HD-DVDs to a network format once the last drops of blood spills in the format war)


3. any issues with MP3 playback?


4. Any comprehensive guides for using the PS3 as a media center?


Any advice / tips / guidance much appreciated.


Cheers,

egg
 

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I've been delving into the media center capabilities, lately- just playing stuff from hdd, actually...not so much streaming over a network.


I have resigned to the notion that the chances of playing every format under the sun is going to inherently be hit'n'miss (the pc world manages to do it, but in reality, this situation is a real mess for the novice who just wants their video to play). So I anticipate just the basic formats will play (mpg, mp4, newer wmv, some asf), and everything else (avi, very old wmv, mov, 3gp) , I plan to transcode into straight mpeg-4/aac in an mp4 container. It has really exposed me to an exciting challenge of learning all the settings that will make a working encode, and all the stuff that goes on behind the scenes. Google/psp videos seem to be play fine.


Right now, I have been playing around with freeware MediaCoder (which is not w/o some bugginess, but is surprisingly versatile). The most important thing I've discovered is that the ps3 media player seems to prefer the audio to be in stream 0 and video in stream 1. This is a setting you need to make/verify when you configure the "container" of the file (essentially, make the audio "first"). Otherwise, you will get a silent video or a black screen with audio.


On points 1,2,4, I do not know. On point 3, I have not seen much fussiness. It's seems to be all good with mp3 and aac. The one thing I did come across is that it does not seem to recognize "3gp" style aac audio. "Regular" aac is fine. Video/audio shot with your cellphone (3gp) might not work.


Mastering the file system seems to be a big step to optimizing your ps3 experience. You have to throw away the traditional notion of putting things in "folders". The key to making it all work is making use of the file descriptions, and everything else will fall into place quite cleverly. For instance, when you import your mp3's, it is best if the artist/album/genre fields already filled out. You can fill them in on the ps3, but things can get pretty hairy if you import a bunch of stuff at once. Once you got that down, you can sort stuff handily into the ps3 version of "folders", based on what is in those data fields. The real trick is using the "album" field as the identifier for what you would use as a custom folder. If you put "my car stuff", for example, as the album field for a group of files you want to keep together, then sort your collection by album, it will essentially show you a "my car stuff" folder. You should get the point on how to use that for myraid other uses, thereon...
 

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I haven't messed around with 5.1 or HD video playback via streaming, as my computer is a bit old and can't handle the transcoding. But, there's a guide HERE for setting up TVersity with some essential codecs, and I've yet to come accoss a video or music file I can't play.
 

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Another thing I notice is the ps3 media player gets fussy with videos with oddball resolutions. The container and codec might be just fine, but it just won't play it because the resolution is 240x180 (or maybe it is the combination of mpeg-4 and oddball resolutions that is incompatible). If I re-encode it with the same container and codec, except scale the resolution to 320x240, it then plays.


I am suspecting this characteristic is plaguing me on some hd style content I am trying to get to work, but I need to investigate further.
 

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I am using my PS3 as a network DVD client, works great with straight mpeg2 w/ ac3 audio for 5.1


DTS doesn't seem to work in my limited experience.


Transcoding is no good for me as it results in a dramatic reduction in PQ.


I messed around with Divx/xvid a little, can't guarantee that AC3 for 5.1 was working on those files, but they seem to play just fine.


I am using WMP11 on Vista as the server, the machine also runs Media Center but it doesn't seem to matter to the PS3.
 

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Mr.Hanky


can you share your "preset" file of MediaCoder for to transcode to mpeg-4/aac?

I have no luck on this for week now.


Thanks for infomation.
 

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To do mpeg4/aac, I have set the following:

audio

source is auto select

encoder=faac

resample, channel = original

average bitrate set to whatever you find appropriate

mpeg version set to mpeg4

object type = low complexity

container = mp4


video

mode=bitrate-based

bitrate set to whatever you find appropriate

format=mpeg4

container=mp4

auto select is enabled on source, backend


picture

resize not enabled, unless below 320x240 (then set to 320x240)

crop disabled

frame rate not enabled

aspect ratio set to either 4:3 or 16:9, as is needed



Mind you, some material still seems to be fussy with this configuration. So it is still not a universal solution to make a ps3 playable encoding.


Here are my updated transcoder observations with the ps3:

My methodology (for tiny internet videos) seems to follow this pattern:


-first try mpeg4/faac, use original res unless the orig is below 320x240

-if that doesn't work, try mpeg1/mpeg layer 2 audio

-if that doesn't work, try mpeg2/mpeg layer 2 audio


I have not been able to make any sort of playable encodings (on a ps3) using h264, mpeg2/ac-3 combo, mpeg1/mp3 combo.


I have been able to convert some realplayer videos, but not with working audio. Quicktime mov files seem to be a mixed bag to get working.


For the most part, vlc seems to play my encoding creations in all sorts of video/audio combos, but the ps3 is quite finicky in what it will recognize and playback.



Someone on another forum has suggested xvid (profile: unrestricted)/mp3 in an avi container. It seems to be encoding a few samples I have tried so far with little fuss. I don't know if they will playback on ps3...will try them out this evening.


Preset file? Do you mean the entries in the (global) Settings menu? I have only changed one thing from that screen, and that was in Overall/Container Options/Track Order=Audio First.
 

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I'm another guy who'd appreciate a FAQ or guide about the strengths and weaknesses/limited of a PS3 as Media Center. I'm tired of setting up my laptop for HTPC use, thinking of getting into a console (prefer 360 but if PS3 was better for streaming HD/5.1 that and BRD would probably put me over the edge) or buying a dedicated HTPC (that'd come later) so yeah, a clear FAQ would really be helpful.
 

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Mr. Furguson, the page was open for a long time before I posted - so I didn't see your post before mine went up. Anyway, Can you explain what Tversity/Fruppes is? Software backends for Windows? What I really want is for the PS3 to just stream FILES from a server. If a PC/software must be involved then it defeats the purpose, for me.
 

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Tversity and Fuppes is a software backend like you said. It allows your PC to stream files to the PS3. Both programs have a very low memory footprint unless you are streaming HD content.
 

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I'm assuming Linux/VLC on the PS3 isn't powerful-enough to stream HD? If so, then basically I'm personally not interested as a PS3 as a streamer. Too bad. I'll probably end up with a 360 and a mid-range Mac (iMac) in my theater. I'd love to hear that my assessment is wrong, though!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by nightfly13 /forum/post/13007216


I'm assuming Linux/VLC on the PS3 isn't powerful-enough to stream HD? If so, then basically I'm personally not interested as a PS3 as a streamer. Too bad. I'll probably end up with a 360 and a mid-range Mac (iMac) in my theater. I'd love to hear that my assessment is wrong, though!

I don't have a 360, but I don't think it can just "stream" without a PC either.


Both the PS3 and 360 require a Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) server to stream media.


Software like TVersity and FUPPES are UPnP servers. I have FUPPES set up on my Ubuntu server, which stores all my media. You can also use Windows Media Player as a UPnP server, if that is what you want to do. Alternatively, you can plug in an external USB drive to your PS3 and play movies directly off the disc. Or copy them to the internal PS3 drive and play them direct from there.


When you want to play a movie on the PS3, you just go to the "Video" section, select your UPnP server and pick the movie you want to watch. It supports HD and 5.1.


If you want to get fancy, you can set up some UPnP servers to transcode audio/video on the fly. For example, the PS3 doesn't support FLAC, so you can set up your server to convert to MP3 or WAV on the fly.
 

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I'm having a very hard time streaming movies from my laptop to my ps3. I thought the addition of divx would help, but it doesn't look like it makes a differences with movies - which are .vob files and so forth.


I'd REALLY debated about using tversity, but I think as someone stated the picture quality decreases with the transcoding.
 

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Sorry I realize I was unclear. I meant an xbox 360 for gaming and an iMac for HTPC (and light big-screen gaming).


I'm planning to build an unRAID server, but I don't think it does UPnP like the PS3 requires. It's amazing how slowly technology progresses when there's no big budget copyright holders backing it up (and intentionally slowing it down I'd imagine).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by nightfly13 /forum/post/13009649


I'm planning to build an unRAID server, but I don't think it does UPnP like the PS3 requires. It's amazing how slowly technology progresses when there's no big budget copyright holders backing it up (and intentionally slowing it down I'd imagine).

unRAID is just a linux distribution. You should be able to run anything you want, if you are willing to play around a little.


For example, here is some instructions on setting up a TwonkyVision (a UPnP server in unRAID). Unfortunately, TwonkyVision is not free.

http://wiki.lime-technology.com/wiki...y_Media_server
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by squidboy /forum/post/13011511


unRAID is just a linux distribution. You should be able to run anything you want, if you are willing to play around a little.


For example, here is some instructions on setting up a TwonkyVision (a UPnP server in unRAID). Unfortunately, TwonkyVision is not free.

http://wiki.lime-technology.com/wiki...y_Media_server

So it is supported. That's promising. So theoretically I could do the quick transcode (sorry I'm hazy on the technical term) which basically changes the tags and extension, but doesn't transcode the whole video - and then the PS3 could stream the MP4 h.264 from the unRAID? That IS promising. I'll research on lime-tech if anyone's doing this now. Thanks!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by nightfly13 /forum/post/13013703


So it is supported. That's promising. So theoretically I could do the quick transcode (sorry I'm hazy on the technical term) which basically changes the tags and extension, but doesn't transcode the whole video - and then the PS3 could stream the MP4 h.264 from the unRAID? That IS promising. I'll research on lime-tech if anyone's doing this now. Thanks!

Or if your files are in a format that the PS3 supports natively, you are good to go. Just set up Twonky (or some other UPnP software) and point it at your files. When you have files that the PS3 likes, it really is quite a nice streaming client.


It's the hassle of trying to figure out WHY a particular file isn't supported, or trying to figure out how to get the video/audio codecs that you want to play nice together. For example, you'll have a hard time getting H.264 and AC3 (Dolby Digital) together. Some people have gotten it to work, others just can't. Personally, I use full quality MPEG-2 files with AC3 audio, but obviously that will take more space than something like xvid or H.264.


Plus, you end up getting a Blu-ray player, if you don't have one already.
 
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