Getting media to stream off my MacBook onto my PS3

Posted by Mike Amin On 8/24/2009
I've been trying to find a way to stream all the video and audio files I have stored on my MacBook over to my PS3. The PS3 itself supports the Universal Plug n' Play (UPnP) protocol so this should be easy enough, right? After reading the boards and doing some research, the two best options appeared to be:

While PS3 Media Server is a great price (nothing dollars), it is a little unwieldy to use for novices, and I in fact had to play with some settings just to get it to actually connect to my PS3. My setup involves a 2GHz Core 2 Duo Black Macbook (the machine is more than 2 years old) connecting to my network wirelessly via a Belkin router, and my PS3 also connected wirelessly through the router. Most of my media is stored on an external 1TB USB hard drive, which is obviously connected to my Mac.

After playing with PS3 Media Server for a bit, I noticed that while some video files played fine, some others were extremely choppy. The streaming times were also very slow (took a while to get a decent initial buffer stream rolling). I decided to try Medialink and see if a piece of paid software would work out better.

After setting up Medialink (very easy, although I had to power on my PS3 BEFORE I started the UPnP server from my MacBook for it to be recognized), I noticed the same problems happening: video stuttering or choppy. This choppiness was happening only with certain video formats (presumably because the streaming bit rate is too high?), including:

- .vob files
- .mp4 files (only some of them)
- Video_TS folders (yes, I was able to stream a full DVD over the network, but I had to play each .vob file independently -not good news if your DVD has many different chapters).
- Most .avi files seemed to play fine, some some of the higher-quality movies had intermittent choppiness.

After doing some digging, this helpful page turned up:

Good old Khoji made a suggestion to hook my MacBook up to the router with an actual cable. I did, and voila! Problem solved. I had my files streaming smoothly and playing great on my PS3. Unfortunately my apartment setup doesn't allow for me to keep my laptop connect via cable, so I did the reverse: I hooked up my PS3 to the router via cable, and had my MacBook connected to the router wirelessly. The setup still worked great! Nice - now I can watch the entire 4th season of Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job without using a USB stick! Audio files worked fine too, although the PS3 playlist and organizational tools are terrible, so good luck trying to stream that 1994 Euro party mix you took 6 hours to put together in iTunes.

The only downside to using Medialink is that it can't transcode files on-the-fly (unlike PS3 Media Server), although I've only found this useful for formats the PS3 doesn't support - mainly .mkv files. I tested PS3 Media Server with a .mkv file and it worked great - unfortunately I have no idea where PS3 Media Server is temporarily storing this transcoded file - an issue if hard drive space is at a premium (which on my MacBook it is). Hope this helps some folks out there running into issues...

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