How To Stream Video and Music to Your PS3 or Xbox 360

By Will Smith

Getting video to stream from your computer to your console or TV is easy, with PS3 Media Server and our simple guide.

You may have never heard of  DLNA technology, but it's fairly likely that your home is filled with it. Both the Xbox 360 and PS3 include some form of DLNA client, as do many network-connected TVs, dedicated streaming boxes (like the WDTV Live from Western Digital), and even network connected photo frames. DLNA is a platform-independent spec that's used to share media between different consumer electronics devices. There are lots of DLNA servers available, but for today's how-to, we're going to use PS3 Media server.  
 

PS3 Media Server is free, Java-based, and works with most DLNA devices we've tested--despite its name, it works with more than just the PS3.  Twonkymedia Server is another great alternative, but it costs $30 ($15 until the end of March 2010), and isn't quite as good at streaming less-common formats, such as MKV, as PS Media Server. TVersity is also very good, but can be difficult to configure, especially on Windows machines with lots of codecs installed. 
 
You'll need a dual-band 802.11n router to stream HD
Java, then grab the appropriate version of  PS Media Server for your OS. If you have multiple machines available in your home, it's best to install the media server software on the machine that's most likely to be turned on when you'll want to watch streamed movies. (If you want to serve from a Windows Home Server, make sure you check out the Home Server section at the end, it's a little tricky getting WHS running with PS3 Media Server.) It's also a good idea to use a machine that's actually wired to the network as your streaming server, especially if you plan on streaming high-definition video. While 802.11n networks are great for standard definition, and should be sufficient for HD streaming, we haven't had particularly good luck streaming HD over wireless--aside from the fancy dual-band 2.4GHz/5.8GHz models. It's important to note, you'll need the appropriate spec on both ends of the connection too--your console will need an 802.11n Wi-Fi adapter or you'll need to use an 802.11n bridge. 
 
After you've installed the software, the first thing you'll want to do is tell it where you store your media. Go to the Navigation/Share Settings tab and add each folder that you want indexed and available on the network. If you want to add network locations, it won't work unless the account you run the PS3 Media Server software as has access to the folders too. If you're running as your user account, this probably won't be a problem, but if you want to set PS3 Media Server to run even when you're not logged in, it can be tricky. While you're on that tab, change the Thumbnail seeking position setting to 240. That will make the thumbnails, which are displayed on the PS3's menus, generate from a frame about four minutes into the movie, instead of one second into the movie.  
 
If you've set everything up properly, this is what your Navigation tab should look like in the server software. 

We also recommend checking the boxes for Hide #Video Settings# Folder, Hide transcoding engine names, Enable the media library, and Hide file extensions. This will provide a simple menu structure, based on your filesystem, without displaying a bunch of unnecessary menu options on the streaming client.  
 
If you're on the PC and have video files that contain AC3 audio, and want to pass that through directly to the PS3, without muxing it down, you should skip over to the Transcoding tab, and move Audio High Fidelity to the top of the Audio Files Engines section.  
 
UPNP Setting on a D-Link Router


Setting PS3 Media Server to Start Automatically 

Enabling autostart in OSX is easy 

 
 On OSX, your best bet is to just right-click on the icon on the Dock and select Options, Open at Login. While you can run OS X apps prior to login, we've never had particularly good luck getting it to work reliably. You're better off just setting your Mac to automatically log in.   
 

Viewing the Video 

Now that the server's running, it should show up as an option in the video column of the XMB on the Playstation 3, or on the Xbox in the My Xbox section under the Video Library panel. 
 

The Bit For People Using Windows Home Server 

If you're running PS3 Media Server on Windows Home Server, it's a little trickier to set up. First, copy the PS3 Media Server software for Windows to your server's software folder. In order to install and configure the server, you'll need to connect to Remote Desktop into the machine using a remote desktop client--both Windows and OSX ship with one. Once you've logged into the machine, go to the Software folder, right click the installer, and go to Properties. Click the Unblock button at the bottom of the Properties window, then copy the file to your desktop. Double click and install it.   
 
 Click the Unblock button, or Windows Home Server won't let you run the installer.

 
Configuring the services