Home > General, PlayStation3 > Streaming Movies over 802.11g WiFi to a PS3

Streaming Movies over 802.11g WiFi to a PS3

April 18th, 2009

I’ll start by summing up. If you have a big screen TV (40+ inches) and 802.11g, don’t try it. I have tinkered with just about every method of encoding files to fit into the 10 to 13 Mbit/sec max of wi-fi and it just doesn’t work (well). If you insist on trying to do this on 802.11g, keep reading.

If you’re looking to do this with any sort of respectable audio/video quality, buy a couple of 802.11n Ethernet bridges. For the price, the best I could find was the “NETGEAR HD/Gaming 5 GHz Wireless-N Networking Kit (WNHDEB111)” kit on Amazon for about $102.00 + shipping.

Update: Even More Information Here

That said, if you have a PS3 and are determined to use the built-in wireless 802.11g to stream movies, here’s some info:

1. Forget H.264 and the MP4 container. It won’t work. You have to reduce the bitrate to such low levels that the compression artifacts are incredibly noticeable.

2. Get a copy of Handbrake for ripping/encoding DVDs (the built-in PS3 preset will not work with Wi-Fi).

3. Your maximum bitrate is 1500kbit with 2 channel MP3 audio at 160kbit. Even at this low bitrate, you may still have problems. If you’re watching on a screen around 30″ to 35″, 1500kbit should be acceptable. On larger screens, you’ll still notice artifacts.

4. Your maximum sustained throughput with any over the counter 802.11g wireless router is going to be about 1.5MBytes/sec (about 12Mbits/sec).

Settings for the Handbrake Encoder

Here’s your settings for a normal 720×480 widescreen movie using Handbrake:

Container

For the “Container” drop-down box, select AVI.

Picture Tab

1. Set the De-Comb as needed. If you have a DVD that still has noticeable interlacing artifacts with De-Combing on, use Deinterlace->Slower instead, only use these if you can see the interlacing.

2. Click on the preview frame. Select everything except for Anamorphic. Check the boxes for Optimal for source, Align Dimensions, Keep Aspect, and Autocrop)

Video Tab

1. Video Code: MPEG-4 (FFMPEG)

2. Framerate: Same as Source

3. Uncheck 2-Pass encoding

4. Bitrate: 1500. If the video still stutters, you’ll need to drop this more.

Audio Tab

1. Track: Your desired language

2. Codec: MP3 (lame)

3. Bitrate: 160 (or 128 if you don’t mind sub-par audio)

4. Sample Rate: 48

5. Mix: Dolby Pro Logic II

Chapters Tab

1. It’s not supported, so disable chapter markers

That’s all you need to set. You can save these as a preset called PS3-WiFi.

Some other notes:

DLNA Servers

Windows

1. On Windows, there’s tons of them. Most will work fairly well. I liked SimpleCenter, mostly because it’s free (as in cost), it’s the first one I downloaded, it’s easy to use, and it worked.

Linux

1. On Linux, PS3 Media Server is junk. If all you want to do is watch a movie and don’t plan on ever using fast forward, rewind, or scene select it may work for you. It supports tons of options specific to the PS3, but on Linux it looks, feels, and runs like clunky Java software (oh, and you’ll need a good 750 megs of memory free to run it).

2. Twonky Media Server seems to work well, but it’s not free. It has some quirks with finding new content that you place into the media directory. Most notably, you have to restart the process for it to see them.

3. MediaTomb is free, but has a fairly ugly interface. I didn’t test very much with it, but it can be downloaded via Synaptic on Ubuntu. MediaTomb is the way to go. It’s rock-solid, fast, and easy enough to enable PS3 support (you have to modify the config slightly… just search for PS3 in the config file and follow the instructions). If you’re on Linux, this is your best bet. As far as stability, it’s way better than Twonky.

Lastly, it’s $100 bucks to get a pair of 802.11n bridges to connect your PS3. You’ll get the ability to stream HD content, you won’t ever have to rely on transcoding on the fly, and you won’t have to save your movies at such a low quality setting. Stop being a cheapskate and do your part to help the economy recover.

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  1. none
    August 7th, 2009 at 09:15 | #1

    2. Twonky Media Server seems to work well, but it’s not free. It has some quirks with finding new content that you place into the media directory. Most notably, you have to restart the process for it to see them.
    —–
    There is an timer you set, and each time it reach zero Twonky will look for new files.
    Set timer to “-1″ and it will look for new files at all time (like windows)

  2. ncaa1993
    August 26th, 2009 at 11:13 | #2

    Currently using Handbrake to RIP owned DVDs for PS3 streaming. Using a Twonky Media Server. I’ve used the PS3 preset without any issues. Also using the following settings for other pojects:

    Output Settings:Custom
    Format:MP4
    Codecs: AVC/H.264 Video/AAC Audio

    Video Tab
    Frame rate (FPS): Same as source (23.976)
    Encoder: x264
    Quality: Constant Quality: 100% (60% is default for PS3)

    Audio Tab:
    Audio Quality
    Bitrate (kbps): 160
    Sample Rate (khz): 48

    Everything else is default. a 2 hour and 30 minute film will produce a file size of 12 Gig so only use these settings if you have a lot of storage space on your media server (which I do…2 TB). The default PS3 preset for the same film yielded a file size of 2 Gig so the Quality setting impacts the file size greatly. I am far from an expert on Video encoding so this had been a little trial and error on my part. I do agree that you will have issues with streaming if using 802.11g, as I did when I first started playing with video. I updated to 802.11n earlier this week (Linksys WRT160N) and also connected a wireless N bridge (Linksys WET610) to the Ethernet port on the PS3. BIG difference. My Media server is in the basement and PS3 is on the second floor. I no longer have buffering issues (no more stuttering during playback).

    On another note, I set my Twonky Media Server timer to -1 and it works intermittently. Could be a bug in the OS I’m running on it but I can work around it by manually rescanning so no biggie.

    Next project is to get another wireless bridge and connect it to Sony XBR6 to stream netflix using PlayOn. Im guessing it will work well with PS3 as well. We’ll see how that works.

  3. August 26th, 2009 at 12:04 | #3

    @ncaa1993
    You should never use CQF of 100%. A 12 gig MPEG is bigger than the actual movie on the DVD (DVDs are usually around either 4.5 or 9 gigs).

    The Handbrake manual actually addresses this:

    HandBrake Constant Quality Docs

    “So should you use 100% to perfectly preserve the source? Nope. Not at all. In fact, you’ll end up with video that’s way larger than the DVD, but doesn’t look any better.”

  4. Anonymous
    August 27th, 2009 at 18:35 | #4

    Thanks Eric. figured that out the hard way. The file actually wound up being 24 Gig!! Sticking to the PS3 presets seems to work very well. Even the dark scenes stream very well.

  1. June 9th, 2009 at 18:49 | #1