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