Setting up your Windows Vista PC to stream to your Playstation 3 using IIS7.
Why setup my PC?
Many people want to be able to stream video to their PS3 so that they can display on their lovely new HDTV using HDMI. This is possible using various media servers, but they often fall foul in use. It is also possible using a basic web server.
The benefit of hosting your media on web server (inside your home or business) is that it can be contained on a machine that is very cheap to run and upgrade. Unlike the PS3, 1TB disks for your pc can cost as little as $86 USD, and maybe the SATA interface also. Yep a web server can be run on your old Pentium III machine with no issues.
With this simple set of instructions set out below, you will be able to play content of various types, including conversion of mkv and mov (quicktime) files to a playable Playstation content type.
Why use a Web Server and not a Media Server?
Simply put DLNA sucks. Most media servers use DLNA and UPnP as the way to automatically advertise and communitcate with the media player. On PS3 this sucks especially bad, making free media servers such as TVersity almost useless as it stops every 5 minutes to catch up on audio or video due to DLNA errors.
All that DLNA does really, is encompass video packets with extra XML based information. Most of which is redundant or un-necessary. It is the extra messages that surround the video packets that cause all the issues.
By using a plain HTTP server such as the one that come free with Windows Vista (available on all editions) gets you around these problems, but you will need to make a bit more effort in the installation and configuration. All of it is very easy
What you have to do
In essence the process is very easy
- Install IIS7 on the computer
- Configure a movies virtual directory
- Setup mp4, m2ts and mts mime type
- Convert mkv (HD content) files to m2ts with tsMuxeR for playstation 3
- Convert MOV (quicktime) files to mp4 h.264 with Yamb for playstation 3
- Playing content with PS3 internet browser
- Recomendations, tips and tricks
- The downsides to the solution
- Other benefits
Please note that all instructions require that you have the control panel in Classic View to be able to find the elements you need. Do watch the videos in full screen as then you will be able to read and see it all properly (sorry about the audio quality, new mic soon and then I will look to swap the audio). For users that have XP Pro or Mac, please drop me a mail to let me know that you want instructions made for you.
Installing IIS7 on the computer
IIS7 is the web server that comes free with Vista. It is a modular server product that contains many elements, to make this work for Playstation is it only important to install the Internet Information Services, World Wide Web Services and Web Management tools
- Open the start, control panel, programs and features
- Select Turn windows features On or Off
- the tick box to install Internet Information Service
- click OK
- wait for ages and then close down all open windows or maybe reboot depending on the install
Configuring a movies virtual directory
Virtual directories make it easy to link various parts of your computers hard disk to the web server. In this occasion I’m going to set the web location /movies to be the c:\users\andy\downloads so that I can watch anything that I have just downloaded as soon as it has finished. I’m calling it movies as trailers is the thing that I’m currently into. It could just as well be /tv, /games or /music.
By using this process you can open up any part of your hard disk, BUT before you can see anything on your PS3 you must also grant IIS access to the files. After IIS7 is set by default to offer directory browsing, there are no worries about writing html to link to the video files.
- Open the IIS administion tool by going to start, control panel, Administrative Tools, Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager
- Expand the left side to show the Default website, and right click on it, select Add Virtual Directory
- add in the name for the virtual direcotory
- select the place on the disk, network or USB attached device you want be at. mine is c:\users\andy\downloads, yours would be c:\users\Your_User_Name\downloads
- setup the Directory permissions
- right click, edit permissions
- security tab
- add both IUSR and IIS_IUSRS to the permissions
- Once that have done that we need to setup the security of the directory so that the web server can browse it.
- select directory browsing icon from the middle
- click enable on the righ to make it happen
- start the server
- click the top of the tree on the left
- click start on the right
course this could point to your external hard drive, USB stick or other storage device, not just the C: drive.
With that all set we can test our web server to make sure it all works
you are going to have to find out your own IP address of your computer. You might already know this and can skip this step.
To find out your current IP address of your computer on your local network is easy, all you need to do is click start and then in the run box enter CMD
At the DOS prompt type in ipconfig and press enter. Your ip address will be listed as the IPv4 Address and will start with either 10. , 172.16–> 172.31 or 192.168. these are the possible private network addresses that you can have. Any other numbers are either wrong or your not conntecd to the internet(or you have a backbone link =D ). In my case my ip address is 192.168.3.108 type in exit to close the window after you have written down the details
Open your web browser to check the page
now that you know the ip address of your web server, all you need to do to test is type that in plus /movies into the address bar of the browser.
my case that is 192.168.3.108/movies
as you can see it brings back a listing of the directory. If you get any other errors it will be because you have not setup security properly. If you any other response, check the directory for a file called default or index and ending with any of the following extensions: php, htm, html, asp, aspx. rename or delete this file and try to refresh the browser by pressing f5
If you find that it still does not work, try the loopback connector of your network card by going to this address (will work on any computer) 127.0.0.1/movies or localhost/movies if either of these work then it is your IP addressing that is wrong, go check that again.
Setting up extra mime types such as m2ts & mts for PS3 HD content
Some file types do not play straight out of the box on IIS7, for example mts and m2ts file do not work straight away, you have to configure the mime type for it before the server will serve it. This list here shows all of the main mime types for video. For the mts and m2ts files we are going to use video/mpeg as the mime type.
- open control panel, Administrative tools
- Open Internet Information Services (IIS) manager
- In the Internet Information Services (IIS) manager, in the center column double click mime types
- In the right column click add
- enter the extension and mime type as directed in the table below. do not for get to start the extension with a dot
|File type||file extension||mime type|
|mpeg 4 video||.mp4||video/mp4|
|AVCHD from sony & panasonic||.m2ts||video/mpeg|
|AVCHD from sony & panasonic||.mts||video/mpeg|
Using tsMuxeR to convert mkv to m2ts so they will work on playstation 3
Playstation3 does not play HD content in the mkv file format, it needs to be converted into m2ts. The best tool for this job is tsMuxeR, download it for free.
Using the tsMuxeR GUI it takes only a few seconds to setup a new conversion, the main thing to remember is to click the radio button that selects m2ts output.
- download tsMuxeR and extract the content of the zip file (I put mine on the desktop)
- open tsMuxerGui
- click add to add your file
- select radio button for m2ts
- check that the output is your location of the movies virtual directory (mine was c:\users\andy\downloads)
Using Yamb to convert qucktime movies to MP4 for playstation 3
So far the easiest application I have found is yamb, and again its available for free.
- Download Yamb(I chose with installer)
- install it
- run it
- Select to make an MP4
- add the file to be converted
- check the output directory
- Click next to set it off
Opening it on your media center or gaming consol browser
Trying it on your playstation 3
Below shows the intro to a 1080p HD-trailer, it was downloaded in quicktime and then converted to mp4. As you can see from using my saved bookmarks (pressing select) I’m able to quickly goto my movies directory on the web server. (new video content to follow showing how to do more operations with video, audio, web servers and the PS3)
- Open the Intetnet Browser on your playstation, inside the network menu
- Press start ? to edit the URL
- Press square ? till it removes all text except http://
- add in your IP address/movies, for me it was http://192.168.3.108/movies/ (don’t forget the / at the end)
- Press or choose start to goto that address
- Press select on the keypad to add to bookmarks
- Use either traingle? history or bookmarks to get back to your server quickly
Details over control of playing video can be found in the PS3 manual. You can only use the controls that relate to internet browsing or HDD movie play. Although it does say that the playstation will play mpeg-4 files, I have experienced many problems playing content encocded with Microsoft mpeg-4.
Remember to use triangle refresh to update the directory contents when you download more stuff. As you are using the most simple web server this means that the page is not automatically updated
Recomendations, tips and tricks
- Always use a wire to connect your kit to the network, both your PC and the gaming console where possible. You may get buffering issues otherwise if they are both using Wi-Fi and HD content, this usually only shows at the start when the PS3 downloads the first 1mb into cache. Also does not help if a wired pc is downloading torrents and the PS3 is on Wi-Fi, the torrents often flood the network with packets at such a fast rate that the wi-fi(and sometimes wired) access is effected.
- For power saving, download favorite content to your gaming machine so your PC does not have to be on all the time
- Use an external disk or large internal disk for storage of your PC, don’t upgrade your gaming consoles hard disk unless you need more game space. It will be more cost effective
- You can if you wish open up your web server to the world (your friends) so that they have access to your content. Who needs youtube to broadcast yourself?
- A NAS drive with a web server on it will do the same job
- For those with a Mac, all you need to do is turn directory browsing or Indexing for the same possibities. It is already setup to give you a personal web server but on Playstation at least this is impossible to access as it uses a tilde in the URL. So you have to setup a new virtual directory or change the document root of the server to be where your download content is. This will take a lot more effort than IIS as there are no easy GUI’s configure apache with. However it has been tested and works on Mac with both Apache 1.3 and 2.2 when using a Playstation.
- Got a file that won’t play or convert into a file type that will work, then use TVersity to on-line convert to mpeg2 (or lower), it is very good at playing and converting all file types on the fly. However it does often come with a loss of quality.
- When using any web based content, never try to use the scene skip feature, where the media player gets sample items from every 5 mins or so, it just takes to long to browse any video on the internet in that style. Maybe when onlive unlock their codecs and protocols it will be fast enough, but basically it will take up to 1.5 seconds to find each preview block. This is inherent within the streaming protocols, be that using DLNA wrapped HTTP or just pure HTTP to access video.
- If you are looking for a more complex media server that is free and works with IIS7, then the media services extensions to allow you to stream HD content and charge people for viewing. It is really only good for businesses that wish to offer a service, not a home product really and at this time needs mainly the silverlight client which does not work at this time on PS3.
- always finish every URL that is a directory with a forward slash / so the Playstation will not complain
- making a virtual directory link to your music directory/library allows you to use the PS3′s “save in background” when copying MP3′s and other audio files. Unlike when using the Music/Search for media servers route in the PS3 menus.
The Downsides of this solution
- You cannot use subtitles for any file type unless they are hard coded into the video
- It’s not that pretty , so feel free to drop me a mail to be on the list for the improved media browser
- The file and directory names often are not so useful, or are too long to make browsing more enjoyable.
- None of the media players have half as many features or capabilities of VLC direct on the PC or MAC
- When playing video it does not return to the last played moment, but to the begining of the video
- SSDP discovery and UPnP can be turned off, removing a very large security hole. Business laptops often have this turned off, using this solution will get around that problem.
- Both videos and music can be downloaded in background, while you do other things
- Never waiting for the catalog of your media server to update before you can play an item. You just refresh the page which takes less than a second and the new content is there.
- there is no cost at all to installing this solution… all software involved is free