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JimmyN
09-15-2011, 15:16
I installed Mediatomb on my new FreeNAS box, and it's working really nice.

FreeNAS includes Fuppes UPnP media server, but I didn't care for it and had problems getting it to serve some video file formats. Fuppes is all about re-encoding formats on the fly to suite the UPnP client, but for streaming to a PS3 the only format that would need re-encoding is MKV. So I finally gave up on Fuppes looking for something better. PS3 Media Server was no better, in fact I liked it even less than Fuppes, I never could get it to work correctly.

So I installed the Mediatomb package from FreeBSd ports to give that a try. Mediatomb is very configurable and can serve just about any file format to UPnP devices including VLC player, Xbox, PS3, and devices using iOS like iPhone, iPad, and Androids if they have the UPnP app. MKV files will need re-encoding for the PS3, but all other formats you can fake the mimetype and extension in the config file and serve them as mpg files of one flavor or the other. AVI is a bad container for streaming since the pointer index is at the end of the file rather than the beginning, and players tend to throw seek errors periodically. But even AVI works well streaming to the PS3 if I set the mimetype to 'video/divx' for files with an .avi extension.

I can now stream mpg, avi, Divx, Xvid, and DVD vob files to the Playstation 3 downstairs. The PS3 can also access and play tracks from the iTunes library on FreeNAS as well as individual mp3's. So they can now watch movies and play music from the PS3 in the den without having to boot up the HTPC. I still have to set up mimetypes and mapping for HD video (.ts and .m2ts streams) and it will be finished.

Mediatomb uses SQlite and can monitor designated folders on the server. When you drop additional files into the video folders it will automatically add them to the database so they're accessible to a UPnP player.

The PS3 is my daughters, I've never owned or used one before. But I have to say the PS3's upscaling feature is amazing when watching DVD's. Streaming a DVD vob file from the NAS the quality is almost as good as Bluray, I'm very very impressed. It provides a really sharp clear picture, the best I've ever seen from a DVD file, and that was over a wireless connection.

I'm gonna have to get me one of those PS3 things, she'll probably want hers back.

IndyGunFreak
09-15-2011, 17:07
I just learned how to use Media Tomb not to long ago, and REALLY like it. Just streaming to a couple other machines in the house, it works great.

JimmyN
09-16-2011, 08:43
It is a nice program, and I'm still learning. I tried something last night for streaming DVD vob files to the PS3. The PS3 doesn't understand DVD structure unless you actually put a disc into it, so there are no menus or anything it just streams the file you select and plays it. I serve vob files with mimetype 'video/mpg', and map the vob extension to mpg, and it works perfectly on the PS3.

Unfortunately a DVD movie will be broken into 4 or more vob files, so they don't exceed 1gig each. Normally I use PowerDVD on the PC's and play from folder so everything is there. But for the PS3 you have to play the vob file. PS3 will play the first vob then stop. You have to then select the second one to continue watching, and so on.

So in a brief and totally unexpected moment of clarity I thought why not merge all the vob files together using 'cat' and try that. So from the CLI I just typed "cat VTS_01_1.vob VTS_01_2.vob VTS_01_3.vob VTS_01_4.vob >Moviename.vob"

I ended up with a 4gig vob file which I then put into the Mediatomb database and tried playing it with PS3. It will now play the entire movie without stopping since it's a single file, and the vob file now has the actual movie name, mission accomplished.