PS3 DLNA streaming in Ubuntu (Gutsy)

Last Wednesday I finally took the plunge and bought a new TV. Not that there was anything wrong with the old set - a metal cased Mitsubishi Megaview 37 with 89cm (viewable) CRT screen weighing in at a whopping 100Kg. She was an old girl though, dating from somewhere around the early to mid Nineties, and piping my PS3 into her using composite video wasn't doing my next-gen gaming any graphical justice. Hooking up the PS3 via HDMI into my new 1080p 101.6cm Sony Bravia sure was an eye opener though. The sharpness, clarity, size and richness of colour is amazing!

So it got me wondering what else I could do with the PS3 - especially with those media server options I've never bothered using.

As it happens, the PS3 is equipped with Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) goodness. That means it can talk to other like minded gadgets allowing the sharing of media files such as MP3's and AVI's.

What this all actually means is that I can beam music, photo's or movies from my laptop to my PS3 over WiFi for playback on the big screen.

Of course, you can view digital media content by dumping it onto a FAT32 formatted mass storage drive plugged into the USB port of the PS3, but doing it the DLNA way means I can keep the content on my laptop without having to faff around with portable storage devices.

All my laptop needs in order to become a media server is a suitable media server app and as it happens MediaTomb is free and available for Linux and OSX. It's also made it into the Hardy repository recently so you lucky Hardy types can install it using Synaptic or by skipping to the Installation step further down the page, however my laptop is running Gutsy. No problem, just a couple of extra hoops to jump through but the MediaTomb website has instructions for all kinds of Linux flavours making installation pretty simple. In my case I opened a Terminal and added the GPG key:
wget -O- -q | sudo apt-key add -

... then added the MediaTomb repository to my sources list. Open it in a text editor:
sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.lst

... add the line:
deb gutsy main

Then save changes and close the editor (CTRL-O, CTRL-X).


Now that the new repository is added, use sudo apt-get update to refresh the package database, then sudo apt-get install mediatomb to install the application.

Once installed you need to run it so that its default config files are created. At the command prompt enter sudo mediatomb to start the app. Some blurb will scroll through the command line window but when it stops hit CTRL-C to cancel the operation as it will have done enough to create the config file.

A little bit of editing is required of the default configuration so open the file in a text editor:
sudo nano ~/.mediatomb/config.xml

Under the <server> section, add the line:
<protocolInfo extend="yes"/>

Under the section <mappings>, add this line under <extension-mimetype ignore-unknown="no">:
<map from="avi" to="video/x-divx"/>

Save changes and close the text editor (CTRL-O, CTRL-X).

Ready to start beaming some multimedia wonderfulness from 'Bunty box to PS3?? Just issue a sudo mediatomb command from a terminal prompt:


Notice the last line that appears? It shows a URL from which MediaTomb can be configured. Keep the Terminal window open, but open a web browser and enter that URL into it and you'll be presented with a page similar to that below:

MT Webpage

From here you can set the path to the media files you want to share and click the plus icon on the right to start sharing them. Fire up the PS3 and search for media servers in the category that matches the content you're sharing (Photo, Music or Video). Your PS3 should find your computer and MediaTomb will be listed . Simply select it and start viewing your shared content!

When finished, return to the open command prompt window and use CTRL-C to cancel the MediaTomb server operation.

Happy zapping!