Setting Up A MediaTomb Server For PS3 Streaming

Having a PS3 hooked up to an HDTV is great and all but if all your media is on your server you need a way to get the content to where it needs to be. This is where MediaTomb comes into play.

MediaTomb is an open source (GPL) UPnP MediaServer with a nice web user interface, it allows you to stream your digital media through your home network and listen to/watch it on a variety of UPnP compatible devices.

Your PS3 is a UPnP compatible device so MediaTomb is perfect for the job.

The only issue with MediaTomb and the SheevaPlug server is that it takes about 129 MB of space. On a 512 MB device this can sometimes cause problems for lack of space though at this point you should have lots of room for it. MediaTomb is large due to having a web interface packaged with it. This web interface seems to be the only way to finish the configuration of the MediaTomb server so it's a storage hit we'll have to take.

Message of Caution

Before we get started I have a message of caution for when setting up any new type of server. Always, always, always back up configuration files before you edit them. Trust me. I found this out the hard way on a different server which resulted in a few fresh installs. This is even more important on a SheevaPlug as fresh installs are not as straight forward as a regular server.

So before editing any configuration file, make sure you type

   cp configurationfile.extension configurationfile.extension.backup

Obviously replace the word configurationfile with the name of your file and use the proper extension. By adding .backup, or any other bogus extension, to the end of the file, you will preserve it in it's original state. If you mess up the original configuration file, just copy the backup to the same name as it originally was. By taking this precaution when editing config files, I guarantee that you will save yourself some serious pains down the line.

Setting Up MediaTomb

Installing MediaTomb is as easy as all other packages so far. Just run

   apt-get install mediatomb

Now we need to configure MediaTomb to have PS3 support. The config file is located at /etc/mediatomb/config.xml. Once again, make sure you back up this file first before making any changes. Open the file for editing

   vi /etc/mediatomb/config.xml

Within the config file there are comments pointing to what you need to enable for PS3 support. Go through the file and change the various settings.

Once you have the config file set up, start MediaTomb with the following line

   mediatomb

This will start the MediaTomb server in the current active server which is not ideal because if you log out, you will shut down the server. This is just for testing at first.

You will see

   2009-11-22 18:03:33    INFO: Loading configuration from: /root/.mediatomb/config.xml
    2009-11-22 18:03:33    INFO: Checking configuration...
    2009-11-22 18:03:33    INFO: Setting filesystem import charset to ANSI_X3.4-1968
    2009-11-22 18:03:33    INFO: Setting metadata import charset to ANSI_X3.4-1968
    2009-11-22 18:03:33    INFO: Setting playlist charset to ANSI_X3.4-1968
    2009-11-22 18:03:33    INFO: Configuration check succeeded.
    2009-11-22 18:03:33    INFO: Initialized port: 49152
    2009-11-22 18:03:33    INFO: Server bound to: 192.168.1.200
    2009-11-22 18:03:34    INFO: MediaTomb Web UI can be reached by following this link:
    2009-11-22 18:03:34    INFO: http://192.168.1.200:49152/

That last line is the one you want to pay attention to. Copy and paste that url and port into your browser. This will bring up the MediaTomb GUI. Click on the "Filesystem" tab and navigate to the folder you want to added to the MediaTomb server and click the + button. Give it time to add all the files to the database.

Once you have set up this folder in the web interface, go back to your command line and press ctrl+c. This will stop MediaTomb and the web interface as well. This is alright as we'll be starting it up again in a second.

Now you want to run MediaTomb as a Daemon, which means it will run in the background all the time. To do this just type

   mediatomb -d

MediaTomb is now running in the background and later you can log out of your server and the MediaTomb server will continue working. Fire up your PS3 to see if your media is showing up. Head to the video section and if MediaTomb does not show up, just select "Scan for Servers" and it should find it. Once mounted you will see a few folders: Audio, Video and PC Directory. MediaTomb will automatically group your content into it types but I tend to like the folder system I set up on the server. For that just head into the PC Directory folder and you will see the folder tree of your server's /media/external/ folder.

File Types

The one file type that does not work out of the box is MKV which is a high definition format the some movies are downloaded in. It is possible to get it working through the config file and transcoding, however I have yet to succeed. AVI's and most other file types should work just fine.

Conclusion

We only scratched the surface here with this tutorial. MediaTomb can be configured to transcode media on the fly to supported file types that will play on your PS3.

Short URL: http://gl2.ca/c