Hackfoofery

Alson Kemp

PS3 + Linux Media Serving (MythTV? GMediaServer? MediaTomb?)

I recently got a PS3 (which is a lovely piece of hardware and software) and, given our collections of MP3s, WMAs and AVIs (a bunch of ripped children’s DVDs so that my son is free to physically shred up the actual DVDs), have been trying to figure out how to serve media to it over the network.

Serving from Windows is ludicrously simple using Windows Media Player 11 or TVersity, but I have a small, super-old-school Linux file server used for backups-and-such and I wanted to use it to serve media.  Turns out to be very simple to do so.

MythTV is the big guy in this space, but it had a number of issues for me:

  • Not particularly straightforward to set up (considering the very simple use case I had for it).
  • Tons of functionality that I didn’t need, including a heavy front-end app (though there is a lighter weight web app I could have installed).
  • I couldn’t figure out how to get it to serve WMAs and, since I’ve ripped a bunch of CDs to WMA, this was a killer.

None of this is to say that MythTV is not a great piece of software; it was just way more than I needed.

GMediaServer is a GNU uPNP media server and it looked pretty good, but I wasn’t sure that it would serve video.  Documentation is a also bit lacking.

Enter MediaTomb.  Simple, lightweight, basic media serving.  “apt-get install mediatomb” and I was pretty much there.  A slight, very well documented modification to the configuration file and I popped open a web browser, browsed to the built-in web interface and told MediaTomb to server my /share/media directory.  Walked over to my PS3 (on which the MediaTomb server was already listed) and started browsing my media files.

The only issue I had was when I updated the media files on the server.  Sometimes MediaTomb wouldn’t see the modifications and would send to the PS3 out-of-date data, probably because I was using inotify rather than just time-based refresh.  I switched to the time-based refresh and deleted the MediaTomb SQLite database and all was right with the world.

Useful links:

  • http://www.mediatomb.cc
  • http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=650020
  • http://www.freesoftwaremagazine.com/columns/upnp_mediatomb_ps3_and_me

Written by alson

March 9th, 2009 at 3:19 pm

Posted in Geekery

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