Using VUZE as a Media Server with your PS3

Vuze-PS3

Vuze-PS3

I’ve had a PlayStation3 for about 3 years now, and most of the time I use it to watch TV shows and movies rather than play video games.

I bought it for Metal Gear Solid 4, but once I was done with that many of the games just didn’t catch my interest.

After a big update from Sony, the PS3 gained the ability to play DIVX / XVID files and it really became viable as a Media Center.

I looked at a few commercial Media Servers, including TwonkyServer and Nullriver MediaLink.

They both worked, but they weren’t free -both are about $20. That’s pretty cheap, but I wanted to see what I could do for free. That’s when I found MediaTomb, a free Open Source media server that would work with my Mac and my PS3.

The only thing is, even though you don’t spend money on MediaTomb, you do pay a price…in sweat. It’s not for the faint of heart to get this thing up and running. There’s a lot of Terminal action to deal with, so many will just pony up the $20 and move on. Not me, though – I was too stubborn.

I dug through the net, trying to find a decent, comprehensive guide to intalling MediaTomb. I found this:

Applesource: How-to: Stream media to a PS3 from a Mac

I had to do a little tweaking (make sure to read through the comments on that page) but I got it going. What followed were about 2 years of bliss. Whenever I wanted to watch a video stored on my Mac on my TV, I’d just fire up MediaTomb and then stream it over my network wirelessly to my PS3.

It was pretty easy (once it was set up). My normal plan of attack was to start up MediaTomb, then copy the files over to my PS3 (fast-foward and rewind didn’t work so well over wireless streaming). No problem.

UNTIL…the big Sony firmware debacle of 2010. I waited a long time to upgrade to this one, not because I cared about the features they removed, but because I didn’t really need to login to the PlayStation Network.

When I finally did, my worst fears were realized -the firmware update BROKE something, namely Mediatomb. Crap.

After I made that update, my PS3 would not recognize Mediatomb at all, no matter what I tried. And so an era ended. Silent tears were cried.

Since then I’d been moving my files over with a USB stick. Very annoying. Then if I’d forget my drive somewhere I’d have to burn the files on DVD and waste a DVD. If I was out of DVD’s I was just screwed.

That’s why I was pretty happy when I found out free bittorent app Vuze was able to transfer video files and act as a Media Server. Sweet!

Or so I thought…

As I mentioned in a previous article, I usually stick with Transmission for my bittorrent needs. I used Vuze back when it was called Azureus, and I, like many others, found it to be a huge resource hog, so I dumped it.

But now I was ready to download it and try it out again. After installing it, I opened it up. It wasn’t immediately clear what was necessary to start up the Media Server functionality.

A quick glance at my PS3 told me that it started automatically. The Vuze icon popped up in my PS3 XMB (Cross Media Bar). Ok first step done.

So, how do I get the files transferring? It’s kind of odd. They recommend that you drag your files onto the “PS3” icon that sits under the “Devices” menu on the left sidebar. If it’s red, that means it’s connected, if it’s gray, then it’s not connecting yet.

the PS3 icon showing in Vuze
The PS3 icon showing in Vuze

When you drag a video onto the icon, you’ll get a screen asking you to “Select a Playback Device for this Video”. You can choose either HD or SD depending on if you have a hi-def file or not. I’ve found that the most important setting in this screen is down in the bottom right -the “Transcode” setting.

The Transcode setting in Vuze
The Transcode setting in Vuze

If you leave this alone, Vuze will probably start converting/transcoding your file. Depending on how big it is, this is gonna cost you time, possibly a lot. The thing to do here is to set this to “Never”. Choose this BEFORE you pick the HD or SD preference.

On the left there’s a checkbox to “Remember this setting”. Do NOT check this. All it’s doing here is remembering your HD/SD setting, NOT your Transcode setting.

If you set this, you won’t see that window anymore, and Vuze will Transcode your files at will. Some will fly, and others won’t so you’ll kind of be at the mercy of the program. To reset the preference and get that window back, you’ll need to right-click on the PS3 icon in the sidebar, then choose Default Profile>Ask Every Time.

How to get your options window back
How to get your Transcode options window back

I know it seems like an annoyance but trust me it’ll be far more annoying when Vuze starts converting your videos unnecessarily.

Anyway, you can drag in your music files, too. I’ve never ran into a music file in my library that had to be converted yet, but there may be some. I’m not an audiophile so I have some pretty basic formats.

I had the hardest time trying to get my photos over. Vuze kept trying to transcode my photos. Come on, man. You’d think as sophisticated as this program is, it could at least be smart enough to recognize file types and not try to transcode a jpg, but no.

So you have to be ready for that and choose the “Never” option as described above.

You can drag in a bunch of photos at a time (drag them onto the PS3 icon). That same HD/SD screen will pop up. Make sure you choose “Never” for Transcode option, and you’ll see that Vuze still “converts” the files, but I’m not sure if it’s resizing them or what. It doesn’t try to change the format, though, and they’ll show up when you browse for them on your PS3.

If you accidentally leave it on Transcode, then you’ll get an error that says something like “Error: Transcode failed, No video stream found”.

This actually stumped me for two days. I asked about it on the official Vuze forums, but there wasn’t even one reply. At first I thought it must not be possible or it was too difficult. Then I realized it was just so easy that no one could be bothered to answer it. Oh well…

Now, actually transferring a bunch of files can be slow as hell depending on your router/network speed. I have a fairly low-rent D-Link router. Transferring 2GB of files actually took almost 2 hours. Wow. I should have just stopped it and transferred it by USB but at that point I just wanted to see how long it would take. Your network speed may fare better.

I don’t use Vuze for anything but the occasional transfer, but it sure feels good to have that option on my PS3 again.

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49 thoughts on “Using VUZE as a Media Server with your PS3

  1. Hi, I also happen to be running Vuze on a MacBook Pro and I’m trying to stream downloads wirelessly to my PS3. Every time that I drag and drop a file on the PS3 bar, it says “Error: Transcode failed, No video stream found”. I read your article and saw that Vuze had an option bar for transcoding, but I looked at my program and it doesn’t have that same bar, nor any options regarding transcoding from what I can find. I just recently upgraded to Vuze Pro. Can you help me?

  2. Hi Dakota,

    I’ve never used Vuze Plus, but it must be the same program just with extra features?

    So you’re saying that when you get the pop-up window that has the “HD” and “SD” Tv icons in it, you don’t have “Transcode” in the bottom right?

    If you aren’t getting that window at all, did you try right-clicking on the PS3 icon and then going to “Default Profile”, then choosing “Ask Every Time” to get that window back?

    Remember, you can’t click “Remember this setting” or it will try to Transcode every time.

    I guess I should ask, are you *trying* to transcode, or are you trying to turn it off? Is the file some kind of hi-def file format that could be an issue, like .mkv?

  3. i had the same problem too. i couldn’t see the transcode option to change it to never”.. But after spending hours with Vuze I was able to figure it out..Here is the trick
    Click on Tool>Options> and change the “mode” to intermediate from beginner. that should solve the problem

  4. Hi I read your advice and I actually have been enjoying this feature of Vuze for some time. Recently however, it just doesn’t appear in the XMB of my PS3. I’ve tried reinstalling the program. (I’m using a MBP OSX 10 5.8, PS3 firmware 3.41), restarting, rebooting router, laptop, PS3 but to no avail. Can you suggest anything. I, too have used the PS3 more as a media server than to play games. Now I’m getting frustrated. Thanks for the help.

    Dennis A.

  5. Hey Dennis, I hate when that happens, it’s definitely frustrating, no doubt. That happens once in a while to me but restarting Vuze/PS3 seems to fix it after a few attempts. Not so in your case obviously.

    Let’s go over a few things:

    1. Is your PS3 connected wirelessly or plugged in?

    2. My PS3 is on firmware version 3.50. It might be possible that it just won’t work with 3.41 anymore. Is there any reason you don’t upgrade (we already lost everything by this point :))?

    3. What brand of router are you using?

    4. Are you *sure* nothing crazy happened in the router. Everything is getting its correct IP address assigned to it? Maybe a power outage happened and screwed up something? It’s happened to me before.

    5. Did you try setting up the PS3 wireless/network again?

    6. Instead of re-installing Vuze, did you try “resetting” as they outline here:

    http://faq.vuze.com/?EntryID=110&View=entry

    If I think of anything else I’ll post back here but let me know if any of these work out. Good luck!

  6. hi, i did everything you mentioned and after the file was dragged to ps3 in vuse status says “ready” and coversion progress “n/a”. and although i do see the vuze icon in the ps3 that file does not show. what do you suggest…? thanks!

  7. This is quite the read. I think I finally got some video streaming to my PS3. I’m also running a Mac. Streaming to by 360 was so much easier but also more frustrating since it would just disconnect intermittently.

    1. Hey Kelly, well it was extremely easy as long as I was willing to pay, lol.

      The commercial options did work pretty well. But a cheapskate tech-head such as myself could just not be bothered to do things the easy way :)

      Still it’s nice to have this option if necessary, I’ve had to rely on it a few times since I wrote this one up!

    1. Hell yes it was.

      I got that one before I had an HDTV, so I still owe myself a play-through in HD. Should be awesome.

  8. Hi,

    Im a bit of a noob with this so please be patient with me. I have tried many times to watch my T.V shows I purchased on iTunes to transfer on to my playstation. I have dragged the files on the the PS3 section and it quickly changes to N/A. I looked on my PS3 and the files are there but it says unsupported data. I have already set the transcode thing to never. Please help me!

    1. Hey JM, alas, I don’t think iTunes DRM protected video can be played anywhere except your authorized itunes program (or Apple TV that you stream to).

      This is why I never buy videos from there, only audio.

      You can check this thread I found and see if there’s any helpful info in there:

      http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/247278

      Although it sure seems as if there’s no workaround. Best of luck!

      1. Thanks for trying! If I eventually got the DRM thing off then could it work? And if I do get some movies working is it possible to copy the movie on to the ps3 hdd? And I know this is kinda off topic but would you happen to know if it’s possible to copy DVDs onto the ps3? Once again thankyou for helping =]

  9. I just got the vuze icon on my ps3 this morning but I don’t have vuze on my computer. Did this happen to anyone else? Just curious as to why it showed up.

    1. Whoa. That’s kinda crazy.

      Are you in an apartment or in a neighborhood where you might be getting someone else’s wireless network? Maybe someone who hasn’t protected their network?

      Did you try selecting the icon and seeing what files were available?

      If you do, make sure to try the icon under Movies, Audio, and Photos.

      1. I’m in my house and I’m connected to my router as usual, I did check all the areas (vid,music,pics) and there’s no files in any of them. The part that gets me is tha my usual server (windows) is there too!? I don’t know I’m confused lol!

        1. Is there anyone else with access to your computer that could have installed Vuze and turned on your Windows server?

          Or do you have an old install of Azureus on your machine? I remember before they officially became Vuze I used to see that Vuze Icon pop up and not know what it was, especially since it wasn’t really functional at the time.

          This is indeed a mystery, my friend!

  10. [email protected] technology consulting says:

    I have no idea what the PS3 is capable of so it’s a pleasant surprise to know you can stream movies and stuff through it. I’d probably own one just for gaming but if it offers a lot more than that’s it’s more worth the price than I first thought.

  11. Question, I am trying to organize the files to have folders. For example I load 3 seasons of different tv shows and it puts them all mixed up on the server instead of subfolders and such. is there a way to do this? I tried assigning them groups but that didnt seem to do anything.

  12. I have downloaded numerous thing to my xbox this way and it has worked well. But about 7 shows in a tv show of 12 episodes (all the same format) will not go on the xbox. If i click never, it just stalls at conversion. Any advice?

    1. Hmmm now that is a mystery.

      Did you download one of those season torrents or did they all download separately?

      Also do they play if you just move them over (using usb or cd or something) That way you can tell if it’s the xbox refusing the files or Vuze.

      Sometimes even though they may all be .avi or .mp4 they’re not made the same way.

      I’m not sure if you’re using Mac or PC but when in doubt I usually open them up in Quicktime and use the Movie Inspector to check the format and codec. There will usually be *something* different.

      Unfortunately in these instances I’ll just reconvert the darned thing using MPEG Streamclip or Handbrake or something.

      It’s annoying but it will usually shake out the bugs. good luck!

  13. Hi there, great article summarizing my experiences during the last three days of experimentation and giving answer to the photo issue that I could not resolve.
    Thanx for that.

    BTW, why can I not get PS3 icon red unless I plug a cable from the Mac to the DLink? Why can I not connect them wirelessly? Does it matter that the PS3 is plugged on the DLink as well?

    Thanx again for your time.

  14. I’ve used vuse to play MKV format videos and it work fine. Unfortunately I need subtitles to understand the languages of some of the movies or shows and for some reason there are no subtitles once I try to watch it on the PS3 when they do have some if watched on the computer. Any idea why and how I can try to fix this?

    1. Hey Supernova1000, it’s funny you mention this. I was just looking for a way to do this the other day.

      Bad news: It looks like you can’t do this using the .srt files that you commonly see supplied with MKV’s.

      Apparently, you have to “hardcode” the subs into the video (essentially re-saving the file with the subs burned in) to get subtitles.

      I found this thread on the official forums:

      http://community.us.playstation.com/thread/851120?start=0&tstart=0

      but they really only explain why it doesn’t work. Someone in that thread mentions PS3 Media Server:

      http://code.google.com/p/ps3mediaserver/

      they say it reads subtitles but I’ve never tried it.

      I’m not sure how Divx Subtitles are implemented but those seem to be officially supported. However I’m not sure how many true Divx files I have anyway.

    1. Hey Nick,

      so what type of file is it? Is it an mp4 or avi?

      They’re not all made the same, so it could be using a wrong codec or something. Try moving that particular file over via usb and seeing if the PS3 still says it’s unsupported.

      If it does, then you’ll know it’s the file and not Vuze.

      In that case you’ll have to convert that file with Quicktime, Handbrake or MPEG Streamclip or something. Usually as long as you convert to a H.264 mp4 file it will be fine.

  15. Hey all,
    Hoping someone can help.
    I have my PS3 all set up for wireless internet etc and have Vuze, but my PS3 icon is grey and I cannot get the PS3 to connect to Vuze or vice versa.
    I have checked the media server plug in all is good with this, have checked my file sharing etc, everything is telling me that the PS3 should be online with Vuze, but it’s not connecting.
    If anyone can suggest something, I’m all ears.
    Thanks
    Sarah

    1. Hi Sarah, do you have a router situation happening, (ie router is just screwy)? Or did you try changing the security settings on the wireless to see if that helps?

      Did you try connecting with a cord and see if that works? If it still doesn’t connect even with a cord something might be wrong with the PS3.

      Did you unplug everything and leave it sit for several minutes in case of any old information gumming up the works?

      Also try manually assigning the PS3 a different number in the router, or going through the PS3 network setup again -sometimes these things just get “stuck”.

      Hope this helps!

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  17. Hey JG u seem to have some tricks up your sleeve. I want to thank you for the time you spent helping eveyone here..

    So here’s my current situation:

    Vuze did work some time ago, after I used it alot I don’t knwo why, if it’s because It didn’t work anymore or I just changed my method to using ps3 media server. I used ps3 media server fine. Now That doesn’t work either anymore, so lately I tried using vuze back again but it seem my PS3 is offline ‘ right clicking ps3 in device playback in vuze shows me : Online: No

    Strangely and ironically, my ps3 can see my laptop that is wirelessly connected but not my pc that is directly wired into the d-link SUCH AS my ps3. HOW COME THEY DON’T COMMUNICATE WHEN THEY ARE PLUGGED UP THEIR ASSES !? ( Sorry for this burst of violence and frustration won’t happen again)

    I’m confused since everything used to work and now nothing works. I’ve rebooted my rooter at the same time trying some port fowarding, enabling stuff and unchecking stuff such as “‘enable sp1 firewall” and all these effort brought nothing. I did the same with my ps3 putting my internet connection settings to easy, wired and upnp enable, ip automatic, media server enabled.

    My settings and hardware:

    Vuze 4.7.0.0
    Running advanced mode ( im not a geek, sadly, I just want all opportunities )
    In Options>Plugin>Media Server : Enable media server Upnp Checked

    I know I can just use the ps3 media conversion and manually transfer it to my ps3 but that’s ain’t the point, I want to just stream you know ?

    My Pc wired to the D-Link Dir-615
    Vista home premium
    I have put azureus.exe in the excetions in my firewall and even killed the firewall process to be sure it had nothing to do with the problem and killing it didnt do anything. Though I still think there might be something blocking since My ps3 firstly can’t even detect my PC even if my Network discovery is on in network and sharing center. Though I don’t know if I’m supposed to see my ps3 in the network devices but I don’t. And I don’t think I did anyways when my ps3 was okay with vuze media server.

    Basically i’m totally out of answers. I read alot of threads, try ALOT of things both for PS3 Media server and Vuze media server. rebooted with so many different settings. Opened ports. I feel as all this hell is since I have installed Windows Essential Security after getting owned by a Virus. Though this firewall/anti spyware program shouldn’t be the problem since I killed the process for tests and nothing better.

    I feel as much I need a tech at home. I also feel like uninstalling WES even though it has saved my computer.

    Man, JG, I hope you have imagination in how saving me up with this mess, hehe.
    Hope hearing some answers soon, Thanks !

    -Eric

    1. Wow, Eric! you really did try pretty much everything!

      So you uninstalled PS3 media server? Is that hijacking the Vuze connection, possibly?

      So you rebooted your router, did you do a factory restore on it? (make screenshot of settings first)

      Obviously I don’t use Windows but on the Mac you can just make a new fresh account on your machine and test that way.

      If you could make a fresh account in Vista and then do nothing but install Vuze you could see if that works or not. If it does you know a software setting in Windows is your culprit.

      Also try making a new PS3 account and see if that helps.

      Did you switch out your cables and see if that is the problem?

      Oh man this is a stumper! Hopefully some of this helps, but stop back here and let me know!

  18. Thanks for the answer buddy !

    Actually I’m in quite a rush for some time. I haven’t tried anything yet.
    Before doing anything you mentionned I’ll uninstall this windows security essentials.
    If that doesn’t work, I give your tips a check and if even that doensn’t work, then i’ll be totally speachless.

    See ya till then !

  19. Hi

    I have movies listed under my vuse on my PS3 but every time i watch them they disconnect intermittently. Its so annoying and not sure how to stop this?

    Help anyone….

    1. Hi Tally, are you connected wirelessly or via ethernet cable? Also make sure your computer is not too slow to keep up with the movies. Try to close other apps and stop and scheduled tasks from happening. See if you can notice a pattern. Does it shut down in the same interval every time? If so the culprit is probably a background task or something. Hope that helps!

  20. Hey,

    I was wondering what is up with vuze, I drag the files in and they played perfectly fine the first time, after that they appear in the PS3 but when I click to play a song it just goes to the visualisation and nothing happens. There is no song info at the bottom left that is supposed to appear, but the visualisation keeps on playing…

    1. Hi Mo,

      so your PS3 is set to repeat the songs, right? Or is it only set to play through one time?

      When you look on your machine, is the PS3 icon still red?

    1. Oh yeah it can be a PAIN!! I’ve noticed with some of the recent upgrades that now I can’t get it to work reliably. Every other time it seems like that little PS3 icon just won’t light up. Then the next time it works like a dream. Unreal!

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