Home NAS as a PS3 Media Server

We have a PS3. I got it 'cause it's a great blu-ray player. My son uses it for playing those games. Nevertheless, it will not only play little round discs but movies on a USB stick, or from a "Media Server". The "Media Server" caught my eye - it looked like something that my Solaris NAS box could do.

First shot was to try to set up the server from Windows. It was simple enough, download windows media player and start the services. Of course, it only wanted to play wmv files. That was ok, I just wanted to see what a "media server" was and what it could do. I went a few rounds, learned way more than I wanted about codecs and turned the problem over to my son.

He found Mediatomb on the web and installed it on his Ubuntu box. It worked great even with the mp4s, so we started off on a weekend project to put it on Solaris.

Fortunately, Constantin Schmitz already did this and wrote an excellent blog about how to do it. This makes my blog a whole lot shorter. If you don't want Mediatomb, you can try Twonkymedia, he wrote a blog on setting up that. Follow his blog on Mediatomb on how to install it and I'll make comments from my experiences.

Mediatomb is very configurable. The media organization can be set up through a configuration xml script, javascript and the built in web service. The webpage gives you a view of what the PS3 sees and a file tree to add directories and media files. The organization from the files on the server and what is seen by the PS3 is managed through javascript.

Tweaks in the installation
Blastwave instructions don't use pkg-get -i anymore. The instructions now use pkgutil --install. pkg-get is still around but the default wasn't pointing to anything useful and pkgutil worked fine.

You have to grab a copy of libmagic and will have to poke around ftp.astron.com with ftp to find the latest release. I ended up with 5.0 and that will likely change again. I couldn't get it to compile correctly with cc, I changed to gcc and it worked fine. Compile taglib as per instructions and then grab a copy of Mediatomb. I used gcc for that too.

I used SMF for starting up and shutting down mediatomb.  I'll describe the setup at the end. You do need a start up script. I put the configuration for it in /etc/mediatomb.

mkdir /etc/mediatomb

Cut the following and put into a file /etc/mediatomb/mediatomb.conf

Customize for your own preferences.


# install in /etc/mediatomb


## MediaTomb port must be private >= 49152

# Username and group

# PID file path

# Log file path

# Config file path


You want to create a mediatomb directory in /var/run and in /var/log

cd /var/run (and /var/log)

mkdir mediatomb

chown user:group mediatomb

chmod 755 mediatomb

Create a startup script in /lib/svc/method/ called svc-mediatomb



. /etc/mediatomb/mediatomb.conf

LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/opt/csw/lib:/opt/local/lib:/usr/lib/firefox /opt/local/bin/mediatomb \\

--interface $MT_INTERFACE \\

--port $MT_PORT --daemon \\

--pidfile $MT_PIDFILE \\

--logfile $MT_LOGFILE \\

--home $MT_HOME

A few notes. LD_LIBRARY_PATH is not the best way to go. I don't like LD_PRELOAD either and it was not clear to me from the error message of how to get that to work. The LD_LIBRARY_PATH does work and I'm using it for now. I hope a cleaner method eventually comes to past. I do believe the use of ZFS/Solaris and a mediaserver is a big win.

First time Mediatomb is run, it creates a directory in $HOME/.mediatomb. Inside .mediatomb are the database files and default configuration file config.xml. This is the basic configuration file and it is read when the service is restarted.

You will need to edit the config.xml file:

Set a login for those that want to set up Mediatomb.
      <accounts enabled="yes" session-timeout="30">
        <account user="bob" password="a password"/>

The name tag is what shows up on the PC and on the PS3 as the media server name. Good idea to make it something identifiable.
    <name>Bob's Solaris Media Server</name>

I set it up to view the media files with javascript and didn't need the directory view for the PS3.
    <pc-directory upnp-hide="yes"/>

We are going to change the javascript files from the default. This requires the following lines changed:
      <virtual-layout type="js">

The virtual-layout tag must be changed from builtin to js for it to read the javascript that you modified.

Add Constantin's changes to the config.xml file for <filesystem-charset>, <magic-file>, <protocolInfo extend="yes"/> and map to tags as he suggested.

Adding some categories for Video
Mediatomb uses javascript to map the media files over to the upnp container structure that the PS3 uses. It's very smart about this for pictures and audio files as the metadata is quite rich. This is not the case for video default is to dump all videos into a 'Video' container.

I didn't like this but didn't want anything very complicated. I needed basic categories and the movie title. I set it up that each user had a 'media' directory that would contain movies, pictures, and audio. Inside of this directory would be subdirectories to categorize the movies. The filename of the video will be used as the title of the move but with the file extension removed.

This is done by changing the javascript file, import.js.
In import.js, replace the text:
// currently no video metadata supported
function addVideo(obj)
    var chain = new Array('Video');
    addCdsObject(obj, createContainerChain(chain));


function addVideo(obj)
  var loc = obj.location.split('/');
  var mediaFound = false;
  var chain = new Array("Video");
  for(i=0; i<loc.length-1;i++) {
     if(mediaFound) chain.push(loc[i]);
     if(loc[i].toLowerCase() == "media") mediaFound = true;
  str = loc[loc.length-1];
  obj.title = str.substring(0,str.lastIndexOf('.'));
  addCdsObject(obj, createContainerChain(chain));

Save these files and restart the server.

Setting up the media
You will need to create a media directory in your user space. Within this directory create subdirectories for categories like movies, tv shows, etc. and possibly further subdirectories for series, episodes. Do not get carried away with the hierarchy as there is a limit of subdirectories on the PS3. The audio and pictures can go into the media directory without subdirectories.

If you have upnp on in Windows, it should show up as a networked monitor with rabbit ears in Network Places. Clicking on this should open up your webbrowser to Mediatomb file/database configuration page. If you enabled login, it will then have a login screen for user/password. It will then show two tabs, filesystem and database.

Click on filesystem tab and browse the file tree until you find your media directory. Click on the + icon with the little round arrows (Tooltips would be nice here). This will bring up a form to set up autoscan of this directory. Set the scan level and make sure recursive folders is checked to pick up the subdirectories.
Any files added to the media directory will be automatically added to the upnp container from then on.

Clicking on the Database tab will show the organization of how it will look on the PS3. The only difference is while the PC Directory always shows in the browser, it can be selectively hidden for the PS3.

Setting up a service

This is my first shot at setting up a service. Copy the following xml between the dotted lines and

write as /var/svc/manifest/application/mediatomb.xml


<?xml version="1.0"?>
<!DOCTYPE service_bundle SYSTEM "/usr/share/lib/xml/dtd/service_bundle.dtd.1">
    <service_bundle type="manifest" name="mediatomb">
    <service name="application/mediatomb" type="service" version="1">
        <create_default_instance enabled="false"/>

                <service_fmri value="svc:/milestone/network:default"/>

                <service_fmri value="svc:/system/filesystem/local"/>

                       <method_credential user="bob" group="family"/>


        <property_group name="startd" type="framework">
            <propval name="ignore_error" type="astring" value="core,signal"/>

        <stability value="Evolving"/>

                <loctext xml:lang="C">
                    UPnP Media Server
                    manpath='/opt/local/share/man' />
                <doc_link name='mediatomb.cc'
                    uri='http://mediatomb.cc' />



 The /etc/mediatomb/, /var/run/mediatomb,/var/log/mediatomb, mediatomb.conf and config.xml home tag all should have a username/groupname and appropriate protection fields set. Once everything is set, check the manifest to make sure it's ok with:

svccfg validate /var/svc/manifest/application/mediatomb.xml

if ok, then import

svccfg import /var/svc/manifest/application/mediatomb.xml

and check status

svcs mediatomb

It should be disabled.

Start mediatomb with 

svcadm enable mediatomb

stop it with 

svcadm disable mediatomb

if it isn't running check status with 

svcs -xv

Problems show up as "maintenance" mode

You can check both the smf log files in the svcs error message and the log file from mediatomb to find what is going wrong.

Once the problem is fixed, clear smf with

svcadm clear mediatomb

svcadm disable mediatomb

and try again, svcadm enable mediatomb


You're working way too hard to stream movies to your PS3.

Take a look at PS3MediaServer. You'll never look back.

Posted by GaPony on August 29, 2009 at 05:12 AM PDT #

Fantastic guide, thanks Bob.

I've been toying with MediaTomb (on Linux, mind you) and your JS hack for Video sub-folders is fantastic.

Posted by Jason Friedland on September 03, 2009 at 09:27 AM PDT #

We use our PS3 for Blu-ray playing also, as well as playing media from our ReadyNAS NVX.

With the ReadyNAS products (from Netgear), no configuration is necessary, just go into the admin panel and check a box to turn it on.


Posted by Roger on October 18, 2010 at 08:55 AM PDT #

Post a Comment:
  • HTML Syntax: NOT allowed



« July 2016