Update: We have tested Media Streaming capabilities with Windows 7. Streaming just got a lot easier!
As you know, both the XBOX 360 and Playstation 3 support h.264 encoded media natively. They can play this type of media in the form of MP4 and M4V container formats, which are very common containers for online video.
Furthermore, both consoles support DLNA media streaming. For Windows users, that means they can stream video from Windows Media Player 11. You can read a bit more Windows streaming to Playstation 3 on one of our previous blogs.
Unfortunately, Windows Media Player 11 does not natively support these file containers, at least for streaming. You can have all the right DirectShow Filters (I prefer CoreAVC for h.264) and Splitters (I like Haali Media Splitter), but getting WMP11 to stream these files requires some quick tweaks in Vista.
One thing people might be doing is using a transcoder program to stream these files to their consoles. This is not desireable as it has to re-compress video that has already been compressed, and needlessly uses up CPU cycles (and energy) to do this. Some commercial software is available that supports DLNA and will be able to stream these files to your console. However, if you follow the advice I am giving here, you will be able to use the software that you already paid for, saving you money, time, effort, energy, and quality.
And here’s how you get MP4 and M4V files to stream from Windows Media Player 11 on Vista. Since we all “run at different speeds” I’ll put together this as a
Step-By-Step Guide on Streaming MP4 and M4V Video Files to Playstation 3 and XBOX 360 from Windows
- You probably already have a splitter and codec installed – uninstall them now. You will be installing codecs again right away following this guide.
- Download a good h.264 codec and splitter; there are several to choose from. One of the best free codec packs is ffdshow tryouts. It can be installed to support pretty much every type of video and audio out there. A great alternative is CoreAVC, which is a commercial product that costs $15 for the full version supporting SMP processors and (upcoming) GPU acceleration. This will give you the best image quality and lowest CPU usage. Of course, you can use any DirectShow filter codec you prefer, there are many to choose from.
- For your splitter, you can use Haali Media Splitter. I recommend installing it as shown below:
- Next, download and one one of these reg files: Windows Vista 32 bit and Windows Vista 64 bit. Credit goes to Red for making these.
- Once you run the reg file, reboot!
- You will need to make sure that Windows Media Player 11 is keeping track of your video files. Open WMP11 and click Tools > Options… and go to the “Library” tab. Now click “Monitor Folders”
- I like to manually set which folders are being accessed by WMP11, so I select the second option and make sure that all folders containing the music and videos I want it to see are added.
- Once you click “OK” it will rescan your folders, and add everything to the Library. You should now be able to see all your videos in the library, including AVI files, and now MP4 and M4V files! You will also see MP4 audio files as well, in the Audio section of the Library.
- These files will also show up when you browse to your PC from your Playstation 3 and XBOX 360! Congrats, you can now stream MP4 audio and video files to your console, without having to re-encode them to AVI, or copy them to a USB drive first!
- Note: Windows 7/Windows Media Player 12 already supports these formats natively, so you will not need to follow this guide to enable streaming. Don’t install these reg files on Windows 7!