PS3 instead of AppleTV

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by o2xtreme, Sep 10, 2008.

  1. o2xtreme macrumors newbie

    Sep 10, 2008
    Hi All,

    I recently bought the new 24" iMac & I'm currently looking at buying AppleTV so i can have wireless storage of my movies and be able to play them on my TV.

    I had someone suggest buying a PS3 instead so I can have blueray as well but i need to know if this will work. Has anyone else done this already and does in work well. I know there is a program called medialink that can help in some respect but I need to know if it they can connect via bluetooth or what ever to make it wireless.

  2. richpjr macrumors 68030


    May 9, 2006
    I have both a PS3 and an ATV (along with an XBox 360) and I can tell you that the ATV is much more polished and easier to use, while the PS3 (and XBox) can do more, but are clunkier to use. If you play games or want BluRay it's a no-brainer. If those aren't important and you want something easy to use, than the ATV is a no brainer. Or buy both! :)
  3. o2xtreme thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 10, 2008
    When you say 'Clunkier'...'frustrating clunkier' or 'one or 2 more steps more clunkier but still very much useable'. I've just done some more research and i assume your using WiFi for connectivity rather than bluetooth.....

    the good thing i guess is that it works, assuming you are using it wirelessly!!
  4. Wanderer macrumors member

    Jun 29, 2007
    It works but it isn't Apple nice. You can rip music and movies and play them. Copy protected stuff you buy from Apple or Itunes won't work. If you have a PS3 or a Xbox 360 you can use it with the proper version of medialink. I have a PS3 linked with Medialink and it works as described.
    I would rather have a AppleTV just for the convenience and for the interface. But I wanted a Blu-Ray player and the game console was an added benefit. It streams video just fine from my airport extreme and plays most stuff flawlessly. Your mileage may vary. Music plays perfectly.

  5. Griffter macrumors member


    May 28, 2008
    Exeter, UK
    If you want to use your PS3, you need something called Medialink, produced by Nullriver ( )

    Personally I've been dissapointed by the buffering speed of this software, photos and music works, but video is virtually impossible, although I do use the software over wireless.
  6. thworple macrumors 6502


    Oct 20, 2005
    Sussex, England
    I've got a PS3, but have been considering my options on whether to buy an AppleTV as well.

    I like the PS3, and I've connected up an external USB HDD to it which stores all my photos, vids and music, but it still has it's oddities.

    I had to ensure all my music that I had in iTunes was converted into MP3 otherwise the metadata attached to each song (ie album cover, artist name etc.) wouldn't work properly on the PS3. The music then had to be transfered onto the PS3's main hard drive as the file structure on it is.... well..... cr*p.

    Photos and videos work better, and Handbrake does a great job of converting DVDs into the correct PS3 format, as it does for the AppleTV.

    Sony have also made a DVR add-on for the PS3 and are launching a TV and Film download service as well, although these don't work in all countries.

    You can use Medialink, but as Griffter said, video doesn't always work well via this streaming method.

    Basically, I really like the PS3, and if they ironed all the kinks, I would love to keep it as my main media centre. However, the way it works at the mo, I'm still considering buying an AppleTV to complement it.
  7. CMD is me macrumors 6502

    Dec 7, 2006
    I didn't know you could hook a USB drive up to the PS3. By doing so you can just store all your HD videos locally and not worry about streaming? Would you then not need Medialink?

    Will the PS3 play back MPEG-4 iMovie exports? What about AVCHD files straight from a camcorder (I've read it will, but some say theirs pauses between each clip)?
  8. shiseiryu1 macrumors 6502

    Sep 30, 2007
    My Opinion on both

    I think that your satisfaction with the PS3 may only be because you haven't experienced how much nicer the AppleTV is. It reminds me of how I felt about my Pocket PC before the iPhone came out...I loved my Pocket PC. However, now when I compare it to my iPhone I realize what a clunky piece of junk it was and I wonder how I dealt with it so long.

    I have both and here is my opinion: If you live alone and you're a geek, then the PS3 will do. If you have a non-geek spouse and you want them to know how to access all your digital media (without having to leave an instruction manual laying around), then definitely go with the AppleTV...they'll thank you for it.
  9. EnderTW macrumors 6502

    Jun 30, 2007
    This is true.

    However, if you want the best quality stuff, PS3 with Medialink is the way to go. I have the Apple TV, and even I am a little disappointed in their "HD" stuff. It's very compressed. I downloaded a H.264 rip of the new diehard movie [bluray rip], and it streamed to my ps3 over wireless fine, of course you can't fastforward/rewind, but it did 5.1 sound with bluray quality. It was about 15 gb download.

    However, if you do have someone else who is buying/adding movies, yes it won't work at all. There are some steps you need to do to get the Bluray stuff to play. I find it a nice college solution that is cheap.

    I personally use ATV, because I got tired of converting / finding rippers that didn't lose the quality of the orignial video. I can live with the HD shows, but I would like to see Apple do a better job on them. Just a little. :)
  10. harcosparky macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    I first bought the Apple TV and was very happy with it.

    I now own a PS3 and am still VERY HAPPY with the Apple TV.

    I tried Medialink - and it does not work well for me, for the same reasons as stated above.

    So for me ....

    Sony PS3 --> Games & Blue Ray Player !!!!

    Apple TV --> Everything else !!!!
  11. TomP80 macrumors member

    Apr 15, 2008
    I think with if you are comparing whether to by ATV or PS3 in their current forms (not based on what it might do down the track), it comes down to this:

    Do you want to the best quality video/audio money can buy (blue ray) or to play games?

    If so, go with PS3.

    If these are not hugely important to you, and all you want to do is stream your existing, lower quality media from your computer to your A/V setup, then you need to ask yourself:

    Do you want a beautiful interface, sublime integration with itunes with syncing/streaming, itunes store purchases and rentals NOW and a non-blue tooth remote, then go with ATV.

    If it is more important to access a wider range of file types (excluding itunes drm protected media), have UBS external drive expansion options, not be locked into itunes and are happy to put up with an inferior interface, then go with a PS3.

    Neither are perfect devices, so if you want everything then you have to buy both.

    If what these systems will be able to do in the future is a concern - it is important to remember that Sony are pushing the PS3 a hell of a lot more than Apple are pushing the ATV. I would expect a lot more cool updates for the PS3 over the next 12 months than for the ATV unfortunately.
  12. nordesmic macrumors member

    May 2, 2005
    Adelaide, Australia
    Go with the PS3. I have used Medialink since the day it was released and it is very good software. If you play HD files over wireless network then you will have buffering problems etc but this is more due to the crappy wireless speed of the PS3. I decided to wire up my house using ethernet cable to overcome wireless speed issues and now I can stream at 30 Mbps or so.

    The PS3 does not have a bad user interface. Using Medialink to stream music I can view all of my iTunes playlists in the exact same way that I could on a AppleTV. It even shows album art. Medialink can do photo slideshows from your iPhoto library also.

    But the big plus over the AppleTV is in terms of video playback. The PS3 plays all the formats of the AppleTV except iTunes store files. However there are no limits on bitrates and resolutions can be up to 1080p. It also plays divx/xvid (no re-encoding for iTunes) which is big for anyone who downloads a lot of content. And obviously it has a good bluray player too.

    Put simply, the PS3 can do everything that the AppleTV can do except DRM files. Firmware updates continually expand the ability of the PS3 as well. I think you can download TV shows now as well (in the US) but I'm not sure.
  13. thworple macrumors 6502


    Oct 20, 2005
    Sussex, England
    Indeed you can - and I do just this. Store my vids on the USB drive, and all works really well.
  14. CMD is me macrumors 6502

    Dec 7, 2006
    I may have to see if I can barrow one to try. Which iMove file format exports work best for 720p/1080i?
  15. kerryn macrumors regular

    Apr 12, 2007
    This is what I do. I have a portable 160GB hard disk that I use to store shows on. I copy the shows from either my windows computer or my Macbook on to the external drive (put the shows in a folder called VIDEO) and when you plug the drive into the PS3 it works fine and the shows are immediately available.

    I tried the demo version of Medialink and found it worked well for copying shows from my Macbook to the PS3 for playback. I did not try streaming, so you do not have to stream. You can all copy from the networked computers to the PS3 internal hard drive, or even to an external drive plugged into the PS3.

    One advantage of the PS3 over the aTV (and I do not have the aTV so I can not comment too much about this) is that the PS3 plays back more type of content that the aTV (without hacking). So its perfect for those bittorrent Top Gear shows out there.... :)
  16. ncudmore macrumors newbie

    Jun 16, 2008
    I've both, but.......

    Must admit I got the PS3 for the Blu-Ray player and that was about it in the start.

    I had, well still have a eyehome as well which I used for playing films and tv from the mac - trouble was this was only standard tv quality and scart connection - up side was it would play .avi files without converting them - downside no longer supported and no h264 support.

    About 18 months ago I got the atv to replace the eyehome. Have to say some day's I love it, some day's I think of putting it in the bin. On the plus side, when it's in a good mood it plays media from the Mac, and streams music and video, in HD and digital connection - so much better than the eyehome (scart for the video). Also, when watching/listening to media which is quiet, it isn't making a noise that is distracting - unlike the ps3 which drives me nuts at times when the fan(s)? get going. Playing music - especially with sailing clicker or the iphone remote is much better than the PS3, if you use playlists, have a large collection. Finally up until iTunes 8, it would act as part of a multiple speaker set-up with Airtunes - though it seems iTunes 8 broke that for lots of people with airport expresses as well.

    Downside on the ATV, it hates you trying to do anything when it wants to sync with the Mac, streaming even with a good wired network can be painful at times. Hardware mods - ie bigger Hard disk, are not for the faint hearted - while the upgrade of HD on the PS3 is a piece of cake.

    I'm not really a games player so that side of the PS3 is a waste in my case - but at the time the PS3 was £200 cheaper than the next blu-ray player. Now the prices have come down, I'm thinking real hard about replacing the PS3 with a stand alone blu-ray player, since it won't play dvd's from another region, and the noise.
  17. shpxnvz macrumors newbie

    Sep 9, 2008
    Try before you buy

    Be sure to try the MediaLink demo before purchasing. Some of us are experiencing DLNA protocol errors using MediaLink with the latest PS3 firmware, and NullRiver does not appear to ever respond to support requests.
  18. neiltc13 macrumors 68040


    May 27, 2006
    I just got the new official Sony PlayTV tuner and DVR for my PS3. It's incredible.

    Sorry guys but PS3 has AppleTV well and truly beat here in the UK. The sheer amount of stuff it can do compared to that silly Apple device is insane.
  19. Donar macrumors 6502


    Jul 12, 2008
    Play TV for Satellite would be nice, no way i switch from DVB S to DVB T. The T does not stand for "Terrestrial" its T like Tetris because of all the block artifacs you have here in germany with DVB T.
  20. OrganMusic macrumors 6502

    Sep 21, 2008
    Download HD stuff to play over Medialink?

    Just got Medialink and it works great for my itunes library. Fortunately I built my music library with MP3 files.

    Where can I find some good HD video content, previews at least, that will play over my PS3? It's a HUGE bummer that iTunes content doesn't work. I must have overlooked that detail, but it didn't really jump out in the promotional info. At least I only paid $20 for the SW.

    I find the music browsing a bit clunky on the PS3-- I wish I could go genres/artists/albums but as soon as you go /genres it shows all the songs in alphabetical order. Anyone know if that can be changed?
  21. davidjearly macrumors 68020


    Sep 21, 2006
    Glasgow, Scotland
    As is your comparison. One is a gaming machine, the other is not.
  22. jwt macrumors 6502

    Mar 28, 2007
    The only problem here is that the PS3 only recognizes a FAT32 file system, which limits file size to 4 GB. HD movies require more space than that, and that's where MediaLink comes in.

    I don't have experience with the AppleTV. It is limited to 5Mb/s and broadcast quality HDTV is 14-19 Mb/s, which means that I would have to compress it (losing quality and wasting time) in order to watch it. That was a deal-breaker for me, so I went with the PS3, which I just acquired a few days ago. So far, this is one of the most awesome devices I've ever used. It can even play streaming .vob files ripped via MTR. If you record HDTV via EyeTV, and want a way to easily view it on your HD set, this is a great way to go. I'm very happy so far. Also, you can watch BluRay movies, and rent streaming movies just like ATV too.
  23. jwt macrumors 6502

    Mar 28, 2007
    The PS3 is a gaming device, BD Live device, and a media center. The Apple TV is a crippled version of one of these.
  24. spydr macrumors 6502


    Jul 25, 2005
    This was my logic when I traded my apple TV for PS3.

    Now it is clear that I use the media center aspect of PS3 way more than playing blu-ray or games. And for media center streaming, all I can say is that it is barely acceptable at best.

    It is a bit infuriating that it cannot wake up my mac when I want to browse the media (will have to go wake up the mac and then browse the media in PS3). But what is downright unacceptable is that my movie will suddenly stop playing and that is because my mac has gone to sleep! Can't Medialink even keep the media playing without letting the system go to sleep? Also, quite a few mp4 files that I made with handbrake won't play on the PS3. It is very annoying that while it can play a few more formats, one can still not be sure if a given mp4 file will be playable (though it will play perfectly on the mac).

    So, the bottom line is: If you are going to use PS3 for mostly media streaming, apple TV is a way better option. For $199, you get a seamless connection with a stunning UI. PS3 doesn't quite cut it.
  25. sammich macrumors 601


    Sep 26, 2006
    Why can't you set your mac to just never sleep? My MBP is set to that and it shares all of my media. Although it's a bit iffy atm because of recent medialink updates and what not.

    And....has anyone got a way to get a mkv file to play? Or an easy to convert it? For the love of God, there has to be a simple ffmpeg based app that can do this!!!!!

Share This Page