Using Playstation 3 to play MPEG2 recordings from a ATSC/Clear QAM tuner....

To play a MPEG2 Transport Stream (TS) recording on PS3 I have to do the following:

1. Currently, PS3 does not support AC3 in MPEG2 TS. So in order to get audio you need to convert to MPEG2 PS. I use VLC to convert my files and PS3 seems to be happy.

2. Currently, PS3 only supports FAT32 file system so that limits file size to 4 GB so I need to do either

2A. Chop up files in 4GB chunks or

2B. Stream video to PS3

I prefer not to transcode my file since I don't want to lose quality and spend time doing it. Sure wish it was easier, please email me if you have a better way.


PS3 seems to have all the necessary hardware to be a nice Digital Video Recorder (DVR), a user replaceable laptop hard drive, powerful processor (CELL) to decode the digital video, and support for component/HDMI output , the only thing missing is a TV tuner. Sony even thinks so and is going to offer a DVR add on, PlayTV, for the European market. Problem is for the US market most people get their TV from Cable or Satellite not over the air (OTA). Satellite is basically a closed system and cable would require Cablecard support to get all the digital channels(local digital channels are not encrypted and do not require a Cablecard). Basically I think the chances for Sony supporting a DVR for the US market is pretty slim since such as small market for ATSC and complicated for cable and basically impossible for satellite.

My setup:

I don't have cable or satellite, just have a antenna mounted on the roof to receive NTSC/ATSC. I just need a ATSC tuner so I bought the following USB tuner, Hauppauge HVR950 The software that comes with it is terrible, especially under Vista, and also I do want to watch TV on my PC, just record, which was not a option that I could find.

Luckily my tuner is supported under Linux by the LinuxTVproject, the driver is experimental so it is not included with the kernel yet. So you need to get the latest linuxtv code, compile and install it. Lunapark6 has a good writeup on how to install the experimental driver.

I modified the azap application to record the transport stream to a file. Currently it is chopping up the stream in 4gb files so I can put it on my FAT32 harddrive. I created a bash script that use the AT command as a crude scheduler. After recording is finished I use VLC to convert to MPEG2 PS file. I think plug in the harddrive into my PS3 and I am ready to go. A lot of steps but it works.

In the future...


Email me at jricards a t alumni dot cse dot ucsc dot edu (replace at=@ dot=.) for comments and suggestions.