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Handbrake and MP4 for PS3 |

The other day I discovered the Mac OS X application Handbrake. This is an application that takes a DVD and rips it to MP4 format. How handy, I thought, now I can rip my DVD’s into a format my PS3 understands, in one easy step. (I don’t like jumping through a lot of hoops for this kind of stuff.)

Well, no. That was not to be. After some false starts trying to get a DVD to rip, I decided to just rip one chapter and see how that works. So I ripped just one chapter to an MP4 using Handbrake, and played it back just fine on my Mac. Not having a way to copy such content to a MemoryStick from my Mac, I copied it to my network storage, and then used my PC (which has a built-in MemoryStick slot) to copy the video to my MemoryStick.

I stuck the MemoryStick into my PS3 and voila! Nothing! The PS3 saw the file, alright, it just didn’t recognize it as a valid video file.


I don’t know too much about codecs and such, but I think it’s here where the error lies. Handbrake uses two codecs (DivX and … uh … FFmpeg (or somesuch)). And I get the feeling that the PS3 recognizes neither.

Can anybody help me out here?

(On a related note, I originally wanted to use a USB drive to store the video, not a MemoryStick. But when I plugged my USB drive into my PC, I couldn’t figure out how to format it because it didn’t show up in my Windows Explorer view. Any ideas?)

  • I thought MP4 WAS the codec.

  • PS3 needs MP4’s to be encoded with H264 I believe. I have Handbrake & the new MediaFork 0.8.0 beta 1. It’s made by the same people. And I have the same issue when I stick it on the PS3.

    Then I convert the MP4 that handbrake gives me with this freeware program. iSquint Just use the TV setting. And that works just fine. It’s a long work around but it works. Once I find a better solution I’ll post it in the forum.

  • freedesign420

    having the same issues. thanks tosh: keep us posted if you find step to skip.

  • Count on it 🙂 There are a few good windows programs like PS3Video9, but I’ve never tried that because I’m a Mac guy. But if I ever find a freeware or shareware program that will rip a DVD to a PS3 compatible video. I’ll let everyone know 🙂

  • Henning. My site explains how you can move big movie files from your mac to the PS3. No media stick or burning to DVD. And yes it works quite well. Fantastically well . http://www.cinzar dot com . Everything is laid out. Just follow the steps. I use it to watch the 1up show every Friday. it works great. I use a program called VLC to rip the media. I’m also trying an new program called MPEG Streamclip. it’s a bit hit and miss right now. Once I get a really nice solution I’ll inform you and the citizens. I do it because i like to watch my shows on my HDTV rather than my computer. E-mail me if you have any questions.

  • freedesign420

    good lookin’ mcloki. i’ll give this atry after work

  • Sporty

    Here’s a thread about formating a drive to fat32 under OS X

  • hot carl (now astronautbread)

    sporty’s right you can format a drive to fat 32 with OSX. I too need a solution for converting videos on mac ( I’ve tried several encoders and nothing.) somethimes using FFmpeg i can get sound, but just a black screen even though all the videos play fine on the computer. ( always using h.264 MP4, either 480p or 720p res.)

    Is there maybe a particular frames per second it needs to be?

  • astronautbread

    ok so iSquint works, but it limits you to 640 x 480, so no HD.
    also the instructions on work, although it took me a couple of tries (even though, i think, i followed the instructions perfectly)

    so if anyone knows a way to covert to HD mp4’s that would be awesome, but for now iSquint definately works

  • The directory must be called VIDEO under the root of your memory stick. BTW, if you download updates for the PS3 to a memory stick it has to be in /PS3/UPDATE folder

    Your FFmpeg MPG codec most likely is MPG2 not MPG4 and Tosh is right it needs to be h.264 compliant. Quicktime should do this for you. File…Export…MP4 as type.

  • calvhobbes

    what version of handbrake did u use? I’m trying the windows version and it won’t read the dvds

  • The latest version: MediaFork 0.8.0 beta 1

  • agent864

    not to be a smartass, but you can play that DVD disc directly in the PS3! No ripping required!

    Maybe you’re looking to remotePlay it on your PSP?

  • Sporty

    Yea you can play DVDs directly. But converting the DVD to mp4 you shrink the file size down significantly. Using USB drives you can turn the PS3 into a media player where you don’t need to get off the couch to play tons of movies.

    You can also convert HD sources and have better then DVD quality media. Again using something like USB drives you have virtually unlimited space for media. I just started playing around with this myself.

    BTW. I just recently re-formatted my external USB to fat32. While using the VIDEO folder makes the media show up under videos. You can hit triangle on the USB device and select view all to browse around if you files aren’t in the proper folders and still play them if they are in the right format.

  • Astronautbread. Since I want my site instructions to be clear. What problems were you having? I’ll rewrite to clarify any problems. I had problems with the tilde and a space at the end of the URL in the PS browser.
    Once you get it to work save the URl in the PS3 Browser.

    I also warn you that the instructions are finicky. It took me a half hour to figure out the tilde problem that’s why I wrote the page in he first place. Late at night after some frustration.
    I’ll add a bit more about video encoding at a later date simply because right now there’s nothing that I really like. VLC works the best for me but i only encode to mpeg 1, since that’s the only thing that seems to work for me. I’m hoping that Sony adds Quicktime support so they could support podcasts and video podcasts. $300 for an Apple TV is a bit much especially when I already have a PS3 connected. (Again my plea for Itunes on PS3 goes unheard.)
    The PS3 is quite versatile and could make a fantastic media centre it just needs a few more software parts.
    PS. Also add your PS3 to our Folding at Home team 55054. We may crack into the top 2000 in less than 2 weeks by Thursday and that’s with just 61ish PS3’s.

  • I got VisualHub and it’s pretty good – it costs only 23 buckx…
    It’s the same as iSquint but with more features, read comparison at

  • I recently got VisualHub as well. I haven’t used it to much yet.

    But I’m really disappointed that you can’t rip a dvd with subtitles …..

  • Burten

    I’m still on the windows platform, bot for converting vids to mp4 I use the pspvideo9.
    Here you can twik the size of the file as you like, and it converts them directly into the psp.
    Hook it up with a usb (or just take the m.card), and your good to go!

    Enjoy and Happy easter!

  • astronautbread


    i followed the instructions right, it just didn’t load up the first couple of tries…

    then i tried typing ftp instead of http, nothing, but when i hit the back button from there it loaded fine…

  • One cool thing about Visual Hub is now that PSP FW 3.30 is out, it supports native resolution 480 x 272. These are the settings I use in Visual Hub.

    PSP Tab

    Standard Selected
    AVC Encoding Checked
    Quality Standard

    Click on advanced
    Changed size to 480 x 272
    In the video portion change the Extra ffmpeg flags to: -bf 1 -level 21
    And I like to put the volume at 250%

    Then rename to file to a normal name, and place in VIDEO folder and enjoy.

  • clee

    The next release of HandBrake will have a PS3 preset. I’ve tested it extensively with my PS3 and it works great.

    You could try grabbing the latest HandBrake code from Subversion, if you’re into that sort of thing.

  • Great news! Can’t wait to give that a try.

  • once converted in handbreak, use QT pro to open file and export it to an mp4, using the video pass through option. It just right a new header in the mp4 file (quite fast)

    this then allows the ps3 to play them

  • Graham

    Handbrake 0.8.5b1 now supports PS3 format output (as well as apple TV, and iPod)

  • Thanks for this post. Big Help. Will be using handbrake myself I think.

  • quiet_identity

    Just on the ripping without subs note. You can take the subtitle file off the dvd (somehow, i think just open the dvd file) then say its a .rts file just rename that file the exact name that the video file is with .rts in front and put it in the same folder as the movie and voila. You’ll have subs

  • quiet_identity

    When I said opening the dvd file I meant browsing the dvd folder and finding the subtitle file you need.

    I really think the XMB in PS3 is a little backwards. Is this so because of DRM and their fear of it, or user hacking of their system? OR are Sony programmers just lazy when it comes to their operating system. Obviously their PS3 is capable of using a good operating system. With 256 megs of RAM at its disposal with no GPU to back it up it can run linux yet with the XMBs full run of the PS3’s hardware you can’t even play music while using the browser. Pathetic in my opinion. So much potential with so little used.

    With the limited playback of media codecs I think opensource should e where sony heads when it comes to opening the field. Where something like Itunes would cost money and just confuse the whole situation with more DRM problems a company like Fluendo who provides quality opensource licensed codecs would be perfect. So frustrating paying so much for a “media center” so frustratingly inneficient at catering to the technologically inexperienced user. Why on earth does it only support h.264??!! ridiculous