UPnP DLNA compliant media server
Since firmware version 1.80, Sony’s PS3 supports connections to DLNA compliant (Digital Living Network Alliance) media servers. That means if you have one of those servers on your home network, the PS3 will find it and allow access to all media that are provided by that server. All your music, photos and videos can be shared that way.
There are a number of UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) media servers which run on FreeBSD. Initially I was using the “media server” functionality of the LaCie 1TB Big Ethernet disk, but I discovered a bug in the disks media server that made me stop using it: When the media server on the LaCie device is first started, it scans the disk contents for music, photos and video files. This scan takes a few minutes and the software prepares internal structures that allow it send out the contents to DLNA compliant clients. As soon as a scan was over, the stupid thing would start another scan and the process would repeat itself over and over again. I saw that the activity light on the LaCie disk was constantly flashing because the media server was re-scanning all the files endlessly. I opened a trouble ticket with LaCie, but have not heard back yet.
So I went back and looked at software solutions. First I gave MediaTomb a spin. It looked promising and seems to be one of the more feature-rich, free implementations. However it did not work for me. MediaTomb crashed left and right, no matter how small my shared content was. I couldn’t get it to run stable with just a handful of photos.
I looked for other implementations and found uShare. Luckily that application was also in the FreeBSD ports tree, so installation was as simple as:
# make install distclean
Then I added the following to /etc/rc.conf.local :
and fired it up. The last option is necessary in order to be compatible with the PS3. uShare is very light-weight and fast. Sure it does not offer the same features as some other media server, but it’s good enough at the moment. All the files I want to share with the PS3 are being shared and that’s the most important point.
Here’s what it looks like in PS3′s “Photo Album” mode (bad screen capture, I know):