PS3 Xbox360 Media Center

In this article I will show you how to format and set up an external hard drive with all of your media(photos, music, and video) to be read by your PS3 or XBOX360. If you want you can pay the ridiculous amount for a Microsoft branded hard drive(Microsoft is now offering its 250 GB Hard Drive as a separate peripheral...for $129.99.) or you can follow these simple steps and get 6 times the storage for the same price. I have two external hard drives, both from Western Digital, a 1 TB(terabyte) and 2 TB drive that both work perfectly on PS3 and XBOX360. On these hard drives you can store and save anything, but when you plug them into your PS3 or XBOX360 with the correct format and folders, you will be able to view all of your media right from PS3's or Xbox 360's XMB.

To do this is beyond simple. I am writing this guide using a Windows operating system but these steps should be simple enough to perform on a MAC.

First you need to make sure that your hard drive is formatted in the FAT32 file system. To check for this go to "My Computer" or "Computer" on Windows 7 and right click your hard drive and click properties from the drop down menu. As you can see in the below picture my C: drive is NTFS which will not work.

NTFS Format

But as you can see in the picture of my flash drive it is FAT32.

FAT32 Format

If you drive is a NTFS format you can go to http://tokiwa.qee.jp/EN/Fat32Formatter/   to download Fat32Formatter. As described in the readme file: "Fat32Formatter is freeware and written by TOKIWA to format drive larger than 32GB to FAT32, which means it can walk around the OS restriction that you can format drive to FAT32 only the size up to 32GB on Windows2000/XP/Vista." After downloading it you can just run the application (it used to be command line only) and you will see something similar to the following.

FAT32 Formatter

Also according to the readme: "You can understand it intuitively through simple UI and balloon tips. So there is no need for instructions." It should be simple enough (I have not run it myself but I assume you hit Initialize drive after selecting the correct drive and then hit Start)

WARNING: Formatting a drive will delete all of the contents off of that drive. Please ensure you backup all of your data onto a temporary space if this drive is not already empty.

Step two is the easy part. Now all you have to do is create the following folders on the root of your drive and plug it in:

  • VIDEO
  • PICTURE
  • MUSIC

This will make it so that you can just hit the "x" or "a" button when you highlight your drive under the corresponding categories on PS3 or Xbox306. Note: for PS3 users with large hard drives and many files, you may want to hit triangle when selecting the drive and then select "Display All" to browse through the hard drive. It will load the files much faster and it will also allow you to have folder(s) below the main subfolders.

For example you can do something like:

VIDEO > TV Shows
    Movies
    Home Movies > 2008
            2009
            2010

Conclusion: With the PS3 and Xbox360 ability to playback many file formats this is a great, fast way to set up a nice little Media Center for yourself and your families.


PS3(at the time of this writing):

The following types of files can be played under Video Pic  (Video).

  • Memory Stick Video Format
  • - MPEG-4 SP (AAC LC)
  • - H.264/MPEG-4 AVC High Profile (AAC LC)
  • - MPEG-2 TS(H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, AAC LC)
  • MP4 file format
  • - H.264/MPEG-4 AVC High Profile (AAC LC)
  • MPEG-1 (MPEG Audio Layer 2)
  • MPEG-2 PS (MPEG2 Audio Layer 2, AAC LC, AC3(Dolby Digital), LPCM)
  • MPEG-2 TS(MPEG2 Audio Layer 2, AC3(Dolby Digital), AAC LC)
  • MPEG-2 TS(H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, AAC LC)
  • AVI
  • - Motion JPEG (Linear PCM)
  • - Motion JPEG (μ-Law)
  • AVCHD (.m2ts / .mts)
  • DivX
  • WMV
  • - VC-1(WMA Standard V2)

The following types of files can be played under Picture Pic  (Photo).

  • JPEG (DCF 2.0/Exif 2.21 compliant)
  • TIFF
  • BMP
  • GIF
  • PNG

The following types of files can be played under Music Pic  (Music).

  • Memory Stick Audio Format(ATRAC)
  • MP3
  • - MPEG-1/2 Audio Layer3
  • - MP3 Surround
  • MP4(MPEG-4 AAC)
  • WAVE(Linear PCM)
  • WMA

Xbox360(at the time of this writing):

I could not find the official, updated supported list on any credible sites, but have used many DIVX and XVID formats in my own testing. If anyone has an official list please feel free to post them in the comments section.


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