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How to Play Streaming Videos on a Sony Bravia KDL-46W5100 TV

Posted By Joe Kelly On February 3, 2010 @ 9:20 pm In Mini How-Tos | Comments Disabled

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On Boxing Day I finally gave into a long held desire; I purchased a big, flat-panel TV. After checking the thickness of my wallet (or rather, the lack thereof) and doing some online research, I settled upon the Sony Bravia KDL-46W5100 [2] LCD TV.

I won’t review the TV in this post. If you’re interested, check out CNET’s review [3] or the Future Shop’s customer reviews [4]. Needless to say, I’m very happy with my KDL-46W5100, especially considering the low price I paid on Boxing Day.

The real purpose of this post is to show you how to stream videos to a KDL-46W5100.

If you already own a KDL-46W5100 or have spent some time researching the model, you’ll probably know that it can play free and pay-per-view streaming videos from the Internet via its Bravia Internet Video feature. But did you know that the KDL-46W5100 is also a DLNA [5] media player, allowing you to play music, photos and videos served up by compatible media servers on your home network?

One such media server is PS3 Media Server [6] or PS3MS, for short. In this article, I’ll show you how to play streaming videos on your KDL-46W5100 TV using PS3 Media Server.

The first thing you’ll need to do is hook up your KDL-46W5100 TV to your home network (i.e. your LAN). The KDL-46W5100 TV only has a wired network adapter so your options are a bit limited, at least out of the box. If you’re lucky enough to be able run an ethernet cable from the TV to your network’s main router or switch, that’s the best option.

Even if you can’t run such a cable, there are still some options available to you. For example, you could use the Linksys WET610N [7] wireless N ethernet bridge to bridge the TV’s wired connection to your wireless network. You could also make your own bridge by installing Tomato firmware [8] on a LinkSys WRT54GL [9] and setting Tomato’s wireless mode to wireless ethernet bridge.

After connecting your KDL-46W5100 TV to your home network, the next thing you should do is update the TV’s software (i.e. firmware). To do this, press the Home button on your remote to open the XMB menu. On the XMB menu, select “Setting | Product Support | Software Update”. After that, just follow the prompts, making sure to heed the warning about not turning off your TV until the update is done. For further details about updating the software, refer to the manual [10].

At time of writing this article, the latest released version of PS3 Media Server for Windows was 1.10.51. Unfortunately, that version does not seem to work with the KDL-46W5100. Instead of the latest released version of PS3 Media Server, I had to use the 1.11.369 [11] beta version.

After downloading PS3 Media Server, you’ll have to install, configure and run it. For detailed instructions on these tasks, see the post PS3 Media Server for Dummies [12] on ps3mediaserver.org [13], the official forum for PS3 Media Server.

That should be enough for your TV to see your media server but you probably won’t be able to see any videos in the server’s list of videos. To get that to work, I had to make some modifications to the renderer config file “Bravia5500.conf”, located in the folder “C:\Program Files\PS3 Media Server\renderers”. Specifically, I added the following line (for details, see No Video on Bravia W5100 using Built-In DNLA [14]):


With that line added, the complete “Bravia5500.conf” file looked like this:

# ps3mediaserver renderer profile for Sony Bravia 5500 series
# Refer to PS3.conf for help

RendererName=Sony Bravia 5500 Series
UserAgentAdditionalHeaderSearch=BRAVIA KDL.+5[0-9]{3}

From quickly skimming a few posts in the PS3 Media Server forums [13], I suspect that you could make additional changes to the renderer configuration file to make PS3 Media Server work even better with the KDL-46W5100. However, I’ll leave that an exercise to the reader.

It’s time to try it out.

First, store a video file in the folder that you configured PS3 Media Server to load media files from. Confused already? Read the fine manual (PS3 Media Server for Dummies [12]).

At this point, you might be wondering what format of video file you need. My quick answer is just about any common format should work. The long answer, however, is a bit more complicated and I could probably write an entire article on the answer. Essentially compatibility depends on the container format [15] (e.g. avi, mp4, mkv), the video codec (e.g. H264/AVC, divx, xvid) and the audio codec (e.g. AAC, mp3).

Upon searching through the KDL-46W5100 user manual, I couldn’t find any definitive specifications for the video formats the TV can play via DLNA streaming. However, I tried playing several movies via a USB flash drive connected to the TV’s USB port (i.e. not via DLNA streaming) and I discovered that the following format seems to work well:

  • container: mp4
  • video codec: H264/AVC
  • audio codec: AAC

(As an aside, it seems that the USB drive must be formatted with FAT32. I couldn’t get the TV to detect USB drives formatted with NTFS.)

Since that movie file format works well via USB, it should work fine via DLNA streaming too. But what about other formats? Thanks to the PS3 Media Server’s ability to automatically transcode [16] and remux incompatible formats on-the-fly, most of them should work too.

After storing a video file where PS3 Media Server can see it, the next step is to turn on your KDL-46W5100 TV. Wait for the TV to boot up, then start PS3 Media Server. If PS3 Media Server can see the TV, you should see “Detected media renderers: Sony Bravia 5500 Series” on PS3 Media Server’s status page, as shown in the screenshot below.

PS3 Media Server - Status [17]

PS3 Media Server - Status

Finally, it’s time to play the movie on the TV. To do this, press the Home button on your remote to open the XMB menu. Navigate across to the Movie menu item, then down to the PS3 Media Server menu item. Once, there, drill down through the PS3 Media Server folders until you find the movie, then press the + button (i.e. the button in the middle of the arrow buttons) on the remote control. If you can’t figure it out, read the fine manual [10].

The movie should play fine. Just don’t expect DVD-like chapter skipping and responsive fast-forward and rewind.

The combination of PS3 Media Server and the basic DLNA player on the KDL-46W5100 TV work fine and would make many people happy.

The problem for me is that I am using a bridged wireless-G network connection between the PS3 Media Server and the TV. That’s fine for streaming small DVD-quality divx movies but it’s not fast enough for streaming 720P and (especially) 1080P HD movies. I am usually able to play a couple minutes of a 720P movie before the stuttering starts but there’s no chance of playing a 1080P movie.

So what are my options? I could upgrade my wireless-G network to wireless-N. Certainly, the vendors of wireless-N routers would have you believe that you can stream 1080P movies with no problems over a wireless-N network. If you do a little googling, you’ll find that some users have success and others have mixed results. Anyway, it’s a lot of money to spend on something that is not guaranteed to work perfectly.

Another option would be to run some network cable through the walls to extend the reach of my wired network to the TV. That would certainly work but it could be messy and costly. Luckily, I have a friend who does this sort of this for a living and he is going to run some cable for me in the spring.

Meanwhile, I have gone ahead and purchased a WD TV Live Media Player [18] to play movies on my TV, without having to stream them over my slow wireless-G network. So far, I’m impressed. I’ll post a review here at a later date.

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    URL to article: http://nerdboys.com/2010/02/03/how-to-play-streaming-videos-on-a-sony-bravia-kdl-46w5100-tv/

    URLs in this post:

    [1] »: http://nerdboys.com/2010/02/03/how-to-play-streaming-videos-on-a-sony-bravia-kdl-46w5100-tv/2/

    [2] KDL-46W5100: http://www.sonystyle.ca/commerce/servlet/ProductDetailDisplay?storeId=10001&catalogId=10001&langId=-1&productId=1006440

    [3] CNET’s review: http://reviews.cnet.com/flat-panel-tvs/sony-bravia-kdl-46w5100/4505-6482_7-33539703.html

    [4] Future Shop’s customer reviews: http://www.futureshop.ca/catalog/proddetail.asp?sku_id=0770HDS0010126107&logon=&langid=EN

    [5] DLNA: http://www.dlna.org/

    [6] PS3 Media Server: http://ps3mediaserver.blogspot.com/

    [7] WET610N: http://www.linksysbycisco.com/US/en/products/WET610N

    [8] Tomato firmware: http://www.polarcloud.com/tomato

    [9] WRT54GL: http://www.linksysbycisco.com/US/en/products/WRT54GL

    [10] manual: http://www.sonystyle.ca/common/pdf/product/KDL46W5100_om_en.pdf

    [11] 1.11.369: http://ps3mediaserver.org/files/pms-setup-windows-1.11.369.exe

    [12] PS3 Media Server for Dummies: http://ps3mediaserver.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=3507

    [13] ps3mediaserver.org: http://ps3mediaserver.org/forum

    [14] No Video on Bravia W5100 using Built-In DNLA: http://ps3mediaserver.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=3779

    [15] container format: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Container_format_%28digital%29#Multimedia_container_formats

    [16] transcode: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transcode

    [17] Image: http://nerdboys.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/ps3mediaserver.jpg

    [18] WD TV Live Media Player: http://www.wdtvlive.com/


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