I was very disappointed to find out that a lot of my media isn't supported by Windows Media Player 12 (WMP) or the PS3 and in my search to find a 'suitable' format that the PS3 could play and Windows Media Player 12 would recognize I came up with only three. Of course, there could be a lot of other reasons why other combinations of video and audio codecs and containers don't work, the following is a list of the ones I tested.
I utilized Windows 7 Home Premium for the OS, Windows Media Player 12 as the Media Server with Windows Codec Pack installed for the extended codec support. I used MPlayer to rip a sample .vob from a dvd, without subtitiles, and FFMpeg version N-43418-G633B90C for the transcodes, both of which are the Windows versions. The firmware version on the PS3 is 4.21.
All of the test files were transcoded letting FFMpeg choose the transcoding options, I simply told it what audio and video codec to use and the container to output the file into. Also, note that FFMpeg did not support VP8 with MP3 in a MP4 wrapper or VP8 with AAC in a MP4 wrapper.
The following list shows the video codec (Video), audio codec (Audio), stream container (Con), whether WMP could add the file to its library (Lib), whether WMP can play the file (WMP), whether the PS3 could play the file (PS3) and notes (Notes). Of course, if the file can't be added to WMP it won't even show up on the PS3 so these instances are marked with a dash (-) under the Works column. The name of the encoders used will be listed under the notes column.
V = Video stream plays (A dash (-) will replace V if the video stream does not play)
A = Audio stream plays (A dash (-) will replace A if the audio stream does not play)
MP4V = MPEG-4 Part 2 video
H.264 = MPEG-4 Part 10 video (advanced video coding)
VP8 = VP8 video
MP3 = MPEG-2 Part 3(MPEG-BC) Layer III audio
MP4A = MPEG-4 Part 3 audio
Vorbis = Vorbis audio
AVI = Audio Video Interleave container
MP4 = MPEG-4 Part 14 container
MKV = Matroska multimedia container
Video Audio Con Lib WMP PS3 Notes
MP4V MP3 AVI YES V A V A libxvid, libmp3lame
MP4V MP3 MP4 YES V A V - libxvid, libmp3lame
MP4V MP3 MKV YES V A - - libxvid, libmp3lame
MP4V AAC AVI YES V - - - libxvid, libvo_aacenc
MP4V AAC MP4 YES V A V A libxvid, libvo_aacenc
MP4V AAC MKV YES V A - - libxvid, libvo_aacenc
MP4V VORBIS AVI YES V - - - libxvid, libvorbis
MP4V VORBIS MP4 YES V - V - libxvid, libvorbis
MP4V VORBIS MKV YES V A - - libxvid, libvorbis
H.264 MP3 AVI YES - - - - libx264, libmp3lame
H.264 MP3 MP4 YES - - V - libx264, libmp3lame
H.264 MP3 MKV YES V A - - libx264, libmp3lame
H.264 AAC AVI YES - - - - libx264, libvo_aacenc
H.264 AAC MP4 YES V A V A libx264, libvo_aacenc
H.264 AAC MKV YES V A - - libx264, libvo_aacenc
H.264 VORBIS AVI YES - - - - libx264, libvorbis
H.264 VORBIS MP4 YES V - V - libx264, libvorbis
H.264 VORBIS MKV YES V A - - libx264, libvorbis
VP8 MP3 AVI YES V A - - libvpx, libmp3lame
VP8 MP3 MKV YES V A - - libvpx, libmp3lame
VP8 AAC AVI YES V - - - libvpx, libvo_aacenc
VP8 AAC MKV YES V A - - libvpx, libvo_aacenc
VP8 VORBIS AVI YES V - - - libvpx, libvorbis
VP8 VORBIS MKV YES V A - - libvpx, libvorbis
VP8 VORBIS WEBM NO - - - - libvpx, libvorbis
Some of the configurations above have reported bad headers and may be the cause for improper or no playback. The MP4V video in MKV containers are known to be transcoded with bad headers.
I know that there's a general mistrust of any "official" help topics, and that people actively shun owner's manuals, but when I wanted to find out what file types the PS3 supported, I found them here;
It was much easier.
Yes, I did run into that website early on and, since I'm new to transcoding, was a bit hard to figure out. There doesn't seem to be a lot of individuals using the formal names for things these days... But, my post was really directed to those individuals trying to use WMP as their media server and wondering why their files don't show up on the PS3.
It is unfortunate that WMP, even with the Windows Codec Pack, won't recognize most MP4 files.
That I did, sensfan1971, and I still have it installed for the moment. The problem is that those software solutions have to transcode the video as it streams it. This is inefficient and doesn't always produce correct or good quality output not to mention that unless your computer is really fast at transcoding you won't be able to fast forward the video.
But, the libvo_aacenc encoder for AAC audio does produce an audio stream that WMP 12 can recognize and play natively, if you don't want to have Windows 7 Codec Pack installed. If you choose H.264 video with AAC audio in a MP4 container WMP 12 can add it to the library and play it without the codec pack. This will allow you to play it on the PS3 without needing PS3 Media Server or a codec pack installed.
I just tested the three playable format combinations with a subtitle stream added to the container with less than expected results. The only format combinations that could be added to the WMP 12 library was the MP4V, MP3, AVI combination which would not play on the PS3 at all. Although, all three format combinations still play fine in WMP 12 only the H.264, AAC, MP4 combination will not play the subtitle stream.