Recommended format/settings for compatibility with PS3 and WD HD Live+

I’m a new proud owner of a WD HD LIve Plus. So far, I’m fairly happy, but surprised that some common formats have significant problems (mp4/h.264, etc) or limitations. I would like to start ripping my DVD collection to my media server which is connected to several Win7 computers, PS3, and my new WD HD Live Plus. I need to use a common format and I don’t want to have multiple copies of the same movies (space issue).

The most obvious choice was MP4/M4V - H.264, but after looking at several files (handbrake) and experiencing shuttering (alas!). I need to rethink the file format.

I know that the PS3 will play DivX wrapped in AVI as will the WD HD LIve Plus – so that is a possibility.

The MVK wrapper is out of the question b/c of PS3 lack of support.

Aside from that, as a geek, I can deal with these issues. However, I don’t see these things having mass market appeal if defacto standard formats have serious playback problems.

Welcome to the forums.

You might just as well ask the Sony folks why they don’t support MKV, which is now the most widely used format everywhere else.

THe fact of the matter is that all devices will play certain formats better than others – MKV happens to be the best format for the Live (as a simple Handbrake test will show you).  Apple TV ONLY supports MP4 (and not all of them at that) so it’s even more restrictive.

I don’t think you’ll be able to come up with one format that will ever work on all devices – there are too many formats (both containers and codecs within containers) and too many devices.  You’d be far better off trying to standardize your playback devices (getting them all from one maker, for example), IMHO.

I understand about finding the magical format for all devices is sorta hopeless – but I only have two devices I’m trying to find a common format for – WD HD Live Plus and PS3 – both which claim a large video format support.  I was hoping MP4 or M4V encoded with H.264 (an industry standard) would be supported well enough to actually watch. I won’t have any problem with saying that format or codec is “beta” or unsupported if it wasn’t on the box, part of the specs (see WD’s own website) and in the manual. If WD wants to provide additional features to its preferred or blessed container or codec of choice – that is fine.

I’m sure the MKV container will be great someday and will eventaully be universally supported, but I don’t see the same level of popularity as you describe in the market today. I’ll definately chat up the Sony forums for the MKV support. In the meantime, I’m cranking Handbrake like crazy to find a good solution. I’m just saying, this isn’t acceptable for an end user (non-geek) market.

Ok.  I’m seeing int he NEW Beta Thread that M4V/MP4 is better.    It might be worth a try now…


I’m not arguing with you (well, I guess I am, a little :>) but the PS3 doesn’t support MP4 completely either considering you can’t get AC3 to play on it (and I’m not even sure about DTS surround sound).

Part of this is due to the nature of MP4 – it ain’t that great a container and surround sound specs are ill-defined, whereas they work perfectly in MKV.  The fact of the matter is that NONE of these devices support all codecs and containers perfectly, no matter what their PR departments promise.  LIke anything else, you pays your money and takes your chances.

If it were me, for the price of a Live (which is dirt cheap right now, under $100), I’d just buy another one and use it in place of your PS3 (and use your PS3 for what it really is good at, playing games and blu-rays).  That’s a far better solution than chasing your tail trying to get a universal file format (once again, as always, IMHO).

I’ve honestly not had many problems with the PS3 as a media playback device – most MP4 files I have encoded or downloaded via podcasts play perfectly fine. I do run into the occasional odd ball format or encoding that doesn’t play nice with the PS3 – which is to be expected. As long as the PS3 doesn’t flat out reject the file, it normally plays back flawlessly. Perhaps I"ll add a WD HD Live (or Plus) to my main TV where the PS3 lives, but I don’t have $100-$120 for that right now – gotta live within my means.

I’m still wondering if the WD HD Live will play any MP4 or M4V contained video at all. Yeah, I know that container isn’t the best or WD’s favorite. But the specs says it will play – so some type of encoding, frame rate, frame size, etc will play inside the MP4 container – or WD is guilty of false advertising. The answer to “how can I get MP4 to play back well on this device” should not be “use something else”. This totally screams failure to me.

I’m giving MKV a try, along with a number of other video formats. Considering the number of DVDs I own, some upfront research is worth it.

Just curious, but how does the PS3 handle ISO’s?

awesomejt wrote:


I’m still wondering if the WD HD Live will play any MP4 or M4V contained video at all.

The new beta firmware (7/14) is supposed to correct problems with MP4 files, so you ought to give it a try (and then report back to this thread and let us know how it goes for you).

Having looked and compared formats MKV is the most sophisticated container.  Even WD does not support switching between video tracks within the container.  If they do it some day (VLC for example supports video track switching in an MKV) the whole business of DVD navigation support will be quite mute.  Since the MKV container can act as a true blue program/album of different media files.

Having said that - if you use HandBrake to encode H.264 into MP4 and set B frames to 0 you should be fine.  I tried it and it all worked fine.  Any non-zero setting of B frames gives the Live problems.

@Community Manager

PS3 does not handle ISO files because it doesn’t claim to do so. WD HD Live products claim to play file types that don’t render properly at all. So far the response has been – “use something else” – which I’m not accepting very well.


I tried using the new firmware only to discover it doesn’t work for the Plus. Apparently the Plus has a different chip and WD forked the source to add Netflix support. I can only hope the MP4 fixes reported in the new Live firmware will get included in a Plus firmware release.