Get ready for a geek post people, I've spent the last few days (in between going out over the weekend) re-installing my laptop a few times to get to the bottom of a problem I have been having trying to get HD content to play on my PS3, but it's all working now, and working nicely.
I use an application called TVersity to do on the fly transcoding of content from my pc and streaming it to the PS3 in a format that the PS3 can play. TVersity was (at the time of my research some months ago) the only app that would serve up xvid and divx content in a stream format that the PS3 could play, Windows Media Player won't, Twonky didn't (although that might have changed now). So I have been using TVersity since my new laptop arrived. I have some content that is in matroska container files (.mkv rather than .avi) which is usually 720p or 1080p content and this wouldn't play on my PS3 via TVersity. I'd end up playing it on my laptop using VLC, which plays everything and no messing around with direct show filters or codecs or anything like that, just install it and away you go.
But it doesn't help me play the content on my nice big telly, so I thought I'd see if I could sort that out.
After a few hours I had uninstalled my individual codecs for xvid, divx and ac3 decoding and installed the VistaCodecPack, which installs a number of codecs, including xvid, divx, ac3filter and the key ones for mkv files, haali splitter and ffdshow. Haali splitter is for direct show and allows it to recognise and process matroska container format, and ffdshow provides a number of codecs, specifically h.264.
Then it was a case of setting up TVersity, which is mostly a standard install, but with some additions.
1) Don't install the TVersity codec pack as it is not needed
2) Don't start the media server service, or the UI after installation.
3) Change the log on user of the media server service to a specific user
4) Modify the profiles.xml file to change the MPEG16 format to MPEG2 for the Playstation3 profile
Once this was done and TVersity sharing started the PS3 recognised the .mkv files, and would play them, great! But the sound was all garbled, not great!
It is this problem with garbled sound that has had me reinstalling the o/s a number of times as messing with codecs is a difficult process to diagnose, without getting into direct show graphs etc.
I finally tracked it down to some sort of codec issue with the user that I was setting the service to log on as, and I believe that this was caused by the fact that the user was created after I had installed the codecs and set them up, even when I log on as that user and set the codecs configs correctly to have ac3filter process ac3 audio it still would not play the audio correctly using that user. I have yet to prove my theory, but I set the service to run as my user and it works fine, yay!
So now I have HD content and ac3 audio being transcoded and streamed to my PS3 and onto my nice big telly and surround sound system, w00t!
The best codec pack I have found is Shark007 just install the win7 and 64bit packs and it plays pretty much everything, saves messing around with individual codecs etc.