I have always had a number of computers at home, but till recently all media(videos/music) etc was always centralized on my main desktop. Then around six months ago, I upgraded an old disposed computer and installed Windows Home Server (currently running Power Pack 3) on it. I love the automatic backup and centralization that Home Server provides and slowly started moving some of my media over to the home server. Everything was fine as the main desktop was still the place where I watch the media from and I just integrated the home server path into my Windows 7 Videos library and everything was fine.
Then I got a PS3 (mostly for the BR functionality) as a part of a bundled offer and there I had a media extender connected to my TV. So obviously I wanted to now watch my videos on my TV rather than my monitor (which was smaller).
It was a no brainer with the Win 7 desktop. You turn on Media Sharing and then if required you can select which devices to allow etc. I just set it to allow all devices on my home network and everything was fine. My PS3 was able to find all the videos in my Library (This is a really cool feature of Windows 7. So all my different folders of Videos are now available in a single place and easy to find). No problems there. (From what I read online, looks like it was a little more complicated with Vista and Windows 7 and the latest firmware upgrade of PS3 actually make this integration easy).
PS3 was also able to find my Home Server easily as a media source, but was not able to load all the videos from my videos share. I was able to find only a couple of folders (actually only 2 from around 7 folders in my video share got listed). I searched online, did all kinds of setting changes, but even after 2-3 weeks I was unable to get my all home server videos streaming to the PS3.
So in the end I gave up trying to get the home server to stream the videos and decided to install a new media server software on my home server to do it right. I ended choosing PS3 Media Server, just because of the name.. This is a open source DNLA compliant UPnP server, targeted to work for PS3. One of the main features of this media server is that it would actually transcode videos that are in a format that cannot be handled by the PS3. Obviously if you need to transcode videos, then you better have the CPU power to do that. My home server built from a old PC, cannot actually support this, but almost all of my videos are in PS3 compliant format (esp since PS3 now supports DivX). Another cool feature of PS3 Media Server is that it has an option to run it as a service. This is the option I use as it is not always that I am logged into my home server.
With this setup, I am now able to stream all of my videos out of my home server into my TV via the PS3…