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Streaming WMA Lossless from a Mac to a PlayStation 3

While the PS3 has native support for playing standard WMA music files, it does not support the WMA Lossless format. My music library is ripped to WMA Lossless, so I wanted to find a way to stream the collection to my new PS3 Slim.  Fortunately, the open source PS3 Media Server project makes this almost painless.

Although I rip my CD collection on a Windows machine, the collection itself is stored in a shared folder on a Mac mini. I run a slightly modified version of the FireFly Media Server (aka mt-daapd) on the Mac to serve this collection to any computer running iTunes, as well as a few Roku SoundBridge devices in the house. Since none of the clients support WMA Lossless, I have FireFly configured to use mplayer to transcode the WMA Lossless files to WAV files on the fly.  This scheme works great, provided you have a build of mplayer that can decode WMA Lossless.  I use the build from here: http://stefpause.com/apple/mac/mplayer-os-x-10rc1-and-mencoder-binaries/

Installing and running PS3 Media Server on a Mac is a simple and painless way to serve media remotely to a PS3.  And it too uses mplayer to transcode audio files.  However, when I tried to serve WMA Lossless files from PS3 Media Server to my PS3, I got an “unsupported format” error.

It turns out that (as of this writing) PS3 Media Server includes its own build of mplayer, and that build does not support WMA Lossless.  Fortunately, this is easy to fix if you have another version of mplayer installed.  Just open a Terminal window, head to the “osx” directory within the “PS3 Media Server.app” resources directory, and create a symlink to the correct version of mplayer.

Here are the basic steps:

1) Install mplayer from here: http://stefpause.com/apple/mac/mplayer-os-x-10rc1-and-mencoder-binaries/

2) Start the Terminal app, and enter the following commands in order:

cd /Applications/PS3 Media Server.app/Contents/Resources/Java/osx
sudo mv mplayer mplayer-old
ln -s /usr/local/bin/mplayer mplayer

That’s all there is to it.  PS3 Media Server will automatically serve and transcode WMA Lossless files for the PS3.

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