In the summer of 2015, Sony finally published a native multimedia player to the PS4. Though they had to wait for a long time, PS4 owners are now able to play media both through their home servers and through connected USB drives. Because this is still a console, there are some limitations in the types of files that you can import and in the way you do it. Today I am going to show you how to prepare a USB drive for your PS4 so you can start enjoying your movies and music as soon as possible.
You should also take a look at our guide on how to stream content wirelessly from your computer.
The PS4 Media Player
First of all, the Media Player in your PS4 is probably not as versatile as the one in your computer. While you may be accustomed to getting any file and playing it on VLC, Windows Media Player, or whatever other application you are using, you will have to be more selective when it comes to the PS4. Here are the basic formats that Media Player supports:
- Video: MKV, AVI, MP4, MPEG-2 TS
- Audio: MP3, AAC, M4A
- Photo: JPEG, PNG, BMP
Even though all of these formats are technically supported, there are some extra limitations depending on the way the content was encoded. Sony has more details in the announcement page of the feature so you can check it out whenever you want. Using VLC, you can easily convert videos to other formats. Furthermore, you can “convert” videos to audio files, if needed. The truth is that most files you run into will be in one of those formats anyway so you will rarely need to convert anything.
Preparing your USB drive
Any USB drive can be used to transfer media to your PS4 but it needs to be formatted with the correct file system. The PS4 does not support the NTFS file system, which is what Windows uses for large drives. Instead, you need to format it into FAT32 or exFAT. If your USB drive is very small, it might be in the correct format already.
To check, right-click on the drive in Windows and open the Properties. At the top of the General tab, look for a “File System” attribute. If the drive is already using the FAT32 or exFAT formats, there is nothing else you need to do. Otherwise, proceed to the next step.
To change the file system, you will need to format the drive. This means everything inside it will be deleted so back up your files before moving on. Then, right-click on the drive and select the Format option. Choose one of the two supported file systems from the respective drive menu, insert a name in the “Volume Label” field and click on “Start”. The default settings will work fine so there is no need to change anything.
Preparing your media
Even though Sony does not actually say this anywhere, multimedia content that you want to run with Media Player needs to be placed inside folders on your USB drive, otherwise the utility will not pick them up. More specifically, your songs and audio tracks need to be placed in a folder called “Music”. Everything else can be placed in other folders though those folders do not need to have specific names. So if you want to put “Interstellar” in a folder called “Matthew McConaughey’s Space-And-Time-Bending Adventures”, you are free to do so.
Playing your content
Your USB drive should now be running with the supported file system and your content should be safely nested inside the various folders. Now, all you have to do is go to your PS4, get the Media Player app and consume as much content as you want.
After inserting the USB drive into your PS4, find the Media Player app from the console’s main menu. If you have not downloaded the app yet, clicking on Media Player will redirect you to the PlayStation Store instead. The utility is provided completely free of charge so you will be able to download it right away. Once the app has finally been launched, simply select your USB drive from the list of available media.
Media Player is very easy to navigate as you can do everything with a couple of buttons in your controller. With that said, here are the basic functions:
X: Play/Pause .
Triangle: File Info.
PS Button: Stop.
Press R2/L2: Fast forward/reverse in increasing speed.
Press and Hold R2/L2: Fast forward/reverse until you let go.
Options Button: Open Playback Control Panel.
Press PS Button: Open options menu that lets you start a game, browse the Internet, and launch other apps. This only applies when music is actively playing in your system.
Press and Hold PS Button: Quick Media Player controls. You can open this overlay while playing a game too.