What Video Formats Does a PS3 Play?
By Matt Koble
Sony's PlayStation 3 video game console is much more than a simple gaming box. Among other things, the PS3 enables you to watch movies and videos in a variety of formats on a variety of different devices. Knowing the supported file types shows you which formats to use and helps prevent playback compatibility issues.
Supported Disc Formats
With a Blu-ray optical drive, the PS3 supports Region A Blu-ray discs. It can also read BD-ROM, BD-R and BD-RE discs, though it cannot write to them. To play copy-protected discs at 1080p, the output must go from an HDMI cable to an HDCP-supporting device. The PS3 also plays a variety of DVDs, including Region 1 discs, DVD-R and -RWs, as well as DVD+R and +RW. As with Blu-ray discs, recordable DVD formats can only be read by the PS3, not written to.
Aside from physical disc media, the PS3 also supports a number of digital formats. Formats include MPEG-1, MPEG-2 PS and MPEG-2 TS. Memory Stick, AVI and MP4 formats are also supported. With system software version 2.10 or above, you can also expect DivX and VC-1 -- WMV -- files to work. To get VC-1 WMV videos working, enable the System Settings menu's "Enable WMA Playback" option.
For video that isn't on a disc, the PS3 can read and play videos from various places. Compatible videos stored on an external hard drive or USB flash drive work by plugging your USB device into one of your PS3's USB ports. According to the PlayStation website, you can use a USB adapter on PS3 models without USB ports. The PlayStation 3 can only access drives using the FAT32 format, so format your drive properly before adding videos to it for playback on your PS3.
3D content also works provided you've got a 3D television and the required glasses. Without getting specific on the details, the PlayStation website warns that some features of the video control panel may not work with certain types of data. Any compatible content stored on a flash drive or external hard drive can also be copied over to the PlayStation 3's hard drive for quick access to your favorites and frequently watched items.
Matt Koble has been writing professionally since 2008. He has been published on websites such as DoItYourself. Koble mostly writes about technology, electronics and computer topics.