How to stream from your PC to a PS4
Play your movies and music on your PS4
04 Oct 2019
On your PlayStation, there's two different ways to stream from your PC or laptop - the Media Player app and the Plex app. Follow our step by step guide below, and you'll be streaming to your PS4 in no time.
Universal Media Streamer and the PS4 Media Player App
The Media Player app on your PS4 can play stuff that's being shared from a PC in your house.
Downloading and Setting up Universal Media Server
So your PS4 can display films, TV shows and other bits from your PC, you'll have to set up the PC so that it acts as a 'media server'.
The simplest way of doing this is through a program called Universal Media Server (UMS), which shares your files across your home network, and lets the PS4 see them, and play them on your TV.
To get started, you'll need to make sure you have an up-to-date version of Java installed on your PC. You might already have Java on your computer, but if not, go to java.com and download it from there. To stay safe, you should never download Java from any other websites.
Next, you need to download and install the Windows version of Universal Media Server. Go to their website, and click the Windows logo to start downloading.
When it's downloaded, install it on your computer. Once it's installed, you should be looking at the UMS main screen:
- Click Navigation/Share Settings at the top of the UMS main panel.
- Under the 'Shared Folders' section, highlight all drives, and press the red x to remove them.
- Press the Foldericon to choose a folder.
- Find the folder containing your media files and press open.
- That folder will be added to the shared folders list.
- Add more folders if you like.
- Once you’ve added your folders, press Restart Server at the top to finish off the setup.
That’s it! Your PC is set up and is sharing your folders across your home network. Next, we’ll go through the steps to view your files on your PS4 with the Media Player app.
Streaming your media with the new PS4 Media Player app
You should see the icon for ‘Media Player’ in your PlayStation menu. Give it a quick tap with the ‘X’ button.
When it opens, you’ll see three main sections: ‘Recently Played’, ‘Favourites’, and your ‘Universal Media Server’. Your server will normally be called something like ‘Daniel’s PC’.
- Click on your media server and open up one of the folders that you added to UMS earler.
- Choose the file you want to play.
- Wait for your movie to start playing.
Supported codecs for the PS4 Media Player app</h3
Here’s the list of supported codecs for the PS4 Media Player app. Don’t worry if you have some files in different formats – UMS will normally try to ‘transcode’ or ‘mux’ your files as they’re being streamed, so your PS4 shouldn’t have any problems.
- Visual: H.264/MPEG-4 AVC High Profile Level 4.2
- Audio: MP3, AAC LC, AC-3 (Dolby Digital)
- Visual: MPEG-4 ASP, H.264/MPEG-4 AVC High Profile Level 4.2
- Audio: MP3, AAC LC, AC-3 (Dolby Digital)
- Visual: H.264/MPEG-4 AVC High Profile Level4.2
- Audio: AAC LC, AC-3(Dolby Digital)
- Visual: H.264/MPEG-4 AVC High Profile Level4.2, MPEG2 Visual
- Audio: MP2(MPEG2 Audio Layer 2), AAC LC, AC-3(Dolby Digital)
- AVCHD: (.m2ts, .mts)
- JPEG (based on DCF 2.0/Exif 2.21)
- AAC (M4A)
Using Plex Media Server
Plex Media Server has a lot more features and tries to give a full ‘media centre’ experience. It has a great menu that shows you titles, cast lists, episode descriptions and everything else you need to know about your shows and movies.
Install and set up Plex Media Server on your PC
Setting up Plex takes a few more steps than Universal Media Server, but it’s still pretty straightforward. To start, you need to go to the Plex website and download the Plex Media Server. Once it’s downloaded, open the file to start the setup.
- Press the Install button to begin.
- Confirm the User Account Control box, if it pops up, by pressing either Yes or Continue.
- Give the installation about a minute or so to get going.
- Press Launch to start setting it up.
You'll be taken to your web browser to begin the Plex setup. If it doesn't open automatically, look in your task tray in the bottom corner of your PC (where the time, date and Wi-Fi icons are found) and double-click the Plex logo. When the browser is open, it'll take you through the process of adding your media files to the Plex Media Server.
- First up, you need to agree to the Plex Terms of Service, so hit the Agree button to continue.
- Now pop in a name for your server, then hit Next to continue.
- Now you need to add some ‘libraries’ to your Plex Media Server. Libraries are collections of music, movies, TV shows, photos or home videos. Press Add library to begin.
- Choose the library type you want to add from the choice of five types and press Next.
- Give your new library a name and press Next.
- Press Add folder and choose the folder where your media is stored, then press Add.
- You can repeat these steps for each of the libraries you want to add (music, TV shows and so on).
- Once you’ve picked some libraries, click Next.
- You’re now able to add some Plex ‘Channels’ like BBC iPlayer, or skip this for now by pressing Next.
- Your Plex setup should now be complete, so press Done to finish the process.
- Now Plex needs some time to analyse your library and find all the necessary data to fill it. The amount of time needed will depend on how much media you’ve added to your libraries. Once the analysis is complete, we’ll explain how to add a Plex account and make things a bit easier to access from your PS4.
Using the Plex app
The Plex app is a great way to enjoy your media on the PS4, because it has a really user friendly menu.
You can browse your TV shows and movies, and Plex will show you all the info and metadata it can find about them: episode description, release year, actors and other bits. It’ll also show you the cover art for your shows and movies.
The Plex App can be downloaded from the Store on your PS4. Once downloaded, open the app and sign in. Once you’re signed in, you should be able to see your entire library and play it all on your PlayStation.