PlayStation 3 (20GB)
Image by Nick Slide via Flickr

Ever since I got my hands on the PS3 at Christmas, I’ve been spending most of my spare time trying to set it up as my main media centre at home. Being able to use my PS3 as a blu-ray player, a DVD player and of course being access to all my digital media without having to connect my PC to it, was the ideal situation. The idea would be that I’d just connect up my external USB hard drive and go for it. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out to be as straight forward as I had hoped.

One of the most inconvenient issues with the PS3 is the lack of support for other disc formats. When connecting an external hard drive, it can only be formatted as FAT32. So what you might say? Well it’s absolutely pointless – that’s what.

FAT32 doesn’t support files over 4 GB, so you can’t put files larger than that on the drive and access it through the PlayStation. So let’s say you have ripped your favourite Blu-ray disc to your external hard drive (for backup of course), you won’t be able to store it on an external device as the file size is likely to be a good bit greater than 4 GB. That means each time you want to watch a Blue-ray movie, you will have to get up out of your chair and insert the disc…. how inconvenient.

There is of course the option of streaming the files with TVersity as mentioned in a previous post, but since I haven’t got a spare computer, I have to turn on my laptop each time, what I’d really like is just to be able to switch on the PS3 that has the USB drive attached and do nothing else.

And before anyone else tries to tell me that the PS3 supports ext2 and ext3, yes it does, but only on the internal hard drive. It doesn’t work with the External one as I’ve tried many things for this.

So anyway, let’s say you do want to connect your external USB hard drive to your PS3, here’s what you do….

  1. Ensure your hard drive is formatted to FAT32. If you have a large hard drive, you won’t be able to use Windows to format it, so use this program : http://www.compuapps.com/download/Swissknife/swissknife.htm
  2. Create folders similar to the PS3 system on the USB hard drive e.g.;
    “Picture” (not Photo), “Music”, “Video” and “Game”
  3. Connect your USB drive to the PlayStation and voila!

I hope this saves someone the time I wasted trying many different options!

To Sony – it’s time you started supporting ext3 or NTFS formatted external hard drives on the PlayStation 3.

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