How To install PS3 Media Server to Ubuntu in Headless mode

NOTE: 5-20-2014 – I have switched from the PS3 MediaServer to Universal Media Server. I find it to be better than the PS3, easier to setup and maintain, and transcodes better. Please see my page on how to setup UMS in Ubuntu.

I will leave this PS3 setup page here, but I suggest UMS instead.

PS3 media server is now my go to application for transcoding and playing media around the house since development on Mediatomb came to a halt. And this PS3 Media Server is sweet. So far it plays anything I throw at it on the Ps3 and the Sony NMP-200 I use around the house.

P.M.S. was meant to run in a GUI display. So there are a few extra things we need to do so that it runs on a Ubuntu Server in headless mode (without a GUI). After all, who needs a GUI on a server anyway… Since PMS version 1.81.0, I’ve stopped using the manual installation and instead am using the repository. It makes for an easier install and updates are handled via apt-get.

I’ve used this on Ubuntu 12.04.

We will need a few pre-reqs:

apt-get install mplayer mencoder ffmpeg openjdk-6-jre

Let’s add the repository from which we will install the PMS and run the installation.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:happy-neko/ps3mediaserver
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ps3mediaserver

Next we create a system user account for the PMS to use. By default, PMS runs under the root account, but it’s always a good idea to keep things as secure as possible.

sudo adduser --system --group ps3mediauser

Now lets edit the PMS config file and setup the custom user and set it to autorun on startup. Edit /etc/default/ps3mediaserver, locate the following items in the file and make the changes as indicated.


Next, we need to create a PMS.conf file in the ps3mediauser home directory. You will need to run these commands as root since the ps3mediauser account is a system only account. Copy in the default PMS.conf file.

su -i
mkdir -p /home/ps3mediauser/.config/ps3mediaserver
cp /etc/skel/.config/ps3mediaserver/PMS.conf /home/ps3mediauser/.config/ps3mediaserver

Next you should edit the PMS.conf file and change the ‘folders’ to reflect the location of your Media files. The other settings can be left at default for the most part, but it doesn’t hurt to familiarize yourself with whats available.

folders =/mnt/media/tv,/mnt/media/movies,/mnt/media/music

With all the settings in place, you need to change ownership of the ps3mediauser home folder:

chown -R ps3mediauser:ps3mediauser /home/ps3mediauser

Last thing to check is the /tmp/ folder. PMS will use this folder and if the ‘root’ user had stuff in that folder related to PMS, the non-root user will have issues running the service. It doesn’t hurt to remove any older remnants.

rm -F /tmp/jna
rm -F /tmp/ps3* 
rm -F /tmp/hsperfdata*

Some people have reported that they needed to change permissions in /tmp/. I’ve never had to do that, but it is something to keep in mind.

Lastly, just start the service:

sudo start ps3mediaserver
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