This tutorial shows you how to Stream Movies from PC to PS4. We also show you how to play movies directly from an external hard drive (or USB thumb drive) attached to one of the PS4’s USB ports.
How Does Streaming Movies from PC to PS4 Work (In a Nutshell)?
To stream movies from PC to PS4, we basically do these basic Steps (which I show you in full detail further down in this Tutorial):
- Install a particular (free) Media Server app on our PC, then launch the Media Server
- Then, on your PS4, just go to the Media Player app and find your Media Server
- Finally, just locate a movie on your PC’s Media Server using the PS4 Media Player app and PLAY the movie (or TV Show)!
The step-by-step walk through for the Streaming Movies from PC to PS4 process is below:
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Basically, for this to work we need to make sure our external hard drive is using a certain type of “file system“. For non-techies, this might sound complicated – but it’s not. This is all pretty easy – even for noobs. We even have a section in this article that shows you how to check external hard drive file system easily. So don’t give up!
How to Stream Movies from PC to PS4
I successfully used the Media Player app to play movies from my PC’s external hard drive via WiFi. It was way simpler than I expected.
There’s a free app called Universal Media Server, which automatically sets up streaming for you (for nerds: it’s a free, cross-platform DLNA server).
I accomplished this simple PC-to-PS4 movie streaming setup by doing these steps:
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- (Optional – only if your movies are stored on an external hard drive!) I plugged the external hard drive into my Windows 10 PC (important: your PC must be connected to the same WiFi network as your PS4).
- I downloaded a free (essential, for these purposes) Media Server app called UniversalMediaServer (opens in a new browser Tab).
- After the “UMS” app downloads onto your PC, install the Universal Media Server app to stream movies to PS4 from PC.
- Once the “UMS” app installs, launch UMS it and set up the app by answering the questions in the Universal Media Server Setup Wizard.
- On your PS4, launch the Media Player app.
- Then, in the Media Player app, find your hard drive and select the video file you want to play, using the PS4 controller!
Once you start using the Media Player app to stream movies to PS4 from PC, use the PS4 controller to manage movie / TV show playback. See the “How to Use Media Player” section below for more details.
Or Use PS4 to Watch Movies on External HDD Connected to PS4’s USB Port
In contrast with the “How to Stream Movies from PC to PS4” section (above), in this section I show you how to watch movies that are stored on a hard drive that’s connected directly to your PS4’s USB port.
- Simply plug an exFAT-formatted external hard drive into your PS4 (after you’ve copied some video files to this hard drive).
- Then use the Media Player app in your PS4 to play the video files on the hard drive.
If you haven’t downloaded the Media Player app, you may need to download it from the PS Store. It’s a free, small PS4 app download.
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What’s exFAT and Why Does It Matter?
So, what’s exFAT? exFAT is a file system. Generally speaking, different operating systems use different types of file systems.
Why does exFAT matter? The important thing to know is that exFAT is the best (and only good) filesystem which we should use when choosing a filesystem for our external hard drive.
What do I do if my external hard drive is already loaded with stuff and formatted to a different filesystem?
If you have an external hard drive and it’s already loaded with stuff (but not exFAT formatted), then you have two options.
A) “Off-load” the files from the external hard drive onto some other storage device that has enough space to store all the files from your external hard drive. Then simply re-format the external hard drive using a Windows, Mac, or Linux computer.
B) Purchase a new external hard drive and format it as exFAT
Ok, my external hard drive is now formatted as exFAT. What do I do now?
Now just copy some video files / folders to your exFAT-formatted external hard drive. Then safely remove your hard drive from your PC and plug it into your powered-on PS4. To stream movies from PC to PS4 using a USB HDD, you’ll need your external HDD to be in exFAT!
Benefits of using exFAT file system for external hard drive:
- Ability to clone PS4 hard drive to external hard drive (to make a clone or keep a backup)
- Keep copies of game saves on your external drive
- Use the external drive on other operating systems (like Windows & Mac) without needing to re-format the hard drive
How do I check what file system my existing external hard drive is using?
Plug the external hard drive into your computer. Then right-click on the hard drive in your “My Computer” area (in Windows) and then click Properties. You should see the file system listed in this area.
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How to Use Media Player App for PS4
To use the Media Player app for PS4, simply use your PS4 controller to navigate through the following quick steps:
- From within the Media Player app, select your external hard drive.
- Select a video file (or folder containing video files) you copied to your hard drive before you connected it to your PS4.
- Use the PS4 controller to control playback (Pause, Resume, etc).
The Media Player app doesn’t have tons of features, compared to other Media Players like MX Player or VLC. But this is expected with a slimmed-down OS like that found in PS4.
Limitations of Streaming Movies to PS4 from PC
The only limitation I found when streaming movies from my Windows laptop to my PS4 was that certain 4K movies wouldn’t play without skipping.
Other than that, playback was great (especially for 1080P).
Formatting External Hard Drive as “Extended Storage” Instead of “Streaming” Storage
Use the PS4 to format your external hard drive to acheive the benefits listed below:
Benefits of using PS4 to format the external hard drive’s file system
If you wish to use your external hard drive for storing
- Store apps & games you download from the PS Store on your external hard drive
- Transfer games from one PS4 to another
- This expands your PS4’s internal storage space without needing to open the PS4 (and therefore void the warranty!)
- Gain a new “storage area” to organize your apps and games
DLNA vs Plex
Plex app is available for PS4!
This method to stream movies from PC to PS4 is similar to setting up a Plex server on your PC and using the “Plex” app to view the movies stored on a Plex server.
PS4 now has a Plex app available. So, alternatively you can use Plex as your media server app on your PC. Then use the Plex app on your PS4 to play the video files stored on your Plex server.
Plex for Firestick & Android
Plex for Firestick app has been available on Amazon Firestick for quite some time, since it was available on Android OS long before Firestick appeared. Firestick OS is very similar to Android OS, so “porting” Plex to Android was fast compared to porting Plex app to PS4.