How to use your PlayStation 4 as a media player

The PlayStation 4 is a fantastic game console. But where in the past these devices could really only play games, today they are powerful and versatile computers that you can do much more with. For example, use it as a media player.

Tip 01: Optical Media

The PlayStation may be a modern device, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy movies the 'old-fashioned' way, via a DVD. You can put both DVDs and Blu-rays in Sony's console for a nice evening on the couch. And that can even be discs that you have burned yourself, as long as you have finalized them and they are not different formats (such as the mini-DVD that sometimes come along). Remarkably enough, PS4 does not support CDs, so you can't listen to your music collection this way.

Tip 02: External Storage Media

Do you have a large CD collection at home and are you disappointed that it is not so easy to listen to via your PS4? Then digitize the CDs and save the songs on an external hard drive or USB stick. Your PS4 supports both mp3 and aac, so keep this in mind when ripping the files. In addition, you can't just put all your files on a USB stick or disk and expect your PS4 to understand that. A drive must be formatted in fat or exfat, because ntfs cannot read your PS4. In addition, you need to put all music files in the Music folder. Any videos to be played should also be in a separate folder, but it does not have to have a specific name. Finally, in order to access the music and video files from the external drive, you must first download the free Media Player app from the PlayStation Store.

It is much more likely that you have all your media files on the PC or NAS

Tip 03: Stream

How many CDs and DVDs do you actually have at home? It is much more likely that you already have everything on your PC or NAS these days. Rather than putting it on a disc for your PS4 to play, streaming the media file is much more efficient. Once you've downloaded the Media Player app on your PS4, you don't need to do much on the console. Most NAS already have built-in software that allows you to stream to devices that support it. If you have the files on your PC, you need to install software on your PC so that your PS4 and your PC can find each other on the network. The most popular (free) software in this area is Universal Media Server. Install the program, specify which folders contain the files you want to share, and as long as the 'server' is on, it will immediately show up in the Media Player app on your PS4.

Tip 04: Live Gameplay

We probably wouldn't have believed who told us ten years ago, but you don't just play games these days, watching them is now also a hobby. And actually that's not even that crazy. Because why should we watch a match between Ajax and Feyenoord on a real grass field, and not a match of the same clubs played by gamers? That's why Sony launched Live from PlayStation years ago, a channel you'll find in the Library section. On this channel you can view which games are currently being played and you can easily select the broadcast of your choice to watch. And the special thing, to take the example of football again, is that the graphics of a game like FIFA 20 are so impressive that within seconds you forget that you are not watching a physical match.

You don't just play games these days, watching them is now also a hobby

Tip 05: Music apps

There are several alternatives to listen to music on your PS4. Where a CD doesn't work, but streaming via your PC does, streaming via the internet, Spotify better said, also works. This service is not installed by default on your PlayStation, but it is easy to download from the PlayStation Store. When you've done this, log in with your existing Spotify account to access all the music you also have available on your smartphone. It is nice that there are also special apps that are not actually games, but offer special experiences with extras, such as all kinds of musical VR experiences. This way you learn to experience music in a whole new way, although we would like to say that this is of course not the case for everyone.

Tip 06: PS Music

As an extension of Spotify, Sony has added an interesting feature to its PlayStation Store, called PS Music. The name suggests that it is its own streaming service such as Spotify, Apple Music and Google Music, but in fact it is not much more than an overview of interesting music on Spotify (so you must have that app installed first). That sounds a bit cheesy, but it isn't. Spotify is a great app, but the operation via your controller works just a little less well than on your smartphone or PC. So Sony has made an overview of game-related music on Spotify, so that you don't have to turn the entire service inside out to find what you're looking for. PS Music is not something you download, you always have to access it through the PlayStation Store.

Tip 07: Video apps

Not too long ago, Disney launched its Netflix competitor, Disney+. You may have searched in vain for the channel on your set-top box. Disney doesn't have a dedicated channel for Disney+ and in all likelihood it won't, as the company positions the service as a cable cutter (ie, get rid of that cable). That is precisely why the company has made apps for various platforms, such as iOS, Android and therefore also for the PS4. To watch Disney+ on your PlayStation, download the app of the same name from the PlayStation Store. A new category will then appear in your main menu, Video and TV, where the app will be located. Here you will also find the other video streaming apps, such as Netflix, NOS, Pathé Thuis, Film1 and so on.

With Remote Play you can start a game on the PS4 and continue playing on your PC or Mac.

Tip 08: Remote play

For the time being, in this article we have mainly focused on media that you can display on your PS4, whether or not via other devices. But did you know that it can also be done the other way around? In the past, your console was useless if someone else wanted to watch TV, because you needed the TV to be able to game. But Remote Play has changed that. This feature allows you to start a game on your PS4, and then continue playing it on your PC or Mac. To do this, you must first enable Remote Play in Settings/Connection Settings for Remote Play. Then download the software for your computer. Then connect your controller to your PC with a USB cable and follow the instructions on the screen. The PC and PS4 are now connected, after which you can play games from your PS4 on your PC or Mac.

Tip 09: Remote control

As fantastic as we think the PS4 is as a media player, the handling leaves a lot to be desired. We're simply so used to the remote that controlling it via a controller, while it's essentially the same, doesn't really feel right. Fortunately, there are companies that agree, such as PDP, which decided to make a remote control for the PS4. This remote control does not work with infrared, but simply via bluetooth. The advantage of this is that you do not have to aim at your PS4 to execute a command. You do have to download PDP Remote from the PlayStation Store after purchasing the remote control, but after that you can get started right away. At the time of writing, the PDP Remote costs 27 euros and can be ordered through various channels, such as Bol.com.

Kodi?

Of course, in an article about media players, we can't ignore an app like Kodi. And it's true, you can actually install Kodi on your PlayStation, it's just not officially supported, meaning you have to mess around with your PS4's software, and that's not always without consequences. Are you looking for a Kodi-like solution? Then download the Plex app, which is officially supported by Sony.

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