TVersity Setup Guide

Original Page URL: http://www.digital-digest.com/articles/TVersity_Setup_Guide_page1.html
Author/Publisher:
Date Added: May 19, 2010
Date Updated: May 19, 2010


The free edition of TVersity is a great tool for sharing your media files with compatible UPnP or DLNA devices. What it does essentially is allow the media files on your PC to be played back on devices such as the PS3 or the Xbox 360, while presenting an easy to navigate interface. And the best part about TVersity is that if the media file isn't natively supported by the connecting device, then TVersity will automatically transcode the file for you in real-time so it plays without you having to convert the files manually.

Quite a lot of our guides, such as the PS3 H.264 Conversion Guide, already included instructions for TVersity. It's becoming quite a pain to update each of these articles individually whenever TVersity changes, so I've decided to put all the instructions in this one tutorial and simply refer to this guide from those other guides.

TVersity requires a connection to be made on your home network between the PC that you install TVersity on and the device that you wish to connect to the PC. While in most cases, this can be accomplished easily thanks to the UPnP/DLNA standards, sometimes some manual network configuration is require, such as being able to open ports on your firewall, or configure port forwarding. As every network device has a different way of achieving this, it becomes difficult to provide instructions for every situation, however the basic method will be explained and resources provided, which should allow you to find the precise instructions for your network device should you need to configure it manually. Hopefully, it won't come to that.

Also, while the instructions in this tutorial are tailored for all UPnP/DLNA compatible devices, focus is placed on the PS3 or Xbox 360.

Software you'll need (all freeware):

Hardware you'll need:

  • UPnP or DLNA compatible device (such as the PS3 or Xbox 360)

Step 1: Network Setup

As mentioned before, TVersity requires a few things to be enabled on your home network to make connections easy to manage. The most important of which is UPnP, which is not enabled by default on most Windows systems. Luckily, Microsoft provides detailed instructions on how to enable UPnP for their Windows products, so here are the links you need:

Sometimes, your network router may also have an option to have UPnP enabled or disabled. How this can be enabled depends largely on your router/network device, so do a Google search for the model of your router and "UPnP" to see if there is an option to turn it on (on some routers, it is enabled by default and can't be turned off). For example, on my Netgear DG834G router, there is an UPnP page that allows you to enable or disable UPnP (obviously, we want it enabled).

Netgear: UPnP


You may need to restart your computer or router for the changes to take effect.

Step 2: Installing TVersity

Before we install TVersity, be aware of several requirements. If you need TVersity to do real-time transcoding, then your CPU will be used and as such, a powerful system is recommended. Most modern CPUs sold today should be fine. For transcoding of WMV video files, it is recommended you have Windows Media Player 11 or later installed. For the transcoding of other video files, it is strongly recommended that you have Haali Media Splitter (for OGG/OGM files), Real Alternative (for RM/RMVB files) and AC3Filter. However, installing these software individually may be troublesome and you may prefer installing an all-in-one codec pack which includes all of these tools pre-configured for easy installation - we recommend the K-Lite Codec Pack (Mega version, which includes Real Alternative). In any case, TVersity includes its own codec pack which is needed for transcoding of the most popular formats, so the choice would be to install a codec pack like K-Lite and *skip* installing TVersity's codec pack, or use TVersity's codec pack and then install the aforementioned tools (Haali, Real Alternative, AC3Filter) separately afterwards. Either way should work, and even installing TVersity's codec pack on top of K-Lite should work, although not recommended due to versioning conflicts.

Download and install TVersity. Go through the installation (keep an eye on installing the Ask.com toolbar, because that's totally optional). After a few steps, you'll be presented with options to run system and firewall configurations (this option should be enabled) and whether you want to install the TVersity codec pack (see paragraph above). The sponsor installer option down below can be unchecked. Press "Install" and the installation process should start proper. Right at the end of the installer, you have the option to start running the media sharing service and the graphical user interface - keep both options selected. The media sharing service is what's run in the background to allow the media sharing, while the user interface is where you add in which media files are to be shared and also to configure the TVersity options, which the majority of this guide is about. If you get an error message about TVersity not being able to start, ignore it. Restarting Windows is not required.

TVersity: Installation


TVersity: Installation


After the installer finishes, you should have a new Start menu folder for TVersity, and inside, there should be a tool called "Configuration Wizard". Start this tool. Inside this tool, you can choose to have TVersity start automatically at boot time, disable Windows SSDP service which may be required under Windows Vista due to TVersity using it's own SSDP service and it conflicting with the Windows one. Check the "Set Windows Firewall to allow ..." option to configure the Windows firewall (if you're using it) so that the required ports are opened for you (more on that later). Then finally, you can set up which of the default Windows media folders are selected for including within TVersity for media sharing. Press "Configure" when you're done and then continue until the wizard is closed.

TVersity: Configuration Wizard


At this point, TVersity should be up and running. Look for the TVersity tray icon, if it is greyed out instead of looking like below, right click on it and choose "Start Sharing" and wait until the icon turns colorful (if the TVersity tray icon is not shown, go to your Start Menu and start TVersity from there).

TVersity: Tray Icon


Step 3: TVersity: Configuring Settings

Start the TVersity graphical user interface (if it isn't already started) by double clicking on the tray icon. Click on the "Settings" button at the top and we'll now configure TVersity.

In the "General" settings section, you can set the following options:

TVersity: General Settings


  • Media Playback Device: Set this to "Auto" or you can manually select the device you are connecting from (like "Sony Playstation 3" or "Xbox 360"), but this is only recommended if you only connect one type of device to this TVersity enabled computer.

  • Media Sharing Service: This is where you start, stop or restart the sharing service - if it is not started yet, you can click on the "Start Sharing" button to start it. The "Automatically start sharing ..." option when checked will automatically start the service whenever you start the computer.

  • Temporary Media Files: This specify the amount of disk space to use for caching/buffering purposes - the default 8192 MB (8 GB) setting should be more than enough.

  • Home Network: You can specify the port that TVersity will use (if you change the port settings, don't forget to change your firewall settings to match it), and also specify the IP address you wish to share content with (or leave it blank to allow sharing from all devices on the network). This option is best left alone for now, we'll get back to it if UPnP didn't work.

  • HTTP Proxy and Maximum Timeshift are not important, so leave the default settings there.

Press the "Save" button to save the settings.

In the "Media Library" section, you can set the following options:

TVersity: Media Library Settings


  • Media Library Menus: This option tells TVersity how it should present the navigational structure of your media folders. The "Default" option works well.

  • Media Library Refresh: This allows you tell TVersity when it should scan the media folders that we will add to TVersity later on for changes. You can always manually get TVersity to scan the shared folders to index the newly added files, but this option adds an automated task. You can specify when the first update occurs during the day, and then the duration between each subsequent updates.

  • Media Library Display Properties: These options allow you to specify how TVersity should display file names, whether tag data should be read from AVI files and so forth.

  • Media Library Reset: Only use this if the media library information becomes corrupt.

Press the "Save" button to save the settings.

In the "Transcoder" section, you can set the following options:

TVersity: Transcoder Settings


  • When to transcode? Set this to "Only when needed" - TVersity will scan the media file, see which device is trying to play it, and then if the device doesn't support the file natively, it will transcode it to a format that the device can play. Transcoding should be avoided unless absolutely necessary, to maintain quality and performance. You don't need to enable the "Decrease the bitrate ..." option unless your network connection from the computer to your device is limited (eg. wireless) - enabling this option has the effect of causing even natively supported media files to be transcoded when their bitrate is higher than the network limit, which will decrease quality, so don't select this option unless you have a slow network. A wired connection should be fast enough for most video, even HD video, while Wireless N is recommended for HD video.

  • Maximum Video and Image Resolution: These settings allow you to specify the maximum resolution video that TVersity will transcode to (if your video has a higher resolution, it will be converted to this maximum resolution - if your video has a lower resolution, the lower resolution will be used). Setting these settings to the resolution of your TV/display panel is recommended, unless you run into performance problems, in which case you can use half the resolution of your TV/panel (eg. 640x480) for lower quality video. Note that this only affects transcoded video - natively supported video won't be affected.

  • Windows Media Encoder: Check the box to use DirectShow for encoding to WMV (which is the format that is accepted by the Xbox 360), and probably leave the default selection of WMV 8 as the version of WMV to use. Again, technically, this option is not needed at all when dealing with natively supported files.

  • Optimization: Set this to "Quality", unless you have a slow computer.

  • Connection Speed and Quality: Change this to match the speed of your network. Increasing this above the speed of your actual network won't help, and will only make playback buffer all the time.

  • Compression: Set this to "Minimum" for maximum quality and better performance (but might overwhelm your network connection if it is not fast enough - a wired connection should be fast enough for most video, even HD video).

  • Decoding Speed: Leave this option checked.

Press the "Save" button to save the settings.

And finally, in the "Internet Feeds" section, you can set the feeds settings. Personally, I don't use this option, and older versions of TVersity had a problem where a lot of bandwidth was used by the updating of RSS feeds, so I prefer setting all of the settings to "1" (setting to "0" can sometimes mean "unlimited" which is even worse for bandwidth usage).



Step 4: Adding media files to the Library

We will now add our media files (images, audio, video files) to the TVersity library, so that these can be accessed from your PS3. Click on the "Library" button at the top to go to the sharing section.

Click on the "Add Item" button and select one of the options to load in your media. My preference is to store all the media that I want to share in the same folder, as opposed to having them spread out across the hard-disk. This way, you won't unnecessarily load in a bunch of media files that you don't plan on sharing. You can click on the advanced button to set if the files in this folder should override the main transcoding settings. This is useful when adding a single file, and that file refuses to play on the device even though the TVersity thinks the file should be compatible with the device - so here, you can force TVersity to transcode this problematic file using the "Always" option - the inverse is true, when a file that the device can play natively is detected by TVersity as being not compatible - using "Never" forces transcoding to be turned off.

TVersity: Add Item Options


Once you have added in all your media, the "Sources" tree view on the left hand side should list them. You can click on items to change their options, as well as use the "Update" button to update the folder when new files are added.

TVersity: Added Media


Step 5: Finishing Off

You should now try to connect to your TVersity enabled PC from the device of your choice, be it the PS3 or the Xbox 360. If you aren't seeing the TVersity enabled PC being listed in available devices, then you may need to refer to the troubleshooting

Appendix: Troubleshooting

Here are some troubleshooting hints:

  • Make sure TVersity is started (see the last part of Step 2)

  • Make sure TVersity hasn't been blocked by your firewall. In Windows Firewall, TVersity should be listed and selected in the "Exceptions" section. If it isn't listed there, you can use the "Add Program" button to add the TVersity executable to the list. Other firewall software will have different ways to do this. For example, in Norton Internet Security, you need to go to Network Settings -> Smart Firewall -> Program Control -> Configure -> make sure TVersity is "allowed" or if it isn't listed there, add the TVersity executable to the list and "allow" it.

  • If you have another media sharing software started, try it with the other software shut down

If UPnP could not be enabled or isn't working, then you may need to perform port forwarding. Each router will have different port forwarding instructions, but this is a really good website to find precise instructions for your network device. The website also covers information on DHCP, which you'll need to understand to get port forwarding to always work. The port that needs to be forwarded is 41952.

An example of the port forwarding setup on my network. My router hands out IP addresses via DHCP for 192.168.0.2 to 192.168.0.50. I set my PS3's IP address to be a static IP address outside of this range, 192.168.0.51, as to avoid DHCP assigning the same address to multiple systems. In my Netgear DG834G router setup section, I use the instruction provided on this page to set up port forwarding for TVersity.

Got more questions? Post them in our General Computing Forum and get them answered by other expert users, or me!



About Digital Digest | Help | Privacy | Submissions | Sitemap

© Copyright 1999-2011 Digital Digest. Duplication of links or content is strictly prohibited.