How Do I Watch TV on My PS3?

By Shea Laverty ; Updated September 15, 2017

Sony's PlayStation 3 features many downloadable video streaming apps, enabling you to fill the gaps in your DVD and Blu-ray collection when you're in the mood for a little television. Most of the apps are third-party services, requiring a paid subscription before you can start streaming. In addition to these apps, you can still play any DVD or Blu-ray disc in your PS3 without issue.

Downloaded Videos

Using the PlayStation Store or Amazon Instant Video, you can download television shows to your PS3 in both standard and high definition. These videos have a nominal per episode or per season purchase fee, and are available to watch on your PS3 even without an Internet connection. Amazon Instant Video also gives you the ability to rent videos for a lower cost, giving you access to the files for a limited time.

Streaming Services

The PS3 also has a wide selection of streaming video services available to download. These include Sony's proprietary streaming service, Video Unlimited, as well as third-party services like Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime Instant Video. There are also several niche services available, like CrunchyRoll, Qello and Gaiam TV. Several services are available for sports enthusiasts, covering sports like football, baseball, hockey and more. Dish Network customers with Joey Hopper DVRs can also use an app that streams live TV to their PS3. These services all require a separate subscription and an Internet connection to run on your PS3.

Video Files

You can also add your own digital videos to the PS3 to watch at any time. Only a handful of formats are compatible with the PS3's video player, and only ones with specific encoding. Compatible formats include MPEG-1, MPEG-2 PS, MPEG-2 TS and AVI using linear PCM or u-Law motion JPEG encoding. Using MPEG-4 video varies depending on the media; straight MP4 files can only be viewed if using H.264 or MPEG-4 AVC high-profile encoding, while you can view MPEG-4 SP files if they're stored on a Memory Stick. The PS3 also supports DivX and WMV formats. While these files don't require an Internet connection, files with DRM protection may not play correctly.

DVD and Blu-Ray Video

The PS3 is also a combination DVD and Blu-ray player, meaning you can watch your DVD and Blu-ray collections without any issue. Any DVD or Blu-ray rental service, including Netflix plans that deliver discs, can be used to enjoy television on your PS3.