I’ve been looking into Playback recently as an option for playing back media files on the PS3. Playback is great in that it also allows you to stream media to your PS3, even if it’s in a format that the PS3 doesn’t natively recognise (yes, I’m looking at you mkv!)
On my Mac Pro, it’s comfortably able to transcode in realtime most files that I’ve thrown at it and it’s certainly easier than using something like Handbrake or similar to convert the media beforehand and guess at which video format, audio format and container format is going to work the best and offer the least quality loss when you convert it.
The latest versions of Playback also have a conversion engine built in that knows what formats the PS3 can deal with, so it can pre-convert your mkv files without you having to worry about what formats to convert to and this will reduce the load on your Mac when the video is playing back. It also allows you to copy the video to your PS3’s hard drive for playback without needing to have your computer on.
In addition to video files, it also shares out your iPhoto library and your iTunes library for easy streaming over your network.