Xbox 360 as media extender from older PC running Win7? - AVS Forum
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 9 Old 11-23-2009, 09:19 AM - Thread Starter
Member
 
merlot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: South Jersey
Posts: 86
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
So my wife and I are tired of paying $30/month to Comcast for our HD DVR boxes (which fill up way to easily) and I've decided to go the HTPC route with a CableCard (or we might drop that and give OTA and internet TV a try).

For my first step, I'd like to update my XP machine with Windows 7 and use my 360 to run Windows Media Center. My PC is a P4 2.4 GHz with 1GB RAM and built-in 100mbps LAN. I would not use it for viewing as it would remain in the office (though it can play 720p content back smoothly). I'm curious if it is powerful to record shows from multiple tuners and serve them to the Xbox 360.

I did a test last night where I downloaded 720p and 1080p material from Microsoft's website and then shared it. I was able to watch it without issue on my 360, both over the wired and wireless network. Can I expect Media Center to work just as well? Or should i just build myself a more powerful PC?
merlot is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 9 Old 11-23-2009, 09:56 AM
AVS Special Member
 
mike_311's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,889
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by merlot View Post

So my wife and I are tired of paying $30/month to Comcast for our HD DVR boxes (which fill up way to easily) and I've decided to go the HTPC route with a CableCard (or we might drop that and give OTA and internet TV a try).

For my first step, I'd like to update my XP machine with Windows 7 and use my 360 to run Windows Media Center. My PC is a P4 2.4 GHz with 1GB RAM and built-in 100mbps LAN. I would not use it for viewing as it would remain in the office (though it can play 720p content back smoothly). I'm curious if it is powerful to record shows from multiple tuners and serve them to the Xbox 360.

I did a test last night where I downloaded 720p and 1080p material from Microsoft's website and then shared it. I was able to watch it without issue on my 360, both over the wired and wireless network. Can I expect Media Center to work just as well? Or should i just build myself a more powerful PC?

I would definitely add more ram.

you are going to have issues with downloaded mkv file too. the xbox wont play them and your pc might have trouble transcoding them on the fly (not mention the transcode quality sucks). you can get divx7 to avoid the transcoding but you only get 2.0 sound with that. but then you could always convert the mkvs to dvr-ms or wtv.

you also wont be able to do hulu or another internet streaming from the htpc, but anything on xbox live will work and netflix is great in that you can get hd videos.

On a side note, i went through a similar dilemma about 9 months ago. I convinced my wife that we didnt need cable and i could get all the shows we enjoyed for free (from OTA). I was either going to get an extender or a dedicated htpc.

i was going to resurrect an old p4 box i had like you, but by the time i added ram (expensive ddr ram) and an hdmi video card (i had no pci-e slot), i was getting close to the cost of buying a new machine that did all i needed. and the extender left me limited.

i ended up getting an htpc. the cost saving of no cable bill paid for the htpc in a matter of months and its amazing how much you dont care about all the channels you lose when you are getting an extra $120 a month (in my case).

i just recently got an xbox as an extender for my upstairs tv, and i am much happier with the htpc, the xbox works great as an extender for Media center in that it is great for watching shows i recorded or setting recordings, but i have a problem playing mkv files and i need to be careful how i rip my dvds. i still cant get hulu or any other kind internet streaming and if i want netflix than i have to leave the media center interface, log onto MSLive and go to netflix, after i add what i want to watch to my instant queue with my laptop. Its clunky.

the main HTPC doesn't get netflix HD but its a small price to pay for the flexibility it gives over the xbox.

not telling you to do one over the other, just make sure you explore all avenues before you commit.

"If the world didn't suck, we'd all fly off."
mike_311 is offline  
post #3 of 9 Old 11-23-2009, 10:08 AM
Member
 
dobyken's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Florida Gulf Coast
Posts: 148
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 11
Recording and serving files takes very little horsepower on the PC unless you have a format that requires transcoding to display on the 360. I had no problem recording 2 HD streams on my PC (HDHomeRun) while viewing a different video on the 360. The only thing I had trouble with was recording 2 streams and viewing a video on the same PC. This is with an Athlon 64 3000+ which is pretty close to the P4. I am going to assume that the cable cards don't require a lot of CPU but since I've never seen one I'm not the best one to answer that portion.

Better living through credit cards
dobyken is offline  
post #4 of 9 Old 11-23-2009, 01:41 PM
AVS Special Member
 
almostinsane's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 4,027
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 24
I dont think the Digital Cable Advisor will run on that box so it wont enable the use of an ATI DCT.
almostinsane is online now  
post #5 of 9 Old 11-24-2009, 07:04 AM - Thread Starter
Member
 
merlot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: South Jersey
Posts: 86
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Thanks for the info all. I like to try to extend the life of my existing equipment when I can, but I think I should just build a new HTPC. I installed PlayOn to access Hulu via my Xbox360, and the performance was so-so. I then tried it on my work laptop (Core Duo 2) and ran much better.

I'm thinking I might install Windows Home Server on the P4 machine later down the road...
merlot is offline  
post #6 of 9 Old 11-24-2009, 07:29 AM
AVS Special Member
 
mike_311's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,889
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by merlot View Post

Thanks for the info all. I like to try to extend the life of my existing equipment when I can, but I think I should just build a new HTPC. I installed PlayOn to access Hulu via my Xbox360, and the performance was so-so. I then tried it on my work laptop (Core Duo 2) and ran much better.

I'm thinking I might install Windows Home Server on the P4 machine later down the road...

there you go, just make it a media server, that what i plan to do, althou the p4 isn't very energy efficient compared to new processors for server use, but i'll deal with that road when i get there...

you can get the dell zino for a pretty good price, i think it comes with win7 too...

"If the world didn't suck, we'd all fly off."
mike_311 is offline  
post #7 of 9 Old 11-24-2009, 09:55 AM - Thread Starter
Member
 
merlot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: South Jersey
Posts: 86
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I also happen to have an Abit AN7 motherboard. I wonder how it would perform if I put the highest rated supported CPU - which I think is a socket A Athlon XP 3200?
merlot is offline  
post #8 of 9 Old 11-24-2009, 10:32 AM
AVS Special Member
 
mike_311's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,889
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
im not familiar with the processor... (remember the days when they actually spec'd the processor in the instead of numbers)... but a single core p4 2.8-3.0 ghz is the minimum for htpc work... you can go less speed but to has to be dual core... htpcs are definitely a multitask machine.

"If the world didn't suck, we'd all fly off."
mike_311 is offline  
post #9 of 9 Old 11-24-2009, 10:46 AM - Thread Starter
Member
 
merlot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: South Jersey
Posts: 86
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by mike_311 View Post

im not familiar with the processor... (remember the days when they actually spec'd the processor in the instead of numbers)... but a single core p4 2.8-3.0 ghz is the minimum for htpc work... you can go less speed but to has to be dual core... htpcs are definitely a multitask machine.

It's rated at 2.2GHz, but AMD called it a 3200 because it's speed was comparable or better than a P4 3 Ghz.
merlot is offline  
Reply Home Theater Computers

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off