Using XBOX as a Media extender for HDTV - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 12-27-2011, 07:28 AM - Thread Starter
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I already have an HTPC (WIN7) (HDMI) and it works well, but I currently do not use MCE or HDTV. I primarily use it for movies/ Youtube Leanback.

My goal is to use a Ceton InfiniTV 4 Digital Cable Quad-tuner Card PCIe with a TV tuner card from the Cable Company (Armstrong) Windows Media Center, and stream HDTV (Not DVR'd programs, but Live TV) to two other Xbox's in the house.

Is anyone currently doing this, and how well does it work?

I've heard nothing but excellent reviews for the ceton card.
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post #2 of 15 Old 12-27-2011, 08:26 AM
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I am doing this now with one 7MC HTPC in the living room and an XBox360 in each bedroom. It works great as long as the HTPC can keep up with the bandwidth requirements. I do see the "Network Error" message sometimes and the video gets degraded for a few seconds, but not very often.
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post #3 of 15 Old 12-27-2011, 08:33 AM
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I'm doing exactly this. If at all possible, hardware Ethernet to the XBoxes. They can stream Netflix just fine via WiFi, but you need more bandwidth to watch HD Live TV. After I hardwired them, everything runs superbly.
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post #4 of 15 Old 12-27-2011, 09:27 AM
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CCBADD,
I have an HTPC with a Ceton infinitv4 networked by Ethernet lines to 3 Xboxes. The two Xboxes that are closest to the HTPC never give the network error message. The Xbox that is the farthest away from the HTPC does. I can reproduce the network error message by quickly changing the channels several times. Do you have any thoughts concerning our problem?
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post #5 of 15 Old 12-27-2011, 10:28 AM
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I'm also running a pair of 360s off my HTPC, all hardwired to the switch. Works great.
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post #6 of 15 Old 12-27-2011, 10:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1992lee View Post

CCBADD,
I have an HTPC with a Ceton infinitv4 networked by Ethernet lines to 3 Xboxes. The two Xboxes that are closest to the HTPC never give the network error message. The Xbox that is the farthest away from the HTPC does. I can reproduce the network error message by quickly changing the channels several times. Do you have any thoughts concerning our problem?

Gigabit ethernet?

I'm not going to re-wire my house for ethernet. I will most likely run Powerline Ethernet to the xboxs and see how that works as Media extenders. Seems like Wifi is out of the question. Damn.
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post #7 of 15 Old 12-27-2011, 10:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by defekticon View Post


Gigabit ethernet?

I'm not going to re-wire my house for ethernet. I will most likely run Power Over Ethernet to the xboxs and see how that works as Media extenders. Seems like Wifi is out of the question. Damn.

The Xbox doesn't have gigabit as far as I know. My router and switch are gigabit, but since the Xbox can only do fast Ethernet, I don't think that the gigabit network helps me.
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post #8 of 15 Old 12-27-2011, 01:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by defekticon View Post

Gigabit ethernet?

I'm not going to re-wire my house for ethernet. I will most likely run Powerline Ethernet to the xboxs and see how that works as Media extenders. Seems like Wifi is out of the question. Damn.

The powerline adapters should be fine - WiFi might work, but any time you can hardware it's going to be advantageous. I only had my 360s on wireless for a day or so while I was waiting on the Ethernet cables to arrive, so I didn't really have a chance to notice too many issues.
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post #9 of 15 Old 12-28-2011, 10:38 AM
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I just installed an Xbox Arcade (the old white version, 256MB) as an extender, and was unpleasantly surprised how slowly the Media Center starts on it (15-20 sec: "Downloading", "connecting", etc.).

There is also an irritating lag in the WMC menu navigation (through a Harmony remote).

The htpc is rather beefy, I do not expect that it is the bottleneck.

Is this normal? Can it be improved by adding memory or improving the connection (wireless bridge currently at 81Mbps)? Or is it just the old system?
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post #10 of 15 Old 12-28-2011, 06:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roussi View Post

I just installed an Xbox Arcade (the old white version, 256MB) as an extender, and was unpleasantly surprised how slowly the Media Center starts on it (15-20 sec: "Downloading", "connecting", etc.).

There is also an irritating lag in the WMC menu navigation (through a Harmony remote).

The htpc is rather beefy, I do not expect that it is the bottleneck.

Is this normal? Can it be improved by adding memory or improving the connection (wireless bridge currently at 81Mbps)? Or is it just the old system?

Sounds like it's be an issue with the connection to the HTPC. I had that problem for awhile as well when I was using an old Intel switch that had been thoroughly abused - replaced it with a used Dell Powerconnect switch from eBay, and it's very quick - only 2-3 seconds on the download/connect portion.
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post #11 of 15 Old 12-28-2011, 07:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by defekticon View Post

Gigabit ethernet?

I'm not going to re-wire my house for ethernet. I will most likely run Powerline Ethernet to the xboxs and see how that works as Media extenders. Seems like Wifi is out of the question. Damn.

You do not necessarily need giga speed to use the xbox and stream live TV, fact is the strongest demand is something like live sports in HD which will peak near 20 mbps but never exceed that. What can happen is MS will send out an update while your watching and it will jam the system with info and may drop the TV, usually it just slows for a moment and just resets. You may also want to look at MoCa devices as a network system, most are pricey but they are coming down. Check out the Netgear on Amazon as it has come down recently. WiFi is possible just not real reliable, those that have done it with success use a dual band and lock the TV signal to 5 ghz band which has fewer competing signal problems. It takes more knowledge of hardware setting than I have.

I run a Prime with a Trendnet Green Giga switch but my internet and wireless run through a Actiontec Megaplug BPL. I have streamed multiple HD TV streams through this at one time with no problem. Decent MoCa solutions did not exist when I needed this, it works but you do risk a higher potential for bad power surge issues within BPL. Was reading the new list on CES awards for 2012 and one is a new MoCa system looked nice but no idea on price, it did have a privacy filter with it that locks the system within your home (nice to have a physical device).

The xbox is a clean way to go, the only real difference is that it tends to be a bit slower than a PC on initial tuning but once it is up and running it's all good. You can set it up so that the xbox boots up in WMC when you turn it on, this saves a lot of time. I have a Pinnicle WMC controller that when I push the Green button it turns on the xbox and opens WMC, know others that do the same with a Harmony.

I believe with the Ceton you do not have to dedicate a tuner for the xbox so it should work the same as the prime. One nice benefit of the extender is that if your recording a channel and tune that channel the extender piggybacks the tuner rather than needing another tuner which another computer would have to do. Downside is that if you are playing the same channel on the main computer and extending there will be a lag. Depending on which one you turn on first the lag varies. I prefer a big lag to reduce negative echo effect from being able to here both TV's at once.

The speed of changing channels issue is most likely a network issue that may reside in the host computer NIC for some setting Flow Control to on has improved speed.
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post #12 of 15 Old 12-29-2011, 04:54 AM
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Another thought on lag issues - might be worthwhile to upgrade to an Intel NIC if you haven't already for the HTPC if it uses Ethernet to connect to a router/switch. I had some issues early on with the built-in Atheros NIC on the motherboard (slow transfers, random connection drops, etc) that all cleared up when I moved to Intel.
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post #13 of 15 Old 01-27-2012, 07:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Multimediashtick View Post

You do not necessarily need giga speed to use the xbox and stream live TV, fact is the strongest demand is something like live sports in HD which will peak near 20 mbps but never exceed that. What can happen is MS will send out an update while your watching and it will jam the system with info and may drop the TV, usually it just slows for a moment and just resets. You may also want to look at MoCa devices as a network system, most are pricey but they are coming down. Check out the Netgear on Amazon as it has come down recently. WiFi is possible just not real reliable, those that have done it with success use a dual band and lock the TV signal to 5 ghz band which has fewer competing signal problems. It takes more knowledge of hardware setting than I have.

I run a Prime with a Trendnet Green Giga switch but my internet and wireless run through a Actiontec Megaplug BPL. I have streamed multiple HD TV streams through this at one time with no problem. Decent MoCa solutions did not exist when I needed this, it works but you do risk a higher potential for bad power surge issues within BPL. Was reading the new list on CES awards for 2012 and one is a new MoCa system looked nice but no idea on price, it did have a privacy filter with it that locks the system within your home (nice to have a physical device).

The xbox is a clean way to go, the only real difference is that it tends to be a bit slower than a PC on initial tuning but once it is up and running it's all good. You can set it up so that the xbox boots up in WMC when you turn it on, this saves a lot of time. I have a Pinnicle WMC controller that when I push the Green button it turns on the xbox and opens WMC, know others that do the same with a Harmony.

I believe with the Ceton you do not have to dedicate a tuner for the xbox so it should work the same as the prime. One nice benefit of the extender is that if your recording a channel and tune that channel the extender piggybacks the tuner rather than needing another tuner which another computer would have to do. Downside is that if you are playing the same channel on the main computer and extending there will be a lag. Depending on which one you turn on first the lag varies. I prefer a big lag to reduce negative echo effect from being able to here both TV's at once.

The speed of changing channels issue is most likely a network issue that may reside in the host computer NIC for some setting Flow Control to on has improved speed.



This is Awesome information, thank you for your post.

I'd like to follow up with this after I fully setup everything.

I ended up using an Antec Fusion remote black for the HTPC, it's awesome btw. The ceton card is installed, and Armstrong should be out today to deliver the M Card. I ended up finding that my house was wired with cat 5e that was terminated into RJ11 jacks. Bonus. I rewired the entire house with ethernet jacks, terminated into a six port leviton keystone jack plate with a Dlink green gig switch mounted on the wall next to it.

That was the good news.

The bad news is, out of the 5 jacks, none are in the living room. So I ended up running a powerline ethernet adapter over to the living room. Unfortunately it's only the 200Mbps model from Netgear that includes a 4 port switch on one end. I'm borrowing this from a friend just to make sure my wiring would handle the connection. So far with streaming movies it seems to work ok. I was watching some episodes of breaking bad on it and the playback was acceptable. Over the summer I will use Gel filled Direct Burial Cat 5e or 6 buried around the outside of my house to run from the switch in the basement up to the living room on the otherside of the house.

I haven't gotten to use the media extenders yet. This was just streaming from my main PC in the basement with attached USB 3.0 two terabyte hard drives up to the HTPC in the living room over Powerline ethernet adapters.

One thing I definitely need to look into is a harmony remote. Right now in the living room I have 3 remotes, an xbox controller and an RF keyboard. FML. My wife looks at me like I have completely lost my mind as I sit on the couch slowly rotating through the stock of input devices.
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post #14 of 15 Old 01-27-2012, 01:28 PM
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Sure wish there was a way to get the X-Box to see the My Movies library that I have. A bunch of movies ripped to my hard drive using AnyDVD (standard ts file formatting). I really don't want to re-rip to another format.
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post #15 of 15 Old 02-03-2012, 08:12 AM
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I have 2 xbox's hanging off my media center with the ceton card. I had some issues now and then however I recently purchased Dlink DGS-1008G green series gigabit switches which support 802.1p QOS, I made sure this was enabled on my media center LAN card as well and since then streaming HD TV has been near flawless.
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