XBOX as a media server - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 59 Old 03-14-2004, 09:00 PM - Thread Starter
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It seems curious that XBOX isn't mentioned much in this forum for current and future possibilities as a media server. Maybe because XBOX is covered extensively elsewhere, so much so it is difficult to sort through. Having been a regular avsforum reader I would like to hear a few opinions from some of the experts here.
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post #2 of 59 Old 03-26-2004, 04:24 PM
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I looked into using the XBox and, between having to "mod" it and use software with a low WAF (XBox Media Center/Player), I balked. Rather do some Squeezeboxes off a central server. Drive-less, clean and easy.
Just my 0.02
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post #3 of 59 Old 03-27-2004, 09:12 AM
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MAZ356 - I am curious as to why you think the XBMP/XBMC would have a low WAF? Seems to me that the user interface which is probably a key point for WAF on my homefront is pretty clean. I have been doing a lot of research and this looks like a great way to go from what I see. Performing all the mods is definitely not for the technophobic but you can order fully modded machines with all the needed apps you would need.

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post #4 of 59 Old 03-27-2004, 05:53 PM
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I'm about to buy and mod one. XBox prices are supposedly dropping to $149 this Tuesday. Dealing with the headaches of the mod and software will be worth having something to stream video files (and maybe mp3s if I like the interface more than my Audiotron), as well as having a cool little emulator to play all those old arcarde games.
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post #5 of 59 Old 03-31-2004, 08:26 PM
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I have been using the XBOX as a media center for over a year now and am very happy - I only wish they would come up with a DVI output for the XBOX. The newer releases of XBOX Media Center are awesome. I have streamed mp3, AVI, and MPEG-2 with great results. I plan on trying out DivX (MPEG-4) next but I'm not sure how it will look on a 92" screen with the higher compression. If it looks decent I plan on buying a big hard drive and archiving my DVD collection to have an online library available. I would highly recommend it to anyone with the qualifier that you enjoy tinkering and tweaking. If you are looking for a plug and play system though it might no be for you. Otherwise, IMHO, it can't be beat. To top it off, it also doubles as a halfway decent game machine - imagine that!

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post #6 of 59 Old 04-05-2004, 09:53 PM
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Working_Man,

There's a lot involved with the "W" part of WAF :rolleyes:
Actually, I haven't looked at the XBMC interface in almost a year. Will give it another look-see
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post #7 of 59 Old 04-06-2004, 07:19 AM
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If it looks decent I plan on buying a big hard drive and archiving my DVD collection to have an online library available.
It'll be a pretty small DVD collection archived to a maximum size 120GB hard drive. If you compress the video too much you'll obviously fit more but it certainly won't look good on that big screen of yours.
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post #8 of 59 Old 04-06-2004, 07:23 AM
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I don't have a link for the related articles, but www.techtv.com has aired several Xbox segments on doing what you want and you can try searching for their show notes.

You can even do this to play your old favorite video games:

http://www.techtv.com/screensavers/d...652308,00.html
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post #9 of 59 Old 04-07-2004, 09:40 AM
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maz365 - I hear you. Sometimes there is no telling what the "w" will find "a".

SiliGoose,

From what I have been reading lately there is no constraint to 120 meg HDD size for latest mods. Also since you can stream it does not even have too be a HDD installed in your XBOX. You can have a 2 terabyte RAID integrated into your home LAN and stream video stored there.

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post #10 of 59 Old 04-07-2004, 03:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by SiliGoose
It'll be a pretty small DVD collection archived to a maximum size 120GB hard drive. If you compress the video too much you'll obviously fit more but it certainly won't look good on that big screen of yours.
Actually I have 600GB on a RAID server (thank you Fry's) which I share using SMB for the XBOX. Streams great, no dropped frames or glitches.

After some experimentation though, Divx encoded on a 92" screen is not an option. My new plan is to strip everything off the DVD except for the main movie and not compress it any further. I can always pop in the original DVD if I want to watch extras or jump straight to a specific chapter. I figure if I need to add another HD to my external server every year prices will go down and capacities will go up making the cost less. If XBOX Media Center ever supports WMV9 I will look into that as an option also as I heard the compression algorithm is much better than MPEG2 or MPEG4 resulting in a file size of roughly 1/2 with minimal PQ degredation. I'll have to wait and see though before I am convinced.

Also, with the new XBOX bios hacks you are not limited to 120GB - for now you can put as big a hard drive as is currently available.

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post #11 of 59 Old 04-21-2004, 06:15 PM
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Quote:
From what I have been reading lately there is no constraint to 120 meg HDD size for latest mods.
great news!

Quote:
Actually I have 600GB on a RAID server (thank you Fry's) which I share using SMB for the XBOX. Streams great, no dropped frames or glitches.
Wow!

So, what dashboard and media player apps are you guys using on your Xbox? What mod chip do you have installed?

Is there any way to play a lossless audio file on any of the various Xbox media players?
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post #12 of 59 Old 04-24-2004, 07:13 PM
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SiliGoose,

I just finished installing an Xecuter 2.3 Pro Modchip and am using the XBOX Media Center (XBMC). I am very happy with performance of both. Dash is EvoX. XBMC supports lossless. The only one I recall at the moment is FLAC but if you go here:
you can see for yourself.

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post #13 of 59 Old 04-26-2004, 10:22 AM
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I love this idea! A great media server without adding yet another component to my setup.

Does anyone here use their modded xBox on a plasma screen? Are you worried about burn-in?

What's Shakin' ?
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post #14 of 59 Old 04-26-2004, 11:42 AM
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I use it on a plasma. Most of the software you'd use (Evox dash and Xbox Media Center) all have screen saver ability. Eg. Xbox Evox dash dims after 5 minutes, XBMC has a cover art screen saver that kicks in during music play. Burn in shouldn't be a concern. Even some of the emulators which allow you to play games from other systems (Nes, Genesis, SNES, N64, Mame, etc..) have screen savers.
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post #15 of 59 Old 05-05-2004, 04:04 PM - Thread Starter
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I have been experimenting with XBOX Media Player and Ogg Vorbis encoded music. XBOX is able to output the files in DTS audio that my home theaer receiver understands, a trick I don't believe I can do with a standard CD player. My home theater receiver is a Yamaha RXV-3000, my speakers are Klipsch all the way around. It sounds better than anything I have heard before but I think I need a bigger center channel speaker, damn.
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post #16 of 59 Old 05-11-2004, 10:19 AM
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I have recently modded an XBox and like it so much I bought a premodded model also. The WAF is great now that I have the XBox Media Center set up as the default Dashboard (meaning it auto runs at boot up). It is fabulous. No server side software (except filesharing which can be done with SBM and no added software) 100% complete and total user configuration including skins and 100% settings so you can make it look and perform any way you want.

In my house it is the ultimate dream machine.

What's the point of building a giant robot if you can't blow stuff up with it?
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post #17 of 59 Old 05-12-2004, 07:41 AM
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Check out Tom's review of Xbox Media Center. I've tried many solutions and I'm very happy with it.
http://www.tomshardware.com/consumer...511/index.html
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post #18 of 59 Old 05-17-2004, 11:23 PM
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Where does it get the Album Art from?

Does it have to use seperate JPEGs, or can it use the files which are encoded into the music a la Windows Media Player?

Thanks

Also, know of anyone selling a modded XBOX with the Media Center installed?

"Read Less, More TV." - Dr. Gregory House

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post #19 of 59 Old 05-18-2004, 05:50 AM
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Album art is from allmusic.com. XBMC builds a local sql lite database which contains artist/album info. One of the tables - 'albuminfo', contains a field 'strimage' which points to the cover art at allmusic. For example, Sting's album 'Fields of Gold':
http://image.allmusic.com/00/amg/cov...36282arnrp.jpg


Mark
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post #20 of 59 Old 05-19-2004, 09:50 AM
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Does it simply store the string locally and look up the image each and every time? Or does it use this to get the image to add to its local database?

I would think it odd if it always needed to be "on-line" to get the album art.

Thanks

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post #21 of 59 Old 05-19-2004, 12:53 PM
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It keeps a copy of it in a 'thumbs' subdirectory with the extension tbn. The files have a 7 or 8 character hex filename. I'n not sure how it references these though, since I don't see the filename in the sql database. I'll look at it some more to se what I can find.

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post #22 of 59 Old 05-25-2004, 12:14 PM
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I'll point out another trick XBMC can do, streaming video from your ReplayTVs and / or DVArchive boxes.

I've had a modded xbox for over a year now. It is really an amazing package.

Since the ReplayTV support has been integrated I'm contemplating at least one more. For the garage (gotta have tunes whilst washing the auto) and possibly the guest room. This weekend, the wife asked for some tunes in the bedroom, she was under the impression the RTV could do it. So maybe that'll be a third? surely by that time some product will be out that can do what xbmc does without craptastic middleware. But I'm not holding my breath. It'll prolly be crippled by DRM & streaming bitrate caps.

$200 bucks for for the Friendtech 'lite' seems like a hell of a deal to me. Just to not mess around flashing mod chips & straining my oldish eyes to find the 'G spot' is more than enough incentive. the dorky colors on the 'skins' are kinda ghey. But in my garage it aint really gonna matter. Not the xbox was ever really very fetching.

I remember holding out for the Go-Video D2730. Well I got tired of waiting and streaming downloaded videos when the Go-Video was still vapour.

Regarding thumbs: XBMC will also display the image 'folder.jpg' for any share directories you have. I use this approach because on my windoze boxen (either at work, or at home) I can set the folder view to 'thumbnail' and windoze will also show the cover art.
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post #23 of 59 Old 05-25-2004, 02:31 PM
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Sounds like the XBOX can do some pretty outstanding things when modded. However, at $109 at eCost, the GoVideo D2730 is hard to pass up. As for the DVArchive stuff, its MPEG-2, so the GV can stream that as well.

Enjoy!

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post #24 of 59 Old 05-25-2004, 10:26 PM
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Anyone with a modded xbox care to help me get mine networked to my PC? I can FTP fine, I can update the weather within XBMC but I don't know how to make XBMC "see" the audio files on my PC. I've tried a few poorly written tutorials at Xbox-Scene but aparently I'm too dense to get it.
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post #25 of 59 Old 05-26-2004, 03:09 AM
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post #26 of 59 Old 05-26-2004, 07:54 AM
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This thread (which I agree is confusing) is all it took for me to get SMB file sharing set up. Just keep tinkering with various iterations of that XML edit.

http://forums.xbox-scene.com/index.php?showtopic=178501
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post #27 of 59 Old 05-26-2004, 12:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by PeterS
Sounds like the XBOX can do some pretty outstanding things when modded. However, at $109 at eCost, the GoVideo D2730 is hard to pass up. As for the DVArchive stuff, its MPEG-2, so the GV can stream that as well.

Enjoy!
Don't be so sure. All of the connected DVD players to date seem to have a cap on the max bitrate. This is set so low as to prevent reliably streaming medium & high quality RTV content.

I seem to recall a hack that opens up this limit, but I also recall that it only opens up the filter on the server software such that you can now see the high bitrate files. streaming tham is still dicey.
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post #28 of 59 Old 05-26-2004, 02:05 PM
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Oh, not true. The cap (artificial) is really only there for WIRELESS transmission of the signal, which they support. However, the GoVideo comes with a wired connector (same as you would use on the XBOX) and it works fine even at DVD Rates.

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post #29 of 59 Old 05-26-2004, 02:25 PM
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PeterS
I have a d2730 using gateway v3 server and it ramdonly rejects vobs that I have renamed to mpg. It says the bitrate is too high/low. When it does import the file it streams flawlessly. Any suggestions? More to the point I also have an xbox which I am seriously considering modifing. It sounds like a lot of work but the rewards appear to be plentiful.
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post #30 of 59 Old 05-26-2004, 03:04 PM
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The MAX rate of the default file for wired ethernet in the Gateway v3.0 server is something like 8.3 mb/sec.

I have not simply renamed VOBs to MPEG (as there are some differences - might be what it is choking on). I do however encode all of my MPEGs at VBR with a minimum of 6 mb/sec. and a max of 8. So far all work flawlessly.

I too looked heavily into the modded XBOX, however, it takes a bit more work. I had the GoVideo player up and running in under 5 minutes (would have taken less if it had let me set up with the S-Video cable I had installed).

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