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Discussion Starter #1
Read this if you want to feed video files from your PC via your XB360 and don't want to actually buy an expensive Media Center PC.


Elsewhere I posted this question about Media Connect - http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...46#post6733146


I was looking for the ability to feed audio, pictures AND video files from my Win XP system to my HDTV and associated audio system via the XB360.


The answer was that I need Win XP Media Center Edition (MCE) and that adding the "Connect" software to XP will not provide the video option.


Initially, it looked like I'd need to buy a whole new PC (preloaded with MCE), which did not thrill me. :mad: Furthermore, it sounded like I'd need a high-powered PC. At least it did until I did some thinking. ;)

Here is my objective. I just want to feed audio/pictures/video to the Xbox 360 over the home LAN. I have no desire to put a tuner card in my PC, nor do I plan to try to render HD video files on the PC. That's the job of the XB360!


The video files will be large, in HD format up to 1920x1080. They will be derived from digital still photos converted into video (by pro Show Gold). I do not own a digital video camera (unless I count my little point and shoot which can take up to 30 seconds of 640x480).


So I guessed that my 8 year old Gateway computer would do the job. It has a 400Mhz Pentium II, and was upgraded to the max to a dizzying 384MBs of RAM (my "real" computer has 1.5GBs :cool: ). This old computer is used only as a backup server, being stuffed full of hundreds of gigs of disks, and until yesterday was running under Win2K.


I also guessed that if I replaced W2K with MCE, I would be no worse off as far as handling backups is concerned and that the Media Center software would probably work.


I guessed correctly! Here is an overview of what I did.


Step 1. Get Win XP MCE OEM from wherever (it's about $110-130 and gives pretty much everything that Win XP Pro does except domain logons)

Step 2. This is important. Format the drive on which you are going to install MCE. Do not try to "upgrade" from anything.

Step 3. Install the MCE software

Step 4. On the Xbox, go to the Media Center section, write down the 8 digit code it gives you, click "continue" or whatever and leave it on screen that it says to leave it on

Step 5. on the MCE PC, go to " www.xbox.com/pcsetup " and follow the instructions


The rest is history. :D :D


It works just fine with few glitches.


The MCE interface on the XB360 is MUCH better than the XP Connect method. It nicely supports the compact remote, even to the point that the green button will power up the XB360 and take it straight to the Media Center interface.


The glitches? No showstoppers. Here they are.....


The Media Center software objects to my video card as being unsupported, so the system can only talk to me through an 800x600 screen. Who cares?


When the XB360 Media Center starts up, it thinks that there is an overload occurring on the Media Center server and gives me warning messages. (This may be because I'm running wireless 802.11g or may be just that 400MHz is marginal.) I just ignore the error messages, they go away quite quickly. :eek:


When the default screen saver kicked in on the Win MCE system, the Xbox thought that the server was in trouble (low resources), so I disabled the screen saver, and just enabled power saving to shut off the monitor. I do not run anything other than The Media Center software on this computer!


Once I saw error messages saying that there was a problem with network bandwidth. As I said, it's 802.11g. 802.11a may fix this, or I can just go back to cat 5 cable. But if it happens rarely, I'll live with it. The video images and sound seemed to feeding perfectly fine, but the error message did not enhance the experience :p


I expect that during backups to this PC that video feeding may be degraded. I have not experimented yet.


If I did not have this old clunker of a PC lying around, I'd probably try to find a used cheap PC to do this job. I'd look for 800MHz and 512MBs of RAM just to play safer than my existing 400MHz and 384MBs.


Final tips when using the Media Center on your Xbox. Use the green button to get directly to the Media Center. The "Back" key is useful, try it! The "Title" key mutes the sound. Do a google on "Windows Media Center Quick Reference for Xbox 360" and download the PDF from the Microsoft website to see more.


I hope this saves you time and money and encourages you get MCE running with your Xbox.
 

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Thanks!


I'm looking to do the MCE upgrade myself
 

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I'll get it the wrong way :)




While I disagree with getting it the wrong way, I just don't like being stabbed in the back by Microsoft... I paid 200 bucks for XP, it should be offered for free or 20 bucks as a download.. Not a whole new operating system that will just offer one more thing... I can't see spending another 120 bucks just to stream video to the 360......
 

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GBO Possum: Can you post the exact specs of your PII machine? Like video card, type of mobo, etc. That is great news that you got MCE running on that PC.
 

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Thanks. Makes sense since


I may be able use a lesser PC now and keep one of my "real" PC's free for other stuff...
 

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I run xp professional on a 266mz cpu. That's a pII class chip lol. So I know it will run MCE2005 easy. I am going to upgrade soon to a P4 3Ghz probably sometime in Feb.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by FourDoor
GBO Possum: Can you post the exact specs of your PII machine? Like video card, type of mobo, etc. That is great news that you got MCE running on that PC.
4Door

I'll look for more details later when I get to the machine, this was a Gateway 2000 machine which I bought at the start of 1998. I bought it fully built from Gateway, not knowing much about PCs back then. It's unlikely you'd have anything similar I think!
 

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I had thought of doing this with my old micron p3 800. What scared me was the manufacturer not supporting it with XP bios updates for the motherboard (currently has win me). I have read of issues with it and XP. Glad to see you are having success with it. I may yet try mce myself as I was hoping the W2K bios updates might resolve my fears.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by unseth
will the xp media portal work? Or is that the same thing as the "connect" software for XP?
A google search on "xp media portal" brings up troubling posts about ebay scams, and nothing on Microsoft's website.


Are you sure you have the correct name?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
A friend of mine who understands these things much better that I do sent me an email which says in part:

Quote:
BTW, as I understand it, you do not want to use that old box directly in

an interactive fashion so why leave it logged on wasting cycles? You may

want to save those few cycles esp on that old box running mce. Why not

just leave it logged off at the logon screen and dedicate all resources

to the background process xbox360 needs?


Xbox360 actually logs onto the old box remotely with a user account

named mcx1 or something like that.
I tried this and it works just fine.


His other bit of advice was as follows

Quote:
Just a performance tweak for your slow box - right click on my computer and click properties. Then click on advanced and then on settings and again click on advanced. Tweak the system settings to optimize for "background performance" versus programs. also, tweak memory usage to adjust for best performance of system cache. This might improve things a bit as long as you exclusively use your slow box only via xbox360. and do not touch it directly.
Both of these only apply to situations where you have a limited resource PC and you don't plan that it should do any other work on it


PS FourDoor - I have not forgotten your request for specs on this old PC
 

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MCE is really for people who want a true HTPC that they can control with a remote. its got a layed Front End GUI that makes navigation simple.


The problem is, as others have pointed out, its a total ripoff at its current pricepoint, and I also agree...if you paid the $180+ to get XP Pro, this shouldn't be another double-dip into your pocket to get a marginal set of additional features.


I stick with 2000 becuase..well, one..I own it and it works great...and two, Xp just flat out sucks...with its endless reminded popup baloons and the way it does certain things.


Its Xp is 2000 with a bunch of "user friendly" garbarge layered on top of it.....:(

Boooooo.


I also run XP Pro (however) on a 700Mhz laptop...it was a gift, I dont actually own the discs to install it..OS came on the box.
 

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Thanks GBO. I was just curious overall as to how you got the PII running with MCE on it.


I have MCE installed right now on my HTPC but decided just for kicks to see if it would work on my Thinkpad T40. Unfortunately it said that my video card was not supported when I fired up Media Center. Everything else worked fine except for the Media Center app itself.


Are you able to execute the MCE app within the PII? Or did you leave the accessing and processing to be done by the 360 (including setup and sharing of folders)?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcmushx15
i thought MCE was only to stream TV shows... XP can do everything else...?
"MCE" is an edition of Windows XP Pro that includes the Media Center software. So you could use it just to do the normal Win XP Pro stuff, and even ignore the presence of the Media Center.


Streaming TV shows is one of the things I don't do with my MCE system ;) (I just use it to feed my Xbox and to act as a backup server to my other systems)


As a photographer, I like Win XP Pro because it has an improved Explorer interface for photos. I have also found it to be more stable, but then I tend to kick my systems around really hard.


The only thing I've noticed that MCE won't do that XP Pro will, is that it doesn't support domain logins, but I use the fast login interface anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by FourDoor
Thanks GBO. I was just curious overall as to how you got the PII running with MCE on it.


I have MCE installed right now on my HTPC but decided just for kicks to see if it would work on my Thinkpad T40. Unfortunately it said that my video card was not supported when I fired up Media Center. Everything else worked fine except for the Media Center app itself.


Are you able to execute the MCE app within the PII? Or did you leave the accessing and processing to be done by the 360 (including setup and sharing of folders)?
The way I use it, I have no need to run the MCE app on the PC. If I do, it complains about the video card, but I just "OK" that. Don't worry unless you want MCE to do video stuff on it, when it might cause trouble. The MCE app fires up OK on the PC, but I have not asked it to do anything complex. I don't want to look at the PC screen, I want to watch the TV screen!


Initially, I thought I had to have the MCE app running to allow the Xbox 360 access to the folders. That's not true. So now, I have the PC just booted up the the logon screen. No further.


Then I go to my powered-off Xbox 360, press the green button (on the remote) and it powers up into Media Center mode and away we go! Sounds, images and videos on my HDTV all streamed from my PCs in the basement!


Does this answer what you needed?
 

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Ahhh perfect. Thats answers what I was looking for. So even though the MCE app does not fire up properly on the PC (due to video card problems), the 360 can still technically detect that the PII is still running MCE and fires up it's extender functionality.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
FourDoor, you got it!


The other thing that it took me a while to understand is that you define which folders you want to see on the Xbox 360 from the Xbox 360 itself! (Not by running Media Center under a logged on userid on the PC.) Having gone through the incantations defined in www.xbox.com/pcsetup , AND having given that process the 8 digit secret code that the XB360 gave you, the XB360 logs into the Win XP system under its own userid (using the fast login, hence no domain stuff).


For a better insight into what is happening, log yourself into the MCE system, crank up Task Manager and take a look at who's logged into your PC. It'll be you and the Xbox, almost as though you have two people logged in at the same time (which is quite a normal thing in XP).


If the PC and the TV are close to each other, you can watch the Xbox consuming resources on the PC when you do things by watching Task Manager displays.


Kind of weird stuff, but it's also kind of fun when you see what is really happening.


If you want to explore deeper than our community desires, please PM me, and we can take it offline. I think I can hear loud snoring.
 

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Can you dual boot win xp and win xp Media center? I want to have it as a second option on my D drive but I cannot get this to work as of yet. Any suggestions
 

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Suzook, you can dual boot XP and XP MCE.


Thanks for the find GBO. This will help out a buddy with an older PC who I told previously needed to get MCE fully working first for the 360 to utilize it for video streaming.
 
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