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Thread: X box media centre

  1. #1
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    Default X box media centre

    Goggled this - got confused.

    I have an old type x box I never use - I heard you can trun an x box into a media centre - anyone done this or know much about it?

    Can you get video into a x box so you can use it as a recorder? Or, can you only use it as a player and hopefully to connect to other pcs to show remote media like the new x box can.

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    You'd need it 'chipped' so that you can do things that MS didn't really want you to do. This is essentially an extra processor that you solder to the circuit board of your xbox.

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    And then... and what can you achieve?

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    It means you can change the dashboard software and launch all kinds of applications - most importanly load something called XBMC which is what turns the Xbox into a media center capable of playing films, music, etc. You can also rip games to the harddrive to make them load a lot faster and swap out the HDD for a bigger one.

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    XBMC - will google.

    A dodgy games shop for the chip then - is the rest prestty numpty proof - I can build a pc and install xp - enough savvy ?

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    If you can follow a circuit diagram and are fairly neat with a soldering iron, the yes!

  7. #7

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    or acquire a cheap 360?

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    Old thread - my old style x box is on a shelf getting dusty.

    I decided I can live without more gadgets / wires / fiddling. It can take over your life.

    I have decided the old fashioned ways are best - putting a dvd into a dvd player aint that hard.

    And as for the xbox360, spending more on the newest and best isnt really my style, I dont really see the point, all I want to do is play movies.

    My dvd player was 20 quid so I might spalsh out on a better dvd player as I am sure the projected pic will benefit from a better source. Hmmm, maybe I will fix the xbox as I am sure I read that they are excellet DVD players.

  9. #9

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    I used to have a modded Xbox 1 Ėand it proved pretty handy as a media-box, doing a lot of the things that the current-gen consoles do now.

    It is possible to Ďsoft-modí the original Xbox too, which would eradicate the need for opening it up. You just need a copy of the original (not the budget re-release) Splinter Cell game, a memory card, and an action replay card in order to put the custom firmware on the memory card. There are plenty of guides online explaining how to do this. (Unfortunately I recently reinstalled my PC and a lot of my old bookmarks have gone, but you should be able to find one that isnít written in gibberish. Youtubeís good too, plenty of step-by-step walkthroughs).

    Mine had a big hard-drive fitted to it as well so I just used to ftp video files across, store them on the xbox, and play them using the in-built software. I believe you can also Ďstreamí media between a PC and a modded Xbox, so the standard factory fitted hard-drive should be fine for that. Never sussed out how to do the streaming thing myself cos I never needed too, but I suspect youíd probably need to run an Ethernet-cable from the PC or router to the xbox. I donít know if itís possible to do it wirelessly.

    I found the DVD-playback on it fine (itís multi-region if modded too) but bear in mind it wonít run through HDMI like modern fancy DVD players do. You can use a HD component-connector though. My brotherís still got his and he uses it for DVDís (through a basic RGB scart-cable) in preference to his old non-HDMI DVD player (because it gives a better picture) and in preference to his new 360 (because itís much quieter). Thatís on a 37Ē LCD, and it doesnít look at all bad.


    If youíre just looking to play divx etc on your telly then there are a number of other options available as well:

    -The 360 is pretty good for media-playback. I found that nothing on earth could compel the thing to wirelessly detect my PC though (heard that from a few others too, although it is touted as possible. Maybe it depends on your wireless set-up/router etc). Worked brilliantly for me if I ran an Ethernet-cable from my router to the 360 however. In the end I found plugging a USB external hard-drive into it with all my movies on it was the easiest solution. Main downsides are the dreaded red-ring-of-death, and the fact that itís quite noisy. Donít even consider using a 360 as a main DVD player for example, the drive noise is crazy-loud. Running movies off a hard-drive is less intrusive but still noticeable, and installing games to the hard-disk makes a massive difference to the noise generated which demonstrates that itís the DVD-drive which is making the bulk of it.

    -Iím currently using a PS3 for media-centre purposes (switched from the 360 after it red-ringed). Wireless-streaming works fine for me with it (Tversity seems like the best program to use) and again you can plug an external hard-drive in through USB and access stuff that way. You can also copy stuff to the PS3 hard-drive either wirelessly or from a hard-disc, which the 360 doesnít let you do. Iíve found the compatibility to be slightly less broad than 360, but on the whole it runs nearly everything (and they do tend to do a lot of firmware updates so it might improve in the future). Itís virtually silent compared with the 360 (and the reliability is much higher too), but obviously it costs a lot more. If you donít care about games or Blu-Ray then youíre paying quite a premium for silence really. (You are at least getting an upscaling HDMI DVD-player which runs quietly enough to be usable too, I guess).

    -If you go to places like Maplin you can get what they call Ďhard-drive enclosuresí with media-centre software built-in for about thirty-quid. You basically just bosh a laptop-style hard-drive inside, plug it into the PC via USB, and transfer the files using drag & drop like you would with any other hard-drive. Then connect to the telly and browse using a remote (mine connects with either component or composite). The only downsides are having to haul the unit (power-supply and all) between the TV and the PC, and the fact that they donít tend to offer firmware updates so if it wonít play something then it pretty much wonít play it full-stop. So you might have to convert the odd video file.

    -Lots of current DVD-players have USB ports on them, allowing you to pop video files onto a USB flash-drive and watch them that way. Never used one so I canít vouch for the compatibility, but it sounds like itís probably the tidiest solution (albeit with a tiny bit of faffing transferring stuff to a USB stick when you want to watch it). You can burn divx discs too, but I donít really see the point in amassing mountains of the things when a flash-drive does the same job and you donít have to wait ages for the discs to burn.

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