XBox 360 media stuff

So, since some of you seem to have a 360 by now, I was wondering whether anyone had anything to say on the Media Centre stuff that it can apparently do. At the moment, I’ve got a chipped XBox with XBMC running on it to play .AVIs and .MP3s which are stored in a couple of shared folders on my Server Under The Stairs.

Is the 360 up to this kind of thing? Is it worth me buying one, bearing in mind that I don’t play that many games on my XBox at the moment? It would be nice to have the option using Live there if I wanted it; an option I don’t have at the moment with a chipped console.

The Xbox360 works as a media portal, meaning you can’t put anything other then music on the system HD itself. Video can only be streamed through a PC that has Windows XP Media Center Edition and music can be streamed through any regular Windows XP with some software update.

My experience has been pretty dismal. I went to and installed the software. But it said something to the effect that “.net framework” not installed click “Finish.” So I click “finish” and then start searching the forums. I find that I need a Windows update (couldn’t the error pop-up told me that?), so I update to get the latest .net framework and install again. This time my computer locks up. Reboot. Try to install again, no lockup, however, nothing happens. Just stare at Explorer waiting for something, anything to happen. Eventually I just give up as I don’t feel like going through all the hassle of downloading, rebooting, opening ports, etc. It’s just not worth it to me right now.

What’s the point of that? Surely, if you’ve got a PC with XP MCE on it, it’s probably already sitting under your TV? Think I’ll stick to my XBox for now.

And that pretty much settles it.

Anyone know why it requires media center rather than plane xp? Is this some kind of DRM thing?

Here are some links on this:

Bottom line: Stick with XBMC. Even if you have the Media Center version of XP, which you must in order to stream video to the 360, the 360 would likely be incapable of playing those avi files of yours.

Jeff Minter’s Visualizations are really cool on the 360 for music purposes.

I like that it plays DRM music from my Yahoo music subscription and it works with the games timing. It’s a nice feature.

It does suck that it doesn’t stream movies though. I can’t think of a good reason as to why they would do this. Maybe they want to sell on-demand HD movie rentals or something. The movie previews seem to indicate they have something planned there.


I read two things, perhaps not true, that moved my XBOX 360 purchase date from “sometime next year” to “Maybe after I’ve seen what the PS3 can do.”

The two things were:

  1. Microsoft’s DRM disallows copying MP3 files to the XBOX’s hard drive.

  2. It wont play movie files over the network unless it’s from a Media Center PC.

Number 1 makes it basically useless to me, as a media center anyway. My intention had been to get rid of my in-closet music & media server and just have the XBox 360 on permanently doing the same job –
It’s interesting to wonder how much additional labor and time is required to deliberately add complex, crippling limitations to a system.

EDIT: Reading those links, its simply laughable. The whole thing is basically set up to prevent you using standard files (like DIVx-compressed avi movies, or anything more complex than a JPG from a SMB share that isn’t on a Windows Media Center PC) and to get you to use MS-affiliated online stores or MS formats.

Fine, I guess, in a commercial sense – why wouldn’t they just use their own way of doing things? I was just under the impression that it was supposed to be a kind of media center thing all by itself.

  1. Microsoft’s DRM disallows copying MP3 files to the XBOX’s hard drive.

So you buy a music CD and rip some MP3s and you can’t copy them to your 360? That’s rather lame. What is the justification for restricting my use of my property in that manner? That I might be pirating music? I’m guilty by default because Microsoft has no way of determining my innocence?

I’m really starting to think that the retard system with a memory card isn’t that far behind the $399 bundle.

That’s exactly what I’ve been reading. I think it was at Gizmodo and Digg, for starters. You have to re-rip your entire MP3 music collection, using the XBox 360. You have to imagine Steve Ballmer dressed in leather lingerie, whipping you lightly – almost delicately and affectionatly slapping your shoulders with the leather fronds – before the machine will assent to let itself be used by filthy pirate consumers.

What is the justification for restricting my use of my property in that manner? That I might be pirating music?

I wonder, I wonder, do the same restrictions apply to Windows Media files? Even potentially pirated ones?

I dunno about copying, but with PC Connect, you can stream MP3 music from your PC to the Xbox, so what you are saying is really not a problem. In fact, I prefer it that way because I don’t have to take up Xbox HD room with music I already have on a central server. You can also hook up your mp3 player to it via USB and it’ll work.


I agree Kevin, I like having one server to store my MP3s on it and stream it to my Xbox 360 while playing games.

Yeah but can you do custom soundtracks for the files that are located on a remote server? It doesnt sound to me like it will.

If they let you stream music, why do they prohibit copying the same music?

Copyright stuff, most likely. If you copy from a PC on the network, it could conceivably be someone else’s PC and not your music. If you stream, then you are streaming from the PC of someone who is there at the moment, which means if it’s not your music, when that PC leaves, you don’t have a copy.

I’m being extremely cynical, but streaming requires a PC with Windows Media Center Edition. If they let you copy it to the XBox, you don’t.

I say I’m being cynical, but AFAIK that’s the fact of the matter. It’s just difficult not to interpret this apparent fact non-cynically.

You can play the streamed music during a game just like if it were on the HD. Same thing. It fetches it from a playlist or your library.

And you don’t need Windows Media Center Edition for music. You use a free program from MS called Windows Media Connect (Different products), and it works. But it does not stream movies, only Media Center Edition does that.

Also, even if you don’t have a home network, you can still stream from a portable player like an iPOD or DRM device through the USB jack. I’m just confused as to why you’d want to have your mp3 collection stored on the 360 HD. Seems like a waste of space.


Very good information Kevin thanks!

Much as I’d love to jump on Microsoft for this, Sony’s recent rootkit brainfart makes me think the PS3 probably isn’t going to be any better. Retards.

I’d kind of assumed (there’s that word again) that the “hard drive” was just a hard drive, and I could just replace it with a bigger drive. Of course, it’s probably a proprietary drive with a proprietary connector and a proprietary file system and DRM and checksums and so much other crap designed to prevent normal use.