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Modded XBox The Ultimate Multimedia PC? 358

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-sure-think-so dept.
Anonymous writes "Can a modded Xbox running homebrew software really beat all existing designed-for-the-living-room multimedia devices hands down?! Tom's Hardware Guide seems to think so. They reviewed Xbox Media Center (XBMC) and say the free open source software turn an Xbox into The Ultimate Multimedia Center, the ideal home playback system for audio and video. (Apparently there is a PC software version available too: Media Portal)" The article also explains some of the more convoluted issues surrounding XBMC. But I definitely agree that this is a great system.
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Modded XBox The Ultimate Multimedia PC?

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  • no question... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nomayogr (711191) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @03:25PM (#9142951) Journal
    XMBC is the first media center type application that I have found that runs on $150 worth of hardware. That says a whole lot about it's success.
    • Re:no question... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ikewillis (586793) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @03:31PM (#9143026) Homepage
      That's not to mention the fact that a $20 box buys you HDTV component video output as well
      • Re:no question... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 13, 2004 @04:16PM (#9143554)
        That's not to mention the fact that a $20 box buys you HDTV component video output as well

        Yeah, but in all honestly the video quality of the XBox is not that great. It'll do for a lot of people that don't really care too much, but to call it the ultimate machine for video playback is absolute bullshit.

        I've had it playing the same DVD, using the component video out, onto a 53" HD rear projector, next to a Toshiba DVD drive. The difference was, well, enough for me to get the hell back to Frys to return the XBox.

        Seriously, there's no need to start a flamewar over this, just if you plan to use this as your DVD player you may want to check out the quality before the 'no questions asked return policy' expires.

        It's just a suggestion, do with it as you please.

        • It's still a better player than a PS2.

          Nothing takes the romance out of a date more than swearing at your PS2 for screwing up the DVD you just rented.
        • Re:no question... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by timmyf2371 (586051) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @04:57PM (#9144037)
          In the end, it really depends how you define an "Uber-Media-Machine", for lack of a better name.

          Is the X-Box designed for playing DVDs? No, it's primarily a game console with a secondary function which allows you to play DVDs - perfect for the kids or those who don't want to/can't afford a separate DVD player in addition to a games console.

          For $200 including the console + any mod chips required to make the media functions work - for the average person who wants a simple media machine for the cheap - it's bloody excellent for that price.

        • Re:no question... (Score:3, Informative)

          I agree. The DVD drive in the XBox is not progressive, so you really don't get any benefit by using it as a player for an HDTV.

          On my DLP set, the XBox does very well on divx playback. I use XBMP instead of XBMC most of the time, because it seems slightly more stable. The only issues I've run into are sync issues in a few movies, which seems to happen in both players.

          Either way, anyone playing back downloaded movies on their XBox will find it to be a very pleasing experience compared to sitting in front of
          • Re:no question... (Score:5, Informative)

            by Nogami_Saeko (466595) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @05:30PM (#9144468)
            It's not the DVD Drive that determines if a system supports progressive scan or not, it's just a data delivery device - it's the output from the video encoder chip.

            If you hook a component video cable to the Xbox, it does indeed drive a 480p display.

            XBMC is the newer version of XBMP - it's not quite as stable, but new builds are released VERY often, and it gets better and more stable with every release.

            Modding my Xbox was the best possible thing I could've done for it. Microsoft is incredibly foolish not getting on-board with an "official" application like XBMC for people who wish to have run it on Xboxes that aren't modded. It would be very popular.

            N.
            • Re:no question... (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Osty (16825)

              If you hook a component video cable to the Xbox, it does indeed drive a 480p display.

              A standard, un-modded XBox with the DVD player attachment will not do progressive output for DVDs, even with the HD pack. However, that's not a limitation of the hardware, but the software. There are hacks that can change that, and if you're already hacking your XBox to run XBMP, you may as well do the hack to play DVDs in progressive output.

              Modding my Xbox was the best possible thing I could've done for it. Micro

              • > if Microsoft were to release a supported XBMC-like application for XBox, you and everyone else here would be screaming foul, saying that Microsoft is trying to leverage their weight to take over your living room.

                I wouldn't be able to hear the screams over my XBox Media Player blasting out movies and music.

    • Re:no question... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by vanDerGraaf (768958)
      Kudos on the low hardware cost, but if it is going to choke on HD video what kind of a media center is it (or is this a low cost viewer for 10s pr0n)? Even with the increased clock speed, it is still likely to stutter on high quality DivX as well.
    • Re:no question... (Score:3, Informative)

      by DrEldarion (114072)
      $150 for the base XBox, but keep in mind you have to buy a modchip as well, and if you're not the type to open up your XBox and install one, you need to pay someone to do that as well.

      Still an incredible deal, and as a bonus you can play some great games on it as well.
      • The solderless chips like the Xbit, and some of the newer models are incredibly easy to install. With Slayers EvoX install disk, you're up and running within the hour.
      • Re:no question... (Score:5, Informative)

        by marcop (205587) <(gro.todhsals) (ta) (pocram)> on Thursday May 13, 2004 @04:33PM (#9143763) Homepage
        Actually, you can flash the onboard TSOP or do some other type of software based mod; both don't require a modchip. I don't know if you can do a software based mod (boot off a CD all the time?) and have an upgraded HD. The TSOP mod should work fine but then you can't disbale the mod to play on Live.

        I would add the following costs though:
        - larger HD. 120GB costs ~$60 after rebate
        - IR remote control: $30 (not needed but nice)
        - Samsung DVD-ROM ~$50 (not needed but nice)

        A note about the DVD-ROM. The XBox can have one of the following type of DVD-ROMs: Samsung, Philips, or Thomson. Only the Samsung will read CD-R's though. You can either try to trade someone $50 plus a Philips or Thomson drive, or there is a retial Samsung drive that can be flashed to work in the Xbox. Details of this are at xbox-scene.com [xbox-scene.com].
        • I just picked up the Halo LE XBox, and I can say for a fact that it has no problem reading burned DVD-Rs or cheap CD-Rs with audio on them. It has a phillips drive in it, but apperantly the limited edition xboxes have a better one than others (but the savegame cheat won't work on them unfortunatly).

          I just ordered the Xenium for it (since it has a great support and I liked configuration options of multiple bios, and easy to disable modchip makes it so I can still play on Live if i ever get around to it). Co
      • Re:no question... (Score:2, Informative)

        by HybridJeff (717521)
        You dont need to open it up at all. No TSOP flashing either.

        To mod your xbox all you need is a copy of mechassault/splinter cell/007 agent under fire (you could rent it if you dont have it), a memory card, and some means of copying a saved game from your PC to the memory card. I just spliced an old USB plug into my controller cable (it can now be used on the PC and XBOX).

        Once you've got those things, modding your box is a simple matter of copying the saved game to your xbox's hard drive and opening it

    • Re:no question... (Score:3, Informative)

      by JofCoRe (315438)
      Absolutely! I like to say that XBMC is the "killer app" for the Xbox :) Don't even need a big hard drive in your Xbox, because you can watch movies, listen to mp3's, look at pictures, etc, all over SMB! And w/an AV adapter, you can get 5.1 out of it too.

      XBMC was a little flaky a few months ago when it first came out, but they have made leaps and bounds lately. Kudos to the team that's working on the project, because they are constantly and actively working on it.

      I still haven't really found much that
  • It makes sense (Score:5, Informative)

    by General Sherman (614373) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @03:26PM (#9142957) Journal
    Not only does it already have standard PC hardware, letting Linux coders use their previous experience, but it's got some other special things that are also perfect.

    It has HD TV-Out (Or RCA cables), and a DVD-ROM drive. A spacious 250GB HD can be installed to save everything under the sun, and after all that, you can still play games on it and not have to worry about viruses and worms, and most importantly, cheaters, playing online. It's cheaper than any hardware of that class should be. Cheap cheap cheap! That's why this is so popular.

    Plus, you get the added bonus that you got to do something that Microsoft doesn't want, all while MS makes a loss on the XBox.
    • Re:It makes sense (Score:3, Interesting)

      all while MS makes a loss on the XBox.

      Every time someone says this, a bunch of people come out and claim it's a myth and that MS makes money or breaks even. I've never seen any numbers on this - my Google searches never turned up anything, either. Anyone have a reliable source on that?

      More on-topic: I've been holding off on buying a dedicated piece of hardware for this... I don't want to pay for a service and I can't afford to spend that much. This looks like a hell of a package to slap onto a cheap PC (
      • Re:It makes sense (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Well, consider this: A CPU that probably costs them a few bucks a pop at this point, a video card which is no longer even worth $50 retail, an simple Mobo, whatever DVD player they can get for the best deal at the moment, 4 funky-shaped USB inputs, a controller which they retail at about $25, a mere 64 MB of memory and a 10 GB hard drive.

        If I had to guess, I would say that each X-Box probably costs about $50-$75 to make and ship. The whole "sold at a loss" thing came from the fact that they needed to rec

        • I am sure they make a profit NOW, but keep in mind that when it came out, it was definately at a loss (even if it was a very small loss). Also keep in mind those cards that are $50 now are that cheap because they are overstock and vendors want them out of the stores. I am not saying that they are losing money anymore, but I doubt they are making a killing. I would think they cost closer to a 100+ to manufacture.
      • Re:It makes sense (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gfxguy (98788)
        Sorry, I don't have the numbers to back it up, and everything I recall reading has said MS is selling the XB at a loss based on estimates of what they think MS must be paying per unit.

        However, most contrary arguments are arguing that MS is not losing money when you buy an Xbox. Of course they're not, the Xbox was already made and just sitting there. If no one bought it, MS would lose whatever it cost to manufacture, package, and ship.

        If you buy it, they are at least recouping some of their costs, and ar
        • Re:It makes sense (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Pluvius (734915)
          However, most contrary arguments are arguing that MS is not losing money when you buy an Xbox. Of course they're not, the Xbox was already made and just sitting there. If no one bought it, MS would lose whatever it cost to manufacture, package, and ship.

          The problem with this is that it assumes that MS won't manufacture another XBox to replace the one that you bought. While this assumption is probably true towards the end of the XBox's life, it's not in the middle.

          Of course, it's not like MS can just sta
      • This looks like a hell of a package to slap onto a cheap PC (and hide behind my TV!)

        Just buy an Xbox for $149, the remote kit for $20, the AV kit for another $20-30, and a mod chip for $60.

        Total cost: aprox $260.

        Lot cheaper than a PC w/a video out card and whatnot methinks. You don't even need to upgrade the hard drive if all you're going to do is use the Xbox as a media center, because you can store all your content on your main PC (which presumably has a larger hard drive :), and play them on the Xbo
    • "Plus, you get the added bonus that you got to do something that Microsoft doesn't want, all while MS makes a loss on the XBox. "

      This is absolutely the wrong reason to be doing this. Not only does it not reflect well on the community trying to make this work, it also gives other console manufacturers reason to really lock down their machine. Frankly, for this reason alone, butting heads with Microsoft over this should be reconsidered. (Note: A good chunk of my bitterness here has to do with that idiot
  • by ikewillis (586793) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @03:26PM (#9142960) Homepage
    I think one of the great advantages of XBox Media Center is that it also doubles as an excellent shell/launcher (especially with its built-in FTP support) and replaces both applications like EvolutionX which was a dedicated launcher and the now defunct XBox Media Player. No other dedicated media device offers such integration between shell/player... on Windows they're two seperate applications which don't seem to integrate particularly well.
  • XBOX os (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kunudo (773239) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @03:27PM (#9142967)
    Might be a little offtopic, but since the XBOX is an x86, and at least some people have the expensive flash burners/readers it takes, why hasn't anyone taken the XBOX os and put it on a PC? Maybe run it inside emulated XBOX hardware? I wanna play XBOX games on my PC... :)
    • Re:XBOX os (Score:4, Funny)

      by LostCluster (625375) * on Thursday May 13, 2004 @03:37PM (#9143124)
      I wanna play XBOX games on my PC... :)

      Come on... that's really "I wanna download X-Box games from P2P on the Internet and be able to run them on my PC."

      If you really wanted to wedge X-Box onto a Windows or even a Linux PC... there's a nice open front door to do it through. Just get a PCI-TV card from one of several vendors, and install it. Then, buy a real XBox and plug it into the S-Video and RCA audio inputs on that on that TV card. There you go...
    • but since the XBOX is an x86, and at least some people have the expensive flash burners/readers it takes
      What are you talking about> You do not need a flash burner/reader to use an xbox...

      why hasn't anyone taken the XBOX os and put it on a PC? Maybe run it inside emulated XBOX hardware?
      It is much harder to emulate games than it is to mod xbox hardware...your computer probably wont run SNES very smoothly :P

    • Re:XBOX os (Score:5, Informative)

      by the_crowbar (149535) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @03:38PM (#9143141)

      You may want to keep tabs on CXBX, the Xbox Emulator. See this [slashdot.org] story for more details. My computer is not much faster than my XBox and only runs Linux so it is of no use to me.

      the_crowbar

    • Re:XBOX os (Score:3, Informative)

      by NanoGator (522640)
      " why hasn't anyone taken the XBOX os and put it on a PC?"

      Probably for the following reasons:

      - TV's nice to play on.

      - Games can potentially be 9 gigs.

      - You lose the controller, and ya kinda need it.

      - XBOX's are only $150.

      - Emulators are fun to tinker with, but it takes a a long time to make one work that is relatively reliable. They don't really get interesting until the system's out of production.
  • by John Girouard (716057) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @03:27PM (#9142973) Homepage
    Anyone else getting an ad for Windows XP Media Center Edition in the middle of the article?
  • I have thought using an X-box based HTPC, but for the moment I need something that will scale DVDs to custom resolutions for my CRT projector--I guess I have to wait on that one.
  • Alternate links (Score:5, Informative)

    by jdgreen7 (524066) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @03:32PM (#9143048) Homepage
    Tom's Hardware article [tomshardware.com]

    XBox Media Center's page (googe cache) [66.102.7.104]

    There's my karma whoring for the month.

  • I modded my xbox... (Score:3, Informative)

    by cacheMan (150533) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @03:33PM (#9143060)
    ...now all I use it for is MAME! XBMP rules too, but it is hard to get used to the joystick as a means of controlling it. I should just break down and buy a DVD remote.
    • by gosand (234100)
      ...now all I use it for is MAME! XBMP rules too, but it is hard to get used to the joystick as a means of controlling it. I should just break down and buy a DVD remote.

      You really should get an XArcade controller [x-arcade.com] for MAME. You can even get an XBox adapter to use it with your Xbox. (I use mine with my PC) It isn't *quite* the same as the arcade games, but about as close as you'll get without having the original game.

  • What are the reccomended (or required) system specs for this setup?
  • It's great (Score:4, Interesting)

    by zeth (452280) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @03:35PM (#9143082) Homepage Journal
    A modded xbox + xbmc is perfect! I use it daily, so I know.
    The only thing missing is a video-in card. Currently I have to use my desktop PC to record shows and then stream to the xbox. It works, but it would really be perfekt if one could use normal PCI-cards on the xbox.
    Anyone know about this problem and if the xbox2 has the same limitations?
  • by Dark Paladin (116525) * <jhummel@johAUDENnhummel.net minus poet> on Thursday May 13, 2004 @03:36PM (#9143112) Homepage
    There's a place selling modified Xbox's for about $450 that does all of this stuff [modchipstore.com] that I've been considering.

    For the most part, a modified Xbox would be my "dream TV box". Sit it in the living room (it's about the same size as the DVD/VCR combo machine - thicker, but not as long), and I could have an archive of my legally purchased DVD's. As a guy with 2 kids who are always trying to ruin the DVD's with their grimy little fingers, this would be a great machine for my household.

    "Here, kids - want to watch 'Blue's Clues on a Deserted Island and Joe Dies Horribly' again? OK - let me just use the remote on the Xbox." Boom - there goes my XVID ripped DVD movie on. Originals are kept safe, kids are happy.

    I'm kind of dissapointed we haven't seen a company come up with a solution like this. A Cappachino sized device with the same capabilities, running Linux so I could FTP/SSH into it for upgrades/other mods would sell like hotcakes. (And as an avid fan of hotcakes, I know what I'm talking about.)
    • The only bad thing about that is there's really no way to record from the tv. Or really use the Xbox as a sort of cable box either. You would be using it as sort of a DVD player with no DVDs; just the hard drive. If you're skilled, you could build a micro-ATX desktop (as oppsed to tower) for more or less the same price depending upon options and get that functionality. With MythTV and
    • Media Centre didn't support VOBs when I asked about it two months ago, so backing up a DVD to the Xbox is pointless.

      The response in the forum was that it was a pointless feature since the Xbox can play DVDs already.

      I didn't think it was so pointless. I've got two nieces who could get a lot of use out of it, and no fingerprints on DVDs.

      I haven't had to leave my games out where my stepson can get at them since I modded mine. He's 15, but practically everything has to be locked away from him because he's ir
    • Do you use the Xbox to rip the DVD's to Xvid? Or what do you use to do that?

      I've been googling around but have yet to come across a really decent set of tools to go from DVD->Divx/Xvid
  • Biggest issue (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vlad_petric (94134) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @03:36PM (#9143115) Homepage
    Binaries - there's no "clean" way of getting them, AFAIC. You need VS.NET and ask M$ for the devel kit in order to compile them (at which time you're bound by their EULA, which disallows redistribution). Well, I definitely wouldn't mind a download link though :)
  • Its great (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Monkelectric (546685) <slashdot@noSpAM.monkelectric.com> on Thursday May 13, 2004 @03:38PM (#9143137)
    I've been using this more or less since the begining, and its the best thing to happen to television. My cable company resfuses to carry the Cartoon Network, but I can download most of the shows I'd like to watch and watch them whenever I want, or how ever many times I want on the xbox. Last week I missed all 3 broadcasts of "the shield" I was able to download and watch the show... I find myself watching ALOT less broadcast TV, it somehow seems inconveniant to have to watch tv on the networks schedule instead of mine, I imagine this is what the TIVO people were raving about. I usually end up buying the DVD's of the shows I do watch, but they seem to lag behind years of their broadcasts.

    My only regret is the xbox can't read DVD+R discs (only DvD+RW) so I end up using more expensive and less permanant media for no good reason whicn I want to archive a show.

    • Re:Its great (Score:3, Informative)

      by stratjakt (596332)
      Mine can read DVD+R.

      There once were 3 main dvd-players in the Xbox, Thompson Phillips and Samsung (ordering from crappiest to best), but now there are several flavors out there.

      Newer xboxes (1.6 recently hacked last week) come with a newer Phillips that reads everything.

      I have a first run Xbox with a Thompson which is supposed to suck, but reads DVD-R(W), DVD+R(W), CD-RW but chokes on CD-Rs most of the time.

      Of course, it's childs play to replace the DVD-ROM with a PC DVDROM and install a switch. PC DVD
  • Better link (Score:5, Informative)

    by int2str (619733) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @03:38PM (#9143138)
    Here is a better link [tomshardware.com] to the article. The one in the original post bypassws the RR-mirror selection and goes directly to www6...
  • Has anyone found a way to attach an IR device to their PC to allow it to change channels? A TV card on a PC can change channels, but only when you plug the coax straight in, sans cable box (thus not allowing pay channels to be recorded). I believe the Tivo comes with something that changes your cable box channels for you, but I could be wrong.
  • Yes, and MythTV (Score:3, Informative)

    by Darth Maul (19860) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @03:43PM (#9143187) Homepage
    A friend of mine has a modded Xbox with XBMC and it is fantastic. Very nice themes have been made, too. Check 'em at allxboxskins.com.

    However, I'll have to put in the required plug for MythTV [mythtv.org]. It does PVR stuff (TiVo), music, videos, weather, etc. I run mine in a little Shuttle XPC that integrates well into my home theater (doesn't look like an obvious computer). I run HDTV resolution out to my Sony TV and get a really stunning GUI.
    • Absolutely, MythTV is the single best HTPC piece of software available. The XBox MythTV frontend works great. I don't have the HD kit but rumor is Linux (and therefore MythTV) on the XBox works in 540p.

      My main Myth machine is connected through DVI to a 55" RP Mitsu. The XBox makes a great portable frontend.
  • by asoap (740625) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @03:43PM (#9143193)
    Pesronally, I've been having a lot of fun with my xbox.

    I'm still really new to linux, and can't wait to move to linux. But there are still a few things holding me back.

    So to get my feet wet with Linux and also to have fun, I installed Ed's Xebian [xbox-linux.org] on my xbox. I can boot up the xbox and play all of my normal xbox games. Then if I want to watch a video, I just boot up linux (which is now in the main xbox menu), run mplayer, and off I go.

    Although I have had problems playing back certain videos. If the screen get's really complex, like if it's raining, and the video was compressed using dvix, or xvid, it can get pretty chunky.

    It's not really a problem, but it happens every once and a while.

    The only thing I've lost with running linux on the xbox is that I can no longer use xbox live.

    Other then that I love it.

    -asoap

  • by donnacha (161610) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @03:44PM (#9143207) Homepage


    Readers in the UK should note that Sainsburys (one of the UK's major supermarket chains) are currently selling the old Sega GT/Jet Set Radio Xbox bundle for GBP 75, not bad when you consider that Amazon.co.uk are currently selling the console for GBP 120 without bundled software.

    No idea if this applies to all branches of Sainsburys, my local one in Edinburgh had them, phone ahead.

    You can also your Xbox on the high street from Game, Dixons etc bundled with more recent games for more money but, hey, if you are going to mod your box, who needs to buy games.

  • Ummm, no (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sean80 (567340) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @03:47PM (#9143228)
    Meanwhile, the Microsoft folks in Redmond, WA appear to have overlooked the Xbox' potential as a multimedia center

    Ummmm, no. Don't you see? The XBox is just the first step of many. Microsoft has the money and the skills to be patient. The home entertainment market is going to be absolutely massive, and Microsoft is going to be in everybody's living room, whether it be the XBox 2 or XBox 3 or 4 or 5. Hell, they're already in many DVD players, aren't they? Even if you hate them, you have to admit they have a bunch of smart sons of proverbials up there.

    • Re:Ummm, no (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Check this...

      http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/mediacenter/e va luation/devices/xboxextenderkit.asp

      "overlooked" no more
  • I have a modded xbox. I soldered all the connections (the only way to securely do it). D0 is a bitch to solder though. This has got to be the BEST investment I made in my xbox. I have it hooked up to my home network. Now I can stream movies,mp3s, etc to my TV. This leaves my computer free to play games too. I run XBMC & am working on a new skin. I hate the Dell media center skin. They should've stuck with copying the MS skin...

    Xbox ver 1.1
    Xecuter 2.2Pro
    WD 120 GB HDD
  • Perhaps a reason Microsoft is not going out of their way to offer the XBox as the perfect home entertainment center is that it would open up tons more antitrust suits with a whole new variety of companies?
  • (This may be mildly off-topic, since this goes along with the DMCRA headlines too.)

    My *friend* has a modded XBOX. It rocks. The problem is that a modded XBOX is illegal (thanks DMCA). This *friend* had to buy the chip from some company in China in order to do it. It's ridiculous.

    <rant>
    The argument against allowing this is that it promotes piracy and thus, is bad for business. But he spent over $400 to buy the thing and modify it ($150 XBOX, $30 mod-chip, $20 shipping, $70 120GB HD, >$100 in
    • I find it funny that something that has 25million un-moded versions out there has someone saying "0 since the device would not have been worth it"

      Myself and 24,999,999 other people bought the xbox to play games and it does that much better then anything out there..

      The fact that it can be "hacked" to be a media center is just icing on the cake.

      However your claim of no value without the ability to circumvent its core use is pathetic.
  • Alot of my friends have modded xboxs which they use for running emulators and playing media.

    One of the guys only plays SNES, NES and Turbogfx emlators on his. He dosn't care for all the xbox game, he says they are all pretty much the same while there is more varieity in the 2000+ roms he has on the HD.

    I'm planing on buying an xbox just for playing media. My laptop is just too slow to play divx in linux and I don't have the HD space for a dual boot setup. So buying an xbox would give me extra HD space(8 gi
  • The XBMC Package 1.0 Beta can be downloaded from Bittorrent at www.Emule.com.

    What? Bittorrent has nothing to do with emule. Emule has nothing to do with emule.com. I hate to be picky, but I have to wonder about the rest of this article.
  • Cheaper solution (Score:3, Informative)

    by kfhickel (449052) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @04:05PM (#9143435)
    Well, I've been building a home PVR/distribution network, and I find that for simply distributing the content to televisions, the MediaMVP from Hauppage www.hauppage.com [hauppage.com] is a better solution. Available from buy.com for $89, it's cheap, supports 10/100 ethernet, and just works. This is a linux/busybox implementation, and there are sourceforge projects (two at least) that have been able to add things like telnetd and nfs client to it. The supplied software is a little "fresh" yet, but they're working on it. The current betta supports .wmv and .divx in addition to MPEG2.

    If you couple this with the WinTV-250btv/BeynondTV bundle for $139 (often on sale for $129) from SnapStream SnapStream Store [snapstream.com], you've got quite a nice little setup for under $250 that supports one television, and numerous computers doing playback.....

  • Well, the article is Slashdotted into oblivion and I haven't seen the answers I'm looking for.

    Assuming I would simply like to buy a (now) cheap X-box *solely* for media integration, and I have no knowledge about modding X-boxes (nor interest in doing it myself) ....

    What does joe consumer need to do to go out and get himself a box that integrates with his stereo/home theatre? The unit is allowed to not connect to X-box live or even play games. Hopefully and get the ability to read MP3s off a network driv
  • There's a ton of stuff this great little box does that are beyond it's original intentions. I'm talking a modded XBox here so everything in the list will be of questionable legality.

    Emulation: There are Mame/NES/SNES/GBA/etc. emulators that work stunningly.

    Linux: In all it's glory. Web-browsing, mail checking, document editing, picture viewing, etc.

    Media Playing: They covered XBMC (which is capable of network streaming, DVD playing, etc.) and the MythTV frontend is friggin awesome.

    StepMania: It's
  • So what's the best modchip for the job then? This would be a fun project to do when I have the time.
    • you don't need a mod chip anymore

      you will need to do some sodering though

      you won't be able to play xbox live, but there are alternative networks out there

      you can play your games straight off the hd, load times are almost non-existant!
  • Here are the upgrades you can make to the Xbox hardware to make it run better. First you have to install a mod chip which will allow you to:

    *Any software not signed by Microsoft can be run
    * Use of hard drives up to 120 GB
    * FTP data transfer to the Xbox using various dashboards (e.g. the XBMC)
    * Use of 128 instead of 64 MB RAM

    The ram is still really low and the processor slow unfortunately.
  • by Inoshiro (71693) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @05:40PM (#9144586) Homepage
    The best thing you can get is a model 50001 PS2 with network adaptor, a memory card, and GameShark MP3 player (a licenced form of the BroadQ QCast software [slashdot.org] easily available at video game stores).

    This nets you the ability to play progressive scan DVDs, a remote that can power on and eject the drive on your media device, the ability to play back MP3, OGG Vorbis, OGM, DivX (3.11, 4.x, 5.x), AC3 audio, JPEG, PNG, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, and more via updates. The PS2 itself will play burnt backup DVDs. The server-side software's in Java and runs on Mac OS X, Linux, and even Windows!

    The total cost for this is way less than your Xbox, with no modding required, and gives you a much quiter machine that can be controlled via a simple remote (I use my Sony RM-VL700 which "learned" the PS2 remote's signals).

    Spend an extra couple of dollars on a PS1 memory card, and suddenly you can play PS1 in addition PS2 games as well. The only thing you're missing out on is Xbox Live!, but you can't use that with a modded Xbox anyways :)

    The config is way cheaper, quiter, and lower maintenance than my old Windows PC setup. The only thing I really miss is the ability to play VCDs directly, but I can rip those onto a media share in seconds with xreadvcd. It's just so quiter and easier to use, I don't know why you'd go to the hassle of an Xbox that doesn't let you completely control every by IR remote, and also requires you mod it.
    • by ilsie (227381) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @06:20PM (#9145060)
      This nets you the ability to play progressive scan DVDs,

      The Xbox can do this easily. There is a one bit flag in the dvd player executable that turns it to progressive.

      a remote that can power on and eject the drive on your media device

      You can power off (or reset) the xbox via remote thru XBMC also. And eject implies that you'll have to get up and switch/insert discs anyways, so why do you need it on your remote?

      the ability to play back MP3, OGG Vorbis, OGM, DivX (3.11, 4.x, 5.x), AC3 audio, JPEG, PNG, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4

      so XBMC can play all that, and more. XVID, QT5, AAC, etc. etc. ad nauseum. Did you even RTFA?

      The total cost for this is way less than your Xbox

      Wrong. I bought a new xbox ($150), modded it with a homemade cheapmod [warmcat.com] ($7.50) and simply use the stock hard drive since I stream all my media from my fileserver anyways, thru Samba. I bought a cheap 3rd party remote, ($15) which brings my total to $172.50. Oh, and a simple switch to turn off the mod chip, and I play xbox live games till the cows come home.

      I don't know why you'd go to the hassle of an Xbox that doesn't let you completely control every by IR remote, and also requires you mod it.

      I dont know why you think this- I can do everything I need thru the xbox remote.

      Get your facts straight next time.

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