Sunday, December 11, 2005

XBOX 360 as a Media Center Extender

I finally got around to enabling the XBOX 360 as a Media Center Extender ("Bobsled" device). The process was pretty straight-forward from the PC Setup side.

However, the whole experience, while positive, was without a few disappointments:

1. I could not find a way to view videos that are located on a fileshare (i.e., not locally saved on the MCE PC). In my case, I use GB-PVR to schedule and record shows on a less-powerful machine, and then just play them back on a more powerful machine across the network. I had hoped to be able to do the same from the XBOX connected to my TV (using the Media Center PC as a bridge).

2. There are times where the Media Center experience seems to be hung, only to take off again 10-20 seconds later. For example, when the XBOX first connects to the MCE PC (using RDP, which I think it just the coolest use of technology, BTW), the main menu will appear. But, if I use the up/down arrows on the remote, nothing appears to happen. But, 10-20 seconds later, those "keystrokes" are finally processed and the menu selection changes. Similar unresponsiveness was witnessed after stopping a video.

3. This one was expected, but a little disappointing nonetheless: XViD/DivX encoded videos apparently cannot be played. :( I need to investigate this a little more to see what codecs are actually supported, because I don't want to keep MPEG2 files around (1.8 GB/hr is what I record them at) when I can transcode to a more compressed format.

UPDATE (12/13/05): Chris Lanier makes the case for why DivX is not (and will not be) supported on the XBOX: