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wrxpert
Mar 13, 2007, 03:12 PM
I was just wondering if anyone here runs the xbox media center witch will do just about everything the apple TV will do plus more? Not to mentions this is a much less expencive solution.



Sdashiki
Mar 13, 2007, 03:13 PM
Got a question about XBMC?

ask me, i use it every day, pretty much all day.

call me a nerd, call me a couch potato, its THE greatest thing, EVER.

I will never get rid of my XBOX, ever. Its usefulness is unimaginable.


As for the cost, you need:

an XBOX - $80-120
a modchip - $20-60
an IDE/ATA HDD - $50-350

so, it may cost less, but its not a "right-out-the-box" useable. plus, XBMC is awesome, but using a modded xbox is not as simple as drag n drop, you need to know how to FTP to the box etc etc, how to upgrade XBMC without killing your machine...and more than likely, how to trouble shoot your xbox and XBMC.

wrxpert
Mar 13, 2007, 03:15 PM
Got a question about XBMC?

ask me, i use it every day, pretty much all day.

call me a nerd, call me a couch potato, its THE greatest thing, EVER.

I will never get rid of my XBOX, ever. Its usefulness is unimaginable.

I would actualy love some tips in optimizing it. I know I havent figured out 1/2 of the advance uses yet.

wrxpert
Mar 13, 2007, 03:57 PM
I actualy soft modded mine. So I had no additional cost. I use it to run high def video stored on my pc.

dan-o-mac
Mar 13, 2007, 05:31 PM
Got a question about XBMC?

ask me, i use it every day, pretty much all day.

call me a nerd, call me a couch potato, its THE greatest thing, EVER.

I will never get rid of my XBOX, ever. Its usefulness is unimaginable.


As for the cost, you need:

an XBOX - $80-120
a modchip - $20-60
an IDE/ATA HDD - $50-350

so, it may cost less, but its not a "right-out-the-box" useable. plus, XBMC is awesome, but using a modded xbox is not as simple as drag n drop, you need to know how to FTP to the box etc etc, how to upgrade XBMC without killing your machine...and more than likely, how to trouble shoot your xbox and XBMC.

XBOX...check
modchip...check
HDD...check

FTP, ugrading XBMC, How to get it to run like :apple: TV...No damn clue. :(

Aegelward
Mar 13, 2007, 05:49 PM
another possibility is the 360 media center + connect 360 + visualhub. takes a few minutes to convert a video to WMV though.

no hardware mod required

Cult Follower
Mar 13, 2007, 06:47 PM
Just buy the Apple TV, you know you want to.;)

Sdashiki
Mar 13, 2007, 08:29 PM
another possibility is the 360 media center + connect 360 + visualhub. takes a few minutes to convert a video to WMV though.

no hardware mod required

its a piece of crap compared to XBMC 2.0

XBMC can and will play anything mplayer can.

i forgot about the softmod. thats always a possibility, im just scared it leaves no backup in case of catastrophe...

trust me, XBMC is the shizzle.

as for tweaking it, the xml files are really simplified now, just getting all the files in the right places on the right partitions needs some know how, or you are in deep poo.

imageforce
Mar 13, 2007, 10:42 PM
at first i thought that :apple:TV would be awesome but then...

i`ll not buy it - why should i? downloading movies sucks so much i want a dvd with booklet and special features and everything. same with music. only situation i download music from itunes is when i just want to have one or two songs from an artist. i like the idea of a real cd with a real booklet and stuff.

so whats the use of :apple:TV? as i know, you can`t even use it as a recorder. i just dont get why just being able to view your iTunes content on your tv is a sellingpoint. the features are just too boring.

i have to say that i am a real apple enthusiast and i visit the apple homepage at least 4 times a day but this is just stupid in my opinion.

there should at least be a function where you can rent movies from iTunes like payTV - now that`d be at least something!

macrobat
Mar 16, 2007, 02:07 PM
So I have a modded xbox with the lcd screen and the 120g hard drive and xbmc2.0 the works and I love it! steams everything but I am starting to think its time for apple tv and this is why.
1. if I want to watch tv shows I have to find them then download them it doesnt take long but if I forget or people are not seeding well frustrating plus it eats up my bandwidth
2. I want to drop my cable and just subscribe to the shows I actually want to watch instead of watching garbage when I am board this will save me time to do more important stuff like play video games. it actually ends up being cheaper then my cable bill by a little more then half :eek:
3. I like the idea of just subscribing to a show and I dont have to think about it, its just there like tivo but not as sweet.
4. also its apple and the UI is sweet plus I know they are going to add a couple of bonuses (I hope)
but all in all I still will never get rid of my xbox I love it:D but its just going to have share my time with my apple to thats all

7on
Mar 19, 2007, 04:05 PM
its a piece of crap compared to XBMC 2.0

XBMC can and will play anything mplayer can.

i forgot about the softmod. thats always a possibility, im just scared it leaves no backup in case of catastrophe...

trust me, XBMC is the shizzle.

as for tweaking it, the xml files are really simplified now, just getting all the files in the right places on the right partitions needs some know how, or you are in deep poo.

I just got my XBMC up and running (traded a DS fat for an Xbox, softmodded using a borrowed game and a borrowed card, and used a spare 40GB hdd - $0) and I am really enjoying it for the 30 minutes I got the hdd installed ;) As for a backup for softmods, check out XBOXHDM. It's a Linux formatting utility that formats and restore files to an xbox. Pretty impressive overall :D I may need to buy the splintercell game since I may want to softmod it (and if I don't remove the files on the hdd then I won't need a memory card ;) )

The big negative is no H.264/X264 files as they are too CPU intensive for a 733Mhz Celeron :/ (Well I lie, if the h264 files are 320x240 or smaller they will play).

I also been enjoying the ShoutCAST builtin ;)

/dev/toaster
Mar 19, 2007, 10:57 PM
I am going to keep staying as far away from all Microsoft products as possible. Nothing good has come of it in the past.

AppleTV in the living room, and MythTV in the bed room is all I need. (PS3 and Wii in the living room as well)

TheDance511
Mar 19, 2007, 11:09 PM
I am going to keep staying as far away from all Microsoft products as possible. Nothing good has come of it in the past.

AppleTV in the living room, and MythTV in the bed room is all I need. (PS3 and Wii in the living room as well)

+1

Sdashiki
Mar 20, 2007, 07:50 AM
I am going to keep staying as far away from all Microsoft products as possible. Nothing good has come of it in the past.

AppleTV in the living room, and MythTV in the bed room is all I need. (PS3 and Wii in the living room as well)

My 400GB XBOX says differently.

M$ screwed up royally with the XBOX, I like taking advantage of that fact. (A Dev. debug port on every mobo LoL!?)

As well as knowing that M$ made $0.00 in profit on every XBOX.

/dev/toaster
Mar 20, 2007, 11:57 AM
My 400GB XBOX says differently.

M$ screwed up royally with the XBOX, I like taking advantage of that fact. (A Dev. debug port on every mobo LoL!?)

As well as knowing that M$ made $0.00 in profit on every XBOX.

A local HD does nothing for me. All of my media is already stored on my massive storage array on my media server. Any machine on the LAN can reach it.

Not to mention, there is no way (legally) that you can use content on your xbox that was purchased from the iTunes store. I have spent over $400 at iTunes buying music, videos and many many many TV shows.

There is also the interesting issue that your xbox won't push 720p. I have a 61" 1080p DLP set, so I try to display HD content when ever possible.

Not to mention, display pictures is a hell of a lot better on my set then at SD. I take a lot of pictures and I have a huge library of pictures.

Once I get my HD video camera next year, it will also be nice to display that content on my set :D

A modded xbox also doesn't make sense for me, since my time is limited. Rather then fooling around modding an xbox. I would rather spend my time playing my PS3, or playing WoW. :D

Airforce
Mar 20, 2007, 12:03 PM
I was just wondering if anyone here runs the xbox media center witch will do just about everything the apple TV will do plus more? Not to mentions this is a much less expencive solution.

I use the Xbox 360 as an extender. It does everything the Apple TV would do for me. I'm not a fan of iTunes or the store, so I'm not tied down to those features. Opting to go for the 360 was the better option with my huge collection of movies/music/pictures.

Sdashiki
Mar 20, 2007, 12:11 PM
A local HD does nothing for me. All of my media is already stored on my massive storage array on my media server. Any machine on the LAN can reach it.

Not to mention, there is no way (legally) that you can use content on your xbox that was purchased from the iTunes store. I have spent over $400 at iTunes buying music, videos and many many many TV shows.

There is also the interesting issue that your xbox won't push 720p. I have a 61" 1080p DLP set, so I try to display HD content when ever possible.

Not to mention, display pictures is a hell of a lot better on my set then at SD. I take a lot of pictures and I have a huge library of pictures.

Once I get my HD video camera next year, it will also be nice to display that content on my set :D

A modded xbox also doesn't make sense for me, since my time is limited. Rather then fooling around modding an xbox. I would rather spend my time playing my PS3, or playing WoW. :D

to each his own, sounds like you have enough money lying around to not "need" a modded XBOX.

madmaxmedia
Mar 21, 2007, 12:41 PM
If you want to play iTunes purchased stuff without a DRM stripper, or really want HD quality content, ATV is the way to go.

But XBMC is really awesome for just about everything else. If you're ripping DVD's, then it's not HD anyways so they will play just as well with XBMC.

I bought a Linksys wireless game adapter for $20, and can now stream movies and music from my Mac to XBMC. Pretty amazing for an outmoded console that costs what, under $100 now?

The one thing about XBMC is that you need more expertise to get things going- softmod, network configuration, etc. But it's not really difficult stuff.

marathont
Mar 22, 2007, 03:19 PM
Not to mention, display pictures is a hell of a lot better on my set then at SD. I take a lot of pictures and I have a huge library of pictures.

Once I get my HD video camera next year, it will also be nice to display that content on my set :D


XBMC can display pictures at up to 1080i. The interface is also hidef, some of the skins look amazing on a big screen. It can also upscale standard DVDs to 1080i which look great.

Cant really handle native HD though, so ill have to upgrade eventually, not for a while though.

RedTomato
Mar 26, 2007, 08:42 AM
Got a question about XBMC?

ask me, i use it every day, pretty much all day.

using a modded xbox is not as simple as drag n drop, you need to know how to FTP to the box etc etc, how to upgrade XBMC without killing your machine...and more than likely, how to trouble shoot your xbox and XBMC.

I brought a modded xbox with XBMC preinstalled about 5 months ago. I've got the basic functions working - it can play dvd files off my main server, and go to some websites, but I really want to know more about it.

There are many many extra services listed on the menus, and I just can't work them out :( (Link-kai, various emus, changing the websites it goes to, removing confusing extra options to make it more family friendly etc etc)

I've looked on the internet for basic and newbie guides to the various functions and I cant find any :( (or even how to update XBMC)

Sdashiki or anyone else can you refer me to any good guides or info?

One other thing is that after booting, it
1. forgets the path to my server (powermac g3), and I have to tell it again to go look on my server.
2. always takes ages to finally display a list of films,
3. and then when starting a film, it takes another age to actually start showing it.

How can I speed up these three processes? Or is this normal?

TBH at the moment it's in storage in my attic - it wasn't worth the hassle and living room space - I'd love to start using it again, but I need to know more about it first.

clevin
Mar 26, 2007, 08:46 AM
I know XBox360 has HD movie store, but boy, I don't have that much space and time to download that GB sized movies.

gkarris
Mar 26, 2007, 09:08 AM
Are you talking about a regular XBox?

I have an XB360, and I tried to set it up with my server with WM 10, but it wouldn't work.

Now, the MS support site is saying I have to download the Zune software instead for it to work. But, I don't want to even bother... I just hook up my iPod with the dock on S-Video...

RedTomato
Mar 26, 2007, 09:14 AM
Yes, regular xbox for me. Try to keep it clear which one you're talking about eh? :)

ijimk
Mar 26, 2007, 09:42 AM
Are you talking about a regular XBox?

I have an XB360, and I tried to set it up with my server with WM 10, but it wouldn't work.

Now, the MS support site is saying I have to download the Zune software instead for it to work. But, I don't want to even bother... I just hook up my iPod with the dock on S-Video...

Thats is what i do. It was way easier to setup my ipod to play video on the TV than getting the 360 to work with streaming crap. The strength of the 360 in my opinion is the Live Service. I use my 360 as a DVD player / game console.

snowmoon
Mar 26, 2007, 10:14 AM
I was just wondering if anyone here runs the xbox media center witch will do just about everything the apple TV will do plus more? Not to mentions this is a much less expencive solution.

Playing devils advocate here. I know there are plenty of things that are cool and slick about the XBMC ( I do have an XBMC ).

1) XBMC is not "Plug and Play" by any stretch of the imagination.
2) XBMC is underpowered leading to problems with newer codecs like AVC
3) XBMC will not play HD content ( can upscale non HD to HD resolutions, but that's different )
4) XBMC does not come with a 40GB HD ( can be upgraded )
5) XBMC does not come with WiFi
6) XBMC does not have a remote
7) XBMC does not support digital video display ( DVI or HDMI )

Taking everything into account all said and done a person with nothing will probably spend $150-$200 (X-box, Softmod kit, IR remote, WiFi adapter, upgraded HD, ... ) and few days to get the XBMC up and running and still not have HD playback functionality.

The 360 with Connect 360 has the drawback of having to transcode all media ( loss of quality ) to a non-mac-freindly format among others.

Diode
Mar 26, 2007, 10:45 AM
I predict homebrew being available for the ATV in a few weeks (or much shorter with the current pace).

D0ct0rteeth
Mar 26, 2007, 01:36 PM
I still dont know why peope arent using MythTV or a product like the TVease Hannibal

http://store02.prostores.com/servlet/tvease/Categories?category=Media+Centers%3AHannibal

AppleTV is soo handcuffed and feature lacking

- Doc

Sdashiki
Mar 26, 2007, 01:58 PM
Playing devils advocate here. I know there are plenty of things that are cool and slick about the XBMC ( I do have an XBMC ).

1) XBMC is not "Plug and Play" by any stretch of the imagination.
2) XBMC is underpowered leading to problems with newer codecs like AVC can be upgraded by hand
3) XBMC will not play HD content ( can upscale non HD to HD resolutions, but that's different )
4) XBMC does not come with a 40GB HD ( can be upgraded )
5) XBMC does not come with WiFi can too
6) XBMC does not have a remote yes it can
7) XBMC does not support digital video display ( DVI or HDMI )

Taking everything into account all said and done a person with nothing will probably spend $150-$200 (X-box, Softmod kit, IR remote, WiFi adapter, upgraded HD, ... ) and few days to get the XBMC up and running and still not have HD playback functionality.

The 360 with Connect 360 has the drawback of having to transcode all media ( loss of quality ) to a non-mac-freindly format among others.

my add-ins are in BOLD

if you want HD playback, DUH , an xbox created before HD content was even available to the masses, is NOT going to cut it.

though, if you can afford to need HD playback, you can afford anything besides a modded XBOX.

and I beg to differ about the "few days" to get XBMC running

RedTomato
Mar 26, 2007, 03:40 PM
I beg to differ about the "few days" to get XBMC running

I have an XBMC. It did indeed take me a few days to get it running. (it came pre-modded, and pre-loaded otherwise it would have taken FAR longer). Remember I only have a couple of hours each evening in between work, family, and my baby girl.

The bits of it I got working are indeed far more than the ATV can do. XBMC does local weather, dvd playing, dvd streaming from servers/ internet, subtitles and DVD menus and selectable subtitle tracks (important to me cos I'm deaf), and all that was pretty easy. (my impression is ATV doesn't allow soft/selectable subtitles out of the box)

However, there's far far more that the XMBC can do, and I'm just baffled. I note nobody has pointed me to any guides on the net, despite several requests.

I conclude therefore there there seem to be none, and that if you try installing / understanding XMBC and its various modules as a newbie to the scene, you're basically ****ed.

fowler.
Mar 26, 2007, 03:53 PM
with xbmc, i can usually play 720p xvid files with no problem.

Sdashiki
Mar 26, 2007, 08:24 PM
I conclude therefore there there seem to be none, and that if you try installing / understanding XMBC and its various modules as a newbie to the scene, you're basically ****ed.

sorry, i didnt notice you asked, i skim too much.

http://www.xboxmediacenter.com/ a no brainer, im sure youve been there.
http://www.xboxmediacenter.com/info_howto.htm this is the how to guides, lots of holes in it...

there is always the online wiki, but it leaves alot to be desired. and it seems to be broken at the moment.

if you have any questions, xbox-scene.com might have the answers, as well so might afterdawn forums. http://forums.afterdawn.com/forum_view.cfm/58

and you can PM me with a question or two, i may have the answer, but i wont know till ya ask!

snowmoon
Mar 26, 2007, 09:14 PM
Remember I was playing devils advocate here... I have a XBMC and it took me days to get it working right. It mainly sits dormant now as I can't even keep up with my HD PVR let alone have time to download crap from newsgroups.

my add-ins are in BOLD

if you want HD playback, DUH , an xbox created before HD content was even available to the masses, is NOT going to cut it.

though, if you can afford to need HD playback, you can afford anything besides a modded XBOX.

and I beg to differ about the "few days" to get XBMC running


You seem to miss the point, those are not features "out of the box" and require additions. You can upgrade the HD... you can add Wifi... you can add additional software.... but all of this takes time and/or money making the XBMC less attractive to people who just want to watch videos. Once you add up all the features that come standard in the ATV the XBMC is a lot less attractive.

I have never had a 720p encoded file play properly on XBMC.

I'm confused... are you also trying to say that the Xbox CPU can be upgraded by hand? The CPU is soldered onto the MB and required a conversion board to upgrade! AVC works, but due to the very low CPU and memory in the box it can't even play many high res iPod h264 videos.

XBMC has it's place, but I just get tired of maintaining it... torrenting XBMC software and then reconfiguring it via ftp is annoying. Documentation is difficult to find and understand to someone not in "the scene". As you noticed the documentation is missing or incomplete, you can't actually find a web download of the XBMC software because of the copyright "issues".

Any software advantage the XBMC might have may quickly evaporate as the ATV gets some 3rd party love and software loaded onto it. It also works "out of the box" in a way that XBMC does not.

Sdashiki
Mar 27, 2007, 08:04 AM
XBMC has it's place, but I just get tired of maintaining it... torrenting XBMC software and then reconfiguring it via ftp is annoying. Documentation is difficult to find and understand to someone not in "the scene". As you noticed the documentation is missing or incomplete, you can't actually find a web download of the XBMC software because of the copyright "issues".

Any software advantage the XBMC might have may quickly evaporate as the ATV gets some 3rd party love and software loaded onto it. It also works "out of the box" in a way that XBMC does not.

i dont use mine simply for videos...

games, as its an xbox, is the other half of my HDD.

upgrading XBMC is your choice, they dont even make releases, just dev. snapshots. so if it broke, thats your fault. I havent upgraded since they released 2.0, all the "updates" fixed nothing I noticed or needed. and they have made it MUCH simpler since 2.0 came out, upgrading is quite easy...

so, with that said, XBMC has its place along with a modded XBOX. aTV holds a different place that is more geared to the future. thats not to say XBMC is going to die off, quite the contrary.

nydoofus
Mar 28, 2007, 03:02 PM
As some one who uses XBMC extensively, it (and its predecessor) is probably the killer homebrew application. I find the install portion pretty easy. I initially used one of the many auto-installers to install it (Auto Installer Deluxe). The configuration is done via XML, which is mildly annoying, but bearable. Right now it connects via SMB (samba) to my linux server and I stream videos to it. What makes it stand out is that you can run videos on it, stream from any backend, play DVD's, adjust various settings from subtitles to audio delay, use many of the dozen plugins to extend functionality.

What interests me about the AppleTV is its hackability and the fact it supports HDTV. It has many of the same qualities that the Xbox so interesting (relatively easy to hack, standardized platform, relatively cheap). Hopefully soon it can replace my old, semi-loud, but very useful XBMC install. FWIW, I bought my Xbox used for $100 and did the old TSOP flash to overwrite the MS BIOS. The only thing I had to do was solder two points together.

For those who are wondering what XBMC can play, from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XBMC#Format_support)

Supported formats/codecs:

* Physical media: CDs, DVDs, Video CDs (including DVD-Video, VCD/SVCD and Audio-CD/CDDA)
* Container formats: AVI, MPEG/MPG, WMV, ASF, FLV, MKV, MOV, MP4, M4A, AAC, NUT, OGG, OGM, RealMedia RAM/RM/RV/RA/RMVB (RealAudio/RealVideo), 3gp, VIVO, PVA, NUV, NSV, NSA, FLI, FLC, and DVR-MS (beta support)
* Video codecs: MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, XviD, 3ivx, DV, H.263, H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, HuffYUV, Indeo, MJPEG, RealVideo, QuickTime, Sorenson, Theora, WMV, Cinepak,
* Audio codecs: AIFF, WAV/WAVE, MP2, MP3, AAC, AACplus, AC3, DTS, ALAC, AMR, FLAC, Monkey's Audio (APE), RealAudio, SHN, WavPack, MPC (Musepack, a.k.a. Mpeg+), Speex, Vorbis and WMA.
* Digital picture/image formats: BMP, JPEG/JPG, GIF, PNG, TIF/TIFF, MNG, ICO, PCX and Targa/TGA
* Subtitle formats: AQTitle, ASS/SSA, CC, JACOsub, MicroDVD, MPsub, OGM, PJS, RT, SMI, SRT, SUB, VOBsub, VPlayer

nydoofus
Mar 28, 2007, 03:10 PM
Remember I was playing devils advocate here... I have a XBMC and it took me days to get it working right. It mainly sits dormant now as I can't even keep up with my HD PVR let alone have time to download crap from newsgroups.




You seem to miss the point, those are not features "out of the box" and require additions. You can upgrade the HD... you can add Wifi... you can add additional software.... but all of this takes time and/or money making the XBMC less attractive to people who just want to watch videos. Once you add up all the features that come standard in the ATV the XBMC is a lot less attractive.

I have never had a 720p encoded file play properly on XBMC.

I'm confused... are you also trying to say that the Xbox CPU can be upgraded by hand? The CPU is soldered onto the MB and required a conversion board to upgrade! AVC works, but due to the very low CPU and memory in the box it can't even play many high res iPod h264 videos.

XBMC has it's place, but I just get tired of maintaining it... torrenting XBMC software and then reconfiguring it via ftp is annoying. Documentation is difficult to find and understand to someone not in "the scene". As you noticed the documentation is missing or incomplete, you can't actually find a web download of the XBMC software because of the copyright "issues".

Any software advantage the XBMC might have may quickly evaporate as the ATV gets some 3rd party love and software loaded onto it. It also works "out of the box" in a way that XBMC does not.

Might I enquire why you are constantly updating XBMC? Are you running into bugs or something? I rarely find the need to update it since it has hit 2.0. Besides, if you have been doing it multiple times, it should should become almost child's play to update it (also the XML doesn't appear to be changing much).

The Xbox CPU can be swapped out, but it is insanely difficult (desoldering a CPU!). Those who have done it say that it can play 720p no problem.

I agree with you, the AppleTV could be the replacement for XBMC once the hacking community gets going. I would love nothing better than to retire the XBox into my closet in favor of the quieter, smaller, HDTV playing AppleTV. I've been waiting a long time for a something to replace it, but none of the hardware players are hackable enough, and I don't want a PC in my living room either.

Avatar74
Mar 28, 2007, 03:27 PM
Playing devils advocate here. I know there are plenty of things that are cool and slick about the XBMC ( I do have an XBMC ).

1) XBMC is not "Plug and Play" by any stretch of the imagination.
2) XBMC is underpowered leading to problems with newer codecs like AVC
3) XBMC will not play HD content ( can upscale non HD to HD resolutions, but that's different )
4) XBMC does not come with a 40GB HD ( can be upgraded )
5) XBMC does not come with WiFi
6) XBMC does not have a remote
7) XBMC does not support digital video display ( DVI or HDMI )

Taking everything into account all said and done a person with nothing will probably spend $150-$200 (X-box, Softmod kit, IR remote, WiFi adapter, upgraded HD, ... ) and few days to get the XBMC up and running and still not have HD playback functionality.

The 360 with Connect 360 has the drawback of having to transcode all media ( loss of quality ) to a non-mac-freindly format among others.

Correct me if I'm wrong but XBOX Media Center also is noisy.

I'm referring to the internal cooling fan that I've heard is rather noticeable, particularly if you've got this thing parked in your living room to run movies... which some of us like to watch without external noise.

AppleTV has one very smart industrial design element few have mentioned (perhaps because they haven't really thought about it except to complain that they can't stack things on top of it...)... It's dead silent. The aluminum exterior which gets quite hot is really a heatsink/baffle that obviously collects heat from the internals (if it were cold I'd be worried something inside the fanless structure were melting) and loses the heat to the air outside the unit.

This is a huge plus for people who want the firepower, bandwidth and storage of their computer network linked into their home entertainment without an army of cooling fans nearby. Brilliant.

Tom Sawyer
Nov 10, 2007, 08:41 AM
I've been running an XBMC for a good year now (in fact two of them)... For the primary use of playing DVD's ripped to iso files. I've also encoded some movies to mp4's, ones I'm not worried about keeping the menus/extras on (can always go grab the disc if I want to watch those) but the majority are iso's.

Well, having recently delved into the world of HD DV home movies via an HV20 (Canon HD camcorder), I wanted to be able to play those videos from my NAS. Unfortunately the XBMC has a tough time with HD, pretty much anything beyond a fairly well compressed Xvid will not play.

So, I thought I would give the ATV a try seeing as how there are mods out there now that allow playing movies over the LAN from both VIDEO_TS and ISO files (nitoTV), plus h.264 support and a silent unit.

I went through the entire procedures and successfully patched the ATV and got everything running fine. I was able (after some wrestling) to get to my SMB NAS share mounted and play video files etc. The software (nitoTV at this point) mounted ISO's sorta... really just showed a chapter list and was fairly sluggish (wired 100 b/t connection, not wireless). Beyond that the interface to play DVD images was pretty ugly... at least in comparison of the XBMC. On top of all of this... the ATV definitely did not play HD content (a 720p file from my HV20) smoothly. I understand that I will need to re-encode at a lower bitrate but what I was really after was to be able to play full quality Apple Intermediate Codec straight from Final Cut.

Out of the box, the ATV is really nice... I think what would work better for a "hacked" system is if somehow the mounting of an SMB (or AFP) share were more integrated into the system... so that going into "Movies" would show you both your iTunes sync stuff (if you chose to do that) and the Entry for your network share (or attached big hard drive, etc). In that selection being giving the nice thumbnail shuffle when an item was selected.... and having the same view/navigation capabilities as the iTunes library etc. In other words integrated into the existing interface/functionality of the 'stock' ATV. It's nice, it works well and I think that's why the XBMC is so nice... you go into "videos" and everything is right there (you can even make it show your network map by default, just goes right into it).

Unfortunately, this was the deal killer for me... I had to at least get to relatively the same functionality/performance for playing my DVD's that I had with XBMC (different is fine, less intuitive/more cumbersome is not) and then I'd work out the details on HD encoding/streaming. Unfortunately for me, it fell flat on the DVD front.

I love the ATV and REALLY wanted this to work... its small, silent, slick interface by default, beefier hardware than the old xbox etc. For now until something else comes along or the custom plugin community comes up with a more integrated solution, I'll stick with XBMC (and of course hooking my camcorder up to the TV to watch HD footage... 'the suck' IMHO... <sigh>). I've thought about keeping the ATV but will just sell it and see what happens in the future.

Not sure if this will help anyone but if your needs are similar to mine it may save you some time trying to make ATV be your set top box solution.