360 good for media streaming?

Discussion in 'Games' started by ddrueckhammer, Dec 7, 2006.

  1. ddrueckhammer macrumors 65816

    ddrueckhammer

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    America's Wang
    #1
    My Airport Express died last week which I had connected to my Tivo box so that it could download the listings and it was also connected to my stereo for music streamage.

    I have a Wii already for games but now I'm considering getting an Xbox 360 premium to replace and add to the functionality of my dead Airport Express as well as for HD gaming. I have a few questions before I make a purchase and was hoping some of you guys might know the answer...

    1. Is it possible to share the Xbox 360's wireless internet connection with a wired device (via ethernet cable) similar to the functionality that can be achieved with an airport express or do I need to buy a separate wireless adaptor for my Tivo box? (I had my Tivo connected to my airport express via ethernet cable.)

    2. If gaming weren't an issue (I already have a Wii which could keep me busy for months..), would you recommend getting a Xbox 360, an iTV (I know they aren't out yet but assume they can stream HD with a FrontRow interface), or some other device (Slingbox etc) to stream media from your Mac to TV?

    3. Is the Xbox 360's media center gui intuitive? (I'm sure it isn't as nice a Front Row but is it passable?)

    4. While the ability to stream HD movies to my TV using an iTV device seems neat, I don't like the fact that I have to buy and can't rent the content. Has anyone used the Xbox Live movie rental service? Is it good? Worth it?

    5. Does Connect360 work as advertised?

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    Dustin
     
  2. clayj macrumors 604

    clayj

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    #2
    1. No. If you connect a wireless networking adapter, the 360's Ethernet port is disabled. One network device at a time.

    2. Sure, why not? With Connect360, you can stream music, photos, and videos (WMV only, not QuickTime) from your Mac through your 360, with cool visualization effects. The 360 is also a pretty good DVD player, has optional HD-DVD capability, and you can buy TV shows and rent movies through XBL Marketplace.

    3. Yes, it's pretty good, and getting better all the time.

    4. Haven't used the movie rental service myself. Note that movies are rented, but TV shows are bought.

    5. Yes.
     
  3. huck500 macrumors 6502

    huck500

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    Southern California
    #3
    I love the 360 and connect 360, but if gaming isn't an issue, I wouldn't buy the 360 just for streaming iTunes, iPhoto and WMV. I'd check into some other options first.
     
  4. ddrueckhammer thread starter macrumors 65816

    ddrueckhammer

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    #4
    Well, since I have a Wii gaming isn't really an issue...That said, I wouldn't mind playing Gears of War in the amazing picture quality of 1080i. (As Jessica Simpson says: "I totally don't know what that means, but I want it..."

    I read somewhere that the 360 might be too loud to use as a media streamer. Does anyone else think that it is too loud?
     
  5. JackAxe macrumors 68000

    JackAxe

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    #5
    It's loud for a game console, but not as bad as my workstation PC and old G4 MDD.

    Just wait for Apple's iTV, or whatever they call it in January. True OS X integration and Apple's know how will make the device worth every penny.

    <]=)
     
  6. ddrueckhammer thread starter macrumors 65816

    ddrueckhammer

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    #6
    I hope so. I probably will wait until January and see what Apple comes up with but if it just streams stuff I have ripped or downloaded into iTunes I will be kinda disappointed. The thing that has me stuck on the 360 is that you get a game console too for only $100 more and you can still play iTunes/iPhoto content on it.

    Any videos that I import into iTunes will have to be converted to H.264 or MPEG4 if they aren't in that anyway so the WMV limitation doesn't seem to bad to me...Even if the iTV can stream HD content I'm not sure that I will need it as most of the stuff I can get off of the internet is not very good quality anyway and I'm sure as he** not paying $15 a video to download stuff from iTunes...I already have Verizon Fios for video on demand and Netflix as well...I just want something to stream all the other little stuff that I get from the internet over to my TV...
     
  7. JackAxe macrumors 68000

    JackAxe

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    #7
    Well, if you can get one for $100, than it would be worth every penny. :) I thought that was an Amazon one day special?

    At least you can export H.264 right from QTPro, which costs less than Flip4Mac's WMV option. H.264 is the best HD format at the moment period, and MP4 is everywhere. WMV is too propietory for my liking and not as good as H.264 when it comes to quality. There's a reason their own Zune doesn't use WMV.

    I can't stand WMV, so I have some bias. I get annoyed even when paying customers want me to output to it. (I do it with a smile though...) Thankfully there's Flip4Mac Studio, it keeps my PC out of the equation. Anyway, WMV alone is a big enough reason for me never to use a X360 for streaming video solution.

    I'm also not a fan of MS's consumer products, since they have the mindset that eventually everyone will just pay them a monthly fee regardless of the product, nor do I like their attitude towards iPod owners, nor their bend over backwards friendship with Universal, another iPod hating company.

    iTV will offer Apple's integration know how, something MS certainly has not grasped. iTunes and iPod support are why I'll fork out whatever Apple's asking price will be with in reason.

    I'm not going to spend $15 either on a lowere quality video download. I'll stick with DVDs, just like I do with CDs for all of my Music service. I use In-Demand though, it's just convient now and then.

    But if you find X360s for $100, I would buy, just so MS looses more money, and then not buy their games. It will be the XBox all over again. ;)

    <]=)
     
  8. pcypert macrumors 6502

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    #8
    I think he's saying 100 more than what they estimate the iTV will start out at.

    Paul
     
  9. huck500 macrumors 6502

    huck500

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    #9
    If you wait, there's also the possibility that the Connect 360 people will enhance the software further to include more video formats... and that the 360 will drop in price.

    Gears of War is pretty great, and there are some amazing-looking games coming up... and you don't have to wave the controller around to play them.:D

    Edit: I agree with the criticism of WMV... it really seems to be years behind Quicktime in every way.
     
  10. shortyjj macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2004
    #10
    Currently you can grab a 360 Premium (hard drive, component video cables) from Microcenter for $200 after rebates which is a hella sweet deal...

    That said, it also consumes 170W of electricity, which is pretty ridiculous if you're just using it to stream media.
     
  11. JackAxe macrumors 68000

    JackAxe

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    #11
    MS should really just give the X360 away with every XBox live membership that signs up for so many years, since that's their main objective.

    Gears of Wars looks great, and it really does the X360 justice in this way, I just can't stand thumb-driven FPS games. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a XP version, which I know deep down will never happen. :eek:

    <]=)
     
  12. ddrueckhammer thread starter macrumors 65816

    ddrueckhammer

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    #12

    As someone below said, I was refering to the Xbox being only $100 more than the price that Steve said that the iTV should retail at. You do bring up good points although, I really could care less what format stuff I get off of the internet is in...If I was trying to stream HD or even DVD quality content I would probably care...

    Whoa! I didn't see that on their website...Is that in-store only?...I live in Florida so it would be a pain for me to get that deal but I do know a few people in Texas so maybe I could get someone to buy it for me...
     
  13. mahashel macrumors 6502

    mahashel

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    #13
    A couple of "gotchas" when dealing with streaming media on the 360.
    First and foremost, as mentioned previously, the only supported video format (currently) is WMV. This alone makes the video streaming feature useless to people like me who've ripped their DVD library to mp4 H264.
    Also, Connect360 will not work with all OS's.
    I use a lower-end PC running Windows Server2003 as my RAID data vault, and alas, I'm out of luck. Connect360 is not supported on Windows Server, and will not install.
    To make matters worse, Connect360 does not allow using mapped drives, network shares, etc.. as a media source. This eliminates the possibility of using a Connect360-enabled machine to stream files off of a network share.
    I tried using GeexBox uShare via linux (Kubuntu) to get around the Connect360 inadequacies, but that ended up being a dud. Largely because I don't have a solid grasp on Linux at the moment, and won't have the time to change that for a long while.

    These problems probably will not affect 99% of Xbox360 users. However, I thought I'd chime in with my experiences in trying to set up 360 streaming.
    I still love my 360 for gaming, but as a set-top streaming box, it failed miserably in my case.
     
  14. shortyjj macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2004
    #14
    No idea. I believe it's $100 instant credit off a purchase of $399 or more when you apply (and are approved) for their store credit card, and an additional $100 mail-in rebate.

    Quick question about 360 though: do you essentially have to sign up for Xbox Live in order to play any of the games online? I remember for the original Xbox you could download some "tunnel" shareware...
     
  15. ddrueckhammer thread starter macrumors 65816

    ddrueckhammer

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    #15
    Good to know about Connect360...Do you know if you can stream from an external firewire/usb2 drive with it? It would be kind of a pain to have to move any file I want to watch onto an internal drive.

    The OS limitations don't concern me as my computers are all formated in Tiger which it supports.

    As I said before, the WMV limitation isn't that bad to me because all of my video files are in all different formats so even if I get an iTV I will have to reformat them all to H.264 or MPEG4 so that they will work with it. I could always keep a copy in MPEG4 and one in WMV just in case...

    Hopefully, visual hub will add a WMA audio feature to their WMV encoding so that the output will work with the Xbox. They already added a mode for files to play on the Wii. Too bad I have to put my files on an SD card to view them on my Wii :( I don't really plan on ripping all of my DVDs at this point because I can't afford a big NAS device.

    I believe, Microsoft gives you silver level service for free with the premium Xbox which basically gives you the ability to create a profile...How generous of them...The gold level service which allows you to play online is $50 per year I believe...It seems like alot but it is cheaper than a year of WoW. Still, it probably should be free as a feature of the console to differentiate it from the PS3 and Wii...I guess as long as they can get it they will keep charging for it...
     
  16. risc macrumors 68030

    risc

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    Jul 23, 2004
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #16
    As long as the other companies so called internet integration is so bad I guess Microsoft will keep people paying for real online support. ;)

    As for streaming media unless you have a Media Center PC it's pretty much pointless imho. With Media Center there are apps to transcode video and audio formats on the fly, until we see this for OS X I can't see the point of buying a 360 for video streaming. Having said that I'm not convinced about the Apple iTV either I can see Apple doing the exact same thing but only allowing you stream stuff you have in iTunes.
     
  17. ddrueckhammer thread starter macrumors 65816

    ddrueckhammer

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    #17
    Yup, I don't see Apple doing any re-encoding on the fly...anything that isn't already in the proper format will have to be re-encoded with visualhub, ffmegx, quicktime/flip4mac or some other encoder...If iTV doesn't have any more features than the Xbox currently has, I will get an Xbox just to get files from point A to B and have the bonus of another console..(Although I can't really afford more games than what I already want to buy for my Wii):D
     

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