XBox360 HTPC?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by cosmichobo, Aug 12, 2014.

  1. cosmichobo, Aug 12, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2014

    cosmichobo macrumors 6502

    cosmichobo

    Joined:
    May 4, 2006
    #1
    G'day,

    I've just bitten the bullet and purchased an XBox360 250GB, and WD 4TB MyCloud NAS.

    My current HTPC is a G4 1.5GHz Mac Mini... which frankly struggles with any files greater than about 640x400... either due to CPU, and/or the older Wifi card...

    My hope now is to replace the 2TB external USB drive connected to my Airport with the 4TB NAS drive, and replace the Mini with the Xbox...

    Looking round, I see MicroSoft don't seem to just let you add the usual suspects (XBMC, Plex, etc) to the XBox via its own online marketplace...

    So - How do I actually set this all up to work as a HTPC?

    Total XBox newbie here...

    Thanks

    cosmic
     
  2. dbanderson1 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2013
    #2
    Dlna

    you should be make your mac a DLNA server and then you should be able to access the files from your mac on your 360/ps3.

    Free ones :
    XBMC
    MythTV
    TvMobili

    Kinsky
    Plex
    uShare (easier to install with MacPorts)
    Paid ones :
    EyeConnect
    PlayBack
    SongBook
    The bold ones are directly mentioned to be DLNA servers.

    So you won't get rid of your files, your mac will just host them. That would be the best bet. 360 isn't really a replacement for a mac mini, but many people use them as a front-end (WMC extender) for htpc that are running WMC.
     
  3. cosmichobo, Aug 12, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2014

    cosmichobo thread starter macrumors 6502

    cosmichobo

    Joined:
    May 4, 2006
    #3
    DLNA server?

    I've got the new NAS to handle storage, and ideally cut the iMac out of the equation.
     
  4. GreatDrok macrumors 6502a

    GreatDrok

    Joined:
    May 1, 2006
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #4
    I've got a 360 and a PS3 so I've obviously tried to make them work as media players for my iTunes library which is all M4V so shouldn't be a problem to play. I've tried Windows Media Centre from my Win7 PC and it was terrible, same went for PLEX, PS3 Media Server and so on. The problem wasn't technically down to the software doing the serving (although Windows Media Centre has really big problems in itself) but the navigation on the 360 is desperate when you have a movie library as big as mine, and for the 360 with PS3 Media Server I had to set a rule to re-encode everything because my files are mostly dual audio and the 360 doesn't cope with ones which have AAC and DD audio and just throws an error.

    In the end, the lousy navigation and niggles with playing much of anything without requiring my server to re-encode on the fly meant I gave up. Apple TV is the way I went. Cheap and way more suitable as a media viewer for iTunes, although it doesn't natively handle files beyond iTunes but I've used AirVideo to AirPlay MKVs and FLVs directly to it. The simple interface wins every time.

    Other option would be to upgrade to one of the recent Mac mini's from the refurb store which would be cheap and more than capable of handling every file you can throw at it.
     
  5. cosmichobo thread starter macrumors 6502

    cosmichobo

    Joined:
    May 4, 2006
    #5
    Thanks for the reply.

    Sorry but, after having spent $299 on the XBox with 5 games, and $313 on a 4TB NAS, another $849 for a refurb Mini isn't on the cards.

    I know the XBox has been used as a HTPC for years, so whilst it's not the reason I made the purchase (I just needed a new game console as my Wii is getting too old), now it's in my house I was looking at options to get the most use out of it.

    Before I set the NAS up, and copy over 2TB of AVIs/etc, I wanted to check how the XBox handled AVIs, so I wouldn't end up having to reformat the drive etcetc...
     
  6. GreatDrok macrumors 6502a

    GreatDrok

    Joined:
    May 1, 2006
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #6
    I understand, I'm just saying that while you can get it to play them, the navigation is a steaming pile. If you just have your files dumped into a single folder it may work for you but mine are all in directories to group TV seasons and so on and finding what I actually want to watch is painful. For example, most of my shows are in directories which name the programme, and then each episode is numbered (episode 1, episode 2 and so on) but on the 360 I just end up with a big list of 'episode 1's which sucks. Movies are sorted better, but TV shows it doesn't work. Then there's the issue of actually finding it since I have to scroll through to find what I'm after. It is a very basic way of handling media. It is possible to play files, I just don't recommend it as a replacement for an HTPC, besides which the loss of 5.1 surround was a complete show stopper for me.
     
  7. cosmichobo thread starter macrumors 6502

    cosmichobo

    Joined:
    May 4, 2006
    #7
    I've used XBMC on the Mac Mini, which originated on XBox, and whilst I wasn't particularly a fan, it certainly wasn't as clunky as you're describing re playing files etc...

    Apple's Front Row isn't perfect either, by any means...
     
  8. dbanderson1 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2013
    #8
    Right the old xbox could be hacked to run XBMC (xbox media center) but the name has been misleading for almost a decade because it there was never a version that ran on xbox360/xbox one. Recently they announced they are going to stop calling it xbmc because of copyright issues and confusion. It will not be called kodi (http://xbmc.org). PLEX was forked off of the xbmc code. You bought a gaming counsel which unfortunately isn't the best HTPC replacement because of its GUI. The only real relevance the xbox 360 has today in the HTPC realm is the fact that it can act as a media center allowing you to turn a windows pc into a DVR and watch your recorded television on any tv in your house from a cheap xbox (much cheaper than paying for a cable companies box or buying tivos for all the sets).

    I personally think PLEX is the best option (quick set-up just tell it where your iTunes music folder is), leave the iMac on and your 360 should find it no problem. Same can be said about videos, though it is finicky when it comes to file names... though there are programs you can run to pull metadata and rename your files for you.
     
  9. boomhower macrumors 68000

    boomhower

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2011
    #9
    The best media appliance right now IMHO is the Asus Chromebox. In 10 minutes it can be hacked to run XBMC. It plays pretty much everything and has tons of add-ons available. I've cut the cable and use it combined with a Synology NAS. It's a wonderful combination. I attempted using an Xbox 360 in my daughters room for streaming but it's just to loud. Ended up with a Chromecast in her room to pair with her iPad.
     
  10. cosmichobo thread starter macrumors 6502

    cosmichobo

    Joined:
    May 4, 2006
    #10
    I just tried using the "System Video Player" app that came standard with the XBox. It saw my NAS without any issue, and was able to play several of my media files. One one occasion it paused and had to reload (cache), but generally speaking it seemed pretty good!

    Ok it's not glamorous, but I don't need pretty, just something that plays.

    Will experiment more now I know how...
     
  11. JohnnyComeLatly macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2010
    #11
    Your new NAS will likely have a DLNA media server built in. Assuming the videos are in a format the XBOX360 can play, you should be able to stream straight from the NAS to the XBOX. I get my new wifi router this Friday, so I'll test it out, but I'm certain I had this working before.

    I have a Mini too and used Twonky as a media server to my XBOX without any problems (other than formats).
     

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