xbox media center

December 26th, 2006


This weekend I finally got around to soft-modding my original Xbox to run the XBox Media Center media player. I used:

  • a borrowed copy of MechAssault
  • a 32 MB USB memory stick
  • a USB to XBox cable
  • Action Replay software
  • the excellent how-to listed here

…and while it’s touted as a 30-minute how-to, it really took more like two hours. But the end result was well worth it; it’s an incredibly slick, well designed piece of software. I can playback music, pictures and video right from the Xbox hard drive, or even better, I can stream it off of any machine in the house — you edit the menus via XML. There’s even a Mac OS X remote control widget. I’m really stunned that no one has put out this kind of box as a product — network attached storage with video-out and a remote. Throw a torrent client on the box and you’ve got the full “solution”. Cough.

Google Video has a nifty “Tech Talk” by Micheal Steil, one of the XBox Linux developers whose low-level hacking work has made this possible. It’s a fascinating look at the game of cat and mouse the hacker community has played with Microsoft for the past three years in order to get all this stuff working.

~Jeff

6 Responses to “xbox media center”

  1. Jeff says:

    I had to give it back, but I’m planning to find another copy on eBay — if I do, I’ll let you know.

  2. […] But: I can kind of understand their position. I’m one of the first people to want to tinker with any gizmo — I have a modded XBox, a PSP that plays homebrew emulators, a Yamaha P-120S electric piano I’ve opened and fiddled with many times. I like to fiddle with things. My brother, however, goes even further than this: he often fiddles with things to the point where they don’t work anymore. I actually know a lot of people like this. I think, for those people, having the iPhone and the iPod being a closed system actually might save them a lot of grief, “saving them from themselves”. Apple Inc. is increasingly in the business of making appliances, and very few people outside of the sweaty geeks from Make Magazine hack their toaster. That’s probably a good thing. […]

  3. […] That’s what I want, and that’s what my friends want, and right now, my homebrewed Xbox Media Center is filling that need nicely. Lots of people report good luck with MythTV setups as […]

  4. […] setup I had before — I love the linux-based SimpleShare as a data source for the XBox Media Center, but plugged in external USB drives tend not to want to spin down, generating heat and wasting […]

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