My XBox Media Centre Diary

As discussed on the main page, I am just waiting for my XBox Games Console running the XBox Media Centre software to arrive. I can’t wait!

Well, the XBox duly arrived and basically it does what it says on the tin!

I installed it under the TV, connected it to the LAN, and turned it on. It boots in to the standard XBox menu so you scroll down to ‘Launch Applications’ and then select ‘XBox Media Centre’. From here you have the expected ‘My Videos, My Music, My Pictures’ options and whichever one you select there is then a choice of where to view the files from, DVD, XBox hard drive, and various types of Media Servers.

For the ‘My Videos’ option I edited the ‘SMB Server’ source to point to the shared folder on my PC where I put all my bittorrent files, and Voila! it worked. I could immediately see the list of videos in the folder on my PC. i selected one and it started to play instantly

It’s difficult to judge the quality of the image. On my 32″ CRT TV it looks pretty good. Battlestar Galactica is always fairly dark and grainy so it looked just like the real thing. I have only downloaded fairly low quality copies of the shows, about 350Mb for 45 mins, so I guess I should download a larger file to see if it is noticeably better quality.

Photos and Music all work in the same way. It’s quite fun being able to play your music collection on the TV, and you can watch a constantly changing  ‘Spectrograph’ type image as well. It certainly shows how you can use your PC as a Jukebox to replace you CD collection.

There are various extras you can install, YouTube viewers, Train timetables, football scores, etc, but they are really just gimmicks.

The only problem is that the XBox fan is on the noisy side. With the Media centre software you can control the speed of the fan so it’s not too noticeable once you start to watch a prog, but it could be better. I’m going to investigate installing a quieter fan.

Overall I think that XBMC is a fantastically cheap and practical method of viewing your media on a TV. For £36 you can’t go wrong!


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