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Windows 7 Streams Media To the Xbox 360 and PS3 Seamlessly

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the let's-see-this-on-the-big-screen dept.

Media 121

HardcoreWare reports that the release candidate for Windows 7 contains improved video codecs, and does a much better job of streaming media to popular consoles out of the box. "No longer will you have to install special REG files to 'trick' Windows into streaming video to your PS3 or XBOX 360. And no longer will you have to use UPnP media servers like TVersity that transcode video, severely reducing quality and cause unnecessary CPU load on the server."

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Not so new... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27727247)

WMP11 has long supported streaming to the 360. I have WMP11 on my XP laptop, and it works like a charm....

Re:Not so new... (1, Informative)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 5 years ago | (#27727255)

What about the PS3, then? I find this step rather interesting. Microsoft often does not acknowledge their competitors even when those are market leaders. That they do so now, IMO, just points out how shaky they feel about the Vista situation and Windows 7.

Re:Not so new... (-1, Troll)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 5 years ago | (#27727295)

What about the PS3, then? I find this step rather interesting. Microsoft often does not acknowledge their competitors even when those are market leaders. That they do so now, IMO, just points out how shaky they feel about the Vista situation and Windows 7.

no, i think microsoft is just running behind schedule (big surprize) and hasn't had a chance to write in the bugs...um..'features' to stop PS3 streaming from working.

Re:Not so new... (5, Informative)

XDirtypunkX (1290358) | more than 5 years ago | (#27727349)

You can stream to the PS3 from WMP11. In fact, you can stream to any device that implements the right set of UPnP media functionality. There are even a reasonable number of digital media receivers that offer this functionality from 3rd parties too, meaning you don't have to deal with either MS or Sony, which is a plus in my book.

Re:Not so new... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27729241)

I think it's funny when people don't even RTFS...

You can stream to the PS3 from WMP11. In fact, you can stream to any device that implements the right set of UPnP media functionality.

From the summary:

And no longer will you have to use UPnP media servers

Re:Not so new... (1)

trevorrowe (689310) | more than 5 years ago | (#27729933)

I stream xvid files from my windows pc via WMP11 just fine to my PS3. Aside from normal codec requirements for playing xvid, I haven't needed to install anything else. I don't see what the fuss is all about.

Re:Not so new... (1)

DarkMachine (27129) | more than 5 years ago | (#27729109)

Yeah, I have to agree, not new. Why such a big deal, the old XBOX did this just fine. I mean I have been streaming media to my XBOX (not 360) for years, from my Linux media server, perfectly flawless, it's the center of my entertainment system.

Re:Not so new... (1)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 5 years ago | (#27731253)

I use it WMP11 too. I'd be impressed if they improved their codec support. I get annoyed when I can't play an mkv file or when my avi uses too new a version of xvid.

Odd article (4, Interesting)

boaworm (180781) | more than 5 years ago | (#27727287)

It looks like it cannot make up its mind:

--

And no longer will you have to use UPnP media servers like TVersity that transcode video, severely reducing quality and cause unnecessary CPU load on the server.

--
So how are you going to stream to the PS3? The PS3 is a UPnP client, of course you have to provide UPnP services. That has nothing to do with the transcoding.

They they state:
--
The Playstation 3 streams through UPnP.
--

So, now you do use UPnP.

And sure it is convenient to have this built-in, but why would that use less resources than a 3rd party server? The job has to be done anyway...

Its a nice feature, especially if they can get transcoding to work smoothly in conjunction with pausing, stopping, searching backwards and forwards in files. Otherwise the new PS3 feature to get 1 minute snapshots to browse back and forth in episodes will not work very well.

From what I can see from the format list, they don't do transcoding anyway, they just provide UPnP streaming, and it is way too rough when it says "YES/OK" for XVid/DivX. That depends not on the container, but what is contained in them. Some DivX files I have are not encoded with standard mp3 sound, hence they are not playable without transcoding to begin with.

Re:Odd article (4, Informative)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 5 years ago | (#27727305)

UPnP serves up the plain ol' media to the client.

However, some UPnP servers are smart enough to know some UPnP clients can't decode certain files, so it, in real time, transcodes to formats they know are readable by most clients.

Re:Odd article (5, Informative)

k-macjapan (1271084) | more than 5 years ago | (#27727415)

And that is why I will not stop using PS3Mediaserver(http://code.google.com/p/ps3mediaserver/). It is by far the best UPnP client for PS3 and is catching on with Xbox360 users as well.

It is an open source project that is updated quite frequently. For anyone still using Tversity I would highly recommend giving this a shot. It transcodes all basically all formats for viewing on the PS3.

The official forum for PS3Mediaserver = http://ps3mediaserver.org/forum/ [ps3mediaserver.org] You can find beta builds here and interesting conversation.

Re:Odd article (1)

FictionPimp (712802) | more than 5 years ago | (#27728349)

I love ps3MediaServer. I use it on my mac notebook to serve files to my 360 and my ps3.

I am in the process of building a ubuntu machine to handle the streaming to reduce the load on my notebook.

Re:Odd article (1)

The_Rift (257762) | more than 5 years ago | (#27728683)

If you're custom building an ubuntu machine you might as well install XBMC on it and have done with the streaming completely.

ps3mediaserver (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27730707)

ps3mediaserver rocks. mkv support w/subtitles. no library bullshit. if you have problems streaming....you won't anymore.

Re:Odd article (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#27731009)

Check out mediatomb if you're installing ubuntu, it's available from the repositories and rather good.

Re:Odd article (1)

godfra (839112) | more than 5 years ago | (#27728351)

That looks really useful, WMP11 is just painful really.

Thanks!

Re:Odd article (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#27727407)

Some DivX files I have are not encoded with standard mp3 sound, hence they are not playable without transcoding to begin with.

Of course they are playable if you have an AC3 codec ..

Or do you mean on your console of choice? One can't install additional codecs on either off them?

Re:Odd article (1)

boaworm (180781) | more than 5 years ago | (#27727481)

Or do you mean on your console of choice? One can't install additional codecs on either off them?

Yes, I meant on my PS3. And I cannot install codecs on that one apparently, so I'm stuck doing playbacks on the few formats it does support.

Hence the need for transcoding.

Re:Odd article (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#27727569)

It's supported nearly everything I ever threw at it. The PS3 has a wide range of codec support now. .mkv files are still a problem, but otherwise it's great. I've been using a linux based upnp server called mediatomb that can transcode if you like, but I've never bothered setting it up because it's unnecessary for 99% of stuff.

Re:Odd article (1)

DirePickle (796986) | more than 5 years ago | (#27728379)

I have had the opposite experience. I don't have a single video on my computer that my PS3 could stream without transcoding. I have a lot of mkvs, ogms, avis... But now everyone will say "Those are just containers, not the codecs!" I don't know what codecs they use. But, the PS3 can't play 'em!

Re:Odd article (1)

boaworm (180781) | more than 5 years ago | (#27728839)

Yep, the PS3 does play far from everything. Lots of WMV files, and some downloaded divx/xvid, in particular those not with standard audio streams, it simply refuses to play.

I've that seen MPG4/AAC in AVI containers rarely works for instance.

Re:Odd article (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 5 years ago | (#27729449)

Why are people putting mp4 vide + AAC audio in an AVI or mkv container rather than an MPEG4 container?

Re:Odd article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27729579)

Because the MPEG4 spec can't strictly hold AAC 5.1 I'm told.

Re:Odd article (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 5 years ago | (#27730223)

What the heck is AAC 5? I've never heard of such a thing and the AAC wikipedia page doesn't mention it. Let me guess, it's something the warez scene came up with so they can keep on complaining that their bittorrented Naruto fansubs won't play on the AppleTV/Xbox 360/PS3.

Re:Odd article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27727421)

PS3 only reads DLNA not UPNP.

windows streaming to 360 (1)

Nasser (80677) | more than 5 years ago | (#27727301)

I'll believe it when I see it. I've always had trouble on every windows XP and Vista machine i've tried it on. I use uShare in Ubuntu Linux and TVersity in Windows to stream SD to the TV. HDTV from mkv is more tricky. best to use an HTPC.

Re:windows streaming to 360 (4, Insightful)

Inda (580031) | more than 5 years ago | (#27727757)

Just install Windows Media Centre. Forget all that other rubbish. A manual handshake is needed by way of typing in a key code - just follow the onscreen instructions. Share folders in windows as normal. Nothing could be easier.

Xvid plays fine from the Video Library. VOBs must be played in the 360's WMC. WMV ... heh.

Re:windows streaming to 360 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27729879)

You can use the Zune software to stream all the formats you'll need to your Xbox. I encoded all my DVDs to MP4 and stream em to the Xbox that way. You don't watch em through Windows Media Center (which sucks anyway) - you just go into Video Library on the Xbox.

Re:windows streaming to 360 (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#27727869)

It's a shame that uShare is the only one that can stream to the xbox. I used it for a long while because it's pretty lightweight, but it turns out mediatomb is as well and can stream to the ps3 perfectly. You can set up all sorts of custom transcoding operations in mediatomb, though of course if it's for the 360 then this is no use to you.

Re:windows streaming to 360 (1)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#27728385)

It's a shame that uShare is the only one that can stream to the xbox. I used it for a long while because it's pretty lightweight, but it turns out mediatomb is as well and can stream to the ps3 perfectly. You can set up all sorts of custom transcoding operations in mediatomb, though of course if it's for the 360 then this is no use to you.

Indeed. I helped a friend set up streaming media from a Linux machine to his XBOX 360, which was a tremendous pain in the ass. That's when you find out the hard way what embrace-and-extend is all about, because apparently Microsoft chose to slightly alter the uPNP standard for the 360 (is anyone surprised at that?). What I found was that a Java program called x360mediaserver can correctly stream music (mp3s) while uShare can correctly stream videos (mostly AVIs). uShare claims to be able to stream both video and music, and in a way it does, except that the music shows up as a flat unsorted list with no categories whatsoever, such as artist or album, which is not very useful at all when you have thousands of mp3s (yes, that's with its XBOX360 compatibility option, because without that option, nothing shows up at all). To get things working in a reasonable way, we run the two servers, one for music and one for video. That provides the closest approximation of how the media shows up when it's served by a Windows machine using Windows Media Player.

Really, Microsoft's apparent hatred of simply following an open standard in order to be compatible gets old, and what really gets old are the extra measures needed to accommodate it. Most of the time it's just selfish of them, but sometimes it really seems like a religious thing because in this particular case I can't see how it helps them sell products at all. It doesn't make anyone want to run Windows for the sole purpose of streaming media to a gaming console; what it does do is make their customers feel like they are being "punished" with an extra burden for not having done so. If it accomplished anything that simply could not possibly be done via the uPNP standard I wouldn't complain, but this isn't the case. It's just needless complication.

Re:windows streaming to 360 (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#27730943)

Ah, I never did try the music thing with ushare, or at least not after the first time. It grind to a halt right around 1000 songs. I put this down to lack of resources on the server it was on (266MHz, 32MB of RAM). But mediatomb is fine with it, for flat mode. You need much more for transcoding and I gave up on album/artist/genre indexing after two days of it grinding away at my 40G music collection and not appearing to get anywhere.

With a real PC I'm sure it would be fine. Also, I wonder what it would take to get the xbox extensions from ushare running in MT. Hmmm...

Re:windows streaming to 360 (1)

Laser_iCE (1125271) | more than 5 years ago | (#27727871)

WMP11. Add files to your Media Library. Go to your Library Settings, then Configure Sharing. Settings button again, then Allow new devices and computers automatically. Reboot for good measure (we're using Windows here), reboot your Xbox 360, and try and play the media you added to your Library in WMP. If it works, go back to the Library settings and untick the automagic box. What I want to know, is it says I need to download codecs... But how?!

Re:windows streaming to 360 (1, Redundant)

FictionPimp (712802) | more than 5 years ago | (#27728361)

Try ps3MediaServer ( http://code.google.com/p/ps3mediaserver/ [google.com] ) It works with the 360 and is the best app I have found for this.

TiVo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27727319)

Wonder if TiVo will join the sandbox and play along.

I suppose it IS news... (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 5 years ago | (#27727333)

... assuming Microsoft really is supporting MP4 and other non-WMV-based codecs by default. Of course, they'll get all this credit from their fanbase for basically just catching up to where the rest of the world already has been for a couple years.

I still have a suspicion WMV will get snuck in when people least expect it - time will tell.

Re:I suppose it IS news... (1)

bcore (705121) | more than 5 years ago | (#27728285)

"for basically just catching up to where the rest of the world already has been for a couple years."

Another way of looking at is that they are now well ahead of where apple are in this regard.. i.e. locked down daap, only supporting one single video codec and 2 minimalist containers, etc.

No transcoding if natively supported on console (4, Informative)

beef3k (551086) | more than 5 years ago | (#27727337)

I stream video and audio content to my PS3 via TVersity (and MediaTomb on a linux box) all the time. There's never any transcoding involved for files that the PS3 natively supports. How exactly is a Windows 7 machine supposed to serve alien formats to a PS3? The ones "tested" in the article are all natively supported. There's no way for the PS3 to play back content in formats it doesn't support unless the host computer transcodes the media.

Re:No transcoding if natively supported on console (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27728257)

Windows Media Player 11 does indeed allow for sharing to the ps3. Go ahead and try it like I did. Not only does your media server continually disappear, forcing you to "search for media server" on the ps3 which usually takes 3 minutes, but it also craps out constantly, making all of your shared media disappear and only displays the folder structures.

This method does not transcode files. I use tveristy, mainly because it craps out just as much, but never messes up my library, so I don't have to scan 2 terabytes of data every 3 days. It "transcodes" files the ps3 doesn't support, but if the audio is unsupported, it still won't play. I've seen tveristy transcode a handfull of malcolm in the middle episodes, that's it, any other file still won't play.

TVserity also allows for changing the settings on the fly if the bitrate for a file is too high for your network, this is why if you attempt to play any HD content from tveristy (unless you modified the defaults) it will be bumped down in resolution.

I'd love to use windows built in feature, but it's garbage, and I don't digg rebuilding my library once a week. If windows7 fixes this issue, fantastic. Seeing as I never use the transcoding feature in tversity (which is set to only do it if needed by default) why not just use windows, less software running equals better performance.

But the guys who wrote this article should have at least a basic understanding of the technology involved, and the software they are comparing it to. TVersity does not always transcode, for the most part, you'll never see it do this, as the thing stopping your ps3 from playing the file, container format aside, is the AUDIO, which tveristy doesn't touch.

For mkv files, simply use mkv2vob to convert to ps3 format, it used to be vob files, now I think it's mp4 but I could be wrong. Make sure if they are large files, to select faT32 as your output, as the ps3 can't read ntfs drives, so you are limited to around 4 gigs a file thanks to fat32.

Anyways, no one needs to trick anything, if you have winmp11 you can setup upnp/dnla sharing for your devices, just don't be surprised if you have lots of issues.

Re:No transcoding if natively supported on console (0, Offtopic)

Strange Ranger (454494) | more than 5 years ago | (#27728319)

I stream video and audio content to my PS3 via TVersity (and MediaTomb on a linux box) all the time.

WTF are you people watching? Seriously? When my day is over I crash on the couch late at night and I turn my TV to the On position and channel surf.
Last night Futurama: Bender's Game was on. Cool. When it's time to veg out on the couch and stare at the tube there's usually something to watch on regular old TV (cable, FIOS, DirecTV, whatever). If there's something really cool I need to find, there's DVDs. What's with all the extra boxes, streaming, transcoding, UPnP, etc. etc.? I wonder if it's not just an excuse to toy with Linux? Honestly, what kind of video is worth all that thought and effort? The greatest movies ever made are available from netflix or the redbox for a buck. And then there's always books. What's the reward for all that time and effort to watch video? What am I missing?

Re:No transcoding if natively supported on console (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27728493)

If I had mod points, I would definitely mod this up.

Re:No transcoding if natively supported on console (2, Informative)

Astronomerguy (1541977) | more than 5 years ago | (#27728635)

Obviously you don't download much content via BitTorrent. There are many BBC shows that I can't get on North American TV e.g. Richard Dawkins' specials on Darwin, evolution, and atheism; BBC's "Horizon" series (like PBS' "NOVA", some shows shared), sir Patrick Moore's "The Sky at Night" etc. Also many NOVA shows that I missed. I now have a large collection ready on demand to watch, no digging for a DVD. My wife copies her movie and hobby-related DVD's to the server. Again, no fumbling for disks. Concert films? Dozens. All high quality and ready to watch on a moment's whim. We also have satellite TV and a PVR, but even with 100's of channels, we may watch 3 or 4 at most, and even then not so much. On-demand what we want, when we want it is the ticket, and having them on the media server is the vehicle. Have torrents, will travel to the couch to watch.

Re:No transcoding if natively supported on console (2, Informative)

Theoboley (1226542) | more than 5 years ago | (#27729421)

I'm watching TV Shows that i've missed over the past week, or Shows on channels I don't have access to, I.E. Top Gear via BBC, or True Blood via HBO.

There's little to no effort with setting these things up.

I Installed Tversity, and within seconds of turning on my ps3, I can be watching an episode of whatever I want to watch. No fuss, no mess.

I have recently though, bought another external hard drive, hooked it straight to my ps3 and watch movies, tv and whatever via that. Haven't had problems with codecs not working or whatever. And if i do, i just re-encode the files to something that will work with the ps3 while I'm at work.

Re:No transcoding if natively supported on console (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27730025)

Things that aren't available om cable, e.g. foreign shows.

well, it's dlna 1.5 compliant (1)

inu_maru (843192) | more than 5 years ago | (#27727365)

So any device using this subset of UPnP A/V should work. DLNA 1.0 devices included. Check for the mark on your consumer electronics... or try to make the coherence plugin work -_-

Sounds awfully like trying to sell old features... (2, Informative)

XDirtypunkX (1290358) | more than 5 years ago | (#27727379)

As long as you have a compatible router, Windows Media Player 11 streams via UPnP with very minimal setup. You configure media sharing in your library, then you allow the devices you want to see your media.

In fact, the process for me was this simple:
1) Install a bunch of codecs (divx/xvid) for the formats I wanted to stream.
2) Go to "Media Sharing..." under the library tab in WMP11 and tick the "Share My Media" box, then allow the 360 and the PS3.
3) Connect from the Console.

There is no need to put in special .reg files for this functionality. In fact, all you need is a codec that will allow you to load the files into your library on your PC. Unlike TVersity, Windows Media Player won't transcode stuff that's not supported, it will just refuse to play on your device.

The big thing here is that they're actually adding support for the other codecs out of the box and maybe making the process more automated.

Re:Sounds awfully like trying to sell old features (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 5 years ago | (#27727747)

The reg hacking is for all the formats (chiefly .m4a and .mp4, if memory serves) that the 360 and PS3 will play just fine, but Microsoft don't like to point WMP at out of the box, because they're a little bit too Apple-y, or something.

how is this a good thing? (5, Insightful)

Rennt (582550) | more than 5 years ago | (#27727389)

Or you could just share your videos via samba and watch them with XBMC on the original xbox - this has worked great for years.

The fact that this is news shows exactly how broken closed source platforms are. The only reason this is not already possible is because you are not in contol of hardware that you own.

Re:how is this a good thing? (-1, Troll)

dave420 (699308) | more than 5 years ago | (#27728101)

Score: 5, Retarded

You can already share to your consoles via WMP11. Nice try on the troll, though. 2/10 for effort.

Re:how is this a good thing? (1)

asc99c (938635) | more than 5 years ago | (#27728269)

I don't think he is trolling. The fact is the story is reporting this as a new feature. If it's not then there's a problem with the story.

Re:how is this a good thing? (2, Insightful)

revengebomber (1080189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27729003)

Alright, if I have just exactly the right format I can stream to my 360 or PS3 from any standard server. However, all of my files are in various different formats, many of which (like Matroska) are completely alien to EVERYTHING proprietary. XBMC plays 99% of my media just fine, right out of the box from an xbmsd server on my Linux desktop. I still haven't been able to configure transcoding properly, and out of ~250gb of video, only 3 or 4 files will play on the PS3. Commercial media centers, especially the 360 and PS3, are a fucking joke. It's downright embarassing that a homebrew effort on a 8 year old console beats them in every regard on an SDTV.

Re:how is this a good thing? (0, Troll)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 5 years ago | (#27729505)

Why are you using Matroska when the MPEG4 containers are more widely supported by consumer devices? It's your choice to use the pirates format of choice when you could just use MPEG4.

Re:how is this a good thing? (1)

chammy (1096007) | more than 5 years ago | (#27731661)

It's your choice to use the pirates format of choice when you could just use MPEG4.

Matroska is a hell of a lot more flexible than MPEG4, and besides, not all of us want our files stored in a proprietary format (Matroska is Free).

Pirate's format? Give me a break.

Re:how is this a good thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27730565)

XBMSP is great.. I used that to stream media to the 8 XBOXs my family and I all own. A couple of my family members even stream it from their Comcast or AT&T connections. The problem I have is that last I checked CCXGUI - which is the only Windows XBMSP app I know of - doesn't work on Windows Server x64. Does anyone know of a XBMSP server app that works on that platform? I have resorted to SMB for sharing my media, but I generally had a better experience using XBMSP.

Re:how is this a good thing? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#27728129)

It is already possible from the PC to the 360, it's just that Win7 supports more codecs natively and therefore will happily stream more. The PS3 goes a step further and supports generic UPnP.

Re:how is this a good thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27728251)

The 360 supports Windows Media Center streaming AND UPnP. It's just that UPnP is pretty useless when you have your thousands of media files neatly organised into directories - UPnP throws all that away and presents file lists only - no directories. So you rely on having a very-well tagged music library. And STILL you'll be searching for your stuff.

Re:how is this a good thing? (1)

marcop (205587) | more than 5 years ago | (#27728381)

The 360 and Win7 combo isn't as feature rich as XBMC on an original Xbox. The only benefit I can see is that the 360 can support HD content whereas the original Xbox's hardware cannot.

XBMC, an old Xbox, and a NAS with Samaba or SMB and you have a great media setup. I have ripped all my children's DVD's and put them on the NAS for playing directly from XBMC. It boots fast and it's easy to use.

XBMC also does Internet streaming from Youtube. There is even a Hulu plugin that worked for a while until Hulu broke the functionality. For a little while my wife was able to steam some of her favorite shows off of Hulu directly to the TV. The user interface is easy for her to use as well.

The original poster is correct, XBMC is years ahead of what is coming out now. I have been using it for the past 6 years. It has practically every obscure codec out there so you can play practically everything.

Re:how is this a good thing? (1)

Amphetam1ne (1042020) | more than 5 years ago | (#27728401)

It all falls down when you move to HD unfortunately. The original Xbox lacks a digital video output and unfortunately it's poor little 733mhz cpu can't decode H.264/VC1.

I've been migrating all my old Xboxen to small form factor pc's running XBMC for Windows as each of the CRT's in the house has been replaced with a new LCD.

Re:how is this a good thing? (1)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 5 years ago | (#27729737)

I know what you mean. I love running XBMC on my old Xbox, but it just can't handle higher quality videos.

Could you offer any suggestions about setting this up? My Dad has been wanting to set up something similar so that he can purchase a web subscription to Major League Soccer and stream those games to the TV.

I have two main questions. First, can you recommend a particular small form factor pc? Second, how well does such a system function as a general purpose PC? Would a person be able to sit 8-10 feet away with a wireless keyboard and mouse, and comfortably surf the web and use email?

Re:how is this a good thing? (2, Informative)

Amphetam1ne (1042020) | more than 5 years ago | (#27732351)

Mine are set up in ASUS P2-M2A690G Barebones, as at the time they were the only acceptable looking AMD compatable systems with HDMI out. There may be better ones out there now, so go take a look and see what's about. Inside it's running AMD Athlon X2 4800+ / 2x1GB PC6400 / 80GB Seagate Baracuda. It handles the decoding of 720P video just fine through XBMC Windows. The ram and hdd are probably overkill, but halfing the quantities would only have saved me £10, and you never know what things you might want to use a system for in the future.

I mostly use the MCE Remote for input, as it's cheap, good quality and well supported. I've got the basic MS Wireless desktop KB/M combo as well, but they don't work well beyond about 1.5m range and fall off very quickly if not in line of sight. You probably want to look at a good quality Logitech wireless desktop set if you want more range.

On the other box I don't run a keyboard at all, just the Logitech MX-Air, which is awsome but very expensive for a mouse. In the rare cases that I do need to type on it, I use the on-screen keyboard from accessability options.

While these boxes will serve as general purpose PC's if required, I'd try and keep them as clean as possible so that you can have better startup times and less chance of TSRs and services suddenly trying to do somthing while you're watching a show and causing stuttering or hitching in the playback.

I don't know any specifics about the subscription service that you'd want to use, but most likely it's either fully web plugin based, or uses a propriatory player. Either way it's doubtfull that you could access it directly from XBMC, although there are python scripts that will let you run external programs from inside XBMC which you could make use of.

Hope that helps.

Re:how is this a good thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27728987)

Or you could just share your videos via samba and watch them with SMS on the Playstation 2 - this has worked great for years.

The fact that this is news shows exactly how broken closed source platforms are. The only reason this is not already possible is because you are not in contol of hardware that you own.

Totally useless without transcoding (1)

raynet (51803) | more than 5 years ago | (#27727391)

I hope they add transcoding (perhaps hardware accelerated) because without it, streaming various formats is very trouble some.

Currently I am using PMS (PS3 Media Server for Win/Mac/Linux http://ps3mediaserver.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com] ) to watch movies on my PS3 and there is minimal quality from transcoding as PMS can create 70+Mbps MPEG2 streams on the fly. Only thing it current is missing is ability to playback ripped DVDs.

Re:Totally useless without transcoding (1)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 5 years ago | (#27728591)

PMS can create 70+Mbps MPEG2 streams on the fly

Yeah, but sadly, the PS3's wifi can't handle that, and mine's not in a place where I can run a wired connection. I also like PMS, and it works quite well, but for HD stuff I still mostly use sneakernet. Eventually I'll get Tomato or DD-WRT installed on my Linksys router and try booting the signal a little, see if that helps the wifi speed.

Matroska and ASS Subs? (2, Insightful)

mcnazar (1231382) | more than 5 years ago | (#27727523)

What about MKV containers and ASS subtitles. I bet it can't handle those or if it does, it renders these crappily.

No thanks! I'll stick to my chipped XBox server running Samba on Gentoo and my other chipped Xbox running XBMC.

This setup worked better in 2005 than Microsoft's current offering.

Re:Matroska and ASS Subs? (1)

Torp (199297) | more than 5 years ago | (#27727547)

Or MKV with any subtitles for that matter. If it only plays back WMV crap, it's useless.

Re:Matroska and ASS Subs? (0, Troll)

FictionPimp (712802) | more than 5 years ago | (#27728449)

I've often thought it was a conspiracy that all pirate downloads for HD content are in MKV. It's not like you cant do high def content in containers that all major consoles will play.

All pirate downloads seem to not work with apple tv's, 360's, or ps3's out of the "box" so to speak. Yet when I transcode my own video's I can easily pick a format that any of those 3 will play.

In fact, I've straight up associated in my mind mkv files with piracy.

Re:Matroska and ASS Subs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27729123)

I think its mostly like audiophiles. Most of us are fine with 128kbps mp3s on shitty headphones.

The elitists see mkv as a better container format and have adopted it.

Of course better is relative. Is mkv widely supported, no. Are the tools for demuxing it easy to use and configure, no.

Can I stream it to my 360 or PS3 (or insert whatever set box you're using) natively. No.

So, not better for me. Not better for most people.

Re:Matroska and ASS Subs? (0, Troll)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 5 years ago | (#27729887)

If pirates used MP4 containers, they couldn't complain anymore. IMHO they don't want their stuff to work on the commercial boxes, thay way they can proclaim how superior their setupfoo is.

Re:Matroska and ASS Subs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27730599)

MKV is simply superior to avi or mp4. It's an open specification, and it can have many audio streams (such as many different languages), chapters, etc. It could be used to provide full DVD/BD experience.

On my side I am happy that the pirates chose such a good container for once. I use XBMC on my Xbox, or VLC on a real computer to play them.

Xbox 360 and PS3 should support MKV if they want to be usefull as media players. But at least they can play games. Apple TV is just useless without MKV support, but I didn't plan to buy one anyways.
We, as customers, should promote the use of open standards such as MKV with our wallets if we care about interropability.

Re:Matroska and ASS Subs? (1)

FictionPimp (712802) | more than 5 years ago | (#27730701)

So what do you buy that says "Hey, I love mkv support"?

I didn't buy my ps3 to stream movies, that is just a bonus. Same with the 360.

I can't think of a device I would buy to just stream movies, and I can't think of one that has mkv support naively.

I'd probably build a computer and stick linux on it if I was looking for something like this.

Re:Matroska and ASS Subs? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27727983)

Nobody really gives a fuck about MKV except faggots who love their anime tentacle porn.

Re:Matroska and ASS Subs? (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 5 years ago | (#27728599)

But how do you watch HD .mkv's on XBMC? I've never had any luck running anything 720p or above.

Re:Matroska and ASS Subs? (1)

mcnazar (1231382) | more than 5 years ago | (#27729233)

Like you said, the XBox's CPU (a Celeron 600MHZ) is not capable of running an MKV which contain x264 video encoded on anything higher than 720p.

Fortunately, XBMC is also available for both Linux, AppleTV and the Apple Mini.

The Linux editionof XBMC (and I think the Apple version) comes with the bonus that ASS subs are rendered correctly (i.e. as styled in the Subs).

I'm just waiting to find a good Linux supported HD video capture card before I build my new Linux PVR.

Worst acronym ever... (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#27729597)

What about [...] ASS subtitles.

That has got to be the shittiest acronym ever! I wonder who would approve of it; you know, who would get behind it.

Any experience using OpenBSD to serve XBOX360? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27727767)

Yes, a Windows 7 streaming server is fine, but I don't have any Windows PCs at home. Amazing timing of this article actually - I've just run CAT5e cable throughout the house and got everthing connected, and had begun researching my options for getting my XBOX360 to use media files from my OpenBSD server. Has anyone done this?

I found a related thread on misc@ [marc.info] which did not provide a solution, but I contacted the thread's original author and he has still not found a solution.

What the... (1)

Shrike82 (1471633) | more than 5 years ago | (#27727901)

Since when has anyone had to "trick" their PC into streaming to their Xbox? Put the videos somewhere that Media Player can see them, set up the Xbox as a media extender and you can watch them on your XBox as long as your PC is online.

Installing REG files? Does TFA author have any idea what they're talking about or did I suffer a head injury and forgot this part of getting my movies on the XBox?

Re:What the... (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27728159)

I was wondering the same.

Installing reg files to stream to my XBox 360 is not something I've ever had to do, it has always just worked.

Oh so it will support Matroska .MKV? I doubt that. (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 5 years ago | (#27727977)

I doubt we will see it support Matroska .MKV files. I'm sure they want everyone to use WMV.

I'm not sure if i'm a fan of .MKV but the asian films I watch are mostly in mkv format. Its probably because of subtitles. Will windows 7 start supporting .srt files? I doubt it. I doubt it will support MKV.

I'm sure Tversity... or even better, PS3 Media Server, will still be required unfortunately.

Of course SONY could solve this issue by supporting codecs/containers better but i doubt that it is in their interest.

Re:Oh so it will support Matroska .MKV? I doubt th (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#27728241)

Did you even read the article? The whole point is that Windows 7 supports more formats than it used to, although MKV is not one of them . As far as Sony goes, they've been increasing support for file formats and containers from the outset, so whether it's in their interest or not, they've been doing what you want.

Re:Oh so it will support Matroska .MKV? I doubt th (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 5 years ago | (#27728425)

Sony is slow at doing EVERYTHING.

Windows 7 supporting divx/xvid is no big deal. Its a little too late thing and thats the point.

Still no MKV support.

Will windows 7 support the latest divx spec or will it be behind just like the 360 and PS3's divx support?

The latest divx atleast supports mkv containers and subs.

The real solution is.... (4, Insightful)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 5 years ago | (#27728025)

The real solution is simple do not use consoles for viewing media. Use a PC.

Build yourself nice small PC with some horse power and HDMI out. Network it to a storage server and play every dam media format available easily.

I dont know why we keep trying to stream stuff to game consoles. I'm guilty of it as well, but why turn a console into a PC when we already have PCs capable of far more, with more freedom and less headaches?

Its the fault of the console makers really. They want to let you do somethings, but they really dont want you to do other things :)

Sony could have done far better, even though its fairly good at what it does. It still cant play DVD's with regions outside of yours. It still cant play MKV, it still has poor MP4 support.

Its just not going to happen. Build a small PC and use it for watching media.

Re:The real solution is.... (2)

Blimey85 (609949) | more than 5 years ago | (#27728069)

Give me the $$ needed and I'll build myself a pc for playing my media. Until then, I'll use the xbox 360's I already have in various rooms to stream my media. Oh wait, you'll need to give me $$ to build 3 pc's because I currently have and stream to 3 xbox 360's.

And wait again because I just realized I don't really want yet another device in these rooms, especially not one that could get viruses or have other problems. Sure my 360's can get the RROD or crap out for some other reason but I already have them and they work just fine right now. Why add yet another device to the loop when I already have something that works?

Maybe it's just me and what I watch but I don't have any problem with streaming. I'm using TVersity, Grid something or other, and PlayOn to stream from one of my pc's to the network. I can watch stuff on my pc's, Revision3 (DiggNation, Totally Rad Show), stuff on Hulu, NetFlix, and a bunch of other stuff. I also run SimplifyMedia and stream my audio collection to my iPhone when I'm out and get bored with Pandora.

What you seem to be missing is the current consoles ARE pc's. MS and Sony could both add other codecs and completely remove the need for transcoding and I would love that. Why do I need my computer to transcode videos? For divx the 360 handles it just fine. Why not add support for a bunch of other ones? And maybe that's the plan. Maybe that is how Windows 7 will handle streaming... you'll install an update for your 360 that will allow it to stream a lot more formats without any transcoding. That would be pretty sweet.

Re:The real solution is.... (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 5 years ago | (#27728399)

"What you seem to be missing is the current consoles ARE pc's"

If your 360 is a PC, show me how to browse the internet on your 360? Ok you can browse the internet on the PS3 but its painful.

They COULD be PCs, but they are not. They're not even close. They're strictly limited in format support and functioanlity. They're designed to deliver you content with microsoft and sony's approval

I agree it would be IDEAL to easily stream to these things without transcoding etc... but Microsoft and Sony do not make it so.

Yes, the 360 and PS3 handle divx... divx3 and 5. They're not up to date with current divx which now plays MKV and subtitles.

Neither console can play MKV files.

MP4 support on PS3 is pretty strict and only supports certain MP4 streams.

PS3 will not play Pal DVDs. Xbox 360 does.

Microsoft will never openly support formats they find competitive.

Consoles COULD be really good at playing media and to some extent they can, as you have pointed out... however they fall short and become a headache when you want to see something not supported.

Re:The real solution is.... (1)

Astronomerguy (1541977) | more than 5 years ago | (#27728851)

"They COULD be PCs, but they are not. They're not even close. They're strictly limited in format support and functioanlity. They're designed to deliver you content with microsoft and sony's approval" YellowDog Linux runs just fine on My PS3. Sony even helpfully has a built-in feature to let you install and run other OS's. Surfing the web, reading PDF's, watching video content, printing, listening to music is quite nice on my PS3 and large LCD TV. (shrugs)

Re:The real solution is.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27731963)

I agree with your solution, Chan.

I've tried setting up transcoding/streaming servers to my 360 and PS3 for years now, and there have always been headaches in some form or another:

  - formats that my streaming server thinks the console supports but doesn't, resulting in "can't play media file" (fixed with manually tweaking .ini files to force specific files to transcode)
  - problems with fast-forward/reverse, leading to previous error message
  - problems streaming flash videos (youtube, etc.) on the fly

Finally, I moved to an area where my TV can be connected to my PC, and all my headaches went away.

Once you have a PC connected directly to the TV, you can play anything. No transcoding/loss of quality. The only prohibitive attribute is the cost

Re:The real solution is.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27729073)

The cost of a "media PC" matches that of a 360, while providing additional options. You're listing a dozen different pieces of software.

Here's a resolution: Media Player Classic. DONE! Although sure, current consoles "are PCs," but to really compare the versatility and functionality of a 360 to a $400 PC is absurd.

Re:The real solution is.... (5, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27728107)

It's been said before but I guess I'll say it again. I already have a DVD player, Game console, digital cable box, and surround sound receiver sitting by my TV. I don't want yet another box sitting there, when one of the current ones has all the physical capabilities to perform this task. All we need is software

My game console is the Wii. Which is the weakest of the current gen systems. Using homebrew, I'm able to watch videos. It works great. There's some movies that don't play, either because of encoding errors, or unsupported codecs, and network is a little slow, but on the whole it works pretty good. If there was commercial software product that "just worked" and provided this functionality, I would be one of the first to buy it. I will get around to building a media centre box sometime, but until then we should at least let the boxes do what we all know they are capable of.

Re:The real solution is.... (1)

Yosho (135835) | more than 5 years ago | (#27728363)

Build yourself nice small PC with some horse power and HDMI out. Network it to a storage server and play every dam media format available easily.

Please, show me the part list for a small form-factor PC that can play 1080p video and costs less than an Xbox 360.

Re:The real solution is.... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#27728637)

Show me a Xbox360 that can play 1080p. I have yet to be able to get a real 1080p video displayed out of a xbox360 and streaming video from the useless WMP11 client or other Upnp server.

Re:The real solution is.... (1)

FictionPimp (712802) | more than 5 years ago | (#27728477)

I've toyed with the idea, but ultimately I keep deciding against a pc in the livingroom.

I already have a 360, ps3, wii, Uverse 2wire box, Uverse DVR box, wireless router (the Uverse box does not do wireless N), and a UPS (for the uverse phone) all in my tv stand. I really don't want anything else there.

Both the 360 and the ps3 are powerful enough to do the job. There is no reason they can't.

Re:The real solution is.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27728813)

PS3 media server lets you stream mkv's to your ps3 at 1080p and will do subtitles just fine. You do need a beefy machine and lots of network to do so.

Anyone using a ps3 *needs* to have this software.

http://ps3mediaserver.blogspot.com/

Re:The real solution is.... (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#27729169)

I dont know why we keep trying to stream stuff to game consoles. I'm guilty of it as well, but why turn a console into a PC when we already have PCs capable of far more, with more freedom and less headaches?

Why pay for enough horsepower to rival a small PC and then pay for another small PC to do what the first chunk of hardware could do itself if only the console manufacturers didn't build walled gardens?

I think the console makers aren't just shooting themselves in the foot but fucking themselves up their own asses. They could make a killing by creating a new model for people to get used to, console as not only game machine but general PC. I suppose that Microsoft's biggest fear is that people will run miro or bittorrent to pull down content instead of paying a bajillionty bucks buying through their console store. And God forbid if they go to Youtube or Hulu to watch.

Re:The real solution is.... (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 5 years ago | (#27729741)

Build yourself nice small PC with some horse power and HDMI out.

Microsoft already did that. It's called the XBox 360 Elite. It's been streaming media from my old Mac for some time now.

Why is this useful? (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 5 years ago | (#27728047)

I have a media center computer hooked up to the big screen for that, why would I care what a console can do with media files?

Re:Why is this useful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27728265)

No-one said that you personally have to care about it. Given a choice between watching a film on a 21" PC monitor or on a large 38" HDTV in the living room I would imagine most people would choose the latter.

Server build? (1)

MrZaius (321037) | more than 5 years ago | (#27728133)

Nice as it is to have this on your desktop, I'd much rather have decend UPNP/DLNS/whatever on my NAS.

Does this have any ramifications for the server build? Better yet, are there any BSD or OpenSolaris with similar functionality out of the box that'd give you ZFS capabilities?

On the Mac. (1)

ernest.cunningham (972490) | more than 5 years ago | (#27728255)

I use Connect360 and MediaLink from Nullriver to stream from my Mac to my Xbox 360 and PS3. Works great so I dont see all the fuss when everybody been doing for years what Windows 7 is allowing (one way or another) so meh. Theres a cheap easy solution for whatever platform you running (Linux, Windows XP/Vista or Mac OS X) already available so go out and get it.

ps3mediaserver (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27728389)

http://code.google.com/p/ps3mediaserver

Cross-platform java app also works with 360 despite name.

This has been the most hassle free mediaserver I've come across so far. Does a fine job with native and non-native formats without excessive configuration changes.

WMC? (1)

Kelz (611260) | more than 5 years ago | (#27730509)

How about adding Windows Media Center support for the PS3? Its the only reason I turn my 360 on anymore. I believe I've just answered my own question.

WDTV (1)

jnmontario (865369) | more than 5 years ago | (#27731145)

I'm hoping it will stream easily at speeds approaching that of NFS to devices like the WDTV. Right now I'm streaming 720p over a windows samba share, but it sure would be nice to have built-in faster transfers at speeds that would allow HD content to stream to the devices that can decode it on the fly.
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