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Xbox Spring Update To Offer Codecs, MSN Messenger

CmdrTaco posted about 7 years ago | from the might-be-able-to-retire-my-xbox-180 dept.

XBox (Games) 207

adachan writes "It seems that Microsoft has decided to add Xvid playback into the upcoming Spring Xbox 360 dashboard update. Xbox.com has a list of all the upcoming enhancements to the dash. The playback of video using H.264 and mpeg4 codecs seems to be the biggest news for those using the system as a media extender. If this is indeed true, my Xbox Media Center will be used less and less." Update: 04/09 17:29 GMT by Z : MSN Messenger is kinda interesting as well. Several sites are reporting that instant messenging is being added to the Xbox Live experience, with a USB keyboard controller attachment to be offered sometime in the near future.

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207 comments

external drives (4, Insightful)

donour (445617) | about 7 years ago | (#18665191)

The real question is whether I can play vidoes from an external drive, such as an iPod. Survey says...no. :(

Re:external drives (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18665237)

See!! EVERYONE IS COPYING NINTENDO!!!!
The wii had mpeg4 support first!!!

-E2K

Re:external drives (0, Offtopic)

7Prime (871679) | about 7 years ago | (#18665311)

If they would only make a downloadable firmware update that would allow for commercial DVD playback :( I'd gladly pay the $20-$30 licensing fees for DVD playback with the Wiimote! Well, this summer Nintendo's going to release their DVD playback capability. Still up in the air as to whether this will require a firmware update, a hardware upgrade, or only be available on newer systems. I'm putting my money on a firmware update, since, technically, the current Wiis have all the hardware neccessary for playing DVDs. But maybe I'm just being too optimistic.

Re:external drives (2, Interesting)

MBCook (132727) | about 7 years ago | (#18665609)

It should be firmware only. Even the XBox was powerful enough that it should have been able to play DVDs without the help of hardware. At this point, I think all the consoles actually have hardware assisted DVD playback features (like MPEG2 decoding or other helpful little bits). The 'Cube could play DVD quality video, there is no doubt in my mind that the Wii should be able to play it without hardware additions.

Re:external drives (1)

7Prime (871679) | about 7 years ago | (#18666423)

Seeing as though the Wiis game discs are DVDs, and they use the same audio and video codecs, I don't see why not. The reason, I heard, that they didn't allow DVD playback at launch was because licensing fees would have required that they jack up the price of the console by about $20, which they thought was kinda unncessary. I would agree with their decission, if I had the option of paying that fee on my own, as an upgradable addon.

Unfortunately, the rumors coming out of Nintendo have been conflicting. From the way they are talking, it sounds like they are launching a Wii2.0 system in Japan this summer, which includes DVD playback, yet the company that they've been dealing with, exclusively, on this front is a software company, suggesting that there is no hardware update at all.

It makes no sense that they would leave their early adopters in the dust so quickly, it's not like Nintendo to do so. I have a feeling that they have a strategy, and won't just ignore those of us who were eager enough to jump on board, it just doesn't fit with their style of operation, up until now. It's simply a bit disconcerting that they have let on that their will be a Wii DVD version, but no news of an upgrade. It may just be that licensing agreements prohibit them from saying anything until the deal is finalized.

If you have a Zune it works great. (2, Informative)

MSFanBoi2 (930319) | about 7 years ago | (#18665277)

Sure you can, it works fine with my Zune. The Zune supports Xbox 360 playback of music, photo's and video...

And it works great.

Re:If you have a Zune it works great. (-1, Troll)

thepotoo (829391) | about 7 years ago | (#18665633)

It works great, you say? Gee, all that bad press about the Zune must all be FUD. Now, I'll just have to go out and buy half a dozen Zunes (or is it Zunii?).
Thanks, MSFanBoi2! Your objectivity in this matter allows me to support Microsoft with joy!

This post brought to you by Slashbot #829391.

Re:If you have a Zune it works great. (5, Funny)

Afrosheen (42464) | about 7 years ago | (#18666005)

Holy crap, you mean someone bought a Zune?

Slashdot never ceases to amaze me.

Re:If you have a Zune it works great. (4, Insightful)

radish (98371) | about 7 years ago | (#18666253)

Ahh, the usual anti-Zune flame. What I don't understand is what exactly is wrong with a Zune? From what I can tell, the only things I see people marking it down for are either subjective (don't like the color, doesn't work with iTunes) or unique features which don't work as well as they could (wifi). In terms of core features (sync with music collection, playback, etc) it seems fine (recently fixed playback bugs notwithstanding). Let me put it this way, if they released an 80gb Zune I'd probably buy it. I think they look better than iPods (my preference, you don't have to agree), I find the controls much easier to use than the scroll wheel (likewise, personal preference) and if I could live in a world entirely free of iTunes I'd be a happier person. So sure, it could be better, but I don't see why all the childish mocking is justified.

Re:If you have a Zune it works great. (1)

Afrosheen (42464) | about 7 years ago | (#18666407)

Childish mocking? I'm just saying..they didn't sell, it's extremely rare to come across anyone on any forum that says they bought a Zune. If I were mocking I'd throw in something about 'squirt' technology and aids or something.

Re:external drives (2, Interesting)

ffejie (779512) | about 7 years ago | (#18666147)

Do what I did, get a Ma href="http://www.qnap.com.tw/pro_detail_feature.as p?p_id=67">QNAP TS-101. It supports UPnP which the Xbox 360 also supports. I had to convert my movies to WMV, but with this update, looks like I can use a couple of different formats. I've got a great setup now, all the Seinfeld, Entourage, Arrested Development, Office and SATC episodes. All at the click of a button! Took a while to convert to WMV, but it works.

Disclaimer: I don't work for QNAP, but I do work for a company that competes with their products, even though it's not my part of the business. If that's not a solid endorsement, I don't know what is.

AppleTV? (1, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 7 years ago | (#18665243)

Perhaps I'm stating the obvious, but this seems like a move for Microsoft to compete with AppleTV, considering the main reason xvid exists is for the online distribution of movies. Perhaps we'll start seeing Microsoft offering for sale downloads of movies in xvid format?

Re:AppleTV? (5, Informative)

MSFanBoi2 (930319) | about 7 years ago | (#18665319)

Um, you got that the other way around. Microsoft was in the market with the Xbox 360 well before the AppleTV. Microsoft offered movie downloads far before Apple did with the AppleTV.

Will it stream xvid and h.264? (2, Informative)

namityadav (989838) | about 7 years ago | (#18665357)

I didn't see xvid or h.264 mentioned anywhere in the link, but even if they did support xvid and h.264 playback, that doesn't mean supporting these formats in streaming. Note that Xbox 360 supports only WMV and Mpeg2 streaming (The later, only through Media Center).

Without the support for streaming, the only other option for someone trying to turn an Xbox 360 into a media center will be to use an external hard drive via USB. That's not an ideal solution because (a) the hard drive will need to be Fat32 - What do you do about your high-def files that are 4GB+? (b) The front-end for an external hard-drive based videos is no where as good as that of a Media Center or Myth TV.

Re:Will it stream xvid and h.264? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | about 7 years ago | (#18665417)

I saw h.264 and mpeg mentioned in the last list at the bottom of the article. I didn't see anything about Xvid, though. I would be very surprised if they offered Xvid or Divx support, considering how these are widely seen as "pirate" formats. Would be nice, though.

Re:Will it stream xvid and h.264? (2, Informative)

Aladrin (926209) | about 7 years ago | (#18665425)

# H.264 video support: Up to 15 Mbps, Baseline, Main, and High (up to level 4.1) Profiles with 2 channel AAC LC and Main Profiles.
# Added MPEG-4 Part 2 video support: Up to 8 Mbps, Simple Profile with 2 channel AAC LC and Main Profiles.

The only mentions of streaming are for wmv protected content... The rest was already streamed, so I'm going to -assume- everything is streamable now.

Re:Will it stream xvid and h.264? (2, Interesting)

BLKMGK (34057) | about 7 years ago | (#18665543)

Check out this software -> http://www.orb.com/gamers/xbox.htm/ [orb.com]

I haven't tried streaming with my 360 nor have UI got the latest firmware - I'm hoping to hack it. However a friend who is up to date claims that this makes his 360 a damned good computer for a home theater. I personally want unsigned code and XBMC on the 360 but that looks to be awful far away right now....

kill that trailing slash (1)

BLKMGK (34057) | about 7 years ago | (#18665587)

What I get for not previewing - link works but looks like ass unless you remove that last trailing slash. Sorry about that! Looks like they support the Wii and PS3 too....

Re:Will it stream xvid and h.264? (5, Informative)

twistedsymphony (956982) | about 7 years ago | (#18665575)

That's because it's not mentioned there... the summary is just assuming that MPEG-4 means support for all MPEG-4 codecs... I highly doubt we'll see Xvid. h.264 is actually mentioned specifically though. This is all the press release has to say about video:

* H.264 video support: Up to 15 Mbps, Baseline, Main, and High (up to level 4.1) Profiles with 2 channel AAC LC and Main Profiles.

* Added MPEG-4 Part 2 video support: Up to 8 Mbps, Simple Profile with 2 channel AAC LC and Main Profiles.
AFAIK Xvid uses the "Advanced Simple Profile" (ASP) flavor of MPEG-4... not the "Simple Profile" (SP) that will be supported by the update. Most of the worthwhile MPEG-4 based codecs use ASP... SP is typically reserved for really tight compression scenarios like cellphones, iPods and PSPs.

Re:AppleTV? (3, Interesting)

Rude Turnip (49495) | about 7 years ago | (#18665411)

From everything I've read, it's not hard to compete with Apple TV given the video quality issues. I ordered an Apple TV and sent it back. Now, I rip DVD's from Netflix, keep them on my Media Center (Vista) system and stream it all to my Xbox 360. Adding xvid support to the 360 will make life a little easier because right now a movie in MPEG format takes about 2-3 gigs of HD space...using DVD Shrink and VOB2MPG. Transcode 360 simply wasn't working with Vista, so I welcome native xvid support.

Re:AppleTV? (2, Insightful)

Have Blue (616) | about 7 years ago | (#18666129)

Leaving Apple with just the tiny advantage of being entirely legal.

Re:AppleTV? (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | about 7 years ago | (#18666227)

Not really. The same thing can be done with DVD's for Apple TV, using Handbrake. The Akimbo TV on-demand service for Media Center at $10 bucks a month is also much cheaper than $2 per show from Apple. I'm a huge Apple fan, I'm writing this on my MB Pro and I have an iPod, but Media Center + Xbox 360 + Akimbo wins for televisual entertainment.

Re:AppleTV? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18666351)

Why is it that all the Linux people steal?

Re:AppleTV? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18666429)

Cool, John Varga of valdot.org. I'm sure the MPAA will be thrilled to hear this.
Stand by for slashdot subpoenas in 3-2-...

Re:AppleTV? (1, Troll)

Civil_Disobedient (261825) | about 7 years ago | (#18665429)

Perhaps we'll start seeing Microsoft offering for sale downloads of movies in xvid format?

Don't count on it. You think Vista would be such a DRM-infested pile of turd if Microsoft was thinking of heading in that direction? No, what's more likely is that by supporting an open codec like XVID, Microsoft gains automatic, free compatibility with all the other media players that don't want to play Apple's or DiVX's proprietary-codec game (think: Archos, Cowon, etc). The only proprietary that Microsoft will allow is MS-Proprietary.

Re:AppleTV? (2, Interesting)

Aphrika (756248) | about 7 years ago | (#18665523)

Well, you could look at it that way as historically Windows Media Extender boxes - which is what the Xbox 360 essentially is - have been around since the first release of Windows Media Center and as far as I can remember, they've always been able to play videos from the host PC. In that respect, the AppleTV/Front Row combo is Apple's response to the Media Extender/MediaCenter kit from Microsoft, although they got there first with movie and TV downloads.

Needless to say, as MS have one of the best online systems in the shape of xBox Live, it makes sense for them to distribute buyable media content through it. Since the 360 was released, you've been able to get some trailers and stuff, but they haven't been consistent in coming or impressive in scope. I've always wondered why they didn't make anything more of this ability, but I guess one reason was the crippling 20GB optional drive.

With the imminent release of the Live service for Windows owners for gaming, I think that it has the potential to be Microsoft's answer to the iTunes Music Store and more. Once PCs get access to Live, you're looking at much increased storage on client machines and also teh ability to stream that to the 360 - a lá AppleTV. If - and I say if - they can pull off the integration of online gaming, chat, media downloads with their combined MediaCenter (I suppose Vista too), 360, Zune (bleh!) platform, then Apple are going to have some serious problems on their hands, especially from the console/games perspective.

With the release of the AppleTV, I guess we might see a cut down 360-type device that has the same kind of functions. Based on the current 360 price, I'd wager that it'd undercut the AppleTV by a considerable amount too.

Kinda cool really - technology in the front room has suddenly got a whole lot more interesting...

Re:AppleTV? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18666389)

Actually, You could have downloaded movies from CinemaNow (or whatever it was called) from the early Media Center days. Sure, it took forever and you couldn't keep it long. But you did have that option.

Consider it an early, evolutionary step.

Not wireless, not competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18665717)

There is no wireless/wifi, how is this competition? Who wants to hook up an ethernet cable and run it across the room/living room etc. to the computer?

Me thinks Microsoft has no vision.

Key difference between MSFT and Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18665791)

I have noticed that Microsoft doesn't come up with anything that users don't ask for. It seems Microsoft waits for a certain critical mass of people to ask for it, and then someone else to be in the market, and only then will they go after the market in the second most arrogant manner possible (first place prize on that goes to Sony).

Innovative companies such as Apple or Google actually figure out what users will want and provide it.

Re:Key difference between MSFT and Apple (1)

heinousjay (683506) | about 7 years ago | (#18666087)

You're close, except the truth is subtly different: Apple tells the user what they want (6 buttons on my remote? WTF?) and the fans agree wholeheartedly, lambasting anyone who dares to differ.

Re:AppleTV? (2, Informative)

dioscaido (541037) | about 7 years ago | (#18665923)

Xbox Live (for the 360) has been selling HD movies and TV shows for quite a while, in WMV format.

Re:AppleTV? (1)

justinlindh (1016121) | about 7 years ago | (#18665931)

While I'm a big fan of XViD encoded media, a substantial portion of my collection is in DiVX. If I understand things correctly, DiVX is a proprietary format and therefore a royalty would need to be paid (a la Fraunhofer MP3 codecs) in order to support it (please correct me if I'm wrong). This leads me to doubt that the update will allow DiVX support. If Microsoft were smart, they would use the Marketplace to license various royalty based codecs. I'd gladly pay a few bucks to get DiVX support on my 360.

In your face Sony! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18665257)

As a PS3 owner, I hope this lays down the gauntlet to Sony. Currently the PS3 is pretty pathetic as a media hub despite having oodles of grunt available.

I'm genuinely please for the 360 owners out there and hope this is the real deal, and not one of those bastardized "supported" claims that are largely useless, only working with the entry level of the format (the PS3 also claims to have xvid support).

Re:In your face Sony! (2, Informative)

fistfullast33l (819270) | about 7 years ago | (#18665329)

Umm, the PS3 already does H.264 [ign.com] . It's only xvid that it doesn't do, to my knowledge.

It does need a better interface for media libraries though. At least the PSP allows you to create playlists on your memory cards (by creating boxes/folders when you load your music from your PC). The PS3 is pretty annoying in terms of music playback. Video playback isn't too bad, though. No playlist control there either, to my knowledge.

Re:In your face Sony! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18665623)

The PS3 H.264 support is extremely fussy. Just look at the tools that do transcoding and their forums and mailing lists. They're full of problems getting the PS3 to play H.264. Currently the best method it to use an Apple TV preset profile, but you can kiss goodbye to any surround sound, and be left with stereo only.

The PS3 is also finicky about the container, and certainly won't play any of the H.264 files you can find online, TV shows etc. You cannot simple passthrough the streams and write a new container header.

The PS3 doesn't support Baseline, Main, and High profiles. I believe it's limited to Main only.

The article doesn't mention xvid or vidx, so the 360 still offers less than the old xbox with XBMC. It's a shame the original xbox doesn't have the processing power to cope with HD, because nothing comes close to matching its functionality as a media hub compared to the newer consoles or Apple TV.

H.264 (-1, Troll)

Miguel de Icaza (660439) | about 7 years ago | (#18665267)

H.264 and xvid - whoa! thats some innovative shit. Remember back in the day playing SNES thinking 'if only my snes was less about games and more like my vcr'. goMicrosoft! Nuke those yellow bastards!

plz, grow up ... consoles r fer kids (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18665353)

not only that, wots worse matey is they're proprietary

which in my lexicon is the real word fer piracy

Sounds like (0, Troll)

wiredog (43288) | about 7 years ago | (#18665355)

The AppleTV has them worried.

Re:Sounds like (1)

bealzabobs_youruncle (971430) | about 7 years ago | (#18665503)

Worried about what? The AppleTV has poor video quality, limited content and a no sign of HD content on the way. Live Marketplace already has more a decent amount of real HD (downloads available in 720p and 480p are the norm) content with more on the way. Combine that with the best gaming solution in the console space and an optional HD-DVD add on and it is clear that Apple has an uphill battle at best.

Re:Sounds like (1)

uolamer (957159) | about 7 years ago | (#18665987)

he might be referring to all the hacks for the Apple TV. They put their own codecs on it a while back, namely xvid. (little off topic but they have it running full OSX already even). I might not have to install linux on it after all to play my tv shows/movies.. depending on what kind of lame way it connects to other pcs..

Do Xbox users listen to music? (3, Interesting)

Dster76 (877693) | about 7 years ago | (#18665363)

I was glad to hear that the new dashboard update will enable all kinds of extra gizmos for navigating through videos.

Still no sign that the update will enable fast forward and rewind in audio tracks.

What year is this?

Re:Do Xbox users listen to music? (1)

peragrin (659227) | about 7 years ago | (#18665865)

>>Still no sign that the update will enable fast forward and rewind in audio tracks.

sorry but the DRM requirements prevent you from rewinding, or fast forwarding through a song. you must listen to it all.

Re:Do Xbox users listen to music? (1, Informative)

spectecjr (31235) | about 7 years ago | (#18665913)

Still no sign that the update will enable fast forward and rewind in audio tracks.

What year is this?


Weird. Works fine for me. Just hold down Next Track in the guide instead of tapping it, and it'll fast forward.

Si

Re:Do Xbox users listen to music? (1)

Caffeinate (1031648) | about 7 years ago | (#18666061)

Actually, yes we do. Usually however we listen to the full song, so that's really not an issue.

(Sorry for the sarcastic response, it just came so naturally. In truth, I'd never even noticed that there wasn't a FF/rewind button in the Media Player - as sarcastic as my response was, it is the truth).

Transcode (3, Interesting)

Aladrin (926209) | about 7 years ago | (#18665367)

There was already free transcode software out there, but that requires going into a submenu on the 360 and requesting the transcode, instead of just having it play. It also offloads the transcode to the PC, making it work as well as making the 360 decode and play it.

This is obviously much better, but doesn't actually make anything possible that wasn't before.

There's other updates that interest me, as well, though.

Windows Live Messenger: Why the fsck didn't they do this from the start? It just makes too much sense.

"A richer Achievement notification pop-up will showcase the name of the unlocked Achievement and the gamerscore value without needing to leave the game to check the Achievements list." Nice. I almost always went to check out what it was I'd done.

Should be a nice update.

Re:Transcode (1)

Realistic_Dragon (655151) | about 7 years ago | (#18665909)

Windows Live Messenger: Why the fsck didn't they do this from the start? It just makes too much sense.

Maybe they were afraid that the EU would fine them another $1m per day?

I have no idea how they are getting away with the Xbox since it now consists of
  • A way to crush OpenGL (direct X development for their console and their os when no one else can influence what happens on their console)
  • A way to crush xfire et al (MS only game matchmaking service when no one else can influence alternatives for the xbox)
  • New feature! A way to lock up the IM market (MS only IM service where no one else can offer alternatives for the xbox)

Look out for, comming soon, the totally free market principle preserving Microsoft Video Service (share between your Zune, Xbox and Windows running laptop)! It's like the Office/Windows lock in... for the home!

Re:Transcode (1)

webrunner (108849) | about 7 years ago | (#18665989)

They already have that- Zune software and Media Center can stream/send video to a 360.

Re:Transcode (1)

Realistic_Dragon (655151) | about 7 years ago | (#18666071)

They already have that- Zune software and Media Center can stream/send video to a 360.

Phew, I thought for a minute that the EU was actually going to have to pay for it's daily biscuit budget out of taxes for a moment. Much easier when they can just tax Microsoft for the cash following another blatant monopoly abuse :)

Re:Transcode (1)

radish (98371) | about 7 years ago | (#18666531)

What on earth are you on about? Last time I checked MS were very far indeed from having a monopoly in the game console market. The EU rulings (and US ones before that) are about MS illegally leveraging their desktop OS monopoly and using it to strong arm their way into other markets (e.g. browsers). Given that they are a minority player in the console market these are just competitive features they're adding to their products in the exact same way other manufacturers do.

A way to crush OpenGL (direct X development for their console and their os when no one else can influence what happens on their console)

News flash - ALL console manufacturers exert 100% control over what software is available for their platforms. You cannot release a game on the PS2, PS3, NGC, Wii, Xbox or Xbox 360 without getting licensed by the appropriate manufacturer. Likewise, the devkits, APIs etc are supplied by those manufacturers. The console arena is not (and hasn't been for a long time) anything like an open environment. Don't like it? Stick to PC development. As it happens, MS are doing pretty well in terms of opening things up in a controlled way with the XNA system which allows anyone to write their own apps (in C# typically) which have pretty much full access to the hardware. Sony provide Linux on the PS3 but it's hardware access is heavily limited (no GPU for example) and Nintendo offer no developer access at all outside of official dev kits.

A way to crush xfire et al (MS only game matchmaking service when no one else can influence alternatives for the xbox)

Yup. Want to do online on Xbox? you use XBL. Again, services like xfire are in the PC space, and always have been. They're not being "crushed" - they're just not able to move into a new space (the online consoles).

New feature! A way to lock up the IM market (MS only IM service where no one else can offer alternatives for the xbox)

Seeing as today you can't use any IM on any console (except with things like browser hacks), this is a step forward. Sure you can only use it with MSN, but if the customers don't like that they won't use it. Again, MS are far from having a monopoly in the IM arena, so they can't be accused of abusing it.

I know it's trendy to bash MS for pretty much anything they do (including having a go at Bill for "only" donating $billions to charity) but give it a rest. This release is attempting to give much-requested features to their customers within the constraints of running a business. I'd like to see actual DiVX/Xvid support (no, this release doesn't include it whatever the headline says), and I'm unlikely to ever use the IM support, but I don't see the problem with it being available.

Re:Transcode (1)

Zach978 (98911) | about 7 years ago | (#18666025)

I couldn't find any transcoders for the Xbox 360 that will run on linux. My fileserver is a linux box, seems crazy to have a windows box stream from the linux box and then transcode it to the 360. Luckily I have the Xbox Media Center kicking on the old xbox.

One step forward (1)

dj_tla (1048764) | about 7 years ago | (#18665457)

If Microsoft doesn't want the 360 heavily modded as the original Xbox has been, they just have to let us do what we want to do. Playing downloaded movies is definitely high on that list, and is one of the main reasons I modded my original Xbox; giving us these codecs is definitely a step in the right direction for Microsoft. It really seems like the Xbox team is doing a lot of things right, despite the recent failures MS has been fouling the market with (i.e., Vista). Removing all DRM would be a giant leap forward, though highly unlikely. I don't really know anything about XNA and its limitations, but it seems like another tool that may prove useful. The IM stuff I could really care less about.

But what is up with that controller? Looks like an April Fool's day mockup. My hands hurt already.

Re:One step forward (1)

rob1980 (941751) | about 7 years ago | (#18665653)

I was thinking it looked like one of those Atari Jaguar controllers, but it's definitely April Fools-ish as well.

Meh-dia center more like... (1)

Channard (693317) | about 7 years ago | (#18665459)

.. because that was pretty much my reaction to using it. After streaming movies from my PC to my 360 for a bit I came to the conclusion that I'd better off actually sticking the films on a 2.5 USB powered drive and plugging them into straight into the 360. Which can, as of a few updates ago, play WMV - and presumably after this, other codecs - straight from an external drive. Why? Because I didn't feel particularly good about having my energy hogging PC and 360 on at the same time. True, I could go upstairs and turn my PC on manually but then again I might as well just go to my DVD shelf and get a DVD off and put it in the drive.

Re:Meh-dia center more like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18666281)

Are you serious? An idle PC uses barely more power than a lightbulb.

Re:Meh-dia center more like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18666459)

Launching Media Center from your Xbox 360 will boot your computer if your mobo supports Wake-On-Lan. Of course, you must have XP or Vista MCE installed.

The cycle (4, Funny)

Dancindan84 (1056246) | about 7 years ago | (#18665485)

All they need to do is add Office to it and we're back to having a PC...

Re:The cycle (1)

necro2607 (771790) | about 7 years ago | (#18665597)

Yeah, I was going to say that adding a keyboard like that not only makes the controller seem like one of those horrible oversized cell phones, but at the same time, defeats the purpose of having a 360.

If I wanted to be chatting online I would just use my $1500 PC... The voice chat on 360 is great, but text chat could easily take away that "simple yet effective" kind of feel that the 360 has. I hold a lot of value in the fact that I can just press the power button on the console, sit wherever I want with my wireless controller, and play some games in a few moments.

However, now that the controller will weigh double what it did before and probably feel pretty uncomfortable to use for long periods, well... it's probably not going to be all that enjoyable of an experience.

360 + Windows Messenger (1)

necro2607 (771790) | about 7 years ago | (#18665511)

Cool, but I'm still waiting for them to bring back Xbox Live connectivity in MSN/Windows Messenger... I used to use the MSN "Alerts" feature to see when my buddies would pop online on Xbox Live, without having to leave my Xbox running 24/7.

At the same time, that controller with the built in keyboard is kind of obscene... holy crap! Cue all the second generation of "huge xbox controller" jokes [penny-arcade.com] ... wow... !

Re:360 + Windows Messenger (1)

Saige (53303) | about 7 years ago | (#18665785)

That's not a new controller. It's just an attachment [gamerscoreblog.com] for a controller. So you can just put it on when you need it.

And you'll get the connectivity to messenger that you want - when someone on your friends list signs on to their Xbox 360, you'll see that they're on the 360 and what they're playing.

Automated Trolling System (-1, Troll)

TrollBot1.1 (1086151) | about 7 years ago | (#18665545)

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0WNED by TinyURL (1)

BLKMGK (34057) | about 7 years ago | (#18665613)

Click it and see TinyURL filter his crap! (lol)

Re:0WNED by TinyURL (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18665769)

Thanks for bringing this to our attention. TrollBot1.1 is still in beta, so all feedback is appreciated. We want you to have the best possible experience of being trolled.

- TrollBot1.1 dev team

TVeristy rules (2, Informative)

microbee (682094) | about 7 years ago | (#18665579)

I've been using TVersity to steam videos from my compuater (like a media center but much better). I can play divx xdiv and rmvb. The only drawback is that it cannot rewind.

Re:TVeristy rules (1)

brunascle (994197) | about 7 years ago | (#18665673)

I've been using an S-Video cable to stream videos from my computer. I can play everything my PC can play. The only drawback is I had to pay for the cable.

Too late for IM (0, Troll)

amyhughes (569088) | about 7 years ago | (#18665593)

Coming to the party late, as usual. IM is moving to 3D apps like IMVU, Second Life, There and Sony Home.

Re:Too late for IM (1)

p0tat03 (985078) | about 7 years ago | (#18665779)

Not sure which world you live in. In my world my coworkers, friends, and family all use standard IM clients. In fact I don't know a single person that uses IMVU or Second Life. Most of us prefer to be productive (or actively goofing off doing something else) while we chat.

Re:Too late for IM (1)

DDLKermit007 (911046) | about 7 years ago | (#18666039)

Don't mind him, those kind of people have no idea how to do something else while goofing off. The fine art of multitasking is lost on the younger generation (and I'm only 25!).

Re:Too late for IM (1)

amyhughes (569088) | about 7 years ago | (#18666335)

Ah, I think I ignored a key part of his comment. You can multitask while using a 3D app. I always have a browser, text editor and Photoshop handy while chatting in Second Life, and the TV is mounted right over the computer monitor.

Re:Too late for IM (1)

amyhughes (569088) | about 7 years ago | (#18666215)

Your co-workers will likely never IM you on an X-Box, so lets discount them for a moment. That leaves your friends and family. Since it's an X-box we're talking about, I have to picture them sitting in front of a TV with a keyboard in their lap to IM you. Seem unlikely? Yeah, I thought so, too.

But if they're going to IM you from a game console it will increasingly be from a 3D app. And your PC-IMing friends and family will find their way to current or future 3D apps, too.

Re:Too late for IM (1)

amyhughes (569088) | about 7 years ago | (#18666519)

Most of us prefer to be productive (or actively goofing off doing something else) while we chat.

I failed to address your multi-tasking comment...

You can multitask while using a 3D app. I always have at least a browser, text editor and Photoshop handy while chatting in Second Life, and the TV is mounted right over the computer monitor. I can do my work in Illustrator/Photoshop/Visual Studio while a 3D chat app is running. Chat doesn't get my full attention while working, but, well, I'm working.

Fans of the Second Life "platform" may bristle at the suggestion that it's a chat program, but it was clear to me from the first day I used it that that's what people are using it for.

MPEG4 and H264 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18665607)

After years of pushing their WMV, they finally figure user wants a multiplatform, standards based codec/container? It could mean a lot to media industry.

Hope for the future... (1)

moore.dustin (942289) | about 7 years ago | (#18665669)

Well it looks like there might be a chance that our PC's and consoles will have interchangeable controllers! How nice would it be to not have that extra $200 investment in controllers and such! Surely the next generation of consoles will all but abandoned the d-pad controller types for the far superior keyboard/mouse type set-ups.

Then again, it is still only hope... they will find another way to make that money.

Re:Hope for the future... (1)

radish (98371) | about 7 years ago | (#18666167)

Well it looks like there might be a chance that our PC's and consoles will have interchangeable controllers!
They already do, all Xbox 360 controllers (including wired, wireless, racing wheels, etc) work just fine on Windows PCs with the supplied microsoft drivers. For the wireless devices you need a $20 RF dongle, the wired ones are regular USB.

Surely the next generation of consoles will all but abandoned the d-pad controller types for the far superior keyboard/mouse type set-ups.

Yeah! That'll be awesome. Can't wait to try using a keyboard and mouse on my couch. Whilst KB&M may be the preferred controller of many for FPS games, it just doesn't fit with how most people use consoles. If I want to play a PC game at a desk, I will. But for sheer convenience in the living room nothing beats a small wireless controller I can grab off the coffee table when I want a quick game.

More Features.. Less Use? (1)

FreakinSyco (873416) | about 7 years ago | (#18665675)

Am I missing something or does the headline say their adding features to the XBox360 and then at the end say because of that he's using his XBox360 less and less?

Re:More Features.. Less Use? More use for porn! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18665767)

Perhaps it is because his p0rn collection is in mpeg4 format and he'll be so exhausted now that he has access to it on his xbox that he'll be unable to use the xbox as much as before.

Re:More Features.. Less Use? (1)

Floritard (1058660) | about 7 years ago | (#18665879)

He said he'd use his Xbox Media Center less and less, which is to say his modded Xbox Classic running XBMC. You know XBMC, the free-open source software that still outdoes the 360's media playing capabilities by a gap which MS is only now seeing fit to close (no I don't have HD, I'm poor). I still want the ability to IMDB some meta-data for my movie collection before I jump ship to the 360. Mmmmmmh meta-data, glrlrlrllrrl...

Re:More Features.. Less Use? (1)

kabtoffe (912102) | about 7 years ago | (#18665895)

You are missing something. Xbox Media Center refers to the XBMC-project, an open-source media center for the original xbox.

When? (1)

Beefslaya (832030) | about 7 years ago | (#18665707)

I wonder when they will just release the XBox 360 as a full PC unit.

Then they will have something really good going. Back to PC gaming. :)

doh (1)

anakin876 (612770) | about 7 years ago | (#18665797)

The linked site does not include the Xvid info - does anyone know if this is true or not?

Re:doh (2, Informative)

DCstewieG (824956) | about 7 years ago | (#18666199)

Xvid is an implementation of MPEG4.

Added MPEG-4 Part 2 video support: Up to 8 Mbps, Simple Profile with 2 channel AAC LC and Main Profiles.

Looks good but still missing... (1)

kinglink (195330) | about 7 years ago | (#18665871)

The feature we just need for the 360 is multiple voice chats. I'm sick of having two buddies online and all three of us wanting to chat and we can't. It would be easy to make a "chat room" even if it means one person dedicates their xbox.

Other than that it sounds good, though I want to see divx support whether or not this gives us it is up in the air.

Divx/Xvid NOT suppported (5, Informative)

getnate (518090) | about 7 years ago | (#18665969)

Divx and Xvid require MPEG4-ASP (Advanced Simple Profile). This update only includes Mpeg4-SP (Simple profile). Therefore this dash update does not add Divx/Xvid compatiblity.

There is a possibility that Microsoft cannot claim "MPEG4-ASP" because they do not support GMC and QPEL however nobody cares about those features of ASP and 99.9% of the divx/xvid videos dont use them. This leaves open the possiblity that Microsoft may still support Xvid and Divx, just not the full suite of MPEG4-ASP features. Im not holding my breath.

Short term gain. (1)

crypt0h (1086159) | about 7 years ago | (#18666075)

Now that it is possible to boot unsigned code (linux for now) on the 360, Microsoft is acting very quickly to stop the scene before it has a chance to pick up any momentum, specifically with regard to a possible port of XBMC to the 360. Whenever you boot a new title (I believe after February 2007) or update over live, your Xbox 360 firmware is automatically updated. The new firmware fixes a vulnerability and no longer allows you to boot your unsigned code, for now at least. Microsoft is offering H264 / Xvid as bait to get everyone to upgrade their live version (and with it their xbox 360 firmware) pronto. This is a very smart move by Microsoft. However, XBMC is and will always blow away the 360 Media Center functionality. Too bad my modded box can't handle the 720/1080 :(

Re:Short term gain. (1)

crypt0h (1086159) | about 7 years ago | (#18666149)

err i mean my modded original xbox. :(

Re:Short term gain. (1)

BLKMGK (34057) | about 7 years ago | (#18666229)

You ought to be able to do 720P - mine can. You may need to up some of the buffers to stream it smoothly but it SHOULD work. 1080 chokes mine, kills it memory wise or CPU, not sure which but it keels right over. 720P looks damned nice though!

I'm completely torn on the 360 though. I have one with ancient firmware bought new at COSTCO last week. a friend is teling me about the wonders of Live! and how he's got his streaming video fine via ORB. But I want XBMC or something like it and that means I have a painful wait and may never be able to get on Live!. A second 360 might follow me home or if the aTV (or a mini) could be setup to something as good as XBMC (a "standard" Myth install maybe?)I'd maybe consider that. I really hate being stuck like this :-(

Re:Short term gain. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18666287)

Actually your modded xbox can handle 720i/p and 1080i, you just need a component cable
can get them at gamestop

they sell one that is for the ps/2 xbox 360 and original xbox. (3 connectors on the cable)
you have to change the settings in the microsoft dashboard.

set XBMC to "auto" for resolution, otherwise you might have to switch back and forth between component and "normal" before you get the settings right.

anyway I play videos in 1080i all the time on my modded xbox. most games work ok in 480i and look better, although a few don't work at all. So you might have to switch resolutions from time to time. I just leave both the old and the componenet hookups attached to the tv and switch them at the back of the xbox if I need to, which isn't very often.

Re:Short term gain. (1)

crypt0h (1086159) | about 7 years ago | (#18666371)

Actually, I'm talking more specifically about 720p with the H264 codec. I have the high def pack for the Xbox, but the 733mhz P3 doesn't have the horsepower to decode these shows in real time -- it only gets about 3-8 fps. I'm not sure how it performs if you have that DreamX hardware upgrade.

IM Names (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18666097)

Does anyone know how are they going to reconcile IM names between messenger and XBox live?

USB keyboard already in use (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18666209)

I remember you weren't suppose to be able to use 3rd party controllers and/or adaptors on the 360 because of that chip the system checks for to make sure the controller is legit.

I've been using my old cheap PS2 keyboard on the 360 with no real issues (the only issue I have come across is if you type too fast it will repeate letters.. like if you type HAVE really quickly it will come out HAVEV. I guess the 360 dashboard messaging system isn't use to letters being entered so quickly.

Transcode? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18666313)

Anyone have any idea how much less CPU load it would be to transcode ASP to SP than current transcoding methods? Or would there even be a gain?

(this would obviously be done using one of the wrappers around ffmpeg)

Is this actually XVID support... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18666367)

...or is it the same sort of crippled xvid/divx support the PS3 has? PS3 has H.264 and MPEG4 support as well, but will not play XVID or DIVX files. If not, then this is useless and I'll stick to playing my stuff through my computer directly to my tv.

xvid is GPL (1)

morcego (260031) | about 7 years ago | (#18666401)

I find hard to believe they are adding Xvid [wikipedia.org] , since Xvid [xvid.org] is GPLed [xvid.org] .

It is more likely they are adding DivX [divx.com] which, although generally serves the same purpose, is another different best.

Bluetooth Keyboards? (2, Insightful)

MrPerfekt (414248) | about 7 years ago | (#18666453)

This should really be a no brainer. Just add a driver and/or pairing interface so we can use Bluetooth keyboards!
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