Xbox 360 as extender in primary location?

julianmclean

Active Member
I recently purchased an Xbox 360 to act as an extender to my Vista-based media center PC, with the to purchase another 2 to extend into other rooms, one of which was planned to be the main viewing location - i.e. the lounge.

Having used the Xbox for a few days now, I'm generally pleased with how it functions - yes, there are issues with getting the music library working properly, but these can be rectified satisfactorily, and live/recorded TV is generally fine. However, the startup time for the Xbox 360 from hitting the power on button, to getting to a usable media center interface is fairly significant - in the order of 20 seconds at a guess. For the current location (bedroom) this is slightly annoying, but probably acceptable, however I have some concerns that having the same delay to simply "switch on the telly" in the lounge will not be acceptable to the missus, nor myself. So...

- Is anyone else using an extender in the primary viewing location and care to comment on this? Have you come to live with it, or is it simply unbearable?
- Is there anything I can do to speed up this start time? It's already hardwired on a 1gig network, so there's not much I can do there. I'm new to the Xbox 360, so is there any sort of low power standby mode I can leave it in or anything?

Another option I have is to change plans and use the media center PC itself to drive the primary location, but this will mean there is no Xbox 360 for games on the big screen/surround sound setup, and also scupper my plans to remain on a single PC in the house. So...

- Is anyone running a setup with more than one media center PC, and how does it work? I know I can use multiple recorded TV locations, but I really don't want to have to put tuners in each seeing as I'm using FloppyDTV for Sky. If I forget the tuners in the second PC then I won't be able to get live TV there right? But I would be able to get everything else, inlcuding recorded TV from the other box? Ideas anyone?
 

nigelbb

Distinguished Member
Startup time is not really an issue for my wife & I. Before I switched from Vista 64 on one system as our MCE to another running 32-bit Vista we used to have a much more irritating problem that the Extender wouldn't connect & it could only be fixed with a reboot of the MCE system. Not too impressive when I had to get out of bed & run down to the office to reboot the system when we just wanted to catch the Breakfast News headlines. It now appears reliable although sometimes it does seem to take an awfully long time to connect. As I am using Ethernet over powerline gizmos rather than a wired connection I put it down to that.

I really think that MCE works best in client/server mode with the PC just serving Extenders & not used for anything else. Once you start connecting it to a TV & mucking about matching resolutions & getting the sound card working you are adding more & more areas of potential instability.

The noise of the Xbox 360 is barely tolerable in the bedroom though & I would really like to find a solution to this.
 

julianmclean

Active Member
Hmm yes, after reading all the comments on these forums, I was adopting the client-server approach, but with PC also providing another interface in the office on the second monitor. This way I still only need one PC in the house and the MCE mouse-focus problem is not so bad as it is possible to work on the PC whilst having media center running on the second screen next to you if really necessary by just using the windows key. Not perfect, but a good compromise without turning the place into a server room.

Now I have the current xbox (plus screen/hi-fi) controlled with Harmony remote I suppose it is only one touch and then wait for it to boot up, so will see if it really is that annoying over the next few weeks.

By the way, fixed my Sky One finally - I did have the wrong channel from the scan (corrected in latest spreadsheet tool which I'll post at some point) - so cheers Nigel for the pointer.

So only remaining issue in UK Sky setup is really the lack of sound on music channels. Is this only an MCE problem? i.e. does it work ok in other front-ends? This has got to be fixable surely. Does the new Vista audio driver stack give any more options to resolve?
 

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