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XBOX as a HCPC only....

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by galaxycinema, Nov 4, 2002.

  1. galaxycinema

    galaxycinema
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    Yes, in my continual search for an ultra-cheap but effective HCPC system I've been thinking about getting an NTSC Xbox system and, please forgive me, mod chipping it - slapping in a bigger hard drive and playing my VOBs and MPGs off that. (I would prefer an American XBOX as it has HDTV capabilities and I'm planning on moving to the states in a year or so)

    Now - has anyone done this yet? It just seems a perfect solution and as they are selling for around £150 amazing value for money too.... Any thoughts anyone?
     
  2. Sinzer

    Sinzer
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    Be quick as they soon will be unchippable!
     
  3. Taz

    Taz
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    Why's that then!?


    Taz.:cool:
     
  4. alanrob

    alanrob
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    The new v1.1 board inside the Xbox can be chipped so no worries there.
    Problem running an Xbox as an HTPC is that it isn't quiet.

    You might find the noise from the fans and the hard drive a bit much when watching quiet movies.
     
  5. Jonny1973

    Jonny1973
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    but does it output VGA using custom resolutions???

    That's the whole point of a HCPC. Getting the PC to scale the picture to the native resolution of the projectors panels.
     
  6. Sinzer

    Sinzer
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    You would have to install Linux and then the appropriate software.

    Note the thread in the gaming hardware forum about X-Box VGA output, there is no current VGA cable for the X-Box, so you would lose quality in using the component.
     
  7. owain_thomas

    owain_thomas
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    hi galaxycinema,

    I have a chipped xbox which i use via component video to my 36" toshiba TV, and I must say I'm pretty impressed with it so far. You don't need an NTSC one to use HDTV output, all you do is get a copy of the video mode select cd when you've had it chipped, this converts xboxes between pal and ntsc versions at the push of a button - there is NO difference between a uk xb and a us one, other than the setting telling it which it is.

    You can get a patch program which allows you to output in progressive scan, and if you have the region-free dvd player (DVDX2) it can even output pal dvds in ntsc progressive.

    I would agree that the fan noise is quite loud, but for everydayuse it's not too intrusive, and for the money (xbox=£130, chip=£30, high def av pack=£30) you can't go wrong, especially when you're getting a top gaming system too.

    good luck
    Owain
     
  8. galaxycinema

    galaxycinema
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    Well, there are AV packs for the Xbox - and like I said, the USA version has Deluxe AV packs that output on a HDTV and it has all that progressive scan stuff and bits too ;)

    Plus with the Mod Chip you can install the Xbox Media Player (http://www.xboxmediaplayer.de/newweb/info_project.htm) that can play MPG, DivX, etc direct from the replacement hard drive (a nice 60gig Fluid Dynamic Bearings one would be nice and quiet!)

    <edit>Thanks Owain - just saw your reply!</edit>
     
  9. owain_thomas

    owain_thomas
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    OK galaxycinema, was just about to get all stroppy then ;-)

    You can pick up one of the high def av packs from www.mx2.org in jersey, they are about £32 and give you component video outputs, stereo audio outs and optical digital output. I wouldn't waste the money on an imported us xbox to be honest, they are all the same under the hood.

    XBmedia player is amazing, even more useful (I find) is it's ability to stream divxs, etc from the hd on my PC, all you need is a network cable (crossover cable) and a small program on your PC and you're away. Very little extra HD noise if you take this option, just the fan that needs silencing a bit. I must say I'm pretty impressed with the quality so far - especially on XVIDs rather than DivXs, it's almost upto DVD quality on some of the better ones. This will improve when xbmp gets a bit older, as yet it doesn't do any post-processing, this will change.

    Have a look at:

    www.xboxmediaplayer.de

    www.xbox-scene.com

    for more info. I have copies of these programs, so if you need them when you get an xb, let me know.

    Owain
     
  10. galaxycinema

    galaxycinema
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    Thanks Owain! You're a star! There are specials for the Xbox for £145-150 at the moment so that's amazing value..... :) Are you going to install a hard drive in your Xbox? I would prefer to do this as it's a good remote option....
     
  11. owain_thomas

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    I'm definitely thinking about it, I reckon a 120Gb drive would last me a while ;-)

    I'm going to hang fire for a bit though, I've just been accepted as a Beta tester for xblive (along with about a million other people, I'm sure) and there seems to be a bit of controversy over what impact that will have on modded xboxes. So far I have worked out that means not having the evox dashbord replacement on my hd (I have an x-ecuter chip) but it might mean not having any backups, etc on the hard disk.

    I should get the kit this week (fingers crossed) so I'll let you know.

    Owain
     
  12. galaxycinema

    galaxycinema
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    Is that an absolute certainty that the Xbox's sold here are basically the same as the USA models and are easy to switch? I presume, then, I will just need to get a electricity adaptor when I move over there - but it's easy peasy to change the signals to NTSC for the American TV's? That will save me bidding on an American Xbox I've seen on Ebay :)
     
  13. owain_thomas

    owain_thomas
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    absolute certainty.

    Not sure how much you know about modded xbs, so i'll go through all the steps:

    Once you've modded the console, you put a program called evolution x (evox) in the dvd drive. This allows you to connect to your xbox from your pc via ftp (very easy to do) and transfer files back and fore. I used this to put the video mode selector program onto the xbox hard disk. The evox cd also allows you to put the evox dashboard replacement on the xb hd. This means that when the xb starts up it goes to a customisable dashboard instead of the MS one. You can put links on here to prgrams like xbmedia player, or the video mode selector, so that they run directly off the hd and no longer need a cdrw/dvd with them on to run.

    The video mode selector is very simple, you run it and a screen comes up which says: press A for PAL or B for NTSC. press one of them and restart your xbox, hey presto you've got an ntsc or pal xbox. You can change this as many times as you like, it takes maybe 2 seconds tops.

    Using evox allows you to put backups of games (only one's that you own, though;)) onto your hd and play them from there.

    You would need a power convertor if you went to the US, but then you'd need a power convertor to play a US xb here. Save the money and effort, get a PAL one.

    BTW you can get vga adapters for the xb, have a look at:

    http://www.lik-sang.com/info.php?category=83&products_id=1533&

    HTH

    Owain
     
  14. galaxycinema

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    Owain, thank you so much for that information :) I'm having a good read around all of the Web sites now (Wow, there is an Amiga emulator for it too!) and I'm amazed what it can do for so little money.... Now, if they can work on getting DTS output it will be complete ;) Looks like the Matrix mod chip is the best.....
     
  15. owain_thomas

    owain_thomas
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    I'm well pleased with what mine can do. I reckon the matrix would be the chip I'd get if I was buying one now. Being flashable is a BIG plus point, especially if you want to use xblive when it comes out, it'll allow you to stay one step ahead of MS.

    Let me know how you get on and if you need anything for your xb.

    Owain
     
  16. John DB

    John DB
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    I'm not so sure that the us/uk models are exactly the same. I have an x-ecutered PAL box which seems to play everything I throw at it NTSC or PAL. US chipped boxes do struggle with some PAL software....

    Plus according to this site http://www.digital-x.de/knowhow/xbox/xbox_dx_vga_box/xbox_dx_vga_box.htm they perform differently with their VGA converter.

    Cut n pasted.....
    "4. 16:9 Mode
    Some american games like Dead or Alive 3, Azurik or Nascar Heat even support 16:9 VGA. When using a 16:9 Monitor/Projector/VGA-Television, you can enjoy widescreen VGA !
    Unfortunately, the PAL Machine does NOT support 16:9 VGA at all"

    The question is what if you have told your x-box to be NTSC with video mode selector, how does it behave then?

    Its my understanding that the xbox doesn't do VGA natively so all these VGA boxes are just simple transcoders?

    :confused: :confused: :confused:
     
  17. galaxycinema

    galaxycinema
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    Well, I've found an American Xbox, already chipped with xecutor 1.1 for £120 - does this sound good value?
     
  18. owain_thomas

    owain_thomas
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    Isn't 480p just the same as 640 x 480, vga resolution?

    Xbox for £120 with a chip is great value, but bear in mind that you might run into problems in future by not getting a flashable chip. May never be a problem though, so might be worth the gamble - good for when you go to the US, too.

    Owain
     
  19. galaxycinema

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    Just to clear something in my head.

    Which Xbox-to-TV connection type gives a better picture with the X-Box? The Scart Kit or the S-Video Kit?
     
  20. ReTrO

    ReTrO
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    480p is 720x480@60Hz
     
  21. owain_thomas

    owain_thomas
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    As I understood it, 480p = 480 lines, progressively scanned - the horizontal resolution could be negotiated according to the aspect ratio.

    4:3 at 480p = 640*480 (ie VGA resolution), 16:9 at 480p = 853*480.

    Owain
     
  22. owain_thomas

    owain_thomas
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    It's debateable, but the RGB enabled scart kit (advaned AV pack) should give a slightly better pircture than the S-video connection. Both should be light years ahead of the standard scart connnection using composite though.

    Owain
     

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