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Xbox - new purchase for media center extender

Discussion in 'Xbox Forums' started by lisag, May 24, 2005.

  1. lisag

    lisag
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    Hi,

    I am looking to buy an xbox to use as a wireless media center extender for my MCE2005 PC that is in the lounge, the xbox is to live in the bedroom, and displayed on a CRT tv.

    I have worked out that I need;
    A modded Xbox
    The Microsoft Media Center Extender for Xbox kit
    An RGB enabled advanced scart lead
    An ethernet wi-fi bridge,
    A wireless access point/router attached to my exisiting wired network.

    Please can anyone help me with the following questions?

    What mod is best suited for these needs?
    I don't want to game via Xbox live but will I need it to download updates?
    The xbmc apps allows divx playback, will it be easy to switch between this app and the official Microsoft one that will allow me to watch live and recorded tv from my MCE2005 box?
    I need to purchase all of this stuff from scratch, anyone know of a good supplier to the uk?
    What would be a reasonable price for all this?
    I just missed out on a modded xbox on the gaming classifieds, I have a wanted thread on there if anyone has any of this for sale second hand.

    Thanks

    lisa
    :lease:
    How much would be a reasonable price?
     
  2. BuzzLightyear

    BuzzLightyear
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    Lisa,
    I can answer some of your questions .. here goes ....

    http://www.advancedxbox.com/shop/index.php (formally premodded.co.uk) is where I got my modded XBox from and indeed several of my friends - never a problem with them and a top service.

    As for as which mod is concerned - it shouldnt matter I run the X-Ecuter (an older version than the one now on sale).

    Basically the modded XBox will "Boot" to a replacement dashboard (the Microsoft equiv to a desktop on the xbox) - this then gives you menu options to select what application you want to run - one of these will be the xbmc app. Indeed you can also set up xbmc to be the dashboard so it boots into it.

    The bit I'm not sure about is where the Microsoft Media Center Extender comes into it as I do not have one of these. If XBMC can play the files produced by MC2005 you wouldnt need it surely - but I'm not sure. XBMC does play virtually everything you can throw at it though.

    Yes you need a wireless bridge http://www.linksys.com/products/product.asp?grid=33&scid=38&prid=667 is the one I use - worked out of the box - have a search about to find the best price - should be around £50-60 I seem to remember.

    Again yes you need a wireless accesspoint/router to connect into your existing network - depending on what you get this could be £40 to loads more !!

    For the wireless stuff, try www.ebuyer.com or indeed have a look on ebay for some bargins.

    The Media Centre Extender thing aside you are probably looking at £250-£300 but trust me it really is an excellent solution, especially if like me I use the Microsoft Hi-Def video cable from XBox to Plasma, and either play H-Def source material or allow the XBox to scale to Hi-Def(720p) for everything I play through it - looks the biz.

    If you need any more help just shout

    Buzz
     
  3. lisag

    lisag
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    Thanks Buzz,

    That is a top answer :smashin: ,
    The Media Center Extender software is going to add live tv and recorded tv functionality from my MCE2005 downstairs. I can get the software and remote imported for about £50 via ebay. I have only got a CRT TV in the bedroom at the moment, but it is good to know that if I do upgrade the display that I can use the xbox for hi-def stuff in the future.

    Thanks for pointing me in the direction of 'advanced xbox' their prices seem reasonable, but wanted a recommendation before buying from any 'dodgy' website. And now I know what this 'dashboard' term means.

    One more question - do you have any problems with streaming video on a 54mbps wireless connection, ever get any bandwidth issues, even with high bit rate material?
     
  4. BuzzLightyear

    BuzzLightyear
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    For general divx stuff no problems at all. XBMC takes a little longer to buffer and start the viewing of a video file (compared with over a wired network connection) - the high def stuff is ok most of the time - some of the high bandwidth files I have I either copy onto a dvd or onto the xbox hard disk.

    I have never tried streaming DVD (VOB) files over 54g however, so I could not comment on this.

    I must add that my wireless bandwidth is reduced because of a couple of laptops and a MC2005 machine I have both connected wirelessly and on all the time.

    Buzz
     
  5. lisag

    lisag
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    I am expecting delivery of my new modded xbox today :thumbsup:
    Having read some more about xbmc I am wondering if I will need to bother with the Microsoft media center extender kit, if I don't will the official Microsoft DVD remote control the xbmc app?

    thanks
    lisa
     
  6. lisag

    lisag
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    My Xbox arrived yesterday and so far I am very impressed. Even more impressed with the service I got from www.advancedxbox.com. My wireless router has not yet arrived so was testing the xbmc app via a crossover cable to my MCE PC - and got totally stuck.

    The guy from advanced xbox gave me online support via MSN until 10pm last night and we got it up and running.

    Very cool :thumbsup:

    lisa
     
  7. pugsterman

    pugsterman
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    :lease: Hi Lisag,

    I have read a couple of forums which show the decision process you have gone through with the Xbox extender.

    I started to put together a full MCE PC, which is now running after many hours of hassle. However, I'm thinking of throwing that out and going with a chipped Xbox I've had for years plus extender.

    Some questions,

    1) I have an Xbox live connection, if running XBMC rather than extender, do I run the risk of barring if connected whilst the chip is active?
    2) Where did you buy the extender package, how much and was it trouble free?
    3) I have the advanced scart which has the optical connection into a 5.1 decoder, do you think this will cause any issues with my CRT using extender which is american screen sizes?

    help is appreciated
     
  8. cra41g

    cra41g
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    If you have a modded Xbox, and it's networked to PC. You can reverse the process (or along those lines!!)

    If you have XBMC on your Xbox, you can use your PC as an 'extender' to XBMC. You can stream (very efficiently) music/video/pictures from your PC to your Xbox. Also, at no cost - the functionality is within XBMC.

    Just thought I'd mention it - it works a treat!
     
  9. pugsterman

    pugsterman
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    Cheers for that info, that would be useful. However, I would like to run the two systems side by side eventually, I like the idea of live TV and recording etc, but the limitations on file formats may become a pain in the rear.

    Maybe I need to explain, I have two PC's one with XP Pro and one with MCE. I was thinking of placing the MCE on the big telli, then after reading the forum thought it would be more cost effective to rebuild the XP machine (in the office) to MCE and sell the MCE one. Then use X-Box for extender. All the functions but cash in pocket.

    This seems like the right solution, but each road it would seem has limitations. Live TV, file formats, X-Box live...etc etc

    Trying to find the best of all worlds...


    mark
     
  10. lisag

    lisag
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    Hi Mark,

    Well yes, that would work - you obviously need to have MCE installed on a PC and then you can use a chipped xbox to act as an extender.

    One problem I foresee if you do not have a dedicated MCE PC is that if it is doing other stuff whilst you want to use the extender - it may choke the resources. A couple of times I have had my MCE machine encoding video and when I switched the extender on it warned me that system resources were low and although it worked it was very slow and sluggish, and a total pain! So I can't have intensive things running on my MCE machine and use the xbox extender at the same time.

    I bought the extender pack from a US supplier who I found on ebay, although we did the transaction outside of ebay and he dropped the price a bit. There is an update available for the Microsoft xbox media center extender I think it is two discs - one for the xbox and one for the MCE machine. The supplier said he would get one sent on to me - but it never happened. The MS website offer it for free but it says to US and Canada only, however I ordered it anyway to my UK address and they have processed the order and say they despatched it on 20th July - not arrived yet though...

    Yes, I have been warned that connecting to xbox live with a chipped xbox is not good, I was told I could if I switched the mod off before connecting, but I have never used it so don't know if that is definitely safe.

    I also use the advanced scart into a 4:3 CRT TV, I have tried running it in PAL and NTSC and notice slightly less de-interlacing with NTSC, the picture quality is very good either way.

    The only negatives I have are a slight amount of de-interlacing on some tv. TV programmes broadcast in 4:3 seem to default to widescreen (all squashed) have to quickly press stop and play then they pop back to the correct 4:3 aspect ratio. Both of these problems may be due to my TV, and may be fixed in the update - if it ever arrives.

    OK, hope that helps
    lisa
    :)
     
  11. pugsterman

    pugsterman
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    ok, well i have found a company in the states on Ebay which has the extender for around £35 plus shipping. So, I will run with that and give it a try using the dedicated MCE machine to start with and move things around later when I'm comfy with it all.

    The upgrade you mention, should I ask the Ebayer for that up front?
    Has it got a release number or something I can refer him/her to?

    Or is it just the second release?

    thanks again for the help.....
    mark
     
  12. pugsterman

    pugsterman
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    Hi, sorry additional note....

    please check this item on ebay 7176490489

    it says the Xbox needs to be modified to run USA DVD's & extender software....is that something i missed????

    mark
     
  13. cra41g

    cra41g
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    That's a bit of a gray area - I don't use Live so I'm not too sure. From what I gaither, if your Xbox was upgraded (chip & HD) before you registered with Live, then you should be ok. I'm an Xlink Kai user - wouldn't have it any other way!
     
  14. pugsterman

    pugsterman
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    No, that's true you are OK using Xbox live if the chip can be turned off. I chipped mine about 3 years ago with executer Pro, but registered with Live only this year...all is OK. The issue is, if my Xbox is running XBMC the chip must be active. My internet connection is done via router and so broadcasts internet connection sharing. The xbox is a static IP on the router and effectively will have an "always online" status whenever its plugged in or communicating with the main MCE PC.

    My dilemma is, if I use XBMC rather than extender, can I remember to turn the mod chip off when I go Xbox online???
     
  15. lisag

    lisag
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    Modified = chipped, same thing just different terminology!
     
  16. lisag

    lisag
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    Here is the link

    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/mediacenter/evaluation/devices/support.mspx#EEAA

    Although it says that they only ship to the USA and Canada, they have processed my order to a UK address (it just hasn't turned up yet).

    If you can get the supplier to issue it with the original order it would save you some hassle, but I think you may need to install everything first to get a serial number...

    lisa
     
  17. pugsterman

    pugsterman
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    Ah, ok...

    SO....the issue with the Xbox online will also apply if I run the USA extender....the chip will be turned on to run the USA disk. I did miss that...!!!

    It would seem I have to be extra careful then....or buy another Xbox for online....
     
  18. cra41g

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    Fair enough - you're just another person within the gray area! People do get banned with modified Xboxs, regardless if it the chips on or off. Miscrosoft have ways of detecting if your Xbox (especially your hardrive) has been modified.

    If all you have is a mod-chip, and the HD is original, then I don't see how they can detect a modded Xbox if it's booted from it's original BIOS.
     
  19. rob_finch

    rob_finch
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    Some newer chips offer an option to disable xbox live logins, even if you try accidentally! Search around your bios options, if you find it, switch it on. That way, you'll only be able to get on Live with the chip off.

    Stick with your original hard drive and boot with the chip off, and you should be fine on Live.
     
  20. pugsterman

    pugsterman
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    Like I said, I have, I think, first xecuter pro chip. It's been that long since i installed it and updated the bios I can't remember how to do it or how it works.

    Do you think there is a chance of a newer bios that will have this option for my old chip?
     
  21. nigelbb

    nigelbb
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    Functionally identical. Modified refers to any modification that allows unsigned code to be run. The Xbox may be modified with software (softmodded) or chipped with a mod chip that replaces the Xbox BIOS. With older Xboxes you can even reflash the BIOS chip on the motherboard with a modified BIOS.
     
  22. pugsterman

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    OK, thanks again for all the help....I have ordered the Extender software and will now try to find a bios which has the Xbox live switch in. Then the battle to remember how to flash it!

    I will keep you informed of my progress....

    Cheers

    Mark
     
  23. lisag

    lisag
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    :smashin: I stand corrected.....
    lisa
     
  24. lisag

    lisag
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    The update discs have arrived this morning from Microsoft - took a month to come from Washington.... will install later and let you know if it makes much difference....

    lisa
     
  25. HSC

    HSC
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    i'll look out for your post
    my extender kit has arrived - but I have not set it up yet....
     
  26. lisag

    lisag
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    Watched some live and recorded tv on the extender last night - initial impressions are that the aspect ratio and interlacing bugs seem to be fixed in the 1.01 patch... :smashin:

    I did notice some juddering on camera pans, changed the xbox back to PAL from NTSC and it all seems ok, so I think I would recommend getting the free update discs shipped over from MS.

    lisa
    UPDATE:

    Noticed some video/audio stutter on the xbox with some recorded and live tv, very erratic but annoying. Reverted back to v1 disc in xbox, and v1.01 software still installed on MCE - stutter gone

    lisa
     
  27. pugsterman

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    Cheers for that Lisa, Extender is at the post office, nice, I get to go and collect it. I hope to have some time to play this weekend and see if it works. After install I will stick my order in for the update.

    Will let you know how I get on.....
     
  28. richard plumb

    richard plumb
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    Just a note to say that I run XBMC and love it - just really started getting into streaming recently.

    But I don't use my PC - I stream directly from a 160GB buffalo linkstation Network hard drive. I can copy stuff to there from my PC (or download directly to it) and then stream to XBMC with the PC off. It also has the benefit of being close to my Xbox so has a wired connection. (wireless from the HDD to my PC)
     
  29. pugsterman

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    Hey all,

    Just plugged the extender in...all connected nice and easy, BUT....when I try to run and media through it I get an error stating

    Restricted Content – The video playback devices does not support playback of restricted content.

    According to our friends at microsoft this is coz im looking at copyrighted channels.

    Anyone any ideas.....it does say the new release clears it up...but nobody has mentioned it before. So wanna just run it by you all

    cheers


    mark
     
  30. lisag

    lisag
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    Oh no!
    Didn't think we had restricted content in the UK, are you iin the UK? Is this on Sky or Freeview, or what video files? Do you have any parental restrictions enabled in MCE?

    lisa
     

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