Vanilla Forums has been nominated for a second time in the CMS Critic "Critic's Choice" awards, and we need your vote! Read more here, and then do the thing (please).
Our new Indie Games subforum is now open for business in G&T. Go and check it out, you might land a code for a free game. If you're developing an indie game and want to post about it, follow these directions. If you don't, he'll break your legs! Hahaha! Seriously though.
Our rules have been updated and given their own forum. Go and look at them! They are nice, and there may be new ones that you didn't know about! Hooray for rules! Hooray for The System! Hooray for Conforming!

Xbox 360 as Media Center extender

RohanRohan Registered User regular
My flat-mate purchased one of the new "slim" 360's the other day and though I had no interest in it, I found that it is a convenient way of using the Sky Player rather than having to physically go over to the media pc and use their software, or search endlessly and without result for a way to get the Sky Player into Media Center. Seeing as the 360 can also be used as an extender, and it must have an infra-red port hidden away somewhere as the Windows media remote works perfectly, we decided to run everything on the 360 so that we wouldn't have to constantly switch channels.

We already have an ethernet cable running from the media pc to the router in the hall, and adding another cable really isn't practical, so at first we just used the wireless adapter inside the console. This did not work well at all - even though it connected to Xbox Live perfectly, and gave a perfect connection signal there, it reported a very bad connection to the media pc and once I got it to hook up, was extremely slow. I managed to get a single .mp3 playing, but video seemed to be out of the question. I decided to add another network card to the pc, hook the 360 up to that, and bridge the connections. This worked perfectly, without my having to give the 360 any IP addresses and what-not.

However, Windows Media Center on the 360 is still extremely slow. Even though it reports a perfect connection, with bandwith at the very top of the graph (more than suitable for streaming HD media), navigating the menus is a painfully slow process. It did manage to launch Tunerfree MCE without any issues, and I was able to watch an episode of Lab Rats on MSN, but I still haven't been able to watch a video on the media pc's hard drive as the whole thing comes to a halt after a few minutes slowly browsing the menus. In fact, the last time I tried, it refused to connect to the pc at all. In the network tests available on the 360, it connected to the Internet and then the pc with no problems, but connecting to the pc to launch Media Center failed. Kinda inconsistent results, right?

I was confused about the failed media streaming over wireless, as the laptops in the apartment have no issues streaming even HD media over wireless G (which is what our router supports), and even the Wii, which is sat next to the 360, has no issues streaming either. But when the connection is almost as bad over a 100Mbps ethernet cable, something must have gone wrong somewhere.

The media pc is an Acer Aspire M1610 with a Pentium Dual Core E2160 (1.8GHz), 2GB RAM, three hard drives (1x 80GB Windows PATA, 2x 1TB SATA), and two network adapters, one onboard and another a PCI card. Both are set to allow RTX flow control and full 100Mbps negotiation, bridged and connected to a Netgear DG834G router/ADSL modem, which in turn has a Canyon eight port ethernet switch plugged into it. The 360 is connected to the pc via a cross patch cable, which I bought before I was aware of the 360's nifty auto-sensing feature.

Suggestions?

Rohan on
...and I thought of how all those people died, and what a good death that is. That nobody can blame you for it, because everyone else died along with you, and it is the fault of none, save those who did the killing.

Nothing's forgotten, nothing is ever forgotten

Posts

  • SpamSpam Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Too late now, but..
    Rohan wrote: »
    We already have an ethernet cable running from the media pc to the router in the hall, and adding another cable really isn't practical,
    .....
    .....
    I decided to add another network card to the pc, hook the 360 up to that, and bridge the connections. This worked perfectly, without my having to give the 360 any IP addresses and what-not.

    Why didn't you just pick up a cheap 5 port switch and stick it on the end of your existing cable? Much less faffing about than installing new nics, setting up bridged connections, and requiring your media pc to be on all the time for your xbox to have a net connection?


    Anyway, I've played around with the media centre extender functionality a wee bit before, and I pretty much gave up on it, because like you, I found it slow as shit. Videos were pretty much unwatchable through it, and the interface itself was awful to use.

    Instead I have my xbox streaming hd videos/music perfectly through the Videos/Music section of the main dashboard (just need to set up Media Sharing in WMP first).

    Just found this link that suggests a few things to try to improve performance: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929707/

  • RohanRohan Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Why didn't you just pick up a cheap 5 port switch and stick it on the end of your existing cable? Much less faffing about than installing new nics, setting up bridged connections, and requiring your media pc to be on all the time for your xbox to have a net connection?

    I... don't understand? Plug a cheap 5 port switch where? The media pc (which is always on anyway - it's also used for streaming into our rooms at all hours) is connected to the eight port switch which is connected to a router/adsl modem.
    Anyway, I've played around with the media centre extender functionality a wee bit before, and I pretty much gave up on it, because like you, I found it slow as shit. Videos were pretty much unwatchable through it, and the interface itself was awful to use.

    Instead I have my xbox streaming hd videos/music perfectly through the Videos/Music section of the main dashboard (just need to set up Media Sharing in WMP first).

    Just found this link that suggests a few things to try to improve performance: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929707/

    Thanks for that... I read somewhere else as well that the performance improves if animations are turned off, so I'll give that a go, but thanks for the link, I'll have a look at it.

    ...and I thought of how all those people died, and what a good death that is. That nobody can blame you for it, because everyone else died along with you, and it is the fault of none, save those who did the killing.

    Nothing's forgotten, nothing is ever forgotten
  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    It may not be what you're looking for, but keep in mind that the Xbox 360 has more media streaming options than either the PS3 or the Wii, so you've got a lot of alternatives to WMC. I actually don't use it myself.

    It's not really a solution so much as running away, but TVersity, Zune, WMP 12, PS3Mediaserver, and more all rely on the default Xbox 360 interface (as Spam suggested), and tend to be less system-intensive and faster. They have different GUI's PC-side, so you can find one you're most comfortable with.

    Orca wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote:
    Isn't "Your sarcasm makes me wet," the highest compliment an Abh can pay a human?

    Only if said Abh is a member of the nobility.
  • RohanRohan Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Synthesis wrote: »
    It may not be what you're looking for, but keep in mind that the Xbox 360 has more media streaming options than either the PS3 or the Wii, so you've got a lot of alternatives to WMC. I actually don't use it myself.

    It's not really a solution so much as running away, but TVersity, Zune, WMP 12, PS3Mediaserver, and more all rely on the default Xbox 360 interface (as Spam suggested), and tend to be less system-intensive and faster. They have different GUI's PC-side, so you can find one you're most comfortable with.

    I'll have a look at those, thanks for the information.

    ...and I thought of how all those people died, and what a good death that is. That nobody can blame you for it, because everyone else died along with you, and it is the fault of none, save those who did the killing.

    Nothing's forgotten, nothing is ever forgotten
  • SpamSpam Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Rohan wrote: »
    Why didn't you just pick up a cheap 5 port switch and stick it on the end of your existing cable? Much less faffing about than installing new nics, setting up bridged connections, and requiring your media pc to be on all the time for your xbox to have a net connection?

    I... don't understand? Plug a cheap 5 port switch where? The media pc (which is always on anyway - it's also used for streaming into our rooms at all hours) is connected to the eight port switch which is connected to a router/adsl modem.

    You can daisy chain / cascade switches.

    So, I'm assuming your 8-port switch is in the hall and media pc in lounge next to xbox.

    The ethernet cable you have running from the 8-port switch to lounge can be unplugged from the pc, and plugged into another switch, then you can plug your xbox, media pc and anything else you want (ps3/wii/laptops etc etc) into the new switch in lounge.

  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Rohan wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote: »
    It may not be what you're looking for, but keep in mind that the Xbox 360 has more media streaming options than either the PS3 or the Wii, so you've got a lot of alternatives to WMC. I actually don't use it myself.

    It's not really a solution so much as running away, but TVersity, Zune, WMP 12, PS3Mediaserver, and more all rely on the default Xbox 360 interface (as Spam suggested), and tend to be less system-intensive and faster. They have different GUI's PC-side, so you can find one you're most comfortable with.

    I'll have a look at those, thanks for the information.

    Happy to help. TVersity and WMP 12 are "quick set up" programs for streaming, comparatively speaking. Zune and PS3Mediaserver take slightly longer, but do offer more options or specific strengths (for example, PS3Mediaserver handles MKVs with less fiddling, once you program it right).

    Part of using Windows is having an assload of media streaming options, in this day and age.

    Orca wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote:
    Isn't "Your sarcasm makes me wet," the highest compliment an Abh can pay a human?

    Only if said Abh is a member of the nobility.
  • RohanRohan Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I transferred the hard drives into a new pc so I had to go through the setup again. I've disabled animations, but navigation is still slow, even if videos play perfectly. While using the same network setup (media pc's onboard ethernet connected to router, 360 connected to media pc's pci network card, both cards set to 100mbps full negotiation, flow control enabled), both the 360 and the pc report a very bad connection, with the graph report having the line run quite low underneath the TV line, and well below the HD line. I don't understand why this should be.

    Also, while I was testing video playback, I tried a movie and an episode from a tv show, then tried a hd movie... but it was showing no items in the folder. I looked at other hd movie folders, and they all showed the same thing, and again when I looked at hd tv shows. Before I look at those other options you showed me, do you know if the 360 will allow me to play any hd content that's stored on the pc?

    ...and I thought of how all those people died, and what a good death that is. That nobody can blame you for it, because everyone else died along with you, and it is the fault of none, save those who did the killing.

    Nothing's forgotten, nothing is ever forgotten
  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Wow. Sounds like you've got quite a few problems.

    First off, stupid question: are you still using WMC? Or have you switched to something else?

    Orca wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote:
    Isn't "Your sarcasm makes me wet," the highest compliment an Abh can pay a human?

    Only if said Abh is a member of the nobility.
  • NailbunnyPDNailbunnyPD Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Forget the Extender crap and just share the media from the PC as quoted below. It just works. I stream 720p HD files with no hiccups.
    Spam wrote: »
    Instead I have my xbox streaming hd videos/music perfectly through the Videos/Music section of the main dashboard (just need to set up Media Sharing in WMP first).

    XBL: NailbunnyPD PSN: NailbunnyPD Origin: NailbunnyPD
    NintendoID: Nailbunny 3DS: 3909-8796-4685
    steam_sig-400.png
  • RohanRohan Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I apologise for not replying, but I've been very busy for the last few days, and I'm heading away for another five, so I'll get back to you all on this sometime around then. Thanks for all the replies :)

    ...and I thought of how all those people died, and what a good death that is. That nobody can blame you for it, because everyone else died along with you, and it is the fault of none, save those who did the killing.

    Nothing's forgotten, nothing is ever forgotten
  • HolymanHolyman Registered User
    edited August 2010
    Not to resurrect a dead thread, but I slaved over making this stream to my HDTV, and a couple of things eventually came to the fore: 1) Run no torrents/downloads/uploads of any kind when streaming using an extender. The traffic borked most everything, and played choppy. 2) I have to run 'services' in Vista search, and re-start my UPnP service each time I want to watch a movie or show. Takes all of a few seconds, but seems to clear up some sort of bottle neck in my system.
    I also run Media Browser, which has a pleasing GUI to my eye. Shame that the XBOX limits to 4GB file sizes though. Hope that helps?

  • VarinnVarinn Vancouver, BCRegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Im not at all sorry to further resurrect this thread as my question is relevant.

    I just recently picked up a new tv so I've been playing around with using my xbox as an extender. I'm happy with being able to stream music/videos, and browsing the GUI with the remote is a nice change from getting up and going to the PC to do it. My problem is the lag, like the others here my videos get slightly choppy.

    I'm running a 4x1tb raid-0 setup, 3.8ghz dual core intel, 8gb ram, gigabit network card and router with a physical cord length of under 10th between the comp, router, and xboxen. The idea that SD videos are lagging on me is bizzare.

    Sounds like I can run non-wmc software, but I thought the program was installed xbox side? Am I way off base here? Does it actually stream wmc as well as the media itself from the computer? Am I but a silly silly goose?

    3clipse wrote: »
    TERRANS MORE LIKE OPRANS AMIRITE
  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    You most likely don't need to worry about anything on the Xbox 360 side besides making sure your console is on the right network and other obvious things. TVersity, Zune, WMP, etc., will all use the Xbox 360 GUI just fine.

    If you're still getting too much lag, you may have not have enough upload speed from your PC. If you're using wireless, consider using a wired connection.

    Orca wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote:
    Isn't "Your sarcasm makes me wet," the highest compliment an Abh can pay a human?

    Only if said Abh is a member of the nobility.
  • VarinnVarinn Vancouver, BCRegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    I am running a hard wired connection, so I'll take a stab at some of those other programs and see if it makes a difference. Would be a shame losing the media center GUI, but it's worth it if my movies work

    3clipse wrote: »
    TERRANS MORE LIKE OPRANS AMIRITE
  • ToyDToyD Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Do you run a gigabit wire around? As in everything as far as switching, cabling, pc, etc are gigabit? How many devices are on the network streaming to the xbox?

    I gave the Xbox a chance at being my media center extender, but abandoned it in favor of the ps3. The inability to switch audio tracks in an mp4 movie baffled me. I have my movies set up as follows

    mp4 container labeled m4v for itunes happiness
    h.264 video
    aac 2 ch audio as track 1 for iphone happiness
    5.1 ac3 passthrough for streaming to home theater
    aac 2 ch audio commentary track if avilable
    1 english subtitle track.

    I could only see the video and use the first audio track. I was fairly bummed that it couldn't switch between them. The ps3 happily does this so I'm currently sharing them using the windows media network sharing service through wmp. I've tried tversity and it's transcoding was... ok. It would occasionally hang up, but I preferred the universal container that would make everything happy and I think I've gotten there with my above setup.

    Also, the reason i asked about the above connections, bittorrent is famous for choking upstream bandwidth, but you may also need to enable QoS at your router to take care of the lagginess. The other thing is that if you have a gigE setup with lots of devices talking, apparently switching down to 100mbE can choke up a switch when streaming a lot of data. Heard that recently on a home theater podcast I subscribe to, so MAY be something to investigate. It sounds like a pretty far out there problem though unless you've got a lot of devices running at gigE.

    steam_sig.png
  • mxmarksmxmarks Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Forget the Extender crap and just share the media from the PC as quoted below. It just works. I stream 720p HD files with no hiccups.
    Spam wrote: »
    Instead I have my xbox streaming hd videos/music perfectly through the Videos/Music section of the main dashboard (just need to set up Media Sharing in WMP first).

    How do you stream 720p files?

    You're doing exactly what I do, but I get so mad I can't ever stream HD videos, because the XBox doesn't stream .mkv files and I've never found a simple solution to getting the HD videos I have into a readable format.

    XBL: MXrox - PSN: mxmarks - twitch.tv/mxmarks - "Yes, mxmarks is the King of Queens" - Unbreakable Vow
  • RohanRohan Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    I completely forgot to come back to this thread... in the end we gave up on using the 360 as an all-in-one media center. For one, we never could get it to perform properly over the network, and as Holyman said, it limits files to 4GB in size. We have a fair number of HD titles on our media pc, most of them going well over 4GB, and I wouldn't even want to try and play a HD file when it had issues just navigating through the menus.

    After switching our media pc to another I built a few years ago, and installing all the updates along with PlayReady in Media Center, the Sky Player finally turned up as a download... so when my flatmate's free month with Xbox Live finishes, we'll just use the pc, as he's not willing to pay Microsoft a subscription for the only online service he uses on the console.

    Ah well.. soon we will have an all-in-one media player... it just won't be the Xbox. Media Center with Media Browser, Sky Player and Tunerfree MCE add-ons do us just fine.

    ...and I thought of how all those people died, and what a good death that is. That nobody can blame you for it, because everyone else died along with you, and it is the fault of none, save those who did the killing.

    Nothing's forgotten, nothing is ever forgotten
  • NailbunnyPDNailbunnyPD Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    mxmarks wrote: »
    Forget the Extender crap and just share the media from the PC as quoted below. It just works. I stream 720p HD files with no hiccups.
    Spam wrote: »
    Instead I have my xbox streaming hd videos/music perfectly through the Videos/Music section of the main dashboard (just need to set up Media Sharing in WMP first).

    How do you stream 720p files?

    You're doing exactly what I do, but I get so mad I can't ever stream HD videos, because the XBox doesn't stream .mkv files and I've never found a simple solution to getting the HD videos I have into a readable format.

    Handbrake to convert from MKV to MP4. A 1 hour file can take well over an hour to convert, so I usually do it remotely while I am work or overnight. You can establish a queue and do a group of files at a time.

    The WMP library can be a bit funny in that it adds the MP4 files to Other Media instead of Videos. To correct that, you have to delete the files from your library and then drag the files back into WMP. Its a small inconvenience, but since it works well enough in the end I don't complain about it.

    XBL: NailbunnyPD PSN: NailbunnyPD Origin: NailbunnyPD
    NintendoID: Nailbunny 3DS: 3909-8796-4685
    steam_sig-400.png
  • HolymanHolyman Registered User
    edited August 2010
    @ mxmarks
    I've been using the program GotSent to convert mkvs to mp4, manually unfortunately, and no batch converstions. However, it's actually quite quick to do the conversion; 720p files 1 hour in length take about 5 minutes on my quadcore. It also has a radial to check if you want large mkv files (ie 1080 movies) broken into <4GB chunks, so it will actually stream to the XBOX; an imperfect solution, but those mp4s sure look pretty on a bigscreen.

  • HolymanHolyman Registered User
    edited August 2010
    Just had a thought as well; as I'm at work, I can't remember exactly what I did, but I do remember having to go into Windows Media Player on my PC, and check a specific option to 'handshake' with the extender. Sorry I can't be more specific, but that might be a bottleneck to investigate?

Sign In or Register to comment.