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How-To: Transcode & stream videos on Xbox 360

Last week's Xbox 360 Fall Dashboard update added support for the Windows Media Video (WMV) video codec. The feature was a welcomed gain for non-Media Center users who have been limited to photo and music sharing between their Windows PCs and Xbox 360s -- and to anyone who's longed to watch video files on 360 via a thumb drive or CD/DVD.

Unfortunately, licensing fees and digital rights concerns have limited the patch to WMV-support only. Being Microsoft's proprietary format, WMV is neither popular or oft-used, taking a backseat to preferred codecs like DivX and XviD. And so, we're still left scrambling for a solution to getting our video content onto Xbox 360.

Windows Media Center users have enjoyed on-the-fly transcoding for some time, courtesy of Transcode 360. While the developer says he expects "someone to knock up a transcoding solution not too far down the line" for Windows Media Player 11 and Windows Media Connect (read: not Windows Media Center), he suggests that it won't be him doing it.

So, until Microsoft adds support for more codecs or offers up an application capable of transcoding (to WMV) and streaming on-the-fly (okay, that will never happen), we're forced to manually transcode our non-WMV files into WMVs and then, if we wish to stream, point our 360s at the WMV files (on our PCs). That's the solution. Now, we're gonna show you how it's done:

Luckily, Happy Beggar has already taken care of most of the legwork. The site recently compared three (WMV-capable) transcoding applications: VLC, WinAvi 7.7, and Windows Media Encoder. The clear winner, in both speed and quality, was VLC, an open source media player that has a history of proven functionality. VLC is what we'll use for this guide.

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TheMART3821d ago (Edited 3821d ago )

So.. Since the fall update USB storage media can play video.

Buy an external HDD with USB 2.0 connection, put the movies on there and connect it to the 360 and PLAY

They're cheap, from 70 Euro's up (160 GB model) to 110 for a 320 GB (overhere in The Netherlands).

The cheapest next gen drive ever ;)

death monk3821d ago

you're exactly right. I was thinking about picking up a 40gb drive when it was on sale for $30, sadly I didn't get it in time.

shotty3821d ago

I have 512MB drive, but thinking of picking up a 200GB.

willymcd3821d ago

had a 500 GB one for $170 after rebates yesterday! but i just stream from my computer. if you are having problem streaming from WMP 11 you have to click the tiny little arrow below library then click on media sharing and allow the xbox. i had problems with the old media connect, but WMP 11 works very beautifully for me.
also another note for videos, is that you have to put the videos you want to watch in the "my videos" folder.

death monk3821d ago

I've put some of my converted full length videos in there but they don't always show up. So what I did instead was free up some space on my 20 gig Archos Gmini and streamed them off of that.

death monk3821d ago

I've been trying to figure out for the last couple of weeks how to convert .flv to .wmv. I tried using all of the software in the link and the first 15 seconds are converted, but nothing more. Those 15 seconds are further than I've ever got before though, and I was wondering if anyone knows why it would just stop when everything seemed to be going fine. I've already transcoded a couple of movies so I know my computer can do it. Any ideas on how to get this to work?

I've thought about transcoding from .flv to .avi and then from .avi to .wmv, but I'd prefer to avoid this to retain as much quality as possible. Thanks.

LuminousAphid3821d ago

I bought an external HD with usb 2.0, but it doesn't seem to work with my 360 for some reason. It's not a problem really, I can share it with windows media connect from another computer and just do it that way, but does anyone know why it would not be working? I'm thinking maybe it's because it shows up as an actual hard disk and not as a portable device, but I don't know. It's a 200gb g-money-maxtor, yo.