Introduction: Watch Almost Any Format on Xbox 360 Without Windows Media Centre
If your like me - impatient, and want a quick and easy solution to watching a video on your $650 - $1000 Xbox 360, without Microsoft's stupid proprietary video format (.wmv), then i suggest you try this tutorial.
THIS IS VERY SIMPLE TO DO AND WILL TAKE ONLY A FEW HOURS TO COMPLETE!!!
Since i pre-ordered the Xbox 360 (in march 06), i really badly wanted to watch video on the expensive console. This was finally answered with an update. Only problem was, .WMV SUPPORT ONLY!!!.
So here i was spending so much time looking for a quick and easy solution on sites such as engadget and xbox-scene. I was pretty impatient, dismissing most of the long tutorials, until i found out a nice little program that streams formats other than .wmv to your xbox 360.
This guide will basically show you how to play several different video formats on your Xbox 360 without having to buy and install Windows Media Center OS. (as if Microsoft wasn't happy with the amount of money they made from home and professional!!)
Formats i have watched so far on my xbox 360:
- .avi (divx and xvid compressed)
- .avi (non-compressed)
- .mpg 1 and 2
- .mov (Quicktime)
- .flv (Youtube format)
I'm still trying to obtain the .mp4 codec that is compatible with TVersity - The program that does all the streaming.
Step 1: Required Software - Windows Media Player 11
This is the only Microsoft program you need, which is very simple to install and use. Better yet, this is THE ONLY Microsoft program that is easy to install and use.
Download and install Windows Media Player 11 from Microsoft.com. It is imperative that you install version 11 because the previous versions haven't been written to help stream media to the Xbox 360.
Note: Do not miss this step as windows media player is a very important part of the process. It uninstalled itself on my computer (How this happened i will never know) and I was trying to figure out why I kept getting connection error messages when trying to play non .wmv formats on my xbox.
Step 2: TVersity - Streaming Program
Now, you must download and install a freeware program called TVersity from tversity.com/download.
Once you have installed this program, enable the "TVersity media server" in the start menu.
Now open the TVersity GUI (program) and go through the transcoder settings and change them so that it suits whatever console you have. i.e. bit rate, connection type, wireless/wired, resolution, etc
Now, turn on the Xbox 360 console and go to the Media blade (blue background). Go to either video, music or pictures and search for computers on the network.
If you are already connected to a computer and want to disconnect from it, go to the System blade (purple background) and go to computers>windows based pc>disconnect. Remember, you can only connect to 1 computer at a time.
Once you have disconnected from the computer you are currently connected to, go back to the media blade and go to videos>computer. A message should come up detailing how to connect to a computer - press "yes, continue"
It should now start searching for windows based pc's that are connected on the LAN.
Once it has finished searching it should come up with a list of computers on your network. Click on "TVersity on (Computer Name)" (TVersity basically acts like another computer on the LAN)
If TVersity installed and worked correctly, then this option should come up, otherwise, if it doesn't, then you have a problem with your Xbox finding TVersity. I tried a different computer as I have 2, but if you only have 1, then I suggest going to the TVersity forums, there is a lot of help there.
The only things that i can suggest at this point are the following....
- Check you windows firewall by going to start>control panel>windows firewall.
Either change the programs being blocked by the windows firewall or turn the firewall off.... this isnt recommended but just turn it off if everything else fails
- Check your network settings by going into my network places and programs and clicking on view network connections on the side of the window. From here, right click on the connection u are currently using and click on properties.
Once inside properties, scroll down the list until you see "internet protocol (TCP/IP)". Double click and make sure both the IP and DNS server addresses are obtained automatically.... Having a number in here may cause a conflict with the router resulting in your computer not showing up anywhere, this even means you might not be able to use your internet connection.
*Note - The second point may even solve any network conflicts you are having. By having this obtained automatically, you are letting your router do the work for you rather than doing it yourself. This often solves the "limited or no connectivity" issue not related to the xbox 360.
Once you have the TVersity media server working perfectly, and it's accessible from the Xbox 360 dashboard, continue with the final step.
Step 3: Required Software - DirectShow Filters/decoders (codecs)
Now you have to install several DirectShow filters/decoders that are compatible with the TVersity media server.
A list of these programs can be found on the TVersity download page - tversity.com/download
Each decoder can decode a different format, for instance, QuickTime Alternative can decode .mov files while FFDshow can decode .divx/.xvid compressed .avi files and .mpg 1 and 2 files. Although this is the case, you can find packages such as the "k-lite codec pack" that installs several decoders/codecs as the same installation, but seperate programs.
Every decoder worked perfectly for me except for the FFDshow program which only decoded the following types of .avi files
- .xvid/.divx compressed .avi
- uncompressed .avi
I couldn't manage to decode .avi files that were compressed with codecs such as .mp4 using FFDshow, so bear this in mind.
If you have .avi files that have been encoded with other codecs and still want to play them, then download a program called "AVI FourCC Changer". This is a very simple program that gives you the option to change the four character code that is used to identify data formats. In other words, it lets you change the title of the codec used to compress the .avi file you want to watch. (it doesn't actually change the codec itself)
Browse for a media file by clicking on the folder icon. Now replace the original code with "xvid" in both boxes. (you can also try "divx" but i recommend "xvid")
For example, if the boxes show "dx50" which is "DivX codec 5.0", change them to "xvid".
The same applies for boxes that show, "div1" through to "div6".
If you type an incorrect code, it will result in an unplayable video, so it's best to backup the video first if your unfamiliar with this.
Note: The decoders must be compatible with TVersity. Go to tversity.com/download if you are unsure which programs to download.
Step 4: Your Done!
Once you have installed everything and everything's working, open up TVersity GUI (the program, not the server) and click on "start server now" which is in the start menu folder. Alternatively, you can right click on the tversity icon in the system tray and click "start tversity media server".
Add files and folders into the sharing tab.
TVersity is now able to stream media that is being decoded by FFDshow, etc into your Xbox.
Now, go to your Xbox 360 console. Go to the media blade, select "video" and choose "computer" (not "console"). Remember to skip the information about setup and select "yes, continue". Finally select the computer called "TVersity on (computer name)" - TVersity is shown as its own computer which is separate from connecting with "windows media connect".
Once this is done, search through the library for your video and click play, it should now freeze for up to a minute, only then will it start transcoding, letting you watch the video as it transcodes more content.
Your cannot fast forward or rewind during the video, as it is still transcoding into .wmv but you can pause and resume if the video or Xbox chooses to shut off or just stop.
Your computer is converting the video about 5 seconds ahead of what your actually watching
If your computer isn't fast enough, then your going to have to lower the transcoding quality and resolution, and raise the compression, etc.
Also, don't play any games or cpu-thrashing processes while transcoding. This is like converting a video while playing a game - the video will eventually slow down and stop converting.
While the video is playing, on your computer, there should be many icons in the system tray. These icons are the codecs and the TVersity media server.
It would also be a smart thing to do to pause the video for a little while when it starts. This allows the transcoding to be a few minutes ahead of the part you're up to so the video doesn't suddenly stop or restart half way, lol -Â it's happened to me many times and you cant skip.
One more thing - when going through the setup of each decoder, DO NOT attempt to change any technical stuff such as the libavcodec settings. Just install the program using the default settings unless you are absolutely sure on what you are doing.
If you are having any trouble with this, you can ask me through hotmail or msn, but please do not ask me about the Xbox not finding TVersity, I don't have a proper solution to it yet that actually works for everyone.
If you think this guide is great you can thank me for it but please do not copy it and claim it as your own work, as this has taken me over a year to figure out - since the 360 came out.
*If you want to include it in your work, change it, add to it, etc, ask me on msn or hotmail, and i will most likely let you on the condition that you include my name as the original author.
I hope it works for everyone. :)
This is just one of the many ways around this evil man's plans of making Microsoft products required for just about everything. Just look at DirectX 10 Games and Vista... Classic Example. They must've been some bullies while he was growing up LOL! You gotta feel sorry for the guy though, actually nah, he's on roughly AUD$1.1 mil a year, who can feel sorry.
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