Xbox software update – Stream video from Linux (Dec/2007)

Microsoft released a software update that expands the number of video formats that the XBox will play. This is quite exciting for me because I usually have to watch anything I download on my unimpressive 15″ computer monitor but now I can stick it on a USB key and watch it on my TV from the comfort of my sofa (which actually isn’t comfortable at all!).

Give Peas a Chance Even better than a USB key, we found out how to stream video from Ubuntu Gutsy. The protocol that the Xbox uses to communicate with Windows Media Center PC’s is UPnP. To run your own UPnp server on Ubuntu 7.10 you need to install “ushare” (open source streaming software developed for the “GeexBox” Linux distribution):
  1. sudo emacs /etc/apt/sources.list
    • add “deb unstable main”
  2. sudo apt-get update;sudo apt-get install ushare
  3. ushare -n Arbitary_UPnp_Server_Name -c pathToTargetMediaDir -x -i eth0

To get to the media in the XBox dashboard, you go to the “Media” tab, select “Videos”, then you should see “uShare” listed amongst the sources list. As a reference, the uShare version is currently 1.1 and the XBox dashboard version is 2.0.6683.0. Note: For some reason .avi files don’t show unless you rename them to .mov.

I would say thank you to Microsoft for this update except this isn’t really a fix, it’s more of an uncrippling. Why did they cripple it so it can’t play xVid in the first place? They must have been hoping people would just use WMV format videos but they must have received enough feedback to tell them that this isn’t the case.

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