Since many people seem to have questions regarding DivX/XviD playback since the December 2007 dash update, I have compiled this FAQ.
Here are some limitations on DivX/XviD playback:
· File Extensions: .avi, .divx
· Containers: AVI
· Video Profiles: MPEG-4 Part 2, Simple & Advanced Simple Profile
· Video Bitrate: 5 Mbps with resolutions of 1280 x 720 at 30fps.
· Audio Profiles: Dolby® Digital 2 channel and 5.1 channel, MP3
· Audio Max Bitrate: No restrictions.
Link to official MS video FAQ
Q: How do I enable DivX playback on my 360?
A: You must have the Dec 07 dashboard update (2.0.6683.0) or newer, installed as well as the optional media playback download.
Q: My dashboard is updated, where do I find the optional media update?
A: When you attempt to play a DivX file for the first time, it will tell you that you need to download the support codec. It will automatically take you to the file if you select download now. You can also manually browse through the marketplace to find it, it is under "Game add-ons".
Q: I can find the media download, but it either wont let me download it, I get an error, or I must be online in order to play back my DivX files. Whats the deal?
A: This is a known issue, with a fairly simple work around. Microsoft has bundled this codec with the previous optional codecs, so if you have downloaded it before, it can cause problems. The download is tied to your console as well as your gamertag. Simply download it from another account on the same console, this enables it to be used by any other profile on the same console. If you don't have another profile, just create a new silver account and attempt to play a DivX file while that new account is signed in. You will be prompted to install the update. Once this is done, you no longer need to be logged into LIVE to use the DivX playback. You may delete that silver profile if you want after the codec is installed. The new (as of July '08) DRM licence transfer tool may remove the need to be logged into live to playback xvids as well.
Q: I must be signed in to my profile order to play back my DivX files. Whats the deal?
A: See above.
Q: I have a banned console, how can I get the codec installed?
A: While there are many ways to install the dashboard update on a banned console, there is currently no way to add DivX support in any way other than directly downloading/installing it from LIVE. You may have found a download somewhere on the net that says it is possible to install this manually by placing the files in the required folder on the 360 hdd. This is bogus and does not work, don't waste your time even trying. The codec is DRM locked as explained elsewhere in this FAQ.
Update: If you have a Jtag'd xbox running XBR or Freeboot, you can install/patch the media download to enable divx playback. The files are found @ \Content\0000000000000000\FFFE07DF\00000002\ on partition 3. Unlock these files with YarisSwap 0.3 or other similar tool and you will be able to play divx files again.
Q: That's #$%*&^@! Why can't I just download it from Xbox.com or transfer it from another hard drive?
A: The DivX codec is not free for commercial use, therefore Microsoft has to pay a licensing fee for each unique device that uses it. The only way to keep track of how many consoles require this codec is to tie it to the individual machine. It make sense from a business standpoint to not embed the codec in the dash update, which is why it prompts you to download the first time you you play a Divx file. If only 40% of consoles use this feature, why would MS want to pay the royalty for every machine out there.
If your console was banned from LIVE you have forfeited the right to obtain services from MS, free-to-end-user codecs included. A pain in the ass, maybe, a logical business move by MS, definitely. This will never be downloadable from xbox.com, in the same way that the ipod support (also licensed by MS for a fee per console) is not available for off console downloads.
Here is a quote from MS regarding the Ipod AAC codec.
The codec you download will be unique to your console, it will not accompany you, for instance, if you move your gamer profile to an Xbox 360 Memory Unit to play at a friend's house.
If you're using a friend's Xbox 360 console, Xbox LIVE Marketplace will allow you to download the AAC codec again. But if you've already downloaded it to your own console, the codec will not work on your friend's, as the codec is only valid the first time it's downloaded by a specific gamer profile.
Q: After installing the NXE dash, do I need to redownload the "Optional Media Update"?
A: The NXE requires you to redownload the codec, probably because it has been updated in some way.
Or it may be another effort by MS to punish people that are banned.
-You have your console all set up to play divx.
-Your console is banned.
-You had it set up properly, so you can still play divx even offline.
-You update to the NXE offline, either from a future game or hdd swap,' downloaded etc...
-Divx codec gets wiped.
If you value the ability to play Divx on your 360, and your console is banned, DO NOT upgrade to the NXE, or you will lose this ability. There is no workaround. (if you have an exploitable kernel, you can install the Jtag hack/XBR to re-enble this feature.)
Q: I managed to get everything installed, but I burnt some DivX files to a dvd, and I cannot play them. It just says Mixed Media Disc and will not let me select it. What gives?
A: You cannot launch the files from a disc when you are on the Xbox LIVE blade of the dash. You must go to the Media blade, and move down to the video button. From there select current disc, and you should see the files listed in the left hand pane. If using the NXE dash, just go to My Xbox and over to Video Library, or alternatively hit the guide button and move over to the Media blade.
Q: Is it possible to stream these files over a network?
A: Certainly. It can be streamed the same way as other media files, with MediaPlayer 11, Zune software, from Windows Home Server, or almost any UPnP media server (eg: Xbox1 running a current build of XBMC, UPnP/DLNA enabled NAS, UPnP pc server such as Twonkymedia or Tversity etc), or using Windows Media Connect 2. Microsoft has dropped support for Windows Media Connect, but it is still a viable option for streaming from your PC. Although it is not linked on their site any longer you can still download it HERE from MS servers. Samba shares do not work.
Q: You didn't say Windows Media Center, doesn't that work as well?
A: Unfortunately, DivX through MCE is currently not supported on the 360. Even though you have the appropriate codecs installed on your Vista/MCE pc, and you can see the thumbnail image of the video, it will not play. Update: with the public release of Windows 7 Beta, it is reported that VMC will now allow playback of XviD files on the 360 through the media center application.
Q: Other than over the network, how else can I play my movies? Can I play them from the 360 HDD?
A: The 360 will play them from a burned disc (data cd or data dvd), usb thumbdrive, or external usb harddrive (formatted FAT, FAT32, or HFS+)(NTFS formatted drives do not work, imagine that, an MS product that doesn't support their own file system. See MCE question above for more sad irony.) You cannot add them to the 360 harddrive and play them from there.
Q: I am trying to format my large external hdd to FAT32 but my Windows 2000/XP/Vista pc will not allow me to format it in FAT32 if it is bigger than 32 gig or attempts to then throws an error after a long time. Is there another way to format my large drive in FAT32?
A: Here is a handy command line app that works great for formatting within windows. Does the deed in seconds.
Q: I have managed to get it all working, and have watched a bunch of my videos but some of the older DivX files that I have encoded do not work. What exactly does the 360 support for DivX files?
A: The optional media support is actually for Mpeg-4 part 2 Simple and Advanced Simple Profile, the DivX file must be encoded with version 5.0 or higher as earlier versions were not based on this encoding profile.
Q: Some of my videos are subtitled with a separate .SRT, .SUB/IDX or .SSA file, but when I play them, the subs do not display. Aside from learning a foreign language, how can I tell what people are saying?
A: The 360 will not display the subtitles unless they are hard coded into the avi. There are applications available that will merge your subs with your video. AVI ReComp will add hard subs for you.
Q: How do I check my video files before hand to know if they will work or not?
A: A simple freeware application, that you can use to check your video files, is called "GSpot"
Q: Is there a simple way to convert my noncompliant divx files so that they will work on the 360?
A: AVI ReComp works great for this, and is very simple to use. This may take some time depending on the speed of your computer.
Q: Is there a max file size restriction, like there is on the PS3, of 2GB?
A: The maximum file size for an AVI, MPEG-4 Part 2, and H.264 file that can be played is 4 GB. 4GB is also the maximum size of any single file that you can store on a FAT32 USB hard drive. However, Windows Media Player 11 and the Zune software do support streaming WMV files greater than 4GB.
Q: When playing a vid with AC3 audio, the video seems to skip occasionally. How do I fix that?
A: This issue is being investigated in this thread. Check for details.
Q:How can I add thumbnails to individual avi's, cover art etc.. or screen grabs from the avi itself? All I see on the right hand pane is that faded film strip... and i know i've seen an image there before.......
A: Thumbs are only displayed when the media is being served/streamed by WMP11, the Zune software, or in Media Center. You do not get the thumbnail view if the media is on USB or streamed from a UPnP server like Windows Home Server. If you place a .jpg image with the same name as the video file, in the same folder, you can display a thumb over usb.
Q: This all seems like a real pain in the ass. My original Xbox plays any file I have through XBMC.
A: Then keep using your original Xbox as a media center. If you want to run XBMC on your 360, then quit whining about it and help the scene with fully cracking the 360.
Feel free to drop suggestions for additions to this FAQ, and I will update accordingly.
Edited by StrictPuppet, 24 January 2010 - 11:17 PM.