For some insane reason I had not even looked at the Xbox Media Center for over a year, in fact up until about 2 weeks ago I still had the Xbox Media Player on my HD. Then I went over to a friends house who had bought one of those XP Media Centers, you know that one from Gateway
that looks like a part of your AV gear instead of an ugly white box, anyway as I looked at it I though, can't my Xbox do this? And do it better? The answer of course is yes. Then again, his was hooked up to a 54" Widescreen HDTV, while my Xbox suffers in the game room on a 32" but anyway...How it Works and What it Does
The Xbox Media Center or xbmc is the latest version of the old Xbox Media Player that came with many people's Modded Xbox's. It;s the same thing you see an entry for in old versions of Evox. However a lot has changed since it's XBMP days.
As you can see using the Mayhem skin it really starts to look like the high class Media Center PC's. You have your choice of playing videos, music, viewing photos, and even checking the weather if you have it hooked up to the net through weather.com
What is Does
Another plus is that the XBMC folks are really pushing this as Dash replacement. Meaning that instead of Evox or Avalaunch you could just run XBMC to play your games. In fact they have even integrated Xlink within the dash so you can find people to play online fast and easy. It found all my games perfectly and the same for my Emu's and apps. It even has RSS feeds running across the top.
Although I prefer Avalaunch for my dash this thing really does put up a good fight and it looks amazing to boot. The real driving reason to get this App/Dash though is it handeling of multi-media files. I know there are a ton of features but I will let other
people pick up an issues that I missed. My favorite thing about the Xbmc is that it plays almost any format of movies from avi, mpeg, etc. It even plays BIN files. Meaning you don't have to burn a movie, just send the BIN file over and watch. Nice and easy. Another neat feature is that it has a Built in connection to the IMDB. So no more trying to guess the plot or remember who starred in what movie. Just click on imdb or hit auto scan and you will know
The controls for movies are well done as well and include a great chapter skipping feature as well as controls for how the movie fits on your screen. Even if your a rich bastard and own one of those wide-screen HDTV's thing thing will adjust and look great. Another great feature is the auto thumbnail feature which will go through all your pics and generate thumbnails. It also can do slideshows which is neat for those boring vacation photos your Uncle Lester took. ANd who can forget about the Media Streaming option.
this allows you to stream videos , photos and music from your PC to your Xbox using Samba or XBSP or any of the other formats. Although I really haven't had time to set this up I imagine it's a bad-ass feature to have. I wonder how well it works with the Xbox wireless adapter? Anyway in conclusion I have to say that the XBMC is probably the best all around app for the Xbox their is. It handles well, installs well and handles almost all the formats you could possible want. So think about this before you go spend 3 grand on one of those Media Center PC's......
Posted at FG, Xboxanomics and Xbox-Scene