NEWS - Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Xbox Media Center VS Xbox 360

We are going to compare the Xbox Media Center on the original Xbox to the Xbox 360’s media center capabilities. The Xbox Media Center (XBMC) is based on the MPlayer source code, which is an open source and cross platform media player that is notorious for playing proprietary media formats without licensing fees. XBMC handles many popular formats including: MPEG-1/2/4 DivX XviD H.264 RealMedia QuickTime MP3 AAC JPG GIF BMP In addition to being able to play media from the Xbox’s DVD drive, XBMC can also play media that has been backed up to the Xbox’s HDD, or even stream it from your local network using SAMBA. If music is your thing, you can steam iTunes as well. XBMC makes the most of an Ethernet connection, allowing you to obtain IMDB information, stream videos, music videos, and internet radio. You can even check the weather and your email, you can even do karaoke. In addition to all this, XBMC allows people with modded Xboxes to use the Xbox Live alternative, XLink Kai. The downside of XBMC is that it required a modded Xbox to run, and benefits from an expanded HDD, so some technical knowledge and skills are required to fully enjoy the Xbox Media center In addition to being a next-generation gaming machine, the Xbox 360 was built to serve as a media center. The benefits of the 360 are that you can download game demos and movie trailers, and if you have a Windows Media Center Edition PC you can stream your MPEG ½ and WMV videos. One advantage that the 360 as a media center has over its XBMC counterpart is that there is no modding required, and it will work right out of the box. The disadvantages of the 360 are that it is extremely limited in the file formats it can handle. Unless you have a Media Center Edition PC, you will not be able to stream videos; only pictures and audio. The 360’s stock HDD is 13GB out of the box, so if you want to download a trailer or game demo, you have to take the download and delete approach due to the space requirements of HD content. In the end, it is no contest. In sheer terms of Media Center functionality, XMBC is superior to the 360 in every respect. It is an application that you have to use to understand just how good it is. The Xbox Media Center is an open source project that is updated nearly weekly, and I recommend it fully to anybody who owns an Xbox, or is just looking for a true media center for their home.


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