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retro tech

Farewell Xbox XBMC

It is with some sadness that I learnt Team XBMC has decided to cease official development of the Xbox branch of XBMC. Reading the comments on the article and you will discover that despite this era of Hi-Def video formats and Blu-Ray, there is still a large number of people perfectly happy on standard definition and the Xbox. If some of the comments are to be believed, one can actually play some 720p content on the Xbox at an acceptable framerate! (when I tried this the film looked more like a comic strip in terms of frame rate 😉

I make no apology for being an unabashed XBMC fan. XBMC > MythTV (and the user community is actually helpful, unlike the MythTV people who will sneer at you). I have several systems at home. One is even modded with a remote power on sensor. It completely blew me away when I first completed a softmod and installed XBMC for the first time. It turned the humble Xbox into a lean, mean media center machine that does an absolutely superb job. Being on the Xbox means one benefits from super-fast boot up and ready connection to a TV and audio system.

Got a Hi-Def TV? Then use component video out with the 720p skin for an amazingingly sharp crisp picture. Got a surround sound system? Then use optical digital out to pipe Dolby Digital or DTS to your amplifier. Got a DVD or CD to playback? No problem with the in-built DVD-ROM drive – oh, and it will rip your CDs to HDD at the click of a button too. I think DVDs are upscaled when watching in Hi-Def mode too, Star Wars: A New Hope DVD looked amazing through it. Your media is on a NAS? Hook your switch to the Ethernet port on the back and share via Samba/CIFS or UPnP. And I have not even mentioned emulators like MAME yet. Add the in-built support for the Xbox DVD remote control and all in all, the Xbox platform is almost the ideal appliance for a media centre!

You can pick up a second hand Xbox these days for £10. If you want to enjoy your movies, music or pictures through your large screen telly, I urge you to buy one and try XBMC. You won’t look back I guarantee it.

It looks like the Xbox branch will live on at a new home. There is life in the humble Xbox yet!