Xbox 360 DivX, XviD Playback Guide

Original Page URL: http://www.digital-digest.com/articles/Xbox_360_DivX_XviD_Playback_Guide_page1.html
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Date Added: Mar 12, 2007
Date Updated: Dec 4, 2007


The original version of this guide showed a method where you can use TVersity to play DivX and XviD file on the Xbox 360, even though the Xbox 360 did not natively support DivX and XviD playback. TVersity allows for realtime transcoding (conversion) of the DivX/XviD file to WMV, a format that the Xbox 360 does support. But with the 2007 Fall Update for the Xbox 360, DivX and XviD playback was added to the list of natively supported video formats on the 360, and hence, the old guide was no longer necessary. This revised guide, now shows you how to set up a media server, by using either TVersity or Windows Media Player 11. There is no transcoding involved with either method, and you can easily apply the instructions to setting up other UPnP compatible media servers.

The Xbox 360 is a great games console, with HD output. It is now also a good alternative to buying a HD DVD player, if you purchase the HD-DVD add-on drive. With it's Windows MCE extender and UPnP functions, it can also serve as a media hub for your home entertainment system, streaming video, audio and pictures from your central media server (Windows MCE or UPnP server). With the 2007 Fall Update, both DivX and XviD is now supported through the AVI and .divx containers. This guide will teach you how to setup your own UPnP server using the free software TVersity or Windows Media Player 11, so you can stream DivX/XviD files to your Xbox 360 without having to burn any media or to copy the files over.

Before we get started, DivX and XviD support has the following restrictions:

  • Maximum Resolution: 1280x720 (720p) @ 30 FPS
  • Maximum Bitrate: 5 Mbps (files with higher bitrates will play, but playback quality is not guaranteed)
  • Audio Support: MP3, AC3 (2.0 and 5.1)
  • MPEG-4 ASP Features: B-Frames, Interlaced Frames, Q-Pel, GMC and MPEG Quantization

As you can see above, the "restrictions" are pretty lax, meaning you will be able to play almost every kind of DivX/XviD AVI out there (and being able most of the DivX encoding profiles without worrying about incompatibility). The inclusion of AC3 5.1 support is much welcomed.

For the old version of this guide, an alternative method was available. This method converts your DivX/XviD files to WMV first, and then play back the WMV file on your Xbox 360. Before native DivX/XviD support as added, this method was great if your computer was not fast enough for realtime transcoding, or if you want higher quality WMV files that do not suffer from buffering or skipping problems during playback. You can find out about this alternative method by reading our AVI to (Xbox 360 compatible) WMV Conversion Guide. Obviously, with native DivX/XviD support, the convert to WMV method is less attractive.

The Spring Update for the Xbox 360 (May 2007) now also allows H.264 playback, and you can read our Xbox 360 H.264 Conversion Guide to find out more.

Software you'll need (all freeware):

Hardware you'll need:

  • Home network (wired or wireless)
  • Xbox 360

Before we proceed and as mentioned before, there are two software you can use to get your media server up and running to stream DivX/XviD files to your Xbox 360. One method is to use TVersity, a free UPnP media server. The other is to use Windows Media Player 11's built in "Media Sharing" capabilities. If you already have Windows Media Player installed (and you should have, even if you are planning on using TVersity, since it is an requirement as well), then my recommendation is to try the media sharing in WMP 11 before deciding to use TVersity or not. TVersity is a nice and simple tool to manage your media sharing, but it is not without its problems.

If you choose to use Windows Media Player 11, then please continue on to the next page. If you choose to use TVersity, please skip the next page and continue to page 3 ("Setting Up Media Sharing using TVersity - Part 1").



Setting Up Media Sharing in Windows Media Player

Install Windows Media Player 11.

Start up your Xbox 360.

If you are using Windows Firewall, you can skip this step. Otherwise, you will need to open up a few ports on your firewall to allow media sharing to occur on your home network. If you are using Windows Firewall, the ports will open automatically for you. If you need to find a list of ports that need to be opened, please refer to the "What are the firewall requirements?" question on this page: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/player/faq/sharing.mspx. If you are using Windows XP Professional, there are several services that need to be enabled in order for media sharing to occur (and you might have disabled them previously). These services are "SSDP Discovery Service", "Universal Plug and Play Device Host" and "Windows Media Player Network Sharing Device".

Start Windows Media Player 11. Click on the "Library" button at the top and the library menu should show up, select "Media Sharing". A window should now open with the option to enable media sharing, click the checkbox to enable it. Press "OK" to continue.

Windows Media Player: Library Menu


Windows Media Player: Media Sharing


A new window should show up, with a list of compatible sharing devices. Your Xbox 360 should be one of them. Select the 360 icon and press the "Allow" button to allow sharing to this device. You can also click on the "Customize" button to customize what can be shared. Press "OK" to close all the open windows to return to WMP when you are finished.

Windows Media Player: Media Sharing


Windows Media Player: Media Sharing - Customize



Adding media to the Library

Now we will add your DivX and XviD files to the library. It's probably a good idea to first organize your DivX and XviD files into folders on your hard-drive. Click on the "Library" button at the top of WMP again and this time, select "Add to Library".

Windows Media Player: Media Sharing - Add to Library


In the window that opens, you can specify which folders on your hard-drive the media sharing program will monitor for new files to automatically add to the library (whether they are audio, video or picture files). Add in the folder that contains your DivX and XviD files. In the screenshot above, I have chosen to add my "C:\Media Files\Movie Files\" folder to the list of monitored folders. You can also choose to skip files that are smaller than a certain size if you wish. Press "OK" and WMP will now scan these folders to find files to add to the library.

Windows Media Player: Media Sharing - Add to Library


Once all the files are added, you can browse which video files are in your library by clicking on the category select button near the top left and selecting "Video".

Windows Media Player: Browse Category



Connecting to your media library from the Xbox 360

Go to the "Media" blade and select "Video". Press the blue "X" button to go to the select source screen. Here, the name of your computer/Windows User Account should be listed. Select the computer that you wish to connect to and after a while, the shared folders on the computer will show up. Now all you have to do is to browse through the folders/files to select a video, and then play it. Couldn't be any simpler.

Xbox 360: Media - Video


Xbox 360: Media - Video Source Select


Xbox 360: Media - Video Play


We're done :)

The next few pages are for an alternative method of doing the above using TVersity, so if you've already followed the instructions on this page, you do not need to continue on.

If things didn't go well, then try these troubleshooting tips:

  • If you are unable to connect to the computer running WMP, double check your firewall settings again.

  • Make sure that the Xbox 360 is not already connected to another media server or media center. Disconnect from any connected devices.

  • Disable any other media sharing software, such as TVersity, that may already be running on the same computer. Technically, you are able to run multiple media servers on the same computer as long as they use different ports.

  • Make sure the "SSDP Discovery Service", "Universal Plug and Play Device Host" and "Windows Media Player Network Sharing Device" services are started. If you are running Windows XP Professional, you can adjust services by going to: Start -> Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Services

Need additional help? Why not post your questions in our Xbox 360 Forum!



Setting Up Media Sharing using TVersity

We've changed the format of the guide as to merge all the TVersity setup instructions in the TVersity Setup Guide, so you should now refer to this tutorial on how to set up DivX/XviD media sharing using TVersity for the Xbox 360. Once you're done with that tutorial, come back here continue with the rest of the instructions.

Connecting to TVersity from the Xbox 360

We finally move to the Xbox 360. This tutorial assumes you've already setup the Xbox 360 for network and Internet connections.

Go to the "My Xbox" section, go to the "Video Library" (or Music, Photo Library) and press "A" to enter. This should take you to the "Select Source" screen, select the TVersity enabled PC that you want to connect to. If TVersity isn't listed here, then you may need to refer to the Troubleshooting section of the TVersity Setup Guide.

Xbox 360: Video Library


Xbox 360: Select Source


This should now connect to your TVersity share folder, so navigate around and find the video file you want to play, just like any other media file for the Xbox 360. Couldn't be any simpler, really.

Xbox 360: Select File


Xbox 360: Playback


TVersity also shared pictures and audio files, and you can browse for those as well if you added them into the TVersity sharing section. Audio and image playback should be much more compatible than video playback, so you shouldn't run into any problems there.

We're done :)

Need additional help? Why not post your questions in our Xbox 360 Forum!



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