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XBMC hacker introduces Transcode 360

Albert Griscti-Soler, gamertag: runtime 360, was one of the original hackers on the Xbox Media Center project, and now he's taken up a similar cause on the 360. Following up on Casey Chestnut's pioneering effort /mceDivX360, Albert has created Transcode 360: "Designed for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 and the Xbox 360, Transcode 360 aims to broaden the support for a wide range of video media including DivX and XviD."

One of the primary complaints of the Xbox 360's integration with Windows Media Center is that it doesn't support the immensely popular DivX and XviD file formats, instead supporting only Microsoft's proprietary Windows Media format. Microsoft has maintained this is because there are no legitimate implementations of the alternative codecs, inferring they are only used for pirated material. This, of course, is like saying that MP3s are illegitimate simply because online music stores don't sell the format, instead opting for DRM-restricted formats.

There are, of course, plenty of legitimate uses for alternative video codecs; I'm not really sure what Microsoft gains by arguing otherwise. Either way, it's irrelevant, since the community has filled a void that was notably present in the functionality of the system. Great job! Now to get video streaming from Mac OS...

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Reader Comments

(Page 1)

1. When does XP support come out for my streaming needs?

There's too much porn for a Computer Moniter to handle.

Is anyone working on a solution?

Posted at 7:27AM on Feb 12th 2006 by Chris 0 stars

2. Well, there's one thing you have wrong: "Microsoft has maintained this is because there are no legitimate implementations of the alternative codecs, inferring they are only used for pirated material".

Microsoft doesn't support DivX because they would be required to buy a rather extensive licence from DivX to have the codec on the Media Center Extender, which would require them to get the code so they can translate to work on the Xbox 360. I don't think they would want to support a competing codec nor do they want to spend allot of money on it, either.

But this Transcode 360 does help fix a big gap with people with videos in other codecs (DivX, Xvid, MP4, even Real (if you get Real alternative and rename the files to .avi), etc.) and it seems to work flawlessly for me. No more hassles of trying to set up Windows Media Encoder, it does it all automatically.

I think this will definitely solve a lot of people's codec problems with the Xbox 360 MCE Extender, and save them time from encoding the videos in WMV.

Posted at 10:29AM on Feb 12th 2006 by DA360 2 stars

3. Fair enough DA360, but what about XviD? That's an open source codec, and it even decodes plenty of DivX stuff. My point is they've said, via Major Nelson, the reason they aren't supporting it is due to the abundance of illegitimate uses it has. He said something along the lines of, "Come on guys. We know what you want it for." Yeah, to watch what we want when we want.

If what we're watching was obtained illegally, bad for us. We're naughty. It isn't their job to police what we're doing, they don't own the content. That's Sony territory. ;)

Posted at 2:57PM on Feb 12th 2006 by C. Grant 0 stars

4. I'd pay �20 for a DivX/ XviD decoder via the marketplace. That'd quickly cover licencing costs.

Posted at 5:51PM on Feb 12th 2006 by James 0 stars

5. I'm looking for mac support and streaming video. It'd be nice if they supported something other than WMV files. like quicktime files and just mac support in general.

Be a little more open. Otherwise, enjoy my system.

Posted at 12:10AM on Feb 13th 2006 by portorikan 0 stars

6. ask and you shall receive... Mac support for streaming to the 360

Posted at 10:56AM on Feb 13th 2006 by Ken Terry 0 stars

7. True, you have XviD but if MS used that to play DivX video�s, which might cause conflict with DivX that might lead to a lawsuit. True, they could charge for the codec on Live Marketplace or something but still, like I said, I doubt MS wants to support a competitors codec. Plus, like you said, you also got the fact that most movie pirates use DivX (or XviD) for their pirated movie files, though MP3 is also used for music piracy, but its also used quite a bit for litigate purposes, though DivX is also used for perfectly litigate purposes as well. You also have the fact that MP3 is an EXTREMELY widely used standard. Not supporting it would be not only plain stupid, but asking for trouble from an extremely high amount of complaints from people not being able to play back their music. Also, the common person knows all about MP3s and whatnot, but the common person more than likely doesn�t even know what DivX is.

It�s also kind of why you don't see support for DivX or anything else on other devices, such as the PSP, which only supports MP4 (and you have to encode it with special software to put Sony's signatures in the file). I guess the 360 is pretty similar, except its WMVs instead of MP4s (though it will also decode MPEG and MPEG2 files). Thankfully, due to Media Center supporting streaming media and having extensive plug-ins, something like Transcode 360 is possible so you don't have to go though the pain of converting every file that you want to play.

Also, at least Windows Vista will have the Media Center built into it, besides the Professional versions. There will also be an "Ultimate" edition that will be a version with everything, including anything from the Pro Version and the Home, including Media Center. So at least in the future, not having Media Center won't be such a big issue.

Posted at 11:20AM on Feb 15th 2006 by DA360 2 stars

8. DA360, your last post there - despite its considerable length - somehow managed to lack any valid points whatsoever.

The fact that Vista will have the media capabilities of Media Center is irrelevant - it's not here yet, while the 360 is. People won't care about Vista's ability until it's out. It's like me saying 'Sure, who cares that the maximum speed limit is 60mph? In the future, cars will be able to fly and speed limits will be irrelevant'.

MS would not face a lawsuit for using open source software, even if it could be used to play DivX files. If this was the case then XviD would be facing their own lawsuit right now.

C. Grant was right - it is not MS's place to decide what we should and should not be able to do with what we buy. They are not lawmakers. If people want DivX support then either they should supply it or simply not be surprised when others go out and make their own support for it.

It's possible to break laws with even the most mundane household objects, yet we still use them. Why? Because we are responsible enough to either use what we have legally, or face the consequences for breaking those laws by our own free will. Piracy is no different. MS should stop trying to play police man and give its customers what it wants - for legal use or not.

Posted at 5:08AM on Feb 20th 2006 by Gareth 0 stars

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