Category Archives: HDTV and Home Theater

My latest Xbox 360 achievement

It’s not really a 360 achievement; it’s because of the Wii.

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DirecTV to add Toledo local HD

Well, this is a nice surprise: according to Multichannel News, DirecTV will be adding local-into-local HD service for Toledo (and several other similarly-sized markets) by years’ end. I don’t have any of the MPEG-4 equipment that would be required to get LIL, and I have a perfectly good HD antenna anyway. Even if I had the equipment, I’d still stick with over-the-air because then I can record it easily, using either Windows Media Center or the El Gato eyeTV HD gadget I just got in the mail. Look for a full review soon… well, OK; “soon” really means “after baseball season is over, or the Tigers are eliminated, whichever comes first”.

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Fantastic Xbox 360 news

At the Tokyo Game Show, Microsoft made a couple of huge announcements about the Xbox 360. First, they announced some new games for the Japanese market, where the Xbox family has traditionally been pretty weak. They announced some excellent new Xbox Live Arcade titles, too, including Gyruss, Rally-X, and Track & Field. Konami and NAMCO BANDAI have really jumped on the potential of XBLA; Konami alone had three or four titles released just within the last couple of months.

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Firefly in HD

I don’t know how I missed this news. Jim McBee always bugs me about watching Firefly; he swears that I’d like it. I’ve held off, mostly out of laziness. Now comes word that it’ll be shown on UHD, in high definition, starting in a couple of weeks. To the TiVo! Season Pass time.

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Griffin TuneCenter

Another cool MacWorld product: Griffin’s new TuneCenter, an iPod dock that lets you play videos or music, or show pictures, from your iPod on a regular TV. I wonder how well this actually works? I love the idea, especially since it’s much simpler than the current lashup I have now. One key difference is that pictures displayed through the Xbox360 UI should use a much higher resolution than the iPod will support, but then that requires my Xbox360-MCE connection to work properly.

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More Xbox 360 streaming

So, last week I wrote about trying to get my iTunes music onto my Xbox 360. I noted that using Windows Media Connect on Virtual PC seemed to work OK, but I noticed something odd: only about 1/3 of my song library showed up on the device. It turns out that the 360 can’t stream AAC files (protected or unprotected), and– wouldn’t you know it– that’s the default format I’ve been using. This is odd, and frustrating, given that the 360 can play AAC files just fine from an iPod, so clearly it’s got an AAC codec installed.

I discovered this while trying to set up a Windows XP Media Center Edition (MCE) computer to stream videos to the 360. After an evening of fiddling, I still can’t make the MCE and 360 work together; each reports that it sees the other, but I can’t stream any content. However, I learned that if you install the 3ivx filter pack, then Windows Media Player (and, by extension, Windows Media Connect) can see and play unprotected AAC files. At least that much is now working.

Update: no, this still isn’t working. WMC won’t show AAC files, so neither the Xbox 360 nor the LRM-519 I have in the bedroom will see two-thirds of my accumulated music connection. Frustrating.

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Streaming iTunes to the Xbox 360

All my music is on my Mac. All Arlene’s music is on her Mac. I wanted to be able to stream both computers’ iTunes libraries to the Xbox 360, but– wouldn’t you know it? the 360 doesn’t support Apple’s iTunes protocol, and iTunes doesn’t support the Windows Media Connect (WMC) protocol.


My first thought was to use Virtual PC with an XP Professional image; install WMC, use Virtual PC’s “shared folder” feature, and point WMC at it. However, as I learned from wmcplayer.com, WMC requires that the Network Service pseudo-account have access to the shared folder. Apparently, Virtual PC applies some other ACL to the shared folder, so WMC wouldn’t share music from the shared folder.

Attempt #2 was more successful: I moved my iTunes music library to superman, my Windows Server 2003 file server, and pointed an alias in my Music folder to it. Then I told WMC to share \\superman\music, and boom! I was in business. I’m not sure how well this will work long-term, because I bet iTunes will dislike living on an SMB volume. For now, though, it’s great to be able to listen to my (non-DRM’d) music on the Xbox.

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