The story of my media center.
I have been playing with a media center with various Media Center Software and Operating Systems. I have finally settled on Media Center again. Unfortunately my machine is not a beast so I opted for the XP version MCE2005.
I started running Media Portal with great success until version 1.0. Follow this distribution my HTPC ground to a halt. I found it far too feature filled for the average user at the detriment of performance. I do however still find myself looking for some features which are found in this great piece of open-source software. This led me to MCE. I tried an install without success and after tinkering for a few weeks, I moved onto Ubuntu running MythTV which was unbelievably quick and gave great support for video. Not being a Linux geek I found it a challenge to install any peripherals especially my Hauppauge TV card.
Finally I took the plunge and made an attempt at installing MCE2005 again. After some trouble installing (the SP2 disc it asks for is actually the first install disc) I was on my way. One of the main reasons I opted for MCE is because of the support with XBOX. This was very appealing as I could now have media center functionality in multiple rooms of the house without adding any new hardware to my network. I then realized that the XBOX 360 was unable to stream video content in AVI or DIVX format. In fact Microsoft limited formats to: WMV, MPEG-1, MPEG-2 and a few other MS standards. You can view the full list here. Damn, I now found myself with a great media center with no ability to stream to my XBOX….deal breaker. I was wary to move onto TVersity so I began the research again.
Enter Transcode360. I was trawling the web trying to find a solution and I came across a single lonely forum post (unable to reference as I never bookmarked it. Apologies to the author) that referenced Transcode360. I downloaded it without much confidence in its ability to fix this problem. I got home installed the MCE addon and that was it! Right click in the MCE interface on XBOX got to “more..” , then “transcode” and within a second the video is streaming across the network. Flawless and integrated. You can view the developers website here. The download link unfortunately isn’t working but you can download it from softpedia.
I hope this article helps someone.