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Orb and the Xbox 360

June 13, 2007

I finally got around to trying another way to view video podcasts on my TVs– which for me means viewing then on the Xbox 360. My fundamental problem is that the Xbox 360, acting as as Media Center Extended, has no good way to play QuickTime files (and QuickTime is used by some of my favorite video podcasts.)

Before moving Media Center to Vista, I was able to do this from within Media Center by running Transcode 360 on the Media Center PC to convert QuickTime videos on-the-fly allowing me to view them from the Xbox 360 acting as Media Center Extender. But as I’ve written before, the combination of Vista Media Center, Small Business Server 2003 and Transcode 360 wasn’t working for me.

I experimented a little with Heywatch.com, but could not find a good way to have Heywatch grab new files automatically from RSS feeds and then provide transcoded files to me via another RSS feed. When in comes to transcoding to Windows Media format video, Heywatch appears best at one off transcoding.

Fortunately (if quirkily!) the Xbox 360 acting as a Windows Media Connect device from the dashboard will no play QuickTime files, so I tried setting up Windows Media Connect on my Media Center PC. Unfortunately I was unable to get the Xbox 360 to access the correct Windows Media Player library on the PC– it would only access a library of one of the MCX users that had only seven songs associated with it, rather than the full library of the user I actually log onto the PC with.

So… I remembered that Orb 2.0 could be accessed from the Xbox 360 dashboard and decided to give that a try…

Success! (So far.)

I installed the latest build of Orb 2.0 (seemingly in permanent beta like Google products), which doesn’t appear to have the problems that led me to uninstall it about six months ago. Instead, I am able to share my Media files without incident. Orb appears to the Xbox 360 as a Windows Media Connect UPnP server and serves up media files to the Xbox 360 via the dashboard.

Once again I can enjoy the 1Up Show.

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