Using Ubuntu as Media Server for Xbox360

November 21, 2009 by
Filed under: Personal, Ubuntu, Windows 

I got a Xbox360 since about a year and I just noticed it had some way of connecting to a PC, using the PC as a Media Server. Unfortunately it required a Windows Media Center installation to work, or so it claimed at least. This is probably not news to anyone, but it was very easy to get Ubuntu (or any other Linux distro as a matter of fact) to serve media for the Xbox 360. Xbox 360 uses UPnP to get media from the Windows Media Center PC. To make any recent Ubuntu able to serve UPnP suitable for the Xbox, do the following:

  1. sudo apt-get install ushare
  2. sudo dpkg-reconfigure ushare
  3. sudo vim /etc/ushare.conf
    1. Make sure all the settings are correct.
  4. sudo vim /etc/default/ushare
    1. Make sure it contains USHARE_OPTIONS=”–xbox”.
  5. sudo /etc/init.d/ushare restart

You should now be able to find the PC by searching for it from the Xbox interface (the name you set in ushare.conf should show up in the list of found PC’s). Now that that’s said, I should hint that the Xbox360 has a really shitty availability of audio and video codecs, and I don’t know if it’s possible to resolve this problem. There are hints that there is something called a UPnP Media Adaptor on the ushare website which should be able to convert to proper file formats as necessary, but ushare does not have that ability. Of course, that would give a shitload of cpu load on the fileserver as well, something which sounds less good in my opinion.

My personal opinion so far, Xbox 360 media center is really simple to use, but the available codecs, flexibility and scalability is catastrophically bad in comparison to my MythBuntu installation (still running 9.04 though). The Mythbuntu installation is a bit heavy on the configuration, but much more flexible, handles almost all codecs I’ve run into without even a hitch, and very scalable.

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