Jeff Henshaw and David Alles - Xbox 360 and Media Center: Living room of the future

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Description

This is the first of a series of videos we'll have on the Xbox 360 over the next few months.

You might think that the Xbox 360 is only a game machine. But, here you'll learn it's a lot more than a game machine and that when you plug a Media Center and an Xbox 360 together you get a new kind of entertainment system.

Here, Jeff of the Xbox team, and David, of the Media Center team, tell you about their team's work and the future of media in your home.

If you already have a Media Center, you'll want to get the new Update Rollup 2, released yesterday. It lets you use your Media Center together with the Xbox 360.

Unfortunately this video will not be available to download until Monday. For more, read Charlie Owen's blog -- he works on the Media Center team.

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The Discussion

  • User profile image
    Schneider

    Wow, I can watch videos on up to *5* TVs simulatenously! What a technological marvel!

    Oh sorry.... I meant to say "What an artificial limit". Wink

    Shame the 360 wont support DivX/XVid ... Guess I will have to wait 6 months until its hacked. Sad

    Other than that, Media Centre in the 360 is a great idea.

    PS. When are we getting a video on TCM (Trusted Computing Group/Module/Platform) and how the corporations are going to lock down our access to media? Guess thats not quite the sort of feel-good press MS wants on channel 9.

  • User profile image
    MisterDonut

    Just got  the roll-up.. One thing I can't figure out: why didn't Microsoft add a function for recording *radio* as well as TV? There are programs on NPR that I'd love to record..

    I can't imagine that would be that difficult to do..

  • User profile image
    clintsinger

    Very interesting interview. Being a Media Center user I am completely thrilled with the potential the XBOX 360 has to integrate.  

    One question that I have is whether the XBOX 360 will also stream the Live TV feed by hijacking the tuner (I have dual tuner).  While I typically just watch prerecorded tv (I can't watch tv without jumping over the commercials Big Smile), sometimes I just want to watch live tv and love the ability to pause it.  Of course the XBOX 360 would likely be hooked up to a tv far away from my media center and that tv won't allow me to pause a show; so to get around that I would just watch tv using the tuner from the media center.

    Is this even possible?

    Cheers,
    Clint

    PS. Will get get to see some videos where the Xbox 360 is demoed including its Media Center extender capabilities?

  • User profile image
    LightRider
    What's with the jump-cut at 14:40ish?
  • User profile image
    catchphrase
    Why doesn't the Media Center remote support voice control? For example, I would like to press a button ( and/or maybe use a trigger word?)  and speak "ESPN" or "Discovery Channel" and have it automatically jump to that channel. I don't know why music devices don't do this either, but I guess their excuse is that it takes to much CPU.. but in the case here, the voice recognition can be offloaded so media center does the actual voice processing logic.
  • User profile image
    Harlequin
    MisterDonut wrote:
    Just got  the roll-up.. One thing I can't figure out: why didn't Microsoft add a function for recording *radio* as well as TV? There are programs on NPR that I'd love to record..

    I can't imagine that would be that difficult to do..


    Pretty sure that's for legal/copyright reasons...
  • User profile image
    scobleizer
    LightRider wrote:
    What's with the jump-cut at 14:40ish?


    Sorry for the edit. The guy I was filming realized he said something wrong about HDTV resolutions and wanted that pulled.
  • User profile image
    LightRider

    It's interesting that you can't take screen caps... Did he mean that for the whole system or just the media presentation portion? What if I wanted to take a screenshot of something that happens in Halo3? I can take screenshots in my PC games, is it so difficult to do so on the XBox?

  • User profile image
    mthddirector

    Glad to see they'll have HD VOD movie downloads for the 360.  I was worried that it would be restricted to Media Center Users.

    Now, we need to begin thinking about acquiring content for that service.  Or producing it ourselves.

  • User profile image
    BHpaddock

    I wish they'd stop pushing 802.11a.  It's ancient technology.

     

    I recommend users to buy "Pre-N" devices.  Way faster than g/a, way better range, and less interference.


    Oh and Scoble, don't take HDTV advice from those guys.  A 720p native set like my Samsung DLP is the lowest you'd want to get.

    But nowadays there are 1080p DLPs shipping with much better black levels and of course a much higher resolution (with continued support for 720p and 1080i, etc).

    If I were looking today, I'd be looking at an HL-R5078w like this one:

    http://www.crutchfieldadvisor.com/ISEO-rgbtcspd/reviews/20051004/samsung_tv.html

    They can be had for $2500ish if you look around.

  • User profile image
    ChrisChance

    i love the x360's mcx ... but i want to know somehting

    WHERE THE HECK IS MY channel9 plugin for streaming to my mce and mcx???? i want to watch some C9 TV at night Sad

  • User profile image
    Darek​Meridian
    MisterDonut wrote:

    Just got  the roll-up.. One thing I can't figure out: why didn't Microsoft add a function for recording *radio* as well as TV? There are programs on NPR that I'd love to record..



    While that may be an interesting feature, I don't thing they want to get into it with the RIAA over music right now, Recording TV shows has much more cover because we already have a huge assortment of Tivo/PVR-DVR/VHS devices that XBox 360 would just be one more in the fray.

    Besides most NPR shows are podcast now anyway.

    http://www.npr.org/rss/podcast/podcast_directory.php

  • User profile image
    mthddirector

    I was just reading about how the Hollywood unions (SAG, DGA, etc.) have sent a letter to major producers, wanting to get a cut of profits for online VOD sales.

    Why?

    Because Steve Jobs/Disney announced that popular shows like "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost" will be available as paid downloads on the Video Ipod.

    Here's the question I'd pose to the MCE and Xbox teams: why are we waiting for Steve Jobs to take the initiative in this area?

    The only reason the Hollywood guilds are being aggressive, is because they perceive that the Apple business model works.

    I've got a real problem with this.

    The Video Ipod is a sad little device, in my opinion.  It only stores in standard def - it's umbilically connected to the iTunes music store for downloads.  But Hollywood has embraced Apple because they've got a business model which works, an established distribution network, and a very strong following among paying consumers of entertainment content.

    The Xbox 360 (with or without the MCE connection) is a media-streaming monster.  And it's always located right next to my HD television.

    So why don't we hear about Microsoft's business model?  When will we hear about the deal Xbox is making with Disney/ABC?  Is there one?  How about deals with the studios for movie content?

    And no, I'm not talking about passive "carrier" partnerships.  This is about tapping into PPV revenue streams.

    Because if I could purchase a Hi-def version of ABC's "Lost" on Xbox VOD - then I wouldn't think twice about the new Video Ipod. 

  • User profile image
    Steve411
    Cool! Now even more things to consider configuring.

    - Steve
  • User profile image
    burtriddley
    Anychance of a downloadable version?
  • User profile image
    BenZila
    androidi wrote:
    Now that you're done with the Introduction, how about a "deep" series of Xbox 360? I would like to get a tour inside the box with a discussion about how the process of how planning and engineering a console - design/choices made, like how MS ended up with that CPU and how was the needed features for the graphics chip figured out etc. And then another video about the software side, including sdk / xna (will future PC games be playable only with Xbox controller?) and some game Xbox 360 developer.

    One thing that was not addressed in this video was - I think 802.11a frequencies are in government or other restricted use in some countries.



    This the man with the plan.
  • User profile image
    androidi
    Now that you're done with the Introduction, how about a "deep" series of Xbox 360? I would like to get a tour inside the box with a discussion about the process of planning and engineering a console goes - including design/choices made and how did MS choose the CPU and how was the needed features for the graphics chip figured out etc. And then another video about the software side, including sdk / xna (will future PC games be playable only with Xbox controller?) and some game Xbox 360 developer. Smiley

    One thing that was not addressed in this video was - I think 802.11a frequencies are in government or other restricted use in some countries.

  • User profile image
    MisterDonut
    Harlequin wrote:
    MisterDonut wrote: Just got  the roll-up.. One thing I can't figure out: why didn't Microsoft add a function for recording *radio* as well as TV? There are programs on NPR that I'd love to record..

    I can't imagine that would be that difficult to do..


    Pretty sure that's for legal/copyright reasons...


    Not that you're wrong, but I fail to see how this is an issue when I can record TV and Movies.
  • User profile image
    Monocular​Jack
    <quote>One question that I have is whether the XBOX 360 will also stream the Live TV feed</quote>

        Yes, this is possible.  You can do it today with MCE 2005 + any extender, including the current Xbox (1) Extender.  It works great on my system and that is running over 802.11g by the way for those that say you can't have anything less than "pre-n" speeds for an acceptable experience.
  • User profile image
    Monocular​Jack
    BHpaddock wrote:

    I wish they'd stop pushing 802.11a.  It's ancient technology.

    I recommend users to buy "Pre-N" devices.  Way faster than g/a, way better range, and less interference.


    Interesting, were you having a great deal of troubles with g/a devices?  I've been running my MCE/Extender setup over a g wireless connection (my laptops, etc on the a), which includes watching Live TV and DVD's that are spinning on my computer two floors up and never had a problem.  That's with it sitting next to my wireless phone and also with my Sonos wireless network in the mix.

    I actually push 802.11a quite a bit because it's mature, stable, I've never had any problems with it and it's standardized.  I'm just curious what problems you were having since I've never had one and it's always good to know what to look for.

    BHpaddock wrote:

    Oh and Scoble, don't take HDTV advice from those guys.  A 720p native set like my Samsung DLP is the lowest you'd want to get.

    How does your DLP look when pumping SDTV through it?  I'm thinking of upgrading strictly for my 360 from a SD set but I don't watch TV enough to warrent paying $50/month for a HDTV so that leaves with with the few OTA and mostly SD.
  • User profile image
    staceyw
    Why can't you make a Media Center PC in same form factor and as quiet as an XBox?  For that matter, why did you not just add Media Center into the XBox instead of just making it a client.  It is faster then any other Media Center on market.  Then I could just buy an xbox for my living room and hook that up to the INet and sound system and one in each bed room using the extender function.
    --
    William
  • User profile image
    scobleizer
    burtriddley wrote:
    Anychance of a downloadable version?


    The download is now up.
  • User profile image
    techSage
    staceyw wrote:
    Why can't you make a Media Center PC in same form factor and as quiet as an XBox?  For that matter, why did you not just add Media Center into the XBox instead of just making it a client.  It is faster then any other Media Center on market.  Then I could just buy an xbox for my living room and hook that up to the INet and sound system and one in each bed room using the extender function.
    --
    William


    Who says they won't make it into a full-fledged Media Center?  The only thing missing is a TV Tuner and they could add that using one of the 3 available USB ports.

    I think that just might be possible - especially considering the latest news that there will probably be hard drives available eventually for the 360 at 40-80GB.
  • User profile image
    n4cer
    staceyw wrote:
    Why can't you make a Media Center PC in same form factor and as quiet as an XBox?  For that matter, why did you not just add Media Center into the XBox instead of just making it a client.  It is faster then any other Media Center on market.  Then I could just buy an xbox for my living room and hook that up to the INet and sound system and one in each bed room using the extender function.
    --
    William


    MCE is a general purpose PC, XBOX 360 is not and would be more expensive if it were. There are MCEs on the market that are quiet and come in consumer electronics form factors (Expect more of these in the Intel Viiv/Windows Vista timeframe). Some examples linked below:

    http://www.windowsmarketplace.com/Results.aspx?collID=99
  • User profile image
    aechevarria
    Is there anywhere on the net to see an example of live TV being stream to an extender?  This is the last question about MC that I had left to answer.  I am assuming that 360 will allow you to stream the HD channels live since you can stream HD recorded content.

  • User profile image
    scobleizer

    I'll try to get some video of that in someone's home.

  • User profile image
    staceyw
    "MCE is a general purpose PC"?

    So is xbox if it had mouse and keyboard inputs.  It already has everything it needs besides a TV tuner.  It just needs the OS support to run the MC app.  Which, IIRC, it runs a modified version of Windows 2000 with a HAL for the PowerPC, which they must of dusted off from vault as they had that before and probably let IBM modify and perf it for the three cores.
    --wjs
  • User profile image
    n4cer
    The Xbox CPU isn't built for general-purpose computing nor running the full Windows desktop OS which is necessary because MCE is more than just the shell application. It's a platform that supports applications that are dependant on the .NET Framework and/or Win32 and Windows OS services. The MCE shell itself is dependent on these same services. If you build a shell without those dependancies for the XBOX 360, you'd have to cut out or alter the third-party support path and you're left with something a bit more versatile than a Tivo but less than an MCE PC and with less memory and storage.
  • User profile image
    Br0ken

    This is more a spin off of XBMC from The first XBOX correct, But more in a legal way?
    Seems the new xbox360 media side has almost every function that the XBMC claims it has been doing on the XBOX for past several years, that's what i gather off their site i read.
    Anything added or improved over their software?

  • User profile image
    UnnDunn
    clintsinger wrote:

    Very interesting interview. Being a Media Center user I am completely thrilled with the potential the XBOX 360 has to integrate.  

    One question that I have is whether the XBOX 360 will also stream the Live TV feed by hijacking the tuner (I have dual tuner).  While I typically just watch prerecorded tv (I can't watch tv without jumping over the commercials ), sometimes I just want to watch live tv and love the ability to pause it.  Of course the XBOX 360 would likely be hooked up to a tv far away from my media center and that tv won't allow me to pause a show; so to get around that I would just watch tv using the tuner from the media center.

    Is this even possible?

    Cheers,
    Clint

    PS. Will get get to see some videos where the Xbox 360 is demoed including its Media Center extender capabilities?

    You can watch Live TV on your Xbox 360, streamed from the Media Center PC. You can even do all the trick-play functions (pause, rewind, instant replay, etc.) on the Xbox 360 as well. And in Hi-Def to boot.

    I demoed it in person at Digital Life NYC this past weekend (it wasn't too crowded on the Friday, so the MS reps let me sit down and play with it for a full half-hour just testing things out.) It works really well.
  • User profile image
    mthddirector
    n4cer wrote:
    ...The MCE shell itself is dependent on these same services. If you build a shell without those dependancies for the XBOX 360, you'd have to cut out or alter the third-party support path and you're left with something a bit more versatile than a Tivo but less than an MCE PC and with less memory and storage.


    True.  But I think there is a very strong strategic argument for Microsoft to compete with Yahoo, Apple, TiVo and the cable industry in the area of on-demand programming.  While current MCE sales now account for (I think) at least 50% of PC sales (?) - I'd like to know how many users are really hooking up their computer to their televisions?  Or their cable service?

    There's nothing wrong with MCE.  The obstacle for Microsoft is that it's competing against the cable industry.  Consumers are used to getting their entertainment from a set-top box - and most consumers aren't all that tech savvy (unfortunately).

    Personally, I'm very excited about MCE, and I'm passionate about the potential of the Xbox 360 - I think that Microsoft is in for an incredible ride over the next 5 years, and both Jeff and David's teams will be making some key contributions.  They've done an amazing job so far.

    But, at the same time, I think it's a real big mistake to ignore the potential of that little white box next to the HD set - because the 360 is strategically and uniquely positioned to become a major player in the area of on-demand programming.  Storage, we know, will be upgraded in the next year or so.  So now is the time to think about what this business model is going to look like. If Steve Jobs can do it with the Video iPod, then there's no reason Microsoft can't do it, in high-def, with the 360.
  • User profile image
    klee

    can the xbox360 make IGMP requests for multicast video streams?

    what about RTSP?

  • User profile image
    PeterAce
    androidi wrote:
    Now that you're done with the Introduction, how about a "deep" series of Xbox 360? I would like to get a tour inside the box with a discussion about the process of planning and engineering a console goes - including design/choices made and how did MS choose the CPU and how was the needed features for the graphics chip figured out etc. And then another video about the software side, including sdk / xna (will future PC games be playable only with Xbox controller?) and some game Xbox 360 developer.



    Yeah, an interview about some of the subtle design choices would be great.

    Here as few links to keep you going.
     
    The first is a very detailed technical overview of the XB360's GPU (it is the first Unfied Shader chip it also has EDRAM module + Logic for ultra fast Blend + AA).

    ATI Xenos: XBOX 360 Graphics Demystified
    http://www.beyond3d.com/articles/xenos/

    The second two are focused on the Xenon CPU(s) and procedural synthesis.

    Inside the Xbox 360, Part II: the Xenon CPU
    http://arstechnica.com/articles/paedia/cpu/xbox360-2.ars

    Inside the Xbox 360, part I: procedural synthesis and dynamic worlds
    http://arstechnica.com/articles/paedia/cpu/xbox360-1.ars

  • User profile image
    MegaTrain

    I'm new to the DVR world, but I just got a Moxi with Moxi Mate installed (available through Charter in the St. Louis market).

    The Moxi is a 160 GB DVR, and the Moxi Mate operation sounds a lot like how this video describes a "media extender".

    The moxi with mate allows you to control/record from either TV, and play back from either unit. The current setup can't stream HD to the Mate unit, but an upgrade is planned for that functionality (for those lucky people with HDTVs in TWO rooms).

    Basically I'm trying to say that this kind of multi-room setup is the only practical way to use a DVR. If the extender functionality of the XBox 360 works as described, its going to be a very popular unit.

  • User profile image
    balupton
    so when is the release date for Australia...
    I heard it may be in 2006 Feb, if so how come its so far behind...
    And how come there isnt a global launch this time.

    If the release date is late, can i buy a european or american 360 and use it in Australia?

    Also 720p is that better than 1080i?
    Is 720p native the same as 720p? If not please specify the difference.
    What is a good resolution to have for a HDTV?
    And also Would i be able to use my HDTV as a monitor for my computer, (providing i get a 7800gtx or a 1800xt), and would it look just as good as a Computer Monitor of the same size?

    Which 720p HDTV is better, Plasma or LCD, and why?

    I know its a lot of questions but its probably the same ones everybody else are asking as well.

    Thanks
    -balupton
  • User profile image
    staceyw
    "The Xbox CPU isn't built for general-purpose computing nor running the full Windows desktop OS which is necessary because MCE is more than just the shell application"

    ?? The hardware can run it fine.  Like I said, it already runs a core 2003 code base.  If they wanted to, you could buy that box/mainboard and run full xp or 2003 SR2 running on that hardware.
  • User profile image
    DesktopMan

    Both the xbox cpu and the xbox 360 cpus are as general purpouse as they get. They are all pretty much off the shelf parts.

    What I want to know is (time to get down and technical):

    Does xbox 360 support streaming off samba shares, or windows media center only?
    Does it support mp3?
    Does it support divx/xvid? some of the most popular formats after all
    How about quicktime?
    h264?
    will it support the dvd changer in the future? it sounds excellent
    how about playing media of the harddrive? does it support the same formats there?
    how about an external harddrive?
    Entering text with a usb keyboard? would require minimal programming effort to support

    There's no reason for it to not support mouse/keyboard now that it uses standard usb.

  • User profile image
    Br0ken

    These guys not on the ball answering questions i see.. been checking forum for days now..

    Hope someone out there can answer some of these guys questions along with mine.

  • User profile image
    Br0ken
    This forum is bad.. Embarassed

    Given up looking for any answers here. Later people.
  • User profile image
    MGerlach
    Xbox360 will be able to have MP3s and such streamed to it via ANY Xp Machine.  All you need to do is run Windows Media Connect 2.0 on an XP machine and you can stream audio and pictures.

    I would assume that if the PC supports the DVD changer that the media streamed to the Xbox360 will still be able to be played.

    The Xbox360 already has a detachable hard drive, that has said could have large units (storage space-wise) later in console life.

    You can connect external storage devices, but ill have to look up what can be streamed off of it.  My understanding is that you can stream music (that is can defintly say), but it can NOT be copyright protected, and stream pictures.  I am unsure about videos.
  • User profile image
    jorgen_veis​dal
    -------------
  • User profile image
    TheSoldier
    I have a Question,
    can the Xbox 360 record movies,films
    or whatever?
    plz,answer cuz i want to buy the
    Xbox 360
  • User profile image
    ILMV

    Um, why has he got a MAc G5 (About 2 mins through the video), surely if Microsoft uses macs, they should hide them whilst Scoobey (sp?) tapes the guys from the Xbox & MCE teams.

     

    ILMv

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