My new toy, an Xbox 360 and the pain of transcoding

3 03 2008

Last weekend I finally got signoff on a new gadget from my wife, a lovely spanking new Xbox 360. The main reason I wanted it was to extend my media centre PC that we have been growing ever more dependent on.

The media centre extender functionality was really simple to set up and all managed by an easy to use wizard. Within about 5 minutes I was able to record and replay TV live from my main PC running Vista Ultimate.

Now whilst I love the extender to bits, there is one thing it doesn’t do very well and that’s play DivX’s. In fact it doesn’t do it at all. Thanks to a recent update to the dashboard, you can watch DivX’s via the 360’s media blade, but not in the media centre itself. This is good, but to be honest the whole user experience is a bit shite.

Enter Transcoder 360, this bit of software sits on your media centre PC and adds an extension to the GUI allowing you to convert or Transcode divx’s and xvids on the fly into Media Centre.

Setting up the software isn’t that easy. In fact, getting the software to work with Vista x64 was downright painful. So I thought I would write a post detailing it, that an CodeJedi wanted details as well. First up, getting the software, there are heaps of versions of Transcode available, the only one I could get to work was this one.

The installation process was pretty simple, run the application and click through the wizard. When you get asked if you want a service or a tray icon, choose SERVICE.

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Next up you will be asked to choose the account to run Transcoder with. I found the ‘Run service with local system permissions’ to be the best option.

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The install program should then chug along and complete the install, then reboot.

Just a note, if you stuff up the installation, uninstalling Transcoder can be a pain. Every time you try and uninstall it says that a version is running. To get around this, find the folder it was installed in (most likely Program Files (x86)/Transcoder) and delete the lot. Then through the Control Panel, uninstall the software.

Once the system is back up, choose the ‘Transcode 360 Configuration Utility’ from the start menu, right click and ‘Run as Administrator’ (if you don’t then you will get a nasty .Net error). If all goes well you should get something like below.

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The settings I used are as follows, you may want to try others for your specific situation.

General:

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Audio:

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Video:

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Subtitles:

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Network:

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Advanced:

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Finally, there is one more thing that needs to be configured.

Unfortunately the configuration utility doesn’t appear to set this up for you. Open up Regedit and navigate to the key HKLMSoftwareTranscode360InstallationType. Change the value from LocalSystem to Network. Once the key has been changed it’s necessary to recycle the service to pick up the setting. To do this, type in Services into the Vista Start Search on the start button to open up the Services MMC snapin.

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Then restart the service titled ‘Transcoding and Broadcast Service’.

Now the configuration has been completed, you can start enjoying divx’s via Media Centre. To do so, make sure you have the folders on your computer where the files you want to play configured to show up in the Video Library. Then choose ‘Pictures + Videos’ / Video Library

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Navigate to the file you want to play, bring up the context menu by clicking on INFO on the Remote Control. Choose More…

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Then click ok to start transcoding.

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After about 10 seconds you file will start playing!

There are a couple of files that I still can’t get to play, but that appears to be more of a file related issue. Also I am still having trouble getting stuff to play from the Landrive, but will keep persevering on that one.

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One response

14 05 2008
spaceodditywow

Thank you so much for this guide.
Lotsa ppl in the runtime360 forum and elsewhere are dying for this info!!




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