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How To Convert your Xbox into a Media Player with XBMC

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I was reading the article about converting an old Xbox to a NAS or a media streamer and was wondering if that was still a better unit than most off the shelf boxes.

Simple answer = it's not a better unit than most off the shelf boxes.
so, if I am after a unit for my data storage/backup and streaming it to my TV, I'm still better off buying a NAS and a media streamer?

I've tested XMBC and I quite like it. Haven't found anything better personally, although Boxee is supposed to be on par. And to be fair, I've had good success with Media Center, although XBMC would definitely be better.
I have several devices for media streaming in my house:

-Windows 7 Media Center thru Aspire Revo 3610
-WDTV Live
-xbmc thru soft modded xbox

Content is streamed thru a Buffalo Linkstation Live Media Server via MoCA routers (thanks to the recommendations from this site).

I'd rank the devices in the same order I've posted them above with the Aspire Revo being the best, and the XBox with XBMC last. Overall, they are all good for media streaming. Preferences will come up for different needs.

The Aspire Revo, with Windows 7 has the easiest-to-use set up. I also use Boxee and Hulu Desktop on this HTPC from time to time. It's simple, looks great, and streams well. DVD rips display the original menus and you can enable subtitles and different soundtracks (DTS and 5.1 thru SPDIF is a major plus). I like the Windows Media Center user interface and the flexible options for different programs. Having netflix and internet TV integrated is also another great plus of the Media Center.

The PS3 works good as a stand alone unit, but even better with playon or ps3 media server active on your computer (it does extra encoding of rips). It has SPDIF, so it's perfect for a home theater set up. The user interface is boring and is set up as a file/folder directory.

WDTV Live has all the hardware goodies in a small package: SPDIF sound plus HDMI. It is very similar to the PS3, but without a blu-ray/video game player. Very boring user interface and file/folder directory, but very functional, and not too glitchy.

I ranked the XBox with XBMC last due to its lack of spdif and lack of hdmi. It has a very nice user interface (I'd actually rank the UI second to Windows Media Center). Its very configurable and has a lot of nice web content (e.g. CBS, youtube, apple trailers, etc.). If you need a spare media streaming device for your bedroom, like I did, it is hard to beat. It is low-priced, easy to use, and fits the needs of my room (no SPDIF or HDMI needed). My only other criticism is that it crashes and freezes from time to time.
I would get a dedicated NAS, somethign from Synology or QNAP. The XBOX V1 as a NAS is not very good.

The XBOX V1 as a media streamer is very nice. XBMC has come a long way.

Untill the Dlink Boxee Box comes out, the XBOX V1 is still slicker and cheaper than anything else opn the market. $59 at gamestop last I checked and they are built like tanks.

FYI, the XBOX V1 does have SPDIF, via simple $9 cable sold all over Ebay, etc..

The same cable can come with Component output, which is still used in AV setups and provides 1080 output. It works, period.

I used to also have some crashing problems, but I set my XBMC to keep the unit running cool under 120 degrees, by controlling the fan automatically. This solved all of my crashing issues.


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