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Old 2009-06-19, 16:31   Link #1
NaweG
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: San Antonio, TX
Age: 52
MKV to XBox360 via Windows Media Center - Possible?

OK, so I have a nice 802.11N network setup, and my new machine has more than enough horsepower to transcode in real time - Core i7 3.2 GhZ, 12 gigs RAM, Vista 64 Ultimate, Over a T of Disk, and 2 Radeon HD 4870 cards linked with Crossfire X.

So, silly me figured that I could hook up my XBox360 downstairs to our HDTV, and then use Windows Media Center to serve up my Anime in MKV for watching on the big screen. But all I ever get is a message that the format is wrong. Since I can watch the MKVs on the PC, I know that's not the problem.

I figure I can't be the only person out there doing something like this, and so thought I'd turn to the wisdom of the forum. FWIW, I did check out Tversity, but that requires you to turn off UAC in Vista (which I'm somewhat hesitant to do), and their forums seem to be full of folks saying that it doesn't work well (if at all) with MKVs anyway.

Help...
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Old 2009-06-20, 12:29   Link #2
alamarco
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You could convert the MKV to another format.

The only way to get the 360 to stream MKV is indeed programs like TVersity. Microsoft has not put in MKV support yet.

Another way would be to hook up your PC to your TV. Probably the best way as it only involves getting two cheap cables (one for audio, one for video) instead of having to convert your anime every time you want to want something. Also a lot better than TVersity which I found to be a terrible application when I used it.
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Old 2009-06-20, 13:25   Link #3
NaweG
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The problem I'm having with hooking up my PC to my TV is the output looks terrible. The PC I have downstairs is an HP TX1000 laptop in an HP xb300 docking station which has component video out (RGB) and a headphone jack (split to stereo). If I connect that up, and set the built-in nVidia to send the TV an image, I can see my desktop, but it's dark and rather colorless with occasional bits of red and blue. So I'm thinking I need to look into some other option.

If not the XBox 360, is there a media extender out there that WILL work with an MKV stream - or software that will transcode the MKV to a streamer?

Thanks!
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Old 2009-06-20, 13:40   Link #4
chikorita157
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Most manufactures actually stop making media center extenders since they are not popular to begin with.

What you can do is if your laptop have a hdmi port, you can use that without needing to plug audio cables and still get good picture quality. Just use mpc or mplayer to play the videos. Also, if your tv have VGA port, try using that instead.
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Old 2009-06-20, 13:49   Link #5
NaweG
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chikorita157 View Post
What you can do is if your laptop have a hdmi port, you can use that without needing to plug audio cables and still get good picture quality.
Unfortunately the laptop docking station only offers S-Video (even worse) and the Component options.

Quote:
Also, if your tv have VGA port, try using that instead.
No luck there either. Don't suppose there's something that will convert component to HDMI?
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Old 2009-06-20, 14:05   Link #6
chikorita157
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If the docking station doesn't have VGA, it's most likely on the laptop since most laptops atleast have a VGA, dvi and/or displayport plugins that allow you to plug to a monitor or tv. If you use VGA, you need to plug the audio cable to the tv.

Hdmi ports are usually on the laptop, not the docking station.
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Old 2009-06-20, 15:32   Link #7
NaweG
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chikorita157 View Post
If the docking station doesn't have VGA, it's most likely on the laptop since most laptops atleast have a VGA, dvi and/or displayport plugins that allow you to plug to a monitor or tv. If you use VGA, you need to plug the audio cable to the tv.
Yes, the laptop has a VGA, but the TV doesn't. The TV has DVI, S-Video, Composite, and Component Inputs. The Docking Station has Component and S-Video Outputs. The Laptop has VGA and S-Video Outputs.

So to hook to the TV directly I can use the Component or the S-Video connections. The S-Video creates a great deal of hum, and the picture appears "torn" - which I assume means there's an issue with the settings between what the nVidia Geforce Go 6150 driver is putting out, and what the TV can support. This is greatly reduced when I use the Component connection, but while the image is then stable and has no hum, it looks like the gamma is totally out of whack, or one of the channels (Green I suspect) is missing.

Basically I can't seem to find a good combination of options to do a direct connection, and my requests on the HP specific sites lead me to believe no one else has ever gotten a direct connection to a TV from either of these HP products to work.

Which is why I was trying to pursue other options
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Old 2009-06-20, 16:19   Link #8
alamarco
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You just need a VGA to DVI converter, which are like $1-3 on monoprice to allow you to connect your VGA cable to your TV.

For audio, does the TV have an audio jack? You just plug a 3.5mm audio wire from laptop headphone jack to the TV's. If not, you can get a 3.5mm to red/white audio and plug into the TV.
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Old 2009-06-20, 21:48   Link #9
chikorita157
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One thing I would like to add. Some monitors that support DVI may not support a analog signal like DVI-A or DVI-I (both Analog and Digital) and might only support DVI-D (digital only) which can cause the connectors not fit into the DVI to VGA connector. Check your DVI port to see if you have 4 squares on the Line on the left of the port. If not, the connector will not work with the TV.

Another solution is running the video files into Handbrake and using the XBOX 360 profile to reencode the file compatible for Xbox 360 streaming.
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Old 2009-06-21, 06:51   Link #10
SeijiSensei
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First, I'm puzzled how the docking station manages to output in component video when the laptop has only VGA and S-Video. Unless there's some other connector on the laptop that the dock can utilize, I'm guessing it's doing some type of VGA to component conversion.

Your best bet is that VGA to DVI cable that alamarco suggested. You should be able to drive the HDTV at 1920x1080 or 1280x720 if those are resolutions supported by the video card in the laptop. When I connected my nVidia card via VGA to my HDTV, I had dozens of resolution options to choose among.

As for the streaming issue, I encourage you to look into ps3mediaserver, a cross-platform Java application that gets excellent reviews as a transcoding server. I'm pretty sure it supports streaming to the Xbox360 as well as the PS3.
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Old 2009-06-21, 13:34   Link #11
NaweG
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
As for the streaming issue, I encourage you to look into ps3mediaserver, a cross-platform Java application that gets excellent reviews as a transcoding server. I'm pretty sure it supports streaming to the Xbox360 as well as the PS3.
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

OK, now that I got that out of my system...

Yes, that does exactly what I wanted, and is working GREAT! Of course I haven't tried it yet with one of the multiple subtitle files. Given the default is the VLC transcoder, I'm a bit worried how/if that will work - how has that worked for you? The other minor nit, is it appears to be slightly overscanning so that I lose a bit of the top and bottom of the screen. Is there an option to correct that?

Regardless, it is SO nice to see this work finally. Can hardly wait until the rest of the family gets back from their trip so I can show it to them (yes, I'm celebrating Father's Day on my own... but at least I can now watch Natsu no Arashi on the big screen).

Thanks again!
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Old 2009-06-21, 17:24   Link #12
SeijiSensei
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You're welcome!

I can't really help much beyond pointing to the software itself. I tried it out of curiosity running it on one of my Linux boxes some months ago. (I don't use Windows.) However since that computer is connected directly to the HDTV, I don't need to stream. Also I think on the Linux platform ps3mediaserver uses mplayer/mencoder or ffmpeg, not VLC, to handle transcoding. If you install the excellent smplayer for Windows, you'll get an mplayer binary as part of the deal, though I don't know if that's sufficient for ps3mediaserver. There's a lot of discussion about this software at sites like AVS Forum as well.

Sorry to hear there's no one else there to celebrate Father's Day. From one father to another, let me extend to you my good wishes on this our day!
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