The Xbox 360 is more than just a games console: it’s Microsoft’s play for the loungeroom, so it comes packed with media streaming features. That streaming is built on a protocol called Universal Plug and Play, or UPnP, but the developers seemed to have forgotten bits of the standard along the way, so the 360 can only offically stream from Windows Media Connect.
However, hackers have found the secret sauce that the 360 needs to work, and have created a bunch of alternative media streaming solutions that don’t rely on Windows Media Player, or even Windows at all. With the right tools, your Linux box can make a fantastic 360 media server. The easy option: x360mediaserve
If you’re having a party tonight and you need streaming MP3s with minimal fuss, x360mediaserve
is the pony to bet on. It only streams audio files – MP3s primarily, though it can transcode other files to MP3 on-the-fly – but it’s easy to set up, and it works well. Follow these steps to set it up:
1) x360mediaserve is a Java application, so you need to install some kind of Java virtual machine. GCC’s open-source JVM will do the job here, and you might already have it installed – try running ‘java –version’ to check. If that fails, you’ll have to install the appropriate package for your distribution (‘java-gcj-compat’ on Ubuntu).
2) Download x360mediaserve from its website, and extract it into your home directory:
tar zxvf x360mediaserve-0.0.2.tar.gz
3) Enter the x360mediaserve folder and run its start script:
4) Open the configuration site, at http://localhost:7000/configure, in your browser. Enter a value for the Music Dir (specify a folder with just a few files in it for now – you can change it later once you’re sure it’s working), and hit Send.
5) Once x360mediaserve has finished scanning your music folder, open the Music section on your 360’s Media blade, and search for a computer to connect to. Connect to ‘x360mediaserve :1’ when it appears, and try playing some files.
Once you’ve confirmed that it’s all working, you can go back to the configuration site and point it at your complete MP3 collection. Scanning them in does take time, though it’s not too bad – my 40GB collection took just a few minutes. Unfortunately, the scan data isn’t cached, so your files are re-scanned each time x360mediaserve is started, but for most collections that will be an annoyance, not a show-stopper.