New codecs for Xbox 360 means more video options

When Microsoft revealed the release date of its Spring Update, the most heavily touted features were Windows Live Messenger integration, better Achievements system and the new QWERTY keypad accessory. What wasn’t obvious at first were some of the less advertised features, namely H.264 and MPEG-4 support:

  • Added H.264 video support: Up to 10 Mbps peak, Baseline, Main, and High profiles with 2 channel AAC LC.
  • Added MPEG-4 Part 2 video support: Up to 5 Mbps peak, Simple Profile with 2 channel AAC LC.

With the addition of MPEG-4, the immediate question is if the Xbox 360 will now play DivX or XviD videos downloaded off the Internet. The answer is no, as the Xbox 360 will only natively support the WMV and MP4 containers—not AVI or MKV.

Red Kawa, maker of Videora, applauds Microsoft’s additions through a post on the Videora Web site. “This puts Microsoft at the head of the pack in the Apple TV vs PS3 vs Xbox 360 video battle royale. Wth the Xbox 360 you get full 1080p video support (aka H.264 Level 4.1) as well as H.264 High Profile support. The Apple TV maxes out at 720p (Level 3.1) and H.264 Main Profile support. Meanwhile the PS3 supports 1080p (Level 4.1) but only at H.264 Main Profile as well,” the post read.

The Spring Update will be released the week of May 7 and will be easily accessible to every Xbox 360 owner through Xbox Live or on

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch
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