Print 20 comment(s) - last by Aikouka.. on Nov 29 at 1:55 PM

A look at the updated TVersity GUI
TVersity opens up the real-time video streaming to the Xbox 360 without the need for MCE

Previously, only Windows Media Center PCs could send videos of any format to Xbox 360 for viewing on the big screen (using software such as Transcode 360). Then, in the Fall Dashboard Update, Microsoft opened up video streaming from any Windows XP PC as long as the file was in WMV format. Software such as Encode360 automates the entire process of converting your videos for Microsoft’s console, but does not offer the process streamed in real-time.

Today, a small wonder in software was released that should garner cheers from Xbox 360 media addicts. Video manager software TVersity Media Server released its latest beta version 0.9.9 and added to its list of features is on-the-fly video transcoding for the Xbox 360, giving users the ability to play videos in all formats, including MPEG-4, on the console. TVersity also supports media receivers such as the Philips SLA5500 and Sony Vaio VGP-MR100U.

Granted, to transcode a high-resolution video to the Xbox 360 in real-time requires some decent processing power, but everything works as advertised and without the need for Windows Media Center. The software allows for various quality and resolution settings for scaling to a PC’s speed. Videos may also be upconverted to high-definition for those with fast computers.

In addition to the video streaming, TVersity will also send audio to the Xbox 360, allowing the user to listen to music, podcasts and internet radio through the console. Download TVersity here.

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Tried it out
By MooseMuffin on 11/28/2006 3:04:31 PM , Rating: 3
I set this up and gave it a spin yesterday. It definitely works, but you better have a beefy cpu. My athlon 64 3700 could manage to transcode to 640x360 in realtime, but you'll need a dual-core cpu if you want to get all the quality out of your HD videos.

Also, you can't run both this software, and share via WMP 11.

RE: Tried it out
By MooseMuffin on 11/28/2006 3:08:55 PM , Rating: 2
I should also add that my video's cut out about 5 minutes before they should end, though I'm sure that will get patched up quick.

RE: Tried it out
By dicecca112 on 11/28/2006 3:25:56 PM , Rating: 2
Well seeing its a single core no wonder it had issues. Get that on at least a dual core, or for the best a low end conroe, and I'm sure it'll transcode just fine.

RE: Tried it out
By Aikouka on 11/28/2006 3:32:24 PM , Rating: 3
If Transcode360 is a viable program to test how well this one will run, my Athlon 64 X2 4400+ using its Raptor 74GB HDD as the buffer could transcode movies and such without a problem, so I wouldn't doubt your claim one bit. But the speed of the hard drive could play a role as a slow buffer isn't going to help. Also reading off the same drive (or on the same PATA channel) you're writing (buffer) to will degrade performance. Real-time work (depending on how much) definitely requires some decent specs all-around.

RE: Tried it out
By OrSin on 11/28/2006 3:56:41 PM , Rating: 2
I use transcode every day and the hard drive speed is doesn't matter much at all. Use a OPT144 (just a 3800) and it trans codes at teh exact same speed with my 7200 drive as my 5400 drive. I actually like the 5400 drive better since its quieter. I might give thes new software a try if it can really upconvert video. I got X2 4400 I can move to the system to test it. The OPT144 is actually faster in my gaming computer then the 4400, because it OC much better. When games start really using multi core I might care a little more. the 4400 should really shine in upconvering video

RE: Tried it out
By MooseMuffin on 11/28/2006 5:07:12 PM , Rating: 2
Performance of Transcode360 won't apply here. Transcode360 re-encodes video to MPEG2, as the xbox can receive that format from media center PCs. It cannot, however, receive MPEG2 video using the UPNP method that TVersity is using. All content is transcoded to wmv, which is a significantly more demanding process.

RE: Tried it out
By Aikouka on 11/29/2006 1:55:59 PM , Rating: 2
I believe when I looked at the settings of Transcode360 that it stated it was encoding in WMV at 8000kbps. Now, I may be not remembering correctly, but I believe that's what I saw.

Also, to the person discussing hard drives as a possible hamper on performance, one thing I mentioned was the fact that it really depends on how much work you're doing, but eventually a buffer can become a source for slowdowns. It's similar to the change from 2MB to 8MB buffers in HDDs. Now, the programs may be designed to transcode with as high of settings as your PC can handle, I really don't know how they designed it the area of utilization.

RE: Tried it out
By Lazarus Dark on 11/28/2006 6:13:37 PM , Rating: 2
upconversion sounds cool as a lot of cheaper hdtvs dont have very good upscalers. but I'd just rather skip the middle man and hook an htpc up to the tv directly.

By obeseotron on 11/28/2006 2:15:28 PM , Rating: 2
Come on Microsoft, open source developers got there years (3? 4?) ago on the original Xbox with XBMC. Give us playback for real formats, it can't be that big a deal.

By A5 on 11/28/2006 2:27:23 PM , Rating: 3
There's no reason for them to allow other formats. They want people to use WMV for everything, and they'll just point you to their free encoder if you tell them you want other formats.

By A5 on 11/28/2006 2:27:54 PM , Rating: 2
That said, I do love my XBMC. :)

By XtremeM3 on 11/29/2006 12:21:37 AM , Rating: 2
Yes sir I'm with you on for 99% of formats out there(in my experience) include ISOs. Yes, image files. XBMC is great.

By therealnickdanger on 11/29/2006 10:52:43 AM , Rating: 2
My biggest beef with the Xbox360 is that Microsoft won't allow non-WMV content. There's way more than enough power under the hood to decode any and all formats out there along with post-processing enhancements.

Hmmm, intelligent multithreading...
By ToeCutter on 11/28/2006 10:46:16 PM , Rating: 3
Posted by a TVersity Site Admin in their forum:

Yes, it is multithreaded such that if you have more CPUs (or more cores or even just a hyperthreaded CPU):

- Decoding and encoding can happen concurrently and each one of them is also multithreaded so it can leverage multiple CPUs as well (very important when transcoding high definition content)

- Serving multiple media hubs simulatenously and/or handling multiple media files/streams simultaneously will be fully parallelized, meaning that the server can better handle more users.

I guess the ultimate scenario is several media hubs accessing the server simultaneously, such that each of them plays a different high-resolution (or even high-definition) video with all of these videos transcoded. If you have enough CPUs TVersity will be able to do this for practically as many users as you like.

Looks like they coded for some nifty CPU affinity with regards to decode/encode. That's a great way to spread the load, ensuring an isocronous stream (smooth playback).

This lil app needs multicore love ;-)

By daveyd on 11/29/2006 1:14:38 PM , Rating: 2
When are networkable TVs going to become available? I would like to just plug in an ethernet cable to my TV and stream movies from my server without having an XBox or a PC hooked up to the TV :)

By Aikouka on 11/28/2006 2:10:48 PM , Rating: 2
It's a nice little program to have, especially if you download videos and would rather play them on a large TV (HD or not) rather than your computer monitor(s).

Unfortunately (I think), I already have a media/file PC with MCE installed just for the purpose of acting in for my XBOX 360. If I really need to, I can just upload the file to my media server in the matter of seconds and play it immediately. Especially since it's cheaper to purchase an OEM copy of MCE over an OEM copy of XP Pro.

Although I've noticed a really annoying problem with Media Center... I don't know if it's unfinished video downloads (torrents or whatever), but Media Center loves to hang when I enter "My Videos" and I have no idea what it's waiting for, but I presume it's trying to create thumbnail views as it fails to create a thumbnail view for "F:". So, to alleve this problem, I just open them from a media player XD.

I think this software will come in more handy for me if I ever move things around and decide to forgo my other methods and just stream directly from my main machine.

RE: Nice!
By isaacmacdonald on 11/28/2006 6:13:04 PM , Rating: 2
I have the same issue with hanging video, but aside from that MCE+360=Good.

Transcode 360 also works fine for divx files, but it's still just a workaround that creates needless work for the media center -- I wish that the official Divx & MP4 codecs were supported. Ahh well, it'll never happen.

By Wwhat on 11/28/2006 11:50:46 PM , Rating: 2
Never knew microsoft was THIS pitiful about pushing wmv, it's quite sad.

RE: pfft
By otispunkmeyer on 11/29/2006 3:49:48 AM , Rating: 2
i know

wmv is rubbish, give me Xvid and Divx anyday.... nearly all my video content is some form of the above and i aint about to sit and re-encode it all (computers not powerful enough to transcode in real time)

i think sony are gonna win in this respect. with being able to run linux distro's theres no reason why a media player with a codec pack wont be created so you can play what ever the hell you want off that 750gig hdd you just spliced into your PS3

XBMC is amazing though. my mate picked up a ready modded xbox with a 500gig disk in and its amazing, even stream files off other peoples computers.

surely those 3 cores can do video? surely the GPU can do something? its unified afterall.

Networkable TVs
By daveyd on 11/29/2006 1:16:35 PM , Rating: 2
When are networkable TVs going to become available? I would like to just plug in an ethernet cable to my TV and stream movies from my server without having an XBox or a PC hooked up to the TV :)

Sorry for the double post

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen
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