(How) Can I access my XBox 360's USB Hard drive as a network drive / streaming server?
June 25, 2012 10:57 PM   Subscribe

Just got a free XBox 360 (bundled with another purchase). Can I use it (with an external hard drive) as a standalone (no PC attached) media server for storage and streaming of my music/video library?

I would like to store my music, picture, and video library on an external USB HD attached to the XBox 360, and then access these media files in the following ways:

-As a network drive, for transferring media files to and from the XBox from any PC on my home network (wirelessly).
-As a streaming media server, for streaming musicvideo from the XBox to a PC or device on my home network (for example, in another room)
-Transfer/Stream the XBox-stored media files over the internet to my PC at a remote location (port forwarding, VPN, SSL-tunnelling and all that other fancy stuff I'll have to familiarize myself with).

Other features I'd like (but I imagine are unlikely):
-Some kind of unattended/scheduled downloading of subscribed podcasts (RSS, Bittorrent, etc.) -- again, there is no PC attached
-Some kind of DVR functionality (record from cable TV to the XBox external drive).

I'm aware that I could do all/most of these things by building an inexpensive HTPC but that's not an option at the moment.
posted by Alabaster to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
A quick Google search suggests that this is not possible. Obviously the XBox 360 would play media from the HDD but streaming it to another source seems impossible.

Why couldn't you use one of the PCs to wirelessly stream media to the X-Box and other PCs on your network, using something like Plex or TVErsity?
posted by Effigy2000 at 12:33 AM on June 26, 2012

Why couldn't you use one of the PCs to wirelessly stream media to the X-Box and other PCs on your network, using something like Plex or TVErsity?

If you have Windows Media Centre on one of the PCs, you can use that to stream to the Xbox without needing extra software. But you can't do what you want - sorry. The Xbox is a pretty good entertainment centre, but it works more as a receiver than a transmitter- if you see what I mean.
posted by KateViolet at 1:04 AM on June 26, 2012

I think you can do most of those things by installing linux on it.

You may have to hardware hack ("mod") the xbox, gaming consoles are often locked down to make them more difficult to hack (or run pirated games on them).

This is probably a good place to start.

I'm fuzzy about the statuses of the various projects, this is all from a bit of quick googling.
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:17 AM on June 26, 2012

http://www.mythtv.org/wiki/Xbox_Frontend - note that that link refers to the previous generation xbox ("original" xbox), *NOT* the xbox 360.
posted by de void at 10:40 AM on June 26, 2012

Streaming FROM the Xbox 360 will not work.

You can attach the USB drive to the Xbox 360 and access the media content locally or host content on a PC and share it via either Windows Media Center or Windows Media Player to the Xbox 360 (and other computers on the network) but you cannot use the Xbox 360 as a media server.

If you were thinking of the “hack the Xbox and install Linux on it” suggestion I might suggest instead that you trade the Xbox for an old HTPC and either put Linux on that or run it with however is it configured. Attempting to get a useful Linux media server running on a hacked Xbox 360 is going to be nothing but pain.

There are some rumors about DVR functionality coming eventually to the Xbox but that may be the next Xbox and not the 360. The Xbox 360 is an excellent media consumer. In fact more people now use Xbox 360 for media apps than for gaming. Xbox Live has many media options (granted you need to subscribe to Xbox Live Gold for ~$40 /year (check amazon for prepaid cards)). You might want to consider keeping it as is and adding that HTPC at a later point. I am running Windows Media Center on Windows 7 with a CableCard tuner and I can record digital cable and watch it from any Xbox in the house.
posted by TeknoKid at 11:09 AM on June 26, 2012

If there's any way to sell/return it and trade up for a PS3, you can plug a USB disk into a PS3 and it can handle most video formats.

360-wise, though, not much you can do out of the box unless you're willing to do some hacking work.
posted by DoctorFedora at 12:32 AM on June 28, 2012

@DoctorFedora Are you saying Alabaster can use the PS3 as a media SERVER? My understanding is trhat both the Xbox 360 and PS3 work fine to consume media but not to serve it.
posted by TeknoKid at 12:14 PM on June 28, 2012

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