Best media streamer for HDTV (under $300) ?
May 1, 2007 10:32 AM   Subscribe

Now that I found out the XBox 360 won't have Xvid support in the Media Extender (thanks M$), what alternative media streamer would the mighty filter suggest to view the LOADS of Xvid (and perhaps x.264 HD) content on my PC via my HDTV over a wired network connection?

This is wordy, sorry:

I've tried 3 different streamers (pinnacle, Dlink, Buffalo) and all have had some serious problems with speed or compatibility or image quality. I built a myth tv box, but MySQL is the devil and I don't have 3 weeks to work it out.

I'm not against building a front-end type system for viewing the content, but would like something more manageable (and cheaper) for the girlfriend. I've seen a lot about the Netgear EVA8000, but its so expensive you could build a decent HTPC.

My current PC is a in a HTPC case, so I could connect it to my TV, but its so powerful it would be a waste. Also, I'm running Windows MCE and my motherboard doesn't play nice with Linux.

I've read hundreds of opinions, but I always value the thoughtfulness of MetaFilter members. Thanks!
posted by lattiboy to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
a normal old school xbox - softmodded with XBMC, i have mine outputting HD by using a composite out cable.
posted by dnc at 11:12 AM on May 1, 2007

Composite out is not HD. Did you mean component out?

I stream xvid/etc. to my 360 using TVersity to transcode.
posted by bobot at 11:21 AM on May 1, 2007

Response by poster: Composite out is not HD. Did you mean component out?

I stream xvid/etc. to my 360 using TVersity to transcode.

TVersity is amazing for OSS, but you can't rewind or fast forward which is a total pain. Also, if you have seasons of TV shows (like I do) it lists EVERYTHING in one big list which is cumbersome at best to sift through.

I've tried the internal Transcode 360 for MCE, but it takes up ton of processing power in MCE and it also has serious issues with quality and rewind/ffd.

Thanks for the input though...
posted by lattiboy at 11:35 AM on May 1, 2007

Perhaps I should rephrase- I've tried everything out there, and despite its limitations TVersity is the best you can get for the 360.

I took the whole snafu as a good opportunity to read more books.
posted by bobot at 11:40 AM on May 1, 2007's media-streamer works fairly well with the 360, but suffers the same interface issue that TVersity has, you get one big list of all videos.
posted by nomisxid at 11:40 AM on May 1, 2007

Apparently the $300 AppleTV can be customized out the yingyang. Big customization community.
posted by phearlez at 11:56 AM on May 1, 2007

All for XBMC on an old soft modded XBOX. Does 720p really nicely through the component cables. Before you softmod it though go into the Microsoft Dashboard and turn on 480p and 780p. Leave the 1080 option OFF as oldy McOld Xbox can't quit handle that. If my current XBOX w/ XBMC crapped out, I'd buy a new one tomorrow. It is awesome.
posted by zackola at 12:02 PM on May 1, 2007

How about an old laptop? Shove in behind the TV, use wifi, and use remote desktop/vnc to control it. Or spring for a wireless key/mouse. If your tv can handle VGA you should be set. You may be out of luck in the surround sound department though. It may also be easier to just live with the TVersity limitations.
posted by damn dirty ape at 12:29 PM on May 1, 2007

Best answer: For those suggesting XBMC, which I have and love, there is a big difference between: (1) decoding a 480i/p source and outputting at 720p or 1080i (which works fine) over component cables, and (2) decoding a 720p or 1080i source and outputting same.

The original Xbox just doesn't have the juice to decode those higher resolutions, especially x.264.


I think a computer hooked directly to your TV is your only real option, right now.
posted by deadfather at 1:48 PM on May 1, 2007

Response by poster: The more I read the responses (thanks to everybody BTW), I realize I am just going to have to build a low power HTPC with a 7-series Nvidia card. I was hoping not to build yet another rig, but the industry doesn't seem to take this market (which I believe is huge) seriously.
posted by lattiboy at 2:41 PM on May 1, 2007

I use the Mediagate HD-350 to stream my HD movies to my HD TV from my computer. Wired, Wireless and you can attach a external USB drive to it.
posted by rsclark at 4:55 PM on May 1, 2007

If you're thinking low-power HTPC I'd seriously look at that AppleTV first. Apparently it's essentially a low powered Mac Mini and I'm assured by a cow orker that once you do the minimal (and reversable) hacks to it you can put any codec out there on it.

Unless I'm completely out of touch with reality you can't come close to the $300 price point with a HTPC. Not to mention the upside if you're concerned about the interface.
posted by phearlez at 9:42 PM on May 1, 2007

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