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XBox 360 Getting Lots Of New Video Codecs

Xbox 360 Fanboy reports that next month’s Xbox 360 Dashboard update will bring support for the console to play more video formats. Currently, it can only manage WMV (and maybe others, barely, with much grief, through extenders), but after the update will be capable of playing:

  • H.264 (1080p Level 4.1 and High Profile), up to 15 Mbps
  • MPEG4 Part 2 up to 8 Mbps

As Red Kawa says:

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.

Great work, Microsoft, adding in some extra codecs. As of now, streaming video to the 360 is still a pain, requiring software like TVersity (which has never worked for me) or re-encoding the video ahead of time (which most people have no clue how to do). Without AVI codec support, the 360 still isn’t perfect, but it is getting there.

What Microsoft needs to do next is provide a program for getting AVI codecs on the 360. My recommendation: Charge for it. If that’ll get DivX and Xvid video on the console, I’ll do whatever it takes. Five, ten bucks for a codec is a small price to pay for pain-free video streaming.

Also, ShowBizData notes that South Park, which is now selling High Definition episodes of South Park on the Xbox Live Video Marketplace, without having any HD channel on any cable/satellite system, is breaking ground, as the first show to circumvent the limitations of cable/satellite and deliver HD content direct to the consumer. Judging by the failure of cable and satellite companies to deliver HD, this may be a common thing in coming years.

Plus, the GamerScore blog notes new video coming tot he XBox Live Video Marketplace, including TV shows like Shanghai 6, Long Story Short, Waiting Game, Gamehead Season 3, Aqua Teen Hunger Force Season 3, and Blade TV, and movies like Tenacious D & The Pick of Destiny and Beer League. Also supposed to have happened: A free episode of Stephen Colbert’s Tek Jansen Adventures. As far as I can tell, that free episode never appeared. Whoops.

April 16th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox Live | one comment
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1 Comment »

  1. Until the Xbox360 can support streaming of any content from a NAS or Windows Home Server (and ideally use it for storage of MarketPlace content etc) it’s a pretty dumb extender and isn’t going to win any friends looking for a media center experience.
    I’d pay for AVI, Xvid/DivX and the ability to access a DVD archive (iso, video_ts folder or remote changer)
    I’d love to use it a my cable set top box
    I’d love to use it as my TiVo (after all a CableCard equipped MediaCenter machine is upwards of 4 grand)
    But I can’t right now.

    Comment by OffBeatMammal | 4/17/2007

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