Ideas for modern-day applications of XBMC4XBOX?

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Ideas for modern-day applications of XBMC4XBOX?

Post by DivideByZer0 » Thu Oct 13, 2016 10:00 am

Back when you could get SD-quality video of anything, XBMC was amazing thing to have, almost a decade ahead of its time. Silly as it sounds, I have a ton of memories associated with XBMC, and it will always have a place in my heart.

It's now 2016, and I still have my xbox hooked up to the component jacks on my TV. I use it mostly for CoinOPs, and the occasional Burnout 3 session. Sometimes, I'll fire up XBMC to play some streaming Internet radio, or to watch a few SD shows from my SMB share. But the fact that I can't play HD video on my stock Xbox hardware has meant the end of using xbmc4xbox as a primary digital media center for some time.

Lately, I've been trying to think of of ways to make xbmc4xbox more useful as a platform. I recently did some hacking in autoexec.py and wrote a script that would play a random demoscene radio station at xbmc4xbox startup, and run a screensaver from ~30,000 wallpapers. (video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGL7zwus-tI , details: http://www.xbmc4xbox.org.uk/forum/viewt ... =17&t=5430) Recently, I also downloaded the full music pack from keygenmusic.net, converted all 5000 songs to mp3, and put it on my xbox as another option for music playback.

I've really enjoyed this setup - I can turn on XBMC, and have a neat audiovisual entertainment sort of thing in the background while I code or hang out, and my friends have complimented it. Best of all, I feel like I'm keeping XBMC alive in a way that I legitimately enjoy, not just for nostalgia. In fact, I have it on in the background right now 8-)

The point:

This has gotten me thinking - XBMC is a great platform for presenting media. It can handle playing large media libraries, it can stream online media (mostly audio), and has a very slick interface and well-developed interface design features. It has GUI features that are beyond comparison to the other dash/menu frameworks out there.

So I pose a question:

What are some ideas for what xbmc4xbox could do today as a platform?

It will never again be your primary media center, but it can do something funky and cool when you turn it on. You turn on your Xbox, and XBMC4XBOX uses your TV and sound system to do something awesome! :lol:

Remember, nowadays it's pretty easy to put a 2TB hard drive in an Xbox, so there's the possibility for having huge media libraries onboard (possibly downsampled), for a sort of "nostalgia box". Streaming Internet radio is also a great way of getting a variety of music without taking up a ton of space with files.

Just post what you think would be a cool idea, whether realistic or not! Or just post any cool type of media that it would be possible to get a huge number of files for, at the user's discretion, to use the Xbox as a showcase of sorts using already built-in features. It doesn't have to be a killer app, just any cool trick you think that XBMC could do with a bunch of media. (if I like your idea, I might try to work on it myself, and post a how-to... )


Here are some that I came up with:

- Streaming radio box - get a ridiculous number of streaming Internet radio stations, and play random ones, maybe in conjunction with something else

- Music video box - getting a ridiculous amount of music videos, (maybe "retro"), downconverting them to playable format, and playing them on shuffle when box turns on

- Playing video from one music video and audio from another randomly, to create a sort of "mashup" just for fun. I bet there is a lot of potential for mashups with video collections, though. What kind of videos would be fun to randomly mash up with music, that one might be able to get a huge variety of?

- CoinOPs menu (probably unrealistic; can coinOPs games be launched from outside the CoinOPs app? this is an "if only" thing that keeps occurring to me...)

- Some kind of personal photo album slideshow, but with something more...?

- Some way of rating and possibly deleting content on the fly for "pruning" content from a large library

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Re: Ideas for modern-day applications of XBMC4XBOX?

Post by Geeba » Thu Oct 13, 2016 11:09 am

Nice post...

The xbox will still play HD video, you just have to use a non cpu intensive codec and container... pretty good quallity 720p AVI looks very good on the xbox, I did also look into transcoding on the fly with PS3 Media Server https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PS3_Media_Server - not sure if this software still works, seemed to do a pretty good job at the time.

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Re: Ideas for modern-day applications of XBMC4XBOX?

Post by sixties keith » Thu Oct 13, 2016 11:45 am

Good post, worth noting the tuxbox client is still in xbmc4xbox i think it was removed in the mainline xbmc/kodi, i use it to stream tv channels from my dbox2, straight to the xbox, it can even change the channel for me without me running up to the dbox again.

still a few worthwhile plugins working on the xbox too, wont go into them here but its enough to at least keep the old girl going.

As for emulators coinops latest revision (8) is the last to be on the xbox, i think its being ported to another system now (most likely pc) I think the surreal (Nintendo 64) emulator was taken over and is still active surreal64 ce i think it is now.
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Re: Ideas for modern-day applications of XBMC4XBOX?

Post by xman » Thu Oct 13, 2016 1:54 pm

Video Jukebox....... Grab a suitable YouTube downloader tool for your PC and dump the content on the Xbox HDD. You can have all of it or a small portion of it in a "startup playlist" for startup for when you just want to hit the start button on the Xbox to get it playing through all your songs or cancel that feature by hitting the B button on the controller and manually select the songs from the files just like a jukebox does. If you use an old version of XBMC, there is a random feature in XBMC so the list is shuffled every time you bootup so the same songs aren't always played in the same order every time you startup the machine. Ideally you set the XBMC bootup screen to Videos or where ever you have dumped all the music video clips so once the machine starts it bypasses the XBMC front page and boots directly to the screen displaying all you music videos. The download content can be just mp3 files if you wish, just dump them in the video folder along with the music videos. The YouTube download tool I use for Firefox just creates a static picture while the mp3 file plays. Just make sure the YouTube download tool you select has a option for what type of download file you require to run on the Xbox. Some only have what the video was originally put on YouTube content wise. You really want one that gives you options of the video format the download will be in so you can select what the Xbox can handle. In saying this I have found most content from YouTube will play fine on the Xbox irrespective of the format but I may just have been lucky so far.

You will find a suitable YouTube downloading tool here.....
http://filehippo.com/

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Re: Ideas for modern-day applications of XBMC4XBOX?

Post by DivideByZer0 » Fri Oct 14, 2016 10:12 am

I've been doing some poking around as to what kinds of image media sets are out there to work with...

- Wallpapers: There are a few siterips out there, and random wallpaper packs assembled by users. Downloading and combining a few packs (and running dupe detection) can make for a cool image library.
- Stock photos, tons and tons of them - these are kind of boring but maybe they could make for some kind of odd mashup material. They're usually categorized so you can pick and choose what image types you want. (e.g. maybe you want all the cool "architecture" photos but not the "shopping" ones).
- Art museum image sets (hundreds per museum) and individual artist image sets - you can get say the full works of a bunch of painters and put them on there, or download the images from several museums and put them together for a pretty neat collection. Maybe play classical music in the background :)
- Movie posters - there are huge packs of movie posters out there, some with really cool painted retro ones, not just posters for recent films.
- Image dumps from various forum or image board websites, like subreddits, 4chan, etc
- If porn is your thing you can find huge wallpaper-sized image collections that would work well with the slideshow feature
- Hell, if My Little Pony is your thing, there are absurdly sized MLP image packs :P

(note that I'm just remarking on what's out there, of course...)

As for videos, right now I'm getting together as many music videos as i can find. This takes some digging to find working sources... But what I really want to do is get a ton of older and more "classic" music videos together. Still, it's possible to grab a pretty huge collection from outside of Youtube.

It could be neat to do some sort of automated scraping of Youtube - but with the right list and some work it wouldn't be that hard to get a big collection together from Youtube manually.

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Re: Ideas for modern-day applications of XBMC4XBOX?

Post by cashonly » Fri Oct 14, 2016 12:03 pm

Like you OP, i use Xbox for Burnout 3 and Coinops. I have 250Gb on a SATA HDD (with sata-pata adapter). I use XBMC for music and video, toghether with a Raspberry Pi.
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Re: Ideas for modern-day applications of XBMC4XBOX?

Post by DivideByZer0 » Sat Oct 15, 2016 12:55 am

cashonly wrote:Like you OP, i use Xbox for Burnout 3 and Coinops. I have 250Gb on a SATA HDD (with sata-pata adapter). I use XBMC for music and video, toghether with a Raspberry Pi.
Nice :)
Yeah, it's one of the only games that I keep coming back to over the years. Even Paradise didn't really do it for me... :geek:
I also have the X-Arcade Tankstick for CoinOPs, it was a bit pricey but well worth it. (although the trackball only works for a few games; I would recommend the standard one if you're on a budget) With the Xbox adapter it's plug-and-play with CoinOPs, it cracks me up that on their site it's openly advertised as "COMPATIBLE WITH COINOPS".


WRT this hypothetical feature, I'm thinking that a lot of what I'm trying to do here is "play one thing at the same time as another thing". But, I want to have several options for playback modes. I want to show say, museum art with one type of music, or maybe a custom soundtrack with a certain photo album, and then another music source for wallpaper packs, and an option available from the Home screen for each of these. I also want to be able to put the xbox in music video mode fairly easily.

So, what i might try to do once I get all this media together, is write some Python code for performing certain "macros", that you can launch from the Home screen. Also some code in autoexec.py for running a macro script at startup, maybe a random one.

My goal would be to have it as easy to use as possible -- a "macro" would essentially be a config file set up by the user to launch a certain audio source (and maybe a fallback source if say an internet source is unavailable), along with a certain image source. I also want to include some options for selecting media from folders and subfolders: "queue all items from a folder at X depth", to allow say random selection of music albums. Or, "play only one item from each folder at X depth", so that if your collection is say lopsided towards certain artists you don't get the same artists repeatedly.

Looking at the scripting API, it looks like I could set this up with a full GUI interface for creating macros...


By the way, is it possible to play from a separate audio and video source at once? Probably wishful thinking, though...
Last edited by DivideByZer0 on Sat Oct 15, 2016 9:06 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Ideas for modern-day applications of XBMC4XBOX?

Post by Dom DXecutioner » Sat Oct 15, 2016 1:04 am

DivideByZer0 wrote: By the way, is it possible to play from a separate audio and video source at once? Probably wishful thinking, though...
No


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Re: Ideas for modern-day applications of XBMC4XBOX?

Post by DivideByZer0 » Sat Oct 15, 2016 9:00 am

Thanks, yeah it seems like people were complaining about not having it in Kodi at some point...
Geeba wrote:Nice post...

The xbox will still play HD video, you just have to use a non cpu intensive codec and container... pretty good quallity 720p AVI looks very good on the xbox, I did also look into transcoding on the fly with PS3 Media Server https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PS3_Media_Server - not sure if this software still works, seemed to do a pretty good job at the time.
Very interesting; I will have to look into this option!

It looks based on this http://www.xbmc4xbox.org.uk/wiki/XBMC_F ... esolutions that xvid is the way to go for transcoding videos, at 720x576. Do you (or anyone else) know if this be the best codec and resolution for encoding videos specifically for Xbox?
xman wrote:Video Jukebox....... Grab a suitable YouTube downloader tool for your PC and dump the content on the Xbox HDD. You can have all of it or a small portion of it in a "startup playlist" for startup for when you just want to hit the start button on the Xbox to get it playing through all your songs or cancel that feature by hitting the B button on the controller and manually select the songs from the files just like a jukebox does. If you use an old version of XBMC, there is a random feature in XBMC so the list is shuffled every time you bootup so the same songs aren't always played in the same order every time you startup the machine. ... In saying this I have found most content from YouTube will play fine on the Xbox irrespective of the format but I may just have been lucky so far.

You will find a suitable YouTube downloading tool here.....
http://filehippo.com/
Yeah, that's one of these media sub-projects that I'm working on now, a "video jukebox". What I'm trying to figure out right now is how to allow my xbox to do that alongside as several other preprogrammed "modes" as seamlessly as possible. Like to switch it into "party mode", or hang out mode, or "art museum" mode, or music video jukebox mode very easily from the home screen.

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Re: Ideas for modern-day applications of XBMC4XBOX?

Post by xman » Sun Oct 16, 2016 12:12 am

Sometimes you need to look outside the square with the Xbox. :D How about using different versions of XBMC, each set up a different way to do what you want it to do. From the home page of the default booting XBMC, have each of the "selection titles" boot another XBMC set up to do your different tasks. For example, you select "Music Videos Playlists" from the home page and that action boots another version of XBMC that is setup to do exactly that. Once you are in that mode and that version of XBMC setup for just that task and you want to change to say "Jukebox" you go to the now playing's XBMC front page and select "Jukebox" which in turn boots another version of XBMC setup to do just "jukebox" tasks.

Setting up your machine this way gets rid of a lot of conflicts that you face using just one copy of XBMC to do multiple operations. Utilizing the context menu's "set as default action" is a feature of XBMC you use a lot setting a machine this way. It enables the "default XBMC frontpage selections" to boot the dedicated version of XBMC seamlessly. Once that dedicated XBMC is booted, have it go direct to the folder that contains the content you wish to play. This gets rid of constantly seeing XBMC homepages. Also using different versions of XBMC for the different tasks enables you to have say different default volumes, video decoding settings, background pictures etc. About the only thing beyond my ability that I would like to have been able to do is edit the "default XBMC's" home page selection titles.

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Re: Ideas for modern-day applications of XBMC4XBOX?

Post by DivideByZer0 » Sun Oct 16, 2016 6:50 am

That's kind of the direction I'm thinking in; I was considering using separate XBE applications that you can copy-paste, each with a config file, to be able to launch XBMC in different modes from a non-XBMC dash. I don't think that what you're saying about separate XBMC installs should be necessary. In fact what I'm hoping to do is to set it up so that it's as easy as possible to launch different "modes" from the same instance of XBMC. But your idea would definitely work, and if you have the space on your HDD and you're looking for a quick and dirty solution, why the hell not.

Just a side note that if you have say, a folder of music videos that you want to play on startup, you can set a "startup playlist" natively in XBMC. If you make a playlist containing all of your music videos, this just might do the trick! (I'm not sure how shuffle settings work with this though.) If this doesn't work or doesn't offer the settings you want, you can set this up in autoexec.py pretty easily, and i'd be glad to help.


By the way, what kind of features do you guys think would be good to have in a video jukebox, on top of the standard video playback functionality? Some that come to mind are:

- Delete current video
- Flag current video as "liked" (maybe write the path to a text file so the user can find it later, or add it to favorites or something. maybe there is already something like this?
- Play only "liked" videos

Using the scripting API, I should be able to get button presses from the user. So what I might do is set it up so when the user presses a certain button, it brings up a "macro menu", which they can use to set XBMC into the different modes from any screen, as long as the script (plugin?) is running. I still haven't figured out yet how much of interface features are baked into XBMC and how much are dependent on the skin itself, versus what a plugin can introduce. I also might need to use the HTTP API to access certain functions I want, like on-the-fly deletion of media.

Another feature I've been thinking about is that while XBMC works great with wallpaper and 4:3 sized images, what if the user has a bunch of smaller pics they want to display or browse? For instance, I have a huge folder of saved Internet pictures, memes, etc going back a decade or so. I never look at them or browse them for the most part, but it would be cool to have some way of curating them. Just some fun way of displaying a bunch of pics of varying sizes. Maybe some kind of scrolling tiled view showing multiple pics at once, each in a random little frame. (this would probably require digging into XBMC source code though, something I might end up doing...)
sixties keith wrote:Good post, worth noting the tuxbox client is still in xbmc4xbox i think it was removed in the mainline xbmc/kodi, i use it to stream tv channels from my dbox2, straight to the xbox, it can even change the channel for me without me running up to the dbox again.

still a few worthwhile plugins working on the xbox too, wont go into them here but its enough to at least keep the old girl going.

As for emulators coinops latest revision (8) is the last to be on the xbox, i think its being ported to another system now (most likely pc) I think the surreal (Nintendo 64) emulator was taken over and is still active surreal64 ce i think it is now.
Nice, this dbox sounds pretty cool, reading up about it. Yeah, it's too bad CoinOPs is leaving the Xbox, but at least they've left us with an easy-to-install drop-in for making any old Xbox worthwhile. It feels like CoinOPs has given the modded Xbox a second life :)

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Re: Ideas for modern-day applications of XBMC4XBOX?

Post by spicemuseum » Mon Oct 17, 2016 3:25 pm

DivideByZer0 wrote:It looks based on this http://www.xbmc4xbox.org.uk/wiki/XBMC_F ... esolutions that xvid is the way to go for transcoding videos, at 720x576. Do you (or anyone else) know if this be the best codec and resolution for encoding videos specifically for Xbox?
Unless your video file has an absurdly high bit rate, 1280x720 [*] plays without frame drops. For example a typical feature-length "720p" film rip at about 3GB total file size will work without issue.

[*] typical feature films don't use all of the 720 vertical resolution lines becasue of their aspect ratio. More often around 550 with black bars top and bottom, and that makes the life of the decoder less arduous, which is why almost any 720p XVID (i.e. H.263, usually wrapped in a .avi container) plays absolutely flawlessly.

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Re: Ideas for modern-day applications of XBMC4XBOX?

Post by DivideByZer0 » Wed Oct 19, 2016 8:49 am

Awesome, I always had trouble playing most 720p files though. I'll keep that in mind for encoding.

I have a Trusty 1.4GHz board board on the way but I'll try to post a guide for doing it on a stock xbox setup, once I figure out some way to organize these ~4000 music videos

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Re: Ideas for modern-day applications of XBMC4XBOX?

Post by Geeba » Wed Oct 19, 2016 9:17 am

DivideByZer0 wrote:Awesome, I always had trouble playing most 720p files though. I'll keep that in mind for encoding.

I have a Trusty 1.4GHz board board on the way but I'll try to post a guide for doing it on a stock xbox setup, once I figure out some way to organize these ~4000 music videos
Depending on where you are in the world there are other 1.4Ghz suppliers... N64 Freak offers one, he's located in Germany.

http://www.xbmc4xbox.org.uk/forum/viewt ... =16&t=5122

His are 1.4Ghz/700mhz switchable, with extra fan headers and Xirc2 option - I think his cooling solution is a better design as well if I'm honest. I looks very close to stock.

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Re: Ideas for modern-day applications of XBMC4XBOX?

Post by DivideByZer0 » Wed Oct 19, 2016 10:48 pm

Yeah, his was a little more expensive so I ended up going with the Trusty board. It seems like N64 Freak's boards are well-reviewed overall though.

EDIT: Just got my Trusty board today, and it came with a speed switch and works fine.

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Re: Ideas for modern-day applications of XBMC4XBOX?

Post by Feeder » Mon Oct 24, 2016 6:42 pm

I read this post last week and I knew there was an idea somewhere in the back of my mind for this.

How about using it as a Karaoke front end?

The was the ability to play karaoke files used to work under XBMC4XBOX. There were even voice morphing options could be set for fun. I'm guessing it's all still there in the latest release, but I could be wrong. (I'm being lazy and not checking this right now.)
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Re: Ideas for modern-day applications of XBMC4XBOX?

Post by Dawscaus » Wed Dec 14, 2016 4:55 pm

To piggyback off the dbox2 idea can the Xbox support a Plex client if all the work is done on the server side. I have little knowledge about limitations but could it not handle HD playback in those situations?

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Re: Ideas for modern-day applications of XBMC4XBOX?

Post by sixties keith » Wed Dec 14, 2016 6:15 pm

@Dawscaus - yes in theory but unfortunately no completed profile was ever created for the xbox so plex would only play media already compatible with xbox playback.

see here for more info - http://www.xbmc4xbox.org.uk/forum/viewt ... lex#p32778
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Re: Ideas for modern-day applications of XBMC4XBOX?

Post by Dawscaus » Wed Dec 14, 2016 6:29 pm

I will give it a shot....

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Re: Ideas for modern-day applications of XBMC4XBOX?

Post by sixties keith » Thu Dec 15, 2016 10:50 am

@ Dawscaus - thats great news let me know if you get anywhere with it as im still interested myself
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