back to article DivX comes to the Xbox 360

Microsoft’s Xbox 360 dashboard update has sneaked in something extra: the hoped-for addition of DivX playback functionality. The Xbox Team’s official blog includes an AVI file support FAQ, which says the console now “supports files encoded using MPEG-4 Part 2, Simple and Advanced Simple Profile”, which the team adds are “often …

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Gates Halo

Brilliant News

One of the best things they've done for the 360 yet. Previously I had to leave my PC on to transcode DivX files using Media center, now I can play them directly from my NAS HDD and leave my big, noisy, power hungry PC off.

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Bah

Will not play via MCE.

Lots of reports of non working divx files.

still no H264 support.

if you want to watch DIVX/XVID get an Xbox 1 with XBMC.

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Thumb Up

Praise where due..

The Xbox part of the MS Corp, in my view is its best part. Hats off to them! They may be responding to commercial pressure, but who cares so long as they are responding!

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@ Steven Foster

'and leave my big, noisy, power hungry PC off.'

If your 360 is like mine it's big, noisy and power-hungry as well.

But it does allow me to turn the central heating down.

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of course there is H.264 support

Where did you get the idea that the 360 won't do H.264, RancidM?

It has no idea what to do with the Nerd-Favourite .mkv container, but H.264 files in standard .mp4 will play just fine. I use it all the time - download trailers from Apple, use Quicktime Pro to re-encode the audio from 5.1 to 2.0 AAC (the 360's AAC codec won't let you use 5.1, which is a touch irritating) and hand the resulting .mp4 to the 360 to watch in shiny HD. It only take a moment, because the video is a straight passthrough.

As for Divx, you can blame the fact it's a constantly moving target, mainly used by pirates. Official ones should work just fine.

The MCE playback problem is due to a slightly different issue. It's actually your PC that has the current MCE code, as part of Media Center itself; that code isn't touched by the 360's dash update. You've got to wait for the Media Center team to pass that one for release, then you'll get it in Windows Update.

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Heart

simple solution....

use TVersity(google itand its true freeware), and El-Reg please do a review on it

streams all types of files from your pc to xbox/ps3 etc..

fantastic!

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Anonymous Coward

Sneaked in?

How was this sneaked into the update? It's been in the news for the last 2 weeks across various sites including MajorNelson.com Microsoft's official XBox 360 blogger.

Perhaps The Reg has had it's head too far up Sony's ass with their PS3/Bluray fanboyism lately? I know The Reg has always been on a bit of a downer with the 360, avoiding positive stories about it far more frequently than it posts positive stories for Sony despite the number of negative PS3 stories dwarfing that of any other console manufacturer in the history of the universe but come on, can we at least pretend to have a clue about the other consoles out there or is it to be taken for granted now that The Reg is a heavily biased news outlet nowadays?

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Ian

RE: RancidM

H.264 support has been available on the 360 for a while now.

As with DivX however, the real issue is that there's a lot of variations on the standards out there. If you download the official DivX/XviD codecs on a fresh Windows install without installing one of the many codec packs out there you'll also find there's a lot of DivX files you wont be able to play.

It's a little silly to blame MS for this one, instead blame whatever release groups you're downloading the latest episode of Heroes or whatever from for using codecs that diverge away from the standard.

Standards exist for a reason and should be followed for a reason - so you don't get this type of conflict! I know it's kind of odd, Microsoft adhering to standards but seriously it's not their fault on this one.

Also Jeremy, I agree, MS' games division and it's developer division are such a far cry from it's OS division. I find it ironic that Microsoft's mainstream business - it's OS business is it's worst whilst at the same time, one of it's weakest, it's games division is actually it's best. It's developer division is a pretty strong area for MS and does produce some pretty awesome products however though so it doesn't seem as if there's a pattern or anything ;)

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Best news not mentioned

In the small print on the Xbox website there is a list of features and fixes and right near the bottom it says "Improved Xbox guide performance ~2x"

If that means what it seems to then it would be brilliant to see those damn slow menus move a bit quicker.

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Gates Horns

Re Sneaked in?

I think your mistake was thinking the Reg was ever un-biased, particularly when it comes to M$. Long may it continue btw.

Now you shuffle off back to xboxfanboy.com and tell them the big boys that know what they're talking about have been picking on their console. You never know, it may even work long enough with ROD'ing or bursting into flames for them to use it to post a reply.

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Unhappy

bah humbug (a bit)

I have been streaming h.264 off my NAS for a while now, encoded from DVD using Handbrake on a mac.

It has been working fine until now, after the update the first time I select a video it tells me it can't play it. select it again and it works, a tad annoying and I am sure it will really wind up my better half...

(Connect360 from nullriver does a very good job of letting my 360 talk to my Mac)

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Pirate

RE: of course there is H.264 support

"As for Divx, you can blame the fact it's a constantly moving target, mainly used by pirates."

<scoff> I don't think so! In spite of its shady beginnings, no self respecting pirate* would be caught dead using the proprietary DivX these days. Open source (XviD) all the way, baby.

* Not all pirates have self respect

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Gates Halo

Irony

It's funny when you realize that the original DivX ;-) codec was actually a reverse-engineered codec originating from Microsoft. Who would have thought that this same company would officially support it?

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Pirate

Re: AC, xvid

That's kind of what I meant, though. The update supports an official version of the DivX standard. Which doesn't mean it will support all of the multifarious knob-twiddling bits of Xvid.

Most self-respecting pirates seem to be (from a Google! Of course I wouldn't download them!) using .mkv packages for anything HD, anyway. Which needs to be repackaged (and the audio re-encoded) for .mov or .mp4 to work on the 360.

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My mate was chuffed

I've got a chum who was very happy when he heard this. Such a pity that last night his 360 died with the red ring of death.

BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA :-)

Perhaps now he'll buy a proper console.

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RE: Sneaked in

Maybe I'm blind, but I'm on the xbox website now and cant find anything about divx support. In fact yesterday a search to confirm what friends had told me that full support for divx was availble had ONE result and that was NO SUPPORT for divx/xvid codecs.

Go figure. The official MS site has no news about support and yet you bitch about El Reg not being up to scratch on xbox news?

Heres a thought. Do one.

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Gates Horns

Red ring....

"I've got a chum who was very happy when he heard this. Such a pity that last night his 360 died with the red ring of death."

'Tis the season it seems, several people at work have lost their 360's to it this week, how i laughed.

They won't get them back for about 2 months now MS are so swamped, so much for any games they'll get for christmas.

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Gates Halo

@Graham Jordan - MPEG-4

Graham, the news is here: http://www.xbox.com/en-US/community/personality/elle/20071130-systemupdate.htm

"Video support now includes AVI and MPEG-4 Advanced Simple Profile."

MPEG-4 is the standard behind DivX/XviD. Theoretically*, anything supporting MPEG-4 should play both DivX/XviD

*Simple Advanced Profile notwithstanding.

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Anonymous Coward

No Support for DivX® or XviD Specifically, But support for the Algorithm they use

Microsoft is very careful with wording its release... it didn't add DivX® support, it "Added support for Mpeg-4 part 2 video files in AVI containers" which just so happens to be what DivX® uses for one of its compression algorithms.

Or from the developer's blog:

"**15. What types of AVI files are supported?

The Xbox 360 supports files encoded using MPEG-4 Part 2, Simple and Advanced Simple Profile. These files are often referred to as Xvid or DivX® video files. Many common PC DVD authoring tools, cameras, and camcorders are capable of encoding files using MPEG-4. Note that some files authored for DivX devices may also contain additional functionality(menus, subtitles, multiple audio tracks, etc). The Xbox 360 will attempt to play these files, but does not support any of the additional functionality and in some cases will be unable to play the file. "

Most probably, to claim DivX® support requires permission from and some $$$ to be paid to DivX, the company. That's probably why Microsoft didn't come out directly say that DivX® was supported.

Check the following links for more details

http://www.xbox.com/en-US/support/systemupdates/20071204-features.htm

http://blogs.msdn.com/xboxteam/archive/2007/11/30/december-2007-video-playback-faq.aspx

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Pirate

last years flavor..

as many other commented.. xvid seems already like too little too late.

MKV (h264) is the new divx (it's the pirates choice for HD, they already have chosen that over HD-DVD and BR ;) ), and h264 mostly plays fine on 360, while plenty of conversion tools pop up all the time (streaming copy with ps3video9 or gotsent work fine).

If only they would just add a simple mkv container decoder, most of the hard work is already done (the video and audio decoder).

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RE: of course there is H.264 support

How can anyone say there is 264 support when you have to jump through untold hoops to make a vast majority of the content work ?

at the very best you might say that the 360 has very LIMITED support for 264 and many people would say its soo limited to the point of being worthless.

Iain dosnt it bug you to high heaven that this lovely shiny HD content is in stereo ? not only that but it was in 5.1 and YOU made it stereo just to get it to play ?

nearly every one over at XBS will not do this, they will not abide. They would rather take the time to re-encode the whole thing to WMV-HD.

The lack of 5.1 support makes the 264 format useless to anyone who has their 360 hooked upto 5.1 (or better) and i would also suggest that MANY people who have nice big HD displays would also have 5.1 sound.

So back to the question "Does the 360 support the 264 format"

if you have a HD screen but only stereo sound and only want to watch <1% of the available content on-line which happens to be mostly apple trailers, then sure mate its the dogs gonads. its the machine for your multimedia needs.

For everyone else the 360 fully supports h264 content as long as you don't actually try and watch it.

Which in my book is no support at all.

If anyone needs more info about media playback on the 360, they should head over to XboxScene and join in the forums.

there is lot of discussion about the various formats and what the 360 media capabilities are. Not surprisingly converting to WMV gets far more attention then converting anything to MP4.

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Gates Halo

Hurrah! No more WMV!

Right now one of my PCs is slaving away ripping some rental DVDs to WMV so I can later play it thru my 360. (I rent in bulk, watch slowly.) It would be a little nicer to have ripped to DivX, but otherwise that's not too bad.

But what's really nice is (unless I'm mistaken) now I'll be able to watch most movies straight from the Torrent, without converting to WMV.

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Alert

mkv..

While "pirates" are happily making HD rips of movies using the mkv container it’s just a shame the sources aren't really trustworthy. I have seen countless hd rips which were just upscaled.

I would love to know the ripper really used the hd-disc the nfo says. Also it doesn't really matter that much if you get the full hd disc or a dvd9 rip...

Encoding with x264 isn’t as simple as click and forget.

x264 is capable of a good picture but is not producing this out of the box. So the probability that any rip out there is delivering the full quality is pretty low. There's probably only a handful of guys who know the tweaks of x264 and can produce real quality..

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@RancidM

Yes, what I really mean is that the 360 can handle the H.264 codec, just not the pirated porn you downloaded. Boo hoo.

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Hurrah! No more WMV!

Maksim when i want to watch a dvd ony the 360 (im using MCE and the 360 as an extender) all i do is use DVDDhrink to rip the dvd to a single vob file (takes a few mins) rename the file from .vob to .mpg and the 360 will play it just fine.

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