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Share playlists of videos to Xbox Network
This tip follows a previous tip on how to share your files from your Mac via Samba to Xbox Media Center. As some of you may or may not know, you can create a .m3u playlist (of videos or music) using VideoLan Client (VLC) by loading up all your media, and then exporting it through File -> Save Playlist As... (type Shift-Command-P to view your current list). To save time, you can add the entire contents of a folder at once using File -> Open File... option, and browsing to a folder instead of just a single file.

The problem with this playlist file is that it is specific to your computer. Opening up the .m3u file in your favorite text editor (preferably BBEdit) will reveal every item in your playlist and its link. Changing the link to something relative will allow you to use this playlist on both VLC and the XBox Media Center (XBMC). Take my setup for example...

Using the previous tip, I made a separate "xbox" user on my Mac and made symbolic links in the "xbox" home folder to my Music, Pictures, and Movies folders from my "adam" user. I then turned on Windows File Sharing, and made the appropriate bookmarks in the XboxMediaCenter.xml file:
  <name>Adam Renie's Videos</videos>
  <path>smb://xbox:[password]@[Mac's local IP]/xbox/Movies</path>
The path to my music video collective is /Users/adam/Movies/Music Videos, and the path to my playlist is /Users/adam/Movies/Music Videos.m3u. An entry for an item in the .m3u file generated by VLC looks like this:
/Users/adam/Movies/Music Videos/Linkin Park/Numb.mpg
The problem is that all the links are broken when using XBMC, since I'm not sharing from the root directory of my drive. So I changed all the links to look like the following entry using Find and Replace, and then saved the file:
./Music Videos/Linkin Park/Numb.mpg
You can change the #EXTINF entry to a title more specific if you so desire. Following this method, and if all goes well, you can now open up your playlist in XMBC and be able to play all your videos in a row, or shuffle them to your hearts desire.

Making a playlist of music would work the exact same way, but the later builds of XBMC actually have support for iTunes sharing, so that would be redundant and more of a hassle! Unfortunately, XBMC will stop playing a list if it hits a file it cannot play (like some .mov files). Occasionally, you may have to correct some permissions if you get a "Permission Denied" error opening a folder on XBMC, or a particular file simply refuses to play. Additionally, items and links with accented or non-latin characters will fail to play. I don't know if this is due to VLC's method of creating .m3u files, the SMB sharing protocol, XMBC's method of handing such characters, or a combination thereof.

I hope someone else can make use of this hint. With my 450-some music videos, it's like having my own personal MTV, but full of good videos, no commercials, and most importantly ... no Carson Daly. Being able to free up my screen real estate and processing power by pushing video off onto my modded Xbox hooked up to a TV is certainly a benefit to me. Enjoy!
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Share playlists of videos to Xbox
Authored by: seven5 on Mar 25, '05 12:19:43PM

Cool tip. I still dont know why you need to make a new user for sharing, just use your normal user.. thats silly.

For any other Xbmc fans out there, i run a news and info weblog for Xbmc at and generally have cool stuff to do with xbmc at my normal site. I'm an Os X user so my hacks will always work on our os :)

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Share playlists of videos to Xbox
Authored by: macman84 on Mar 25, '05 04:26:23PM
You can certainly use your normal user. Call me paranoid, but I'd was reluctant to put my username and password in clear text in a XML file. The xbox user I created has only limited access, and i've gutted it's home folder, so it takes up only negligible space. Just a precaution in case something goes wrong, remember, the Xbox is essentially a barebones PC, made by Microsoft, anything can happen ;-)

Also check out XBMC's web server remote, in Settings -> Network -> Servers. Another cool feature.

Btw, very nice weblog!

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Share playlists of videos to Xbox
Authored by: nmerriam on Mar 25, '05 04:34:00PM

Totally off-topic to the hint, but I haven't seen a reliable place for Xbox/Mac users to congregate.

When I was on a PC, I could FTP to my XBox at ~300-600Kbps, but my Mac system connects to the XBox at ~30-50Kbps. I've tried every FTP client possible (Transmit, Cyberduck, FTPeel, the command-line, etc) and nothing has made a difference. I've turned off IPV6, made no difference.

This is the same XBox, same network setup, the mac and PC are literally sitting next to each other and I can switch back and forth and reproduce the results every time. I've switched cables, ports, etc. Any clues?

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Share playlists of videos to Xbox
Authored by: macman84 on Mar 25, '05 05:10:31PM
I typically get 7,000 to 9,000 kilobytes/sec transfer to and from my Xbox. I replaced my Xbox's hard drive from it's original 8 GB, to my Cube's old 20 GB, to a new 120 GB Segate 7200 RPM 8 MB cache.

What dashboard or FTP server are you using on your Xbox? That can make a big difference. I've had good luck with UnleashX, Avalaunch, and XBMC. What kind of router or switch are you connecting everything to? If you're on a 10 Base-T switch, that'll slow you down quite a bit. Make sure your cables are full duplex too.

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Share playlists of videos to Xbox
Authored by: nmerriam on Mar 25, '05 06:46:20PM

I've used XBMC (various release and CVS builds over the last 6 months), Avalaunch, even booting from a Slayer's disk to test. i believe they all use Filezilla in one form or another. I always get ridiculously slow speeds.

Switch to PC, go through same cables, same router (Netgear FWG114P), same wireless connection to a the XBox (it's downstairs on a 802.11b/g switch, which is why I don't get huge throughput even from the PC).

I've turned off IPV6 on OSX (heard somewhere that can affect network performance on badly set-up IPV4 nets), replaced the filezilla.xml on the XBox with different configurations, tweaked all the server setup in every way i could find, etc.

What's weird is that I can get 20-50K on EACH connection -- so if I transfer 6 files simultaneously, each one will top out at 50k (giving 300k effective throughput), but a single file will never use up all that throughput. The PC behaves as expected -- will peak at 600-800+, total, whether it's one file or a dozen.

But I can FTP from my OSX system to all my other servers (LAN and Internet) using the exact same FTP clients, exact same cable, router, config, etc, and get megabits per second up, so its not like the OSX box or some hardware in the loop is just inherently slow.

Partly I was asking just to make sure I wasn't missing some obvious configuration thing that "everybody knows" as far as connecting to the XBox from a Mac. I actually just fried my XBox Mobo a few days ago while doing some experimenting, so I need to replace the whole thing and want to get it set up right.

BTW, thanks for the blog link, I've been reading it and I'm definitely going to set up the RSS-BT. I could never quite get my IRC bot to grab HDTV rips the way I wanted, so I've been doing it manually. Like you, I've pretty much ignored my TiVo since XBMC became really stable and full-featured. $1,000 for HD-TiVo seems a little ridiculous :(

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Share playlists of videos to Xbox
Authored by: blixa on Mar 29, '05 01:26:27PM

Maybe this is a stupid question, but: is this hint about how to use the (Microsoft) xbox media center extender, or is there some other thing called xbox media center? If it's the former, how do you install it on the xbox without having a PC? If it's the latter, i just wasted a bunch of money. :(


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Share playlists of videos to Xbox
Authored by: macman84 on Mar 29, '05 04:12:20PM
XBMC is an open source multimedia player for the Xbox, its free, and not affiliated with Microsoft:
XBMC - Xbox Media Center
You have to have a modified Xbox, and you then simply FTP the files over to it's "F:" drive and you're set.

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Share playlists of videos to Xbox
Authored by: blixa on Mar 29, '05 06:06:09PM

Yeah, nuts. I didn't realize this until after I'd bought (and opened, and tried to install...) the MS xbox media center extender (or whatever they call it). ugh. Thanks, though!

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