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Set up an Xbox Media Center using a Mac
Authored by: balthisar on Jul 07, '06 02:52:53PM

I didn't need to use my Windows box, either. My route was similar: I bought three XBoxes used from gamestop, as well as three eXecuter chips with the Cromwell BIOS. At the time I didn't know a thing about XBMC and didn't plan on using the XBox for anything as silly as playing games; instead I planned to install Xebian Linux and use the XBox only as a front-end for MythTV.

I didn't get the fancy, solderless connector for my chips, though, and thought I solder them on. I completely borked the job, and went the softmod route just to flash the built-in BIOS with Cromwell. Later, though, I learned about XBMC and figured out how to flash the original BIOS back in, and re-applied the softmod. I finally got the right, thin circuit board wire and did chip my third XBox. So, I have two soft-modded boxes and a chipped box.

As I went along, I upgraded all of the hard drives with some small spares I had lying around -- one each of 20, 30, and 40 GB. There's an auto-installer that builds the disks for you without having to connect a drive to the PC.

Throughout all of this process, I don't give a crap about XBox live. That's important because MS doesn't like modded boxes.

In the meantime, I discovered how fun video games can be, and the XBox makes a great emulator base for all of the classics -- Atari 2600, SNES, Play Station, and so on!

I may try Xebian again -- it can be installed non-natively and run from an image on the hard drive.

Sharepoints isn't necessary, and neither are all of the symbolic links. It's easy to modify your smb.conf file to get the sharing that you want done. Heck, install Sharepoints, look at your smb.conf, and uninstall Sharepoints. Done!

Rather than share off the Macs, I just share off of the backend for MythTV now. I'm upgrading the backend next week, so here's what I'll have:

two XBoxes around the house (third is reserved)
two RAID1 setups with 600GB of space for DVD rips and archived TV shows, AND this is where I'll make my home folders for the two Macs. No more syncronization!!! No more backups!!! (Yeah, both drives could fail simultaneously... crossing fingers)
The RAID'ed drives will also house iTunes and iPhoto libraries which work well enough with XBMC.
Fifth drive dedicated just to MythTV (I use KnoppMyth).
The XBoxMythTV program for modded XBoxes works pretty decently with the backend system.

There's also the MythTV frontend compiled for PowerPC and Intel Macs.

Anyone want to buy my old Sony Tivo Series 1?

--Jim (me)

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