Using the XBox 360 as an HTPC with uShare

Posted on October 16, 2007
Author: Sean Potter
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5
Tags: HTPC, uPnP

Using uShare

uShare worked for us right away. We just glanced at ushare --help to figure out what options we need to use the program with the XBox 360.
   -n, --name=NAME              Set UPnP Friendly Name (default is 'uShare')
   -i, --interface=IFACE        Use IFACE Network Interface (default is 'eth0')
   -f, --cfg=FILE               Config file to be used
   -p, --port=PORT              Forces the HTTP server to run on PORT
   -c, --content=DIR            Share the content of DIR directory (default is './')
   -w, --no-web                 Disable the control web page (enabled
        by default)
   -o, --override-iconv-err     If iconv fails parsing name, still add to media contents (hoping the renderer can handle it)
   -v, --verbose                Set verbose display.
   -x, --xbox                   Use XboX 360 compliant profile
   -d, --dlna                   Use DLNA compliant profile (PlayStation3 needs this)
   -D, --daemon                 Run as a daemon.
   -V, --version                Display the version of uShare and exit
   -h, --help                   Display this help
You can run uShare as a daemon if you want. I'd like to eventually set up an rc script to use with Gentoo so it starts at boot. For now, we're using the command to run the server. uShare expects at least one directory argument, specifying where multimedia files are stored. For each directory you include, you must specify it with -c. Also, you may want to change the interface uShare listens on with -i. uShare doesn't look for a valid or working ethernet interface, so if eth0 isn't the interface you want to use, make sure you change it. Let's look at how we decided to use uShare:
ushare -n Galactica -c /opt/music -c /opt/movies -x -i eth1
We named our server Galactica (same as the machine name), and specified two folders where multimedia files can be found. -x gives us XBox 360 functionality, which is our purpose for trying this software. Finally, we're using eth1 as our interface. uShare doesn't actively look for new or updated content. You'll either have to restart the server when you need to refresh, or use the webserver to refresh the content. To access the web server, point a browser to http://ip_address:port/web/ushare.html. The default port is 49152. You'll be greeted by a plain and simple page with options to update and manage shares.

Using the 360

From Dashboard, we selected "media", then "music", "movies", or "pictures". Select "computer" from sources and hit okay until the 360 begins scanning for computers. It shouldn't take more than a few seconds for it to see your uShare server. You're then presented with the usual categories to view your music such as genre, album, artist, songs, etc. You should be able to play anything from there. I ran into some issues with music. All of my music is in the MP3 format, but the XBox doesn't recognize all versions of MP3 apparently. I have no explanation for this. Otherwise, as long as your files meet XBox compatibility, you shouldn't have any issues.
  • MPEG-1 with MPEG audio
  • MPEG-2 with MPEG audio or AC-3 audio
  • WMV 7, 8, & 9 with WMA Standard or WMA Pro audio
  • WMV Image 1 & 2 (Photo Story 1, 2, & 3)
  • Windows Media Audio (WMA) Standard
  • WMA Pro
  • WMA Lossless
  • MP3
In comparison, uShare will share the following filetypes:
  • Video files: asf, avi, dv, divx, wmv, mjpg, mjpeg, mpeg, mpg, mpe, mp2p, vob, mp2t, m1v, m2v, m4v, m4p, mp4ps, ts, ogm, mkv, rmvb, mov, qt
  • Audio files: aac, ac3, aif, aiff, at3p, au, snd, dts, rmi, mp1, mp2, mp3, mp4, mpa, ogg, wav, pcm, lpcm, l16, wma, mka, ra, rm, ram
  • Images files: bmp, ico, gif, jpeg, jpg, jpe, pcd, png, pnm, ppm, qti, qtf, qtif, tif, tiff
  • Playlist files: pls, m3u, asx
  • Subtitle files: dks, idx, mpl, pjs, psb, scr, srt, ssa, stl, sub, tts, vsf, zeg
  • Various text files: bup, ifo
Big difference in support there, and I'm sure most of the problems you'll run into are video-related.

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