I’m quite liking XBox Media Center. I’ve installed the latest version and reconfigured the XBox so that when booted with the modchip on (by holding the power button down for 1 second), XBMC is loaded by default.
Like EvoX (the de-facto standard modchip console), XBMC includes an FTP server, which is the main ingredient for being able to confgure the XBox and shift software from PC->XBox. You can also launch other programs from within XBMC, so there really isn’t a whole lot extra that EvoX adds – apart from system tools like BIOS flashing etc. which I won’t be using very often, if ever. Also there’s a whole heap of nice skins for XBMC, so you can really get it looking very sexy without too much trouble.
Managed to get XBMC talking to my laptop via standard windows file sharing. This means that if I select the ‘My Music‘ link in XBMC, then ‘SMB‘ (which I will rename later to ‘Laptop Music’ or something), XBMC will present me with a list of all the MP3s in the shared music folder on the laptop. Same thing with pictures and videos. Very slick.
I’m pretty sure I will do the HDD upgrade too now. It’s just a little too clunky to have to connect the laptop to the network in order to access my MP3 collection, and I’m quite keen to have a large HDD in the XBox so that I can use it as the household’s NAS. My main concern is that the latest wave of XBox Live! bans (due to console modification) seem to revolve around a changed HDD serial number, regardless of whether the modchip is enabled or not. The theory goes that if you’ve logged onto Live! with one combination of motherboard/HDD serial numbers, and that combo changes at any stage, then banination comes knocking. Still, it’s only the box itself that gets banned, not my gamertag, so I reckon it’s a risk worth taking for the supreme usefulness of an insta-boot, media-playing, singing, dancing household server.