9/16/2007

Use Xbox as media center with Xbox softmod with XBMC

I have softmodded my classic Xbox in different scheme then what is presented here but this works great as well. This does cost you some money purchasing the related game and action replay kit, however, this is the simplest way to modding your Xbox classic without hassle of installing mod chip. When I modded my Xbox, I used security bypassing scheme from the Xbox hard-drive access. Too bad it was while ago and I lots the link to them.

This material is presented from Lifehacker site with article Transform Your Classic Xbox into a Killer Media Center. Quoted items are as shown below:

Gather the materials



The softmod takes advantage of a game exploit using a saved game you'll
download and move onto your Xbox, so it requires a few specific items.

xboxmod-materials.jpg



Here's what you'll need:

  • A classic Xbox (duh)—Those of you without an Xbox
    but interested in building a media center on the cheap, you could
    easily score on on eBay for under $100.

  • An original (not a copy) of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell game.—(Not
    the Pandora's Tomorrow or Chaos Theory versions.) Other games work,
    like Mech Assault and 007: Agent Under Fire, but I used Splinter Cell
    (the Platinum Hits edition) so that's the only one I can vouch for. (I
    had the game already, but there are a ton for sale at Amazon, many for under 10 bucks.)

  • The Action Replay kit—Action Replay is a USB interface
    to an Xbox memory card that lets you load pre-saved, unlocked games and
    cheats onto the card. You see where this is going. I snagged one on Amazon for about $40.

  • A home network router with a free Ethernet port and a network cable. Chances are you've already got one of these. Plug one end of the cable into your router, and the other into your Xbox.




Install the softmod and Xbox Media Center



Once you've got the materials together, you're most of the way there. Onto the modding.

  1. Determine the location of the softmod installer and XBMC downloads.
    Never in my online life have I had to go through such a rigamarole to
    get ahold of files. These Xbox hackers are careful people: in short,
    you have to log onto an IRC channel, issue a command to query the FTP
    server location, and get temporary login details in order to acquire
    the files (the equivalent of finding hidden door and using a secret
    knock). So, using your favorite IRC client (I went with the Chatzilla Firefox extension), type:

    /server irc.efnet.net


    Once connected to EFNet, type:

    /j #xbins


    Then:

    /msg xbins !list


    You will receive a private message with 2 sets of FTP login details. One is for the softmod installer, the other is for XBMC.

    xbinsircchat.png

  2. Download and extract the softmod installer and XBMC.
    Whether it's FileZilla, FireFTP, SmartFTP or Transmit, use your
    favorite FTP client to hit up the first file location you got from
    xbins and download the softmod archive, which is located at:

    /XBOX/Console Based Applications/exploits/Packages/Softmod Installer Deluxe/Softmod.Installer.Deluxe.v2.0.Xbox-Hq.rar

    Then, disconnect and login to the second FTP server to grab the XBMC archive, XBMC-2.0.1-FINAL-FAT-T3CH.rar. Using your favorite RAR extractor (I recommend 7-Zip), extract the files to your PC.

  3. Move the saved game exploit onto a memory card with Action Replay.
    Now, break out the Action Replay software that comes on CD in the
    package and install it on your PC. Plug in the USB cable and the 8MB
    memory card that came with it. From your Softmod.Installer.Deluxe.v2.0.Xbox-Hq folder, drag and drop two files into the "PC Database" column of the Action Replay software: the one named SID.Splinter.Cell.v2.0.NTSC.Xbox-Hq.zip, and the one named SID.Splinter.Cell.v2.0.Xbox-Hq.zip.
    (Note: If you're in the US, you'll need the NTSC version of the first
    file; UK folks, go with the PAL version.) That will add a
    "LINUX_Profile" saved game to the Splinter Cell folder, as well as a
    "Linux Installer" folder. Drag and drop the Linux Installer to the
    Memory Card column, as shown (click to enlarge):

    http://lifehacker.com/assets/resources/2007/09/dragsplintercelllinuxgame-thumb.png

  4. Transfer the Linux Installer to your Xbox hard drive.
    Pop the memory card out of the Action Replay kit and plug it into one
    of your Xbox's controllers. Make sure the disc tray is empty and start
    up the 'box. Go into the Memory area and drill down to the controller's
    memory card. When you see the Linux installer saved game, hit the right
    button pad once to select the game, then select "Copy" from the menu to
    copy it to the Xbox's hard drive, as shown.

    copyexploittoxbox.jpg



    Shut down your Xbox and head back to your computer. Repeat the same
    process with the Splinter Cell LINUX_Profile: copy it to your Memory
    Card (you'll have to delete the Linux Installer first, the card isn't
    big enough to accomodate both), then plug the card into the Xbox
    controller, boot up the 'box and copy the saved game to your Xbox's
    hard drive. Turn off the Xbox. Now the magic happens.

  5. Use the Splinter Cell exploit. Insert the Splinter
    Cell game disk into your Xbox, and start the game. When it comes time
    to choose the profile, underneath your regular aliases, you'll see a
    new one named "Linux":

    loadsplintercelllinuxprofile.jpg



    Select Linux and then select "Check points" (not "Levels"). After a few seconds, Your Xbox will display an UnleashX intro screen and control panel. This is the Linux-based Xbox dashboard, which will look like this:



    xboxsoftmod-header.jpg



    Before we hit that magical menu item—Install Softmod—do two things
    first. Hit up the "Create MS Backup" item first, and when that's
    complete, hit the "Create Mod Backup." (Better safe than sorry.)



    Finally, the moment you've been waiting for: select the "Install
    Softmod" menu item. Don't turn off your Xbox during the process, and
    when the status bar completes and disappears, you're all good.



    Now choose "Install UnleashX" from the menu to replace the standard
    Microsoft dashboard with UnleashX permanently. Restart your Xbox and
    pat yourself on the back. UnleashX will boot up instead of the
    Microsoft dashboard, and it's got all sorts of goodies in store for you:



    unleashxbetter.jpg



    Using only the UnleashX dashboard and its default apps, you can
    watch DVDs using your controller, and under Applications, you can rip
    DVDs to your Xbox's hard drive. But what we're really interested in is
    its FTP server.



  6. Configure the Xbox's network settings and start the FTP server.
    The first order of business is to get your Xbox talking to your PC so
    you can start transferring files. First make sure your Xbox is plugged
    into your working, online home network router. Then, using the soft pad
    to navigate UnleashX menus and the green A button to select items, go
    to System > Settings > Network. There make sure Enable is set to
    Yes, Type set to DHCP and FTP Server is set to Yes, as shown:

    unleashxnetworksettings.jpg



    Note: These are the most common network settings, but yours may differ depending on your home network.



    Restart your Xbox to save your settings. When you boot back up into
    UnleashX, you should see your Xbox's new IP address appear on the lower
    right hand corner of the screen. Take note of it.



  7. Install XBMC on your Xbox. Back at your PC, fire
    up your favorite FTP client and log into your Xbox. The server location
    will be the IP address shown on the UnleashX screen, and your username
    and password will be in the Xbox's network Settings (xbox/xbox, by
    default.) Navigate to /E/Apps/ folder. Back on your local machine, extract the XBMC archive you downloaded, and from the XBMC-2.0.1-FINAL-FAT-T3CH folder you unrar'ed, grab the entire XBMC subfolder and FTP it to the Xbox's /E/Apps/.

    copyxboxmediacenter.png



    Restart your Xbox. When it's up, navigate to the Applications
    section, and you'll see Xbox Media Center listed. Select it to launch.



    unleashxappsxbmc.jpg





Revel in how much you rule



From here you get treated to XBMC's beautiful and (mostly) intuitive
interface for navigating your Videos, Music, and Pictures.

xbmc-header.jpg



To access your media library, you can either move files onto the
Xbox hard drive itself (which has its size limits), or browse and play
media on a shared drive on your network. Using Windows
built-in sharing (or Mac OS X's Windows Sharing), you can use XBMC's
SMB (Samba) support to play videos that you record with your PC's
capture card in the den or download via BitTorrent from the Mac in the
bedroom. As you'll see, XBMC is very configurable and full of useful
features.



Check out a quick screenshot tour of XBMC goodness below:





My XBMC has only been online for a few hours so I've only scratched the surface here.





References and thanks



This has to be the zillionth Xbox softmod tutorial that's ever been
posted online, and I have to thank all the forum users and prior
tutorial writers for providing the information I needed to get the job
done. However, the two best references that finally got me off my duff
and really held my hand through the process include:

  • Modding the Xbox in 10 minutes [Techfreaks]—great, thorough howto that only lacked information on using ActionReplay.

  • XBMC Wiki—the comprehensive resource for working your XBMC. I'm still pawing through this wiki customizing my new media center.



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