How to convert MKV to M4V for easy XBOX 360 streaming from Mac OSX

May 24, 2021

OK, I am going to write a simple howto on how I personally convert my HD 720p BT MKV into something that the XBOX 360 can playback.

I know, I should use an Apple TV instead… but frankly I can’t. I am using Microsoft MCE in my house to run my TV and I employ 2 x XBOX 360 as extenders. One in the basement and one in the master bedroom.

So when I want to watch an HD episode of Battlestar Galactica in my bed I need to stream it to an XBOX 360 compatible format. Note that this solution could also be used to convert the file to an Apple TV compatible format too (likely the same darn file that will play on the 360).

What ingredients will you need:

1. An HD MKV file (obviously)
2. Perian QuickTime codec
3. A QuickTime Pro License
4. Nullriver Connect 360

Step 1:

The 1st thing you need to do it to download Perian from perian.org. Please watch the Screencast below to learn how to do that. Note that you can watch the HD version of this video in all it’s glory by following the link in the player:


How To install perian on OSX from Bernard Maltais on Vimeo.

Step 2:

You need to encapsulate the h.264 video stream within the MKV file into an mpeg4 container. The audio (most likely some form of AC3 or MP3) will also need to be converted to AAC audio. Please watch the Screencast below to learn how to do that. Note that you can watch the HD version of this video in all it’s glory by following the link in the player:


How to convert mkv to m4v video format from Bernard Maltais on Vimeo.

Step 3:

Put the converted file in a folder that Connect 360 can share to the XBOX 360.

Go on your XBOX 360 and enjoy the episode!

XBOX 360 Power Supply Nightmare: The conclusion

May 23, 2021

OK, you might recall my saga with Microsoft XBOX support for my XBOX 360 power supply.

I am happy to report that I now have my power supply replacement.  I finally pushed hard enough on the support team to be put in touch with a nice supervisor that took personal care of my case.  He ws able to track the shipment of the original power supply as “Lost in transit” and ordered that a new one be rushed to me!

Two days later I received the power supply replacement.  This supervisor was very helpfull and kept calling me day after day to track the situation.  I was really amazed at the service.  I think this one person deserve a gold medal as he literally turned a dead end situation and angry customer into an hopefull situation and an almost happy customer (I mean, i still had to wait two months + to get my power supply).

I was a bit skeptical about the “Lost in transit” status of the original shipment and had put that as a nice excuse for a shipment omission… but what was not my surprise to receive another purolator package containing an XBOX power Supply two days after receiving the rushed one!  I checked the actual shipping label and guess what?  I was indeed marked as shipped the date Microsoft originally said it was shipped!

So Purolator is really the one to blame here!

Shame on Purolator!

Xbox 360 Spring Update 2008 Feature list leaked

May 14, 2021

Kotaku report that an alleged and wholly unconfirmed list of changes included in the “Q2 2008″ update was sent to them:

Xbox LIVE
1. Option to delay sign-in to Xbox LIVE upon booting console (to allow user to set Online Status).
2. Option to promote Child Account from Family Settings.
3. Disallow Child Accounts (over 18) to override Family Settings by launching Privacy Settings through a title.
4. Option in Family Settings for Child Accounts to enable child-oriented/non-mature advertisements.
5. Introduce a group chat (4) for Private Chat and conferences through Video Chat.
6. Support to indicate media being watched to gamercard status (video content from Marketplace only).
7. Extend height for Bio field in Personal Profile, easier navigation through text.
8. More fields present in Personal Profile - recent achievements, interests, games, movies, links, custom section.
9. Compact Personal Profile for new fields (navigating to field will open it up).
10. Mandatory option to delete duplicate titles from gamercard (excludes Games for Windows - LIVE). User disconnected from Xbox LIVE when booting any title until action complete.
11. Option to remove payment information from gamertag.
12. New payment methods for international users.
13. Download History on Account Management better organized - games, genre, type, download date, miscellaneous.
14. Long descriptions of items on Marketplace can be scrolled using right stick.
15. Better organization of free content on Marketplace.
16. Option to ‘ping’ when testing connection.
17. Allow re-connection to Xbox LIVE if Ethernet cable is re-inserted whilst powered on.
18. New strip colors available to developers, staff gamercards.
19. New corner icon available to ambassadors.
20. Re-introduce Messages button for Inside Xbox updates only.
21. Option to store up to 10 messages permanently on server (excludes invites, status messages).
22. Increase character limit for text messages between friends only.
23. Option to disable invites from non-friends or all players.
24. Option to disable invites from titles not on gamercard (excludes demos).
25. Option to have smaller items moved up in Active Downloads.
26. Automatically re-connect to Xbox LIVE if disconnected unexpectedly (set intervals).
27. Option to download gamer picture (if available) from a gamercard being viewed.
28. Display random tips to replace static text on Xbox LIVE and Games blades.
29. New button on Marketplace for optional dashboard features - uses Storage Device memory.
30. Option to donate Microsoft Points to anybody with a Windows Live ID.
31. Option to purchase Membership for charities (includes benefits).
32. Integrate file-sharing for selected titles on Xbox LIVE and Games for Windows - LIVE.
33. Disable notifications to friends of user repeatedly signing into service (set period).
34. Option to see ’snippet’ of text message in notification.
35. Windows Live Mail integration - includes support for Xbox LIVE Vision.
36. Web feeds integration - text, images, audio. Includes support for specific item codes on Marketplace.
37. Option to display gamer picture or standard picture as display picture in Windows Live Messenger.
38. Support for headset, Xbox LIVE Vision in Windows Live Messenger.
39. Support for limited ‘winks’ that display on dashboard interface. Option to disable ‘winks’ and ‘nudges’ added.
40. Notifications separate from Windows Live Messenger to Xbox 360 notifications.
41. Disable multiple languages from being used in any Xbox LIVE editable fields.

Games
1. Option to delete titles from gamercard with 0 gamerscore and 0 achievements (excludes some titles that will be re-added to launch another title).
2. Organize My Games at the Games Library section better (includes disc-based titles) - sort by genre, platform (Games for Windows - LIVE), percentage completion.
3. Support to display friends leaderboards for disc-based titles.
4. Show dates of an achievement unlocked when comparing.
5. Preload Games Library upon dashboard bootup for faster access.
6. Game updates now shown as items in Memory, increased amount of updates on Storage Device.
7. Option to delete game updates, removed ‘cheat code’ as no longer needed.
8. Support for more titles to display banner when accessing guide in-game.
9. Option to re-introduce awarded gamer pictures from titles that do not have their own re-introduce feature (requires saved game).
10. Disable gamer pictures from being awarded from trials.
11. Support for titles to store installation data on Storage Device for faster loading.
12. Synchronization to achievements offline/online that were deleted and then re-added from developers.

Media
1. Option to hold LT and RT for rewinding/fast-forwarding video content.
2. Option to delete individual music tracks from storage device.
3. Option to rip music CD at different quality.
4. Copy non-protected files (pictures, music, videos) from USB storage devices, CDs and computers to proprietary storage devices.
5. Support for menu, top-menu features on video content downloaded from Marketplace.
6. Section added for audio delivered through feeds (podcasts). Option to stream, download to Storage Device.
7. Support added for video titles/description to gamercard status.

Dashboard/Miscellaneous
1. Option to navigate quickly out of several menus back to respective blade home (applies to Games, Media, System).
2. New blade trim styles added.
3. Introduce expanded Inside Xbox as a portal to news, weather, entertainment, help and community features.
4. New sounds for various functions (notifications, blades, navigation).
5. Calibration options for display/sound.
6. Calibration options for motion sensor devices.
7. New effects for Xbox LIVE Vision and dashboard background.
8. Disable changing of Theme when on Memory to prevent ‘hanging’.
9. Preload recent, limited items upon dashboard bootup on Memory.
10. Faster loading of Themes section on guide.
11. Option to see what items will not work offline due to DRM license changing from Memory.
12. Option to automatically associate new DRM to items downloaded for free.
13. Indicate ‘charging’ status on guide when Play & Charge kit is connected.
14. Option to change text colors on guide to better contrast some backgrounds.
16. Language improvements.
18. Word censor updated for fields.
19. Privacy Settings/Family Settings updated for new features.
20. Voice, picture messages can be read at Xbox.com (Gold accounts).

When they contacted Microsoft to verify the authenticity of the list, they were told “We don’t comment on rumors or speculation, but what we can tell you is we’ve never seen this list before.” Obviously, consider this rumor and/or speculation for now, especially in light of the official statement and the clearly unofficial sourcing of this information.

XBOX 360 Power Supply Nightmare!

April 9, 2021

OK, I know this is most likely an isolated case but come on Microsoft!

Story begin on Feb 11 2008 when I found my XBOX 360 to not power up any more ;-(  OK, so I call the support number and I am given instruction to ship the defective power supply along with all power cables back to them.  I tag all parts and cables with supplied Ref #. I am told that it is to me to find a box to ship it and that I need to pay for the shipping.

OK, this is minus 2 points in my books!  Why should I have to pay to ship the thing back to them… I mean, I am already paying a premium for the support… but OK, I need it replaced ASAP.

I rush out to the CanadaPost store and get the 3 business day shipping option along with tracking.

I let the thing go and hope to get a new one back within 15 days.  After 15 days I am getting worried… so at around Feb 26 I call them back and ask about the problem ticket status. I am told they have no record of receiving the power supply!  What?  Are you kidding me? I go on CanadaPost web site and tell them that a certain mr X signed for the package at their office on Feb 15 2008.

They give me some obscure reason as to why they might have not entered it in the system yet.  Come on, you got it for like two weeks already!  What more do you need?

Any way, they tell me to call in a week to check on status… so this is what I do.  Two weeks later still no power supply in the system! What?  So I asked to get the problem escalate.  They tell me that the have escalated it and that someone should take care of shipping me a power supply soon. I wait another week and call in to check status (lon March 12 or about that day).

They told me that they are expecting the power supply to ship any time now and that I should receive it in 15 business day! Holly sh..!

On March 19 2008 I got a call from support telling me that the power supply was shipped that same day.  OK, I should finally get it any time soon. Two weeks later still no power supply.  I am not happy. I call them back and I am told that I should get it any time soon and that the reason for the delay was due to Easter.

OK, I will give it another couple of days. We are now April 9 2008 (yep, almost two months) and still no power supply.  So I call back.  They told me I need to wait another 2 days and call them back saturday if I have not received my power supply.What?  You want me to do what?  So I ask to talk to a supervisor.  After 10 minutes of wait I finally talk to one.  He told me that it is marked in their system that the package was received on March 19 2008?

This is nuts!  I never got anything!  I ask for the tracking number that prove that I got it as I want to know who signed for the thing. They tell me they don’t have a tracking number.  Come on!So now I have to wait for a call from them on saturday to see if I have received the power supply… and if I have not received it they will have to send a work order to ship another one to me.  This will take like 2 business day to process… then they will ship me another oner one and this will take yet another 24 hours… then it is off for another 12 business day delivery process…

If I do the math I will be lucky to get the power supply at the end of April!I am really really really mad…

TV to make its debut on iTunes Canada this week

December 11, 2021

TV shows on iTunes have proven to be rather popular, even with little foibles like losing NBC and all of its shows. So far, only the US and UK have been able to purchase individual (or seasons of) shows through the iTunes Store, but we’ve heard rumblings for quite some time that licensing deals were being worked out for other countries. One such country is our neighbor in the great white north.

But anxious Canadians won’t have to wait much longer. As 2007 winds to a close, Apple plans to give an early Christmas gift to our Canadian friends in the form of (a few) TV shows being added to the iTunes Store. The company plans to begin adding shows quietly to the store as early as tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon or evening, with an official launch expected for Wednesday if things go smoothly, our sources tell us. Of course, with all things iTunes (and Apple), these exact days can easily get pushed, but the shows are expected to make their debut at most within the next couple of weeks.

Upon launch, the Canadian iTunes Store won’t carry a ton of content, but it’ll certainly get the ball rolling. Users will begin to see shows from CBC, CTV, and a handful of shows from US networks. Oh, and for you hardcore Canadians out there, we hear that you can look forward to spying some NHL games through the iTunes Store too.

Source arstechnica

I am sure Microsoft will follow soon with a similar announcement for XBOX Live Video Marketplace.

Update:

Guess what, Microsoft apparently took the lead quicker than I thought: http://www.pocket-lint.co.uk/

This might in fact be why Apple is turning iTunes TV in for all those country. I mean… Apple surely does not want Microsoft to take a clear lead.

Now, if Joost could start to open up more content restricted to the US to the rest of the world! Guess what… apparently it can be done. Joost, are you listening?

Sony’s PlayStation 3 to double as IPTV set-top-box

October 11, 2021

Sony hasn’t exactly been shy about expanding the capabilities of its PS3, and according to new reports from The Korea Times, even more non-game-related goodness will be headed its way. Apparently, KT (Korea’s primary telecom operator) and Sony will “launch an internet-based TV service in November that runs on the PlayStation 3 game console,” and as expected, the machine would act as a set-top-box for KT’s IPTV service (Mega TV). Reportedly, neither company was willing to disclose pricing information (or any additional details, for that matter) just yet, so it looks like we’ll be forced to play the wait-and-see game for now.

Source: engadget

So both major console are stepping into the IPTV offering now.

Xbox LIVE Video Marketplace in Canada and Europe by year end

July 11, 2021

Microsoft announced the highly anticipated rollout of the high-definition video store on Xbox LIVE Marketplace for customers around the globe. Microsoft will begin bringing content to living rooms in Europe and Canada by the end of this year. Currently offering more than 2,350 hours of premium entertainment content from 28 networks and studios, and nearly 500 hours of HD content alone, this puts the U.S. on-demand, high-definition library for Xbox 360 at more than twice the size of the nearest cable provider.

[Source:  xbox]

Disney movies on XBOX Live in HD now available

July 11, 2021

Whether you want to find adventure in a blockbuster game or lose yourself in a magical movie moment, you can get the ultimate in entertainment in your living room with Xbox 360™ and Xbox LIVE®.

Today at the E3 Media & Business Summit, Microsoft and Disney-ABC Domestic Television announced an agreement to bring feature films from The Walt Disney Studios to U.S. members of Xbox LIVE, the online games and entertainment network on Xbox 360.

Beginning today, consumers of all ages have access to a growing catalog of new and classic movies from The Walt Disney Studios including titles from Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Pictures and Miramax Films, on Xbox LIVE Marketplace, the leading high-definition-video download service.

“With this partnership, we are able to feature blockbuster new releases as they become available, as well as an incredible array of classic family films that made Disney the icon it is today.”

[Source  XBOX]

NO GOOD TV to Host Celebrity HALO 3 Face-Off

July 4, 2021

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., June 4 /PRNewswire/ — NGTV (NO GOOD TV), the world’s largest producer of uncensored celebrity news and entertainment programming, and Microsoft’s Xbox are pleased to announce a marketing partnership tied to the highly anticipated HALO 3 video game exclusively for the Xbox 360 console. Through June 8, 2007, NO GOOD TV will be the only organized event in Southern California where celebrities can gather and play the beta version of HALO 3 prior to its official release on September 25, 2007. These in-studio face-offs will feature some of the hottest names in entertainment and will launch Game On…!, NO GOOD TV’s new uncensored gaming series.

“With NO GOOD TV’s focus on major pop culture events and a guest list of top tier talent, featuring HALO 3 on the debut of the video game series makes a lot of sense,” said Chris Di Cesare, Director of Creative Marketing for Microsoft. “The creative platform that NO GOOD TV offers provides a unique, fun, no-hold’s barred vehicle to showcase HALO 3 to a new audience.”

To celebrate the partnership with Xbox, NGTV will add a dedicated HALO 3 micro site to NGTV.COM prior to debuting the uncensored celebrity HALO 3 episodes of Game On … ! later this summer. The micro site will launch in late June with the first reveal of the stars who signed on to enter the HALO 3 arena at NO GOOD TV. Additionally, fans will be able to register for exclusive programming updates, special promotions and other tie-ins related to the HALO 3 episodes and the new Game On … ! series. Content produced as part of this deal will air on all NO GOOD TV platforms, including NGTV.COM, and select Microsoft Xbox sites.

“Our exciting partnership with Microsoft’s Xbox validates the power of our audience and is further evidence that NO GOOD TV is a premiere showcase for the biggest brands in the world,” said Kourosh Taj, Co-President and Head of Programming of NO GOOD TV. “We are thrilled to debut Game On…! with HALO 3, the world’s most popular video game franchise.”

HALO 3, the third installment in the best-selling Xbox game franchise, is a highly anticipated first-person shooter developed by Bungie Studios and published by Microsoft Game Studios for the Xbox 360 console. HALO 3 will conclude the current HALO story arc.

Spark Alliance Marketing, an NMA Entertainment & Marketing company, brokered the deal. NMA represents Xbox.

For more information about celebrity participation, please contact artistrelations@ngtv.com.

XBOX 360 three red lights of death

May 28, 2021

My good old trusty XBOX 360 just died yesterday! I mean… this is really bad. I got the console on launch day and enjoyed it ever since. I had gotten the occasional red ring of death but it always fixed itself by doing a power off/power on. I could not justify getting it replaced on that basis (at least I think… could I have?).

I will now have to fork US$125 to get it fixed… and this mean getting someone else defective box that had been repaired as a replacement… so potentially another box that will fail within weeks. .. and it better not be scratched and cracked. Why can’t Microsoft just replace the darn thing with a brand new unit instead of sending us “repaired” ones?

My warranty expired on Dec 31 2007… so literally less than 5 months before that my box died yesterday… totally not acceptable for a gaming console. I never had any other piece of electronic equipment break on me like that.

I really hope I get the new console really soon. I now realize just how much I (OK… and my kids) used the thing for gaming and watching TV/Movies.

Did I told you I really like playing h.264 content on the 360 ;-)

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