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 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 ;-)