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  1. Master of my domain thoughton's Avatar
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    Hi folks, it's been a few years since I've been here. Hope all is well!

    I recently got an xbox 360 and want to convert some movies for it (with surround sound). There is a whole bunch of contradictory information on the internet about what formats the xbox can play, but having thrown a whole bunch of my old sample movies at it I can see that it supports AVI containing xvid and 5.1 channel ac3. However I formerly used ffmpegX to create these, and I don't think ffmpegX works on Intel Macs anymore (error message about tarball requiring PowerPC?).

    Can anyone suggest the best current method to do this on OS X? Please refrain from suggesting methods that only produce stereo audio - I can do that already .

    Thanks!

    Tim
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  2. Master of my domain thoughton's Avatar
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    Thanks Baldrick (Long time no see!!!). It looks promising, downloading it now
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    Old versions of Handbrake were able to produce AVI output and maybe they could do AC3 audio as well, but I don't remember what the last version was that did this. If you look it should not be too hard to find out what version you need and to find it.

    I've got a Mac and I don't use it for video work but I'm pretty sure that ffmpegX works fine on Intel Macs. It would be insane for it not to. We get posts all the time here asking about various things related to using it. There's no way so many people would still be using those old PPC Macs so it must be OK on Intel Macs.
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  4. Master of my domain thoughton's Avatar
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    Thanks jman, I was just coming back to post again. AVITools looks useful for the audio part, but it's a bit vague if it converts the video or not (I would need it to, the video is currently h264 but audio is ac3 5.1, stupid xbox only supports h264 in mp4 containers, and only support it has for ac3 5.1 sound is in an AVI container.

    I then thought about ffmpegX again and realised it must have been something else producing this 'tarball requires PowerPC' error. So I did a quick Google and hey presto there is a Lion friendly version of ffmpegX which works! Turns out I was using a 4 year old version of ffmpegX.

    Just successfully launched ffmpegX, woohoo, it's like rediscovering an old friend

    PS Old versions of Handbrake even had an 'xbox' preset, but apparently it was a bit hit and miss as none of the Handbrake developers have an xbox. I also think there was no surround sound option for it. (You can still download Handbrake presets for xbox, but the ones I've found only support stereo).
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  5. Fueled by Diet Mtn Dew. ChrisCosta's Avatar
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    Have you tried D-Vision 3? It can do AC3 passthrough, in a Xvid/DivX *.AVI container.

    There's a D-Vision 4 (alpha) build but it's all in French, so I haven't tested it out very much :P

    The last Handbrake to spit out an AVI container was 0.9.3, and I'm pretty sure if the audio codec was *.AC3 (Dolby Digital) and you used "passthrough", and you played the file off a USB stick (as opposed to streaming), that it would play. But it's been a while since I had an Xbox360.

    Also, I am pretty sure it had to be 5.1 surround and not the newer 7.1.

    Edit: I think the audio codec had to be DivX FourCC designated as "AC52" (or something else in D-Vision?) but I'm not sure anymore, because I no longer encode with the Xbox360 in mind, and have since switched (and remuxed my files) over to MP4/AAC 5.1 to play on my Apple TV2.
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  6. Master of my domain thoughton's Avatar
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    Thanks for the response Chris. I'll have a look at D-vision, although I never got on with it back when I used to hang out here. Good tip about the old version of Handbrake too (you too jman), I'll look for that.

    Interestingly, I am switching to the Xbox from an Apple TV 1 So ideally I would like to convert straight from Handbrake-generated m4vs (h264+aac+ac3) to avi (xvid+ac3). I don't want to re-rip everything, as all the DVDs are all in my parent's loft (in another country).
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  7. Master of my domain thoughton's Avatar
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    An update for anyone who is following along: ffmpegX can output xbox360-friendly AVIs (xvid+ac3) but it's a bid fiddly - source files with multiple audio tracks seems a bit hit and miss sometimes.

    On the other hand Handbrake 0.9.3 also works, and is simpler to use. Although my first attempt turned a 1.2GB m4v into a 6mb/s 4.9GB avi Some refinements needed

    As an aside, it's heart warming to watch the encoding FPS speed in Handbrake. Not so long ago I remember getting about 5fps on my Powerbook G4 and the fans would be screaming. Now my i7 iMac is chugging along completely silently at 350fps. How things change
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    Or, get a media player like a WDTV and avoid all the conversions.
    Have a good one,

    neomaine

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  9. Master of my domain thoughton's Avatar
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    Thanks for your contribution

    I've been looking to replace my 1st gen Apple TV, so did have a WDTV in my Amazon basket, but with the Christmas sales it was WDTV for 100, or Xbox+Halo+12months Live for 140. Seemed like an easy decision to me.
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    For gaming, absolutely! For video playback, not so much... For me it was just the opposite a few years ago. We had an Xbox360 and I converted movies to divx/ac3 in avi with a lot of success. Then, found the WDTV and haven't had to convert anything since.

    (Well, not totally true. The WDTV couldn't handle DTS-MA or PGS streams at first, which I was Ok with. With TsMuxer I just downcoverted DTS-MA to plain DTS. I don't watch many movies that require subtitles so it wasn't too bad. Now, I don't have to do a thing for either.)
    Have a good one,

    neomaine

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    Originally Posted by thoughton View Post
    Thanks for your contribution

    I've been looking to replace my 1st gen Apple TV, so did have a WDTV in my Amazon basket, but with the Christmas sales it was WDTV for 100, or Xbox+Halo+12months Live for 140. Seemed like an easy decision to me.
    If you like games, then "yes" the decision was easy. However, IMO, the Xbox is the single worst media streaming device that is available. In a nutshell, if you aren't ready to convert everything to an .mp4 with h264 (no more than 3 ref frames) and 2.0 .aac audio, then forget about even trying to use it. Anything outside those specs will probably cause trouble. You will save hours of heartbreak and lots of tears by using just about anything else.
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  12. Master of my domain thoughton's Avatar
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    I think we will just have to agree to differ My reasoning is that I can either convert my new DVDs to a format the WDTV likes, or convert them to a format the Xbox likes. Both take similar amounts of effort, but wIth the latter option I get to play COD zombies as well :P

    I'll agree that I wouldn't have to re-convert my old m4v files with the WDTV (or so I've been told, I haven't tried it).
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    Originally Posted by thoughton View Post
    I think we will just have to agree to differ My reasoning is that I can either convert my new DVDs to a format the WDTV likes, or convert them to a format the Xbox likes. Both take similar amounts of effort, but wIth the latter option I get to play COD zombies as well :P

    I'll agree that I wouldn't have to re-convert my old m4v files with the WDTV (or so I've been told, I haven't tried it).
    Except that you can just rip a DVD and the WD Live, PS3, Roku, etc. can play it back natively without quality loss. The Xbox is almost always going to require a time-consuming recode.
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  14. Master of my domain thoughton's Avatar
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    What is it with you two? No answers to my original question, but lots of opinions about what media player I'm using.

    I've already bought the xbox, will you all stop telling me I should have got the WDTV instead
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    Originally Posted by thoughton View Post
    Can anyone suggest the best current method to do this on OS X? Please refrain from suggesting methods that only produce stereo audio - I can do that already .

    Thanks!

    Tim
    Here's why. The reason you are running into roadblocks and everyone says that you have to convert to 2.0 is because of the limitation of your Xbox. Trying to do what you ask with the Xbox is a sure path to frustration. It would be a far better investment of resources to get a WD Live.
    That being said.....

    The only way to stream multi-channel audio is to set your Xbox up as a Media Extender. Then rip and convert to .mpg and pray. Google "Xbox Media Extender" for more information. Good luck. Probably not even possible with OS X.
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  16. Master of my domain thoughton's Avatar
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    I'm sorry smitbret, but in this case you are mistaken (since I have already managed to create AVI files with surround sound which work on the xbox, without streaming).
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    Originally Posted by thoughton View Post
    I think we will just have to agree to differ My reasoning is that I can either convert my new DVDs to a format the WDTV likes, or convert them to a format the Xbox likes. Both take similar amounts of effort, but wIth the latter option I get to play COD zombies as well :P

    I'll agree that I wouldn't have to re-convert my old m4v files with the WDTV (or so I've been told, I haven't tried it).
    Well, that's the whole point, your reasoning is wrong and that's what we're trying to help you with. Not having to convert anything be it your existing conversions, new DVDs or even new BluRays is vastly different than having to convert virtually everything.

    If you want the best of both worlds, gaming and movie streaming, then get the device that works for each. You've got a great gaming machine but a below average streaming device.

    If you insist on giong down the time-consuming re-encoding route then you have couple of choices:

    - Use a realtime video streamer like Playon (many siblings). It'll re-encode the movie on-the-fly for the media player of your choice. Generally takes a hefty PC and tweaking for some file types. Also allow for things like URLs, Netflix ...

    - Use a manual conversion program like Ripbot264, Xvid4PSP or Handbrake to convert to divx/xvid and ac3 (if you want 5.1 audio) or h264/aac if you want slightly smaller files, only 2 channel audio and triple the conversion time.

    We're not bashing you out of spite but simply our experience. We've been there, done that ... it's soooo three years ago. At $100 for a WDTV Live or similar media player and you have 100 movies, that's only $1/movie and no additional time spent. You'll spend hundreds of hours converting (hopefully) to an XBOX usuable format.

    I know this feels like an intervention... uh... Maybe it is?!
    Have a good one,

    neomaine

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  18. Master of my domain thoughton's Avatar
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    Somehow I get the feeling neither of you are reading any of my posts

    This thread is about producing AVIs to be used on an xbox 360. The AVIs must have surround sound, and must be produced on my Mac. Hence this posting in the Mac forum, and hence the title of this thread.

    I'll say this one last time. I have already bought an xbox. I didn't ask for, and don't need, any suggestions about what media player I should have bought instead. I also didn't ask for, and don't need, any suggestions about Windows software.

    I wonder how it would go down if I jumped onto one of the Windows subforums here and start recommending Mac software?
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    Originally Posted by thoughton View Post
    I'm sorry smitbret, but in this case you are mistaken (since I have already managed to create AVI files with surround sound which work on the xbox, without streaming).
    It's quite possible to playback an .avi with multi-channel .ac3 audio, but only when connected locally. Since the Xbox only supports FAT32 HDDs, you'll now be restricted by the HDD or flash drive's file system for file size and total capacity. I have gotten streaming playack of .avi files but never smoothly or reliably enough to be actually watchable.
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  20. Master of my domain thoughton's Avatar
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    I'm not going down the streaming route although I did look at Connect360. Part of the reason for getting a media player in the first place is so I don't have to leave my computer (a laptop) on all the time while watching a movie. Otherwise I could just connect my computer to my TV and skip the media player entirely.

    I currently have two 1TB HDs attached to the xbox, one in FAT32 and one in HFS+ (to support files larger than 4GB). One major limitation of the xbox 2011 update though is that you can only attach two USB storage devices, so I will eventually have to upgrade one of the drives to 2TB.
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    Originally Posted by thoughton View Post
    I'm sorry smitbret, but in this case you are mistaken (since I have already managed to create AVI files with surround sound which work on the xbox, without streaming).
    Since you have already done this, then what is it that you are asking us?

    If you are asking for an OS X solution, try Handbrake v0.9.3 or older.
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    Originally Posted by neomaine View Post
    Originally Posted by thoughton View Post
    I think we will just have to agree to differ My reasoning is that I can either convert my new DVDs to a format the WDTV likes, or convert them to a format the Xbox likes. Both take similar amounts of effort, but wIth the latter option I get to play COD zombies as well :P

    I'll agree that I wouldn't have to re-convert my old m4v files with the WDTV (or so I've been told, I haven't tried it).
    Well, that's the whole point, your reasoning is wrong and that's what we're trying to help you with. Not having to convert anything be it your existing conversions, new DVDs or even new BluRays is vastly different than having to convert virtually everything.

    If you want the best of both worlds, gaming and movie streaming, then get the device that works for each. You've got a great gaming machine but a below average streaming device.

    If you insist on giong down the time-consuming re-encoding route then you have couple of choices:

    - Use a realtime video streamer like Playon (many siblings). It'll re-encode the movie on-the-fly for the media player of your choice. Generally takes a hefty PC and tweaking for some file types. Also allow for things like URLs, Netflix ...

    - Use a manual conversion program like Ripbot264, Xvid4PSP or Handbrake to convert to divx/xvid and ac3 (if you want 5.1 audio) or h264/aac if you want slightly smaller files, only 2 channel audio and triple the conversion time.

    We're not bashing you out of spite but simply our experience. We've been there, done that ... it's soooo three years ago. At $100 for a WDTV Live or similar media player and you have 100 movies, that's only $1/movie and no additional time spent. You'll spend hundreds of hours converting (hopefully) to an XBOX usuable format.

    I know this feels like an intervention... uh... Maybe it is?!
    You can lead a horse to water......
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  23. Master of my domain thoughton's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by smitbret View Post
    Originally Posted by thoughton View Post
    I'm sorry smitbret, but in this case you are mistaken (since I have already managed to create AVI files with surround sound which work on the xbox, without streaming).
    Since you have already done this, then what is it that you are asking us?

    If you are asking for an OS X solution, try Handbrake v0.9.3 or older.
    When I started this thread I hadn't done it - It was only when jman and ChrisCosta recommended Handbrake 0.9.3 (six or seven posts before your entry into this thread, which you evidently haven't read) that I solved the problem.
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    Originally Posted by thoughton View Post
    Somehow I get the feeling neither of you are reading any of my posts

    This thread is about producing AVIs to be used on an xbox 360. The AVIs must have surround sound, and must be produced on my Mac. Hence this posting in the Mac forum, and hence the title of this thread.

    I'll say this one last time. I have already bought an xbox. I didn't ask for, and don't need, any suggestions about what media player I should have bought instead. I also didn't ask for, and don't need, any suggestions about Windows software.

    I wonder how it would go down if I jumped onto one of the Windows subforums here and start recommending Mac software?
    The missing of the Mac-centric question was my fault, totally missed both the icon on the thread on the main page and through the reading. I am/was reading the thread just hoped I could assit by pointing to a helpful alternative. You are most certainly welcome to whatever method of streaming/viewing movies you are happy with. I know I had a lot of fun and learned alot about re-encoding in those early Xbox360 days. Most before the media updates came around. Think of being where you are now only having to go with WMV... wasn't fun. Thus, me move to the WDTV. I was just sharing my experience and hoping to help, nothing more.
    Have a good one,

    neomaine

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  25. Master of my domain thoughton's Avatar
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    No sweat neomaine, the xbox clearly has some (many) shortcomings, but I feel that now I've figured out a good surround sound format which works with my receiver I'm happy with it as a media player. xvid AVIs aren't very space efficient but I'd still rather be storing a 2GB xvid/ac3 than an 8GB video_ts folder. The media remote could do with more powerful IR beam though! The range is rubbish. The controller must use RF instead of IR, it has no such problems.
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