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Playing internet downloaded movies on my XBOX360

In as few words as possible:
  1. Convert videos using ffmpeg to an XBOX friendly format (WinFF is a nicely packaged Win32 version of ffmpeg)

    Recipe: "c:\Program Files\WinFF\ffmpeg.exe" -i INPUT.AVI -vcodec wmv2 -acodec wmav2 -q 3 -aq 3 -vsync 1 -async 1 -ac 2 OUTPUT.wmv
  2. Use Windows Media Player or Zune to stream content from a Windows box to the console
Explanation of ffmpeg recipe:
  • -i INPUT.AVI = this can be any video file that ffmpeg supports, not just AVI's
  • -vcodec wmv2 = this tells ffmpeg to use most recent Windows Media Video format, Microsoft XBOX likes Microsoft codecs, go figure
  • -acodec wmav2 = similarly for the audio codec
  • -q 3 = use fixed video quality and lock at level 3
  • -aq 3 = use fixed audio quality and lock at level 3
  • -vsync 1 = duplicate and drop frames to maintain a constant framerate
  • -async 1 = deprecated command but "squeezes/stretches" the audio stream to match timestamps
  • -ac 2 = force the channels down to stereo if it's encoded for 6:1 or similar
I've tried many other online recipes to manually set video width/height/ratio, to manually specify framerate, etc. Thus far above appears to handle everything I throw at it.

If you're using WinFF then you probably want to set the CPU priority down to idle as otherwise it sort of kicks the computers ass. Or at least mine. :)