Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Transcode 360

Transcode 360 will not work right for me (watching media on xbox 360 as extender) unless I stopped the service, and edit the following registry value:

Hkey_Local_Machine\Software\Transcode360

Change the value of InstallationType from LocalSystem to Network

Restart the Transcode 360 service. Now watching media on an extender should work - provided everything else is setup correct.

In the past I changed the Log On value for the Transcode 360 service from Local System to my administrator account so it could access data on other systems. That didn't work out though, Transcode 360 just didn't work right if the data was not local to the Vista MCE box. So, I move all the data back to the MCE box and now run Transcode 360 service under the Local System account.

Here are some other things to look out for when using Transcode 360. To use with My Movies from an extender, choose 'Watch Stream'. You should see 'Loading Title' for a short while, and then a spinning circle in the center of the screen, the circle will freeze and then shortly after that the movie should start. If the circle in the middle starts out frozen, most likely something is going wrong and the xbox 360 is locked up. I had this happen and uninstalled/reinstalled Transcode 360, set the value mentioned above in the registry, restarted the service, and it started working again.

If, while watching a streaming movie on the extender (xbox 360's are the only kind of extenders I have experience with), it errors with a message referring to 'Application UI' (I cannot remember the exact error right now), check the event log on the Media Center PC for event ID 107. Because my MCE is Vista the event log of interest is under:
Event Viewer>Applications and Services>Media Center
The General description of the event may tell you what application or service is causing the unathorized window that is interrupting the media center. Once the application is identified it can be remove, disabled, or configured not to interfer. Have a look at:

Microsoft Document: Event ID 107 — Windows Media Center Extender Connectivity

So far Transcode 360 is working out better than WebGuide for streaming movies from the MCE to the Xbox 360. With Webguide, if I choose to stream at a good quality, like 8Mbps, sooner or later the movie will start stuttering and become unwatchable. It should not be a network issue. I attribute it to the CPU of the MCE. The webguidetranscoder is realtime so cpu limitations seem to have more effect. The nice thing about the Transcode 360 transcoder is it trancodes ahead, to file, creating a buffer. If the system gets busy, the movie doesn't start skipping. In the Transcode 360 configuration utility you can specify how many files to keep (I keep 2), and how many seconds to buffer. The biggest issues I am having now with Transcode 360 is 1) it will not work with some of my movies, 2) sometimes it seems like the service gets hosed up.

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