As I mentioned last week, Microsoft released their XBOX 360 Fall Dashboard Update that adds DivX support to the console. It was the one feature that I was really excited about because I have been doing a lot of stuff with DivX as a beta tester for the DivX Connected set-top box.
Unfortunately, my experience with DivX support on the XBOX 360 has been pretty disappointing so far.
The biggest disappointment is that DivX is not supported if you use your XBOX 360 as an extender for a Windows Media Center PC (which I do). So if you’ve got a MCE box with all of your DivX media on it, you cannot stream that DivX to your 360 using the Media Center UI in the console. Why? I’m not sure. You would think that MCE users would be the first ones that MSFT would want to support. After all, they not only have the XBOX 360, but they also have a Windows MCE box.
Instead, MSFT added support for playing DivX files off of a thumb drive (which I tested) or portable USB hard drive. While cool, it is not the most practical thing in the world. How many people want to connect a portable hard drive to their 360 any time they want to watch a DivX movie.
You can also use your Windows Home Server box to stream DivX files to your XBOX 360; however, I haven’t gotten that to work yet. I can connect to my WHS machine from my 360, but the DivX folder shows up as empty. Could be that I’m doing something “wrong”; however, it feels like MSFT could have made this a whole lot simpler to understand and use. Instead, you have to refer to a 40 question FAQ and a chart to see which formats can be used on which OS/device.
This chart is from MSFT’s video playback FAQ
As it stands now, there are only a couple of use cases that support DivX; however, you have to wade through the FAQs to figure out which one will work for you. Why not support it everywhere whether you use a Windows Media Center PC, a Windows Home Server box or another Windows-based PC using Windows Media 11 or Windows Media Connect?
I am hoping that they will eventually add true DivX support for MCE users. Right now, I get no benefit from the new DivX feature. For now, I’ll stick with my DivX Connected box which works just fine.