Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Cancel Your Cable/Satellite Television Today - Part 2

This is part 2 of a 2 part series on how to ditch your cable or satellite subscription and download your television shows for free. I can't wait for IPTV to arrive at least what some would describe what IPTV is too be. Television strait to your TV via an internet connection. I know some of you have an Apple TV and this is a great little devise to do just that. But, some of us out there are looking for something different, or free.

So we have our server setup and it is auto-downloading our television shows and podcasts. Now we need a good set-top box for streaming our media to. This is a tough call since there are some good options out there. The easy decision goes to the cheapest for me. This also happens to be the strongest for me. One problem... Microsoft doesn't want you to do this. I am talking about modding your old Xbox.

Now, if you happen to have an old xbox sitting around then you are half the way there. If not, check your local craigslist, garage sales or ebay. You should have no problem getting a hold of one for under $80.

I would recommend getting an Xbox DVD remote as well. This will make it easier to control and more like a set-top box.

The next thing is to get a mod chip. I recommend the Xecuter 2 chip. It has great support and works very well. The price is a little more, at $45, then some other chips out there but, you will appreciate the quality when flashing the chip set.

A few things you need to know about modding an xbox. The process is interesting and I have to be vague for legal reasons but, the information is easy to find with a little searching.
1. Installing the chip and larger HDD, (I have an 80gb and this is plenty considering most of the media will be on the server)
2. Flashing the chip with the Xecuter bios, (This is grey area that MS doesn't want you to have so, you will have to read up on the Xecuter forums for location and instructions)
3. Installing a new OS on your Xbox, (I recommend using Auto-Installer Deluxe and installing XBMC OS)

This is a somewhat breezing past the installing of the Xbox but, there are links to help you below.

Auto-Installer Deluxe
XBMC - XBox Media Center

Once you have installed and setup your set-top box, we need to link it to the server. This is a simple process.
1. Under the settings menu, go to the network icon and then on the left side go to the --- tab. Change the network to match the one your server is on. We reference calling it "HomeNet" in the previous article. Also, while in here, make sure the xbox is automatically receiving a network address. (This will require a restart)
2. Once we are up an running on the proper network, we will connect to the server. From the main menu, select "Videos", then click "add source". A menu will pop-up and you will need to click "Browse". Connect to network, you should be able to fin your server from here. If you like you can make the new link you added as the default for the "Videos" button. This is done by hitting the "info" button while on the network link.

Finally, test out that your network is strong enough to stream the videos over. I recommend at least 100mb network for standard definition content and 1gb network for HD content. Enjoy the free content that is out there and say goodbye to that cable or satellite bill.

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