Xbox 360 Dashboard fall update: Video playback details

Microsoft Xbox 360 - Image 1Only a few more days before the the fall update for the Xbox 360 Dashboard. One of the highlights that the update offers is support for Mpeg-4 formats, but wasn’t really discussed in detail. But now more info has been released about the new video playback capabilities of the Xbox 360; find out more in the full article.

Microsoft Xbox 360 - Image 1 

Only a few more days before the the fall update for the Xbox 360 Dashboard. One of the highlights that the update offers is support for Mpeg-4 formats, and now more info has been released about the new video playback capabilities of the Xbox 360.

Here are but some clarifications in details about the new functionalities of the Fall / Winter update as supplied by the Xbox Development Team:

What exactly does the Xbox 360 support for AVI?

  • File Extensions: .avi, .divx
  • Containers: AVI
  • Video Profiles: MPEG-4 Part 2, Simple & Advanced Simple Profile
  • Video Bitrate: 5 Mbps with resolutions of 1280 x 720 at 30fps. See question number 11 for more information.
  • Audio Profiles: Dolby® Digital 2 channel and 5.1 channel, MP3
  • Audio Max Bitrate: No restrictions. See question number 11 for more information.

What specific features of Mpeg-4 Advanced Simple Profile does the Xbox 360 support?

The Xbox 360 supports Bidirectional Frames (BVOPs), Interlaced Frames, Quarter Pixel Motion Compensation, Global Motion Compensation, and MPEG Quantization.

What types of AVI files are supported?

The Xbox 360 supports files encoded using MPEG-4 Part 2, Simple and Advanced Simple Profile.  These files are often referred to as Xvid or DivX® video files.  Many common PC DVD authoring tools, cameras, and camcorders are capable of encoding files using MPEG-4.  Note that some files authored for DivX devices may also contain additional functionality(menus, subtitles, multiple audio tracks, etc).  The Xbox 360 will attempt to play these files, but does not support any of the additional functionality and in some cases will be unable to play the file.

Does the Xbox 360 support video artwork when browsing my collection from a USB 2.0 FAT32 removable drive or optical media?

For all video types we will search for a corresponding .jpg file and use that as the artwork.  For example video1.avi would display the artwork in video1.jpg if it existed.  In the absence of this file, for the mp4 container, we will search if the video file has embedded album artwork and display that instead.  Please note you cannot use this method when streaming from Windows Media Player 11 or the Zune PC software.

How does the “Sort by Type” and “Sort by Title” option work when browsing my own generated video content?

The “Sort by Type” option is the typical Windows Explorer view that a computer would show your files in.  It will first alphabetically sort your folders and then alphabetically sort your files.  The “Sort by Title” option allows you to sort all folders and files alongside each other.  Both of these sort options are persistent and linked to your profile so that you do not need to set them every time.

What is a sample way of organizing my video hierarchy so that I can best utilize artwork and folder structure on the Xbox 360 for my personal video collection?

The following example uses the sort option “Sort by Title” on a USB hard drive connected to the Xbox 360:

  • Genre 1 (Folder)
  • Genre 2 (Folder)
  • Video 1.avi (File)
  • Video 1.jpg (File) (Artwork)
  • Video 2.mp4 (File) (Artwork embedded in file)
  • Video 3 (Folder)
  • Video 3-1.wmv (File)
  • Video 3-2.mp4 (File)
  • Video 3-2.jpg (File) (Artwork)
  • Video 3-3.wmv (File)
  • Video 3-3.jpg (File) (Artwork)
  • Genre 3 (Folder)

Can I fast forward, rewind, and skip while watching content while it’s being downloaded from Xbox Live Marketplace?

You can move around in video as much as you have already downloaded.  If you skip or watch past the point that you have already downloaded, you will be required to wait for it to buffer enough to begin normal playback again.

 What shortcuts can I use with my gamepad while using the Video area?

LB skips backward one chapter.  RB skips forward one chapter.  RT fast forwards.  LT rewinds. Start toggles between play and pause.  X and Y bring up the On Screen Display for more advanced options.  While browsing through your lists of videos you can also push Start to automatically begin video playback using the bookmark if it exists bypassing the Resume/Restart page.  You can also use RT or LT to page up or page down through lists of items.

Why do I see the message “Updating content. This may take a few minutes. Please wait.” the first time when entering the Console video area?

To support grouping television and game videos your content metadata needs to be updated.  Once this process is completed subsequent entries into the Video area will be very quick.  Please be patient during the update process and allow it to complete updating all of your content metadata.

What changes have you made to selecting the source for Videos, Music, and Pictures?

The source selection is now mapped to the X button for each of these areas.  The Xbox 360 will remember the last source that you picked and default to that.  We have also removed the computer affiliation from the System Blade and we now show a list of all the computers that you can connect to directly in the Select Source scene.  This allows you to quickly jump between Windows Media Player 11 and Zune PC software media shares.

Via Xbox Team

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