December 2007 Video Playback FAQ

** Represents a new feature or change in functionality from the Spring 07 release.

[Update 12/4/07 - added question 40. "When trying to play 25 or 50 fps content, I don’t get any video over VGA"]

[Update 12/10/07 - added question 41. "I can’t stream content to the Xbox after upgrading the Zune software to version 2.1"]

**1.    What exactly does the Xbox 360 support for AVI?

Xbox 360 supports the following 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.

 

2.    What exactly does the Xbox 360 support for H.264?

Xbox 360 supports the following for H.264:

·         File Extensions: .mp4, .m4v, mp4v, .mov

·         Containers: MPEG-4, QuickTime

·         Video Profiles: Baseline, main, and high (up to Level 4.1) profiles.

·         Video Bitrate: 10 Mbps with resolutions of 1920 x 1080 at 30fps. See question number 11 for more information.

·         Audio Profiles: 2 channel AAC low complexity (LC)

·         Audio Max Bitrate: No restrictions. See question number 11 for more information.

 

3.    What exactly does the Xbox 360 support for MPEG-4 Part 2?

Xbox 360 supports the following for MPEG-4:

·         File Extensions: .mp4, .m4v, .mp4v, .mov

·         Containers: MPEG-4, QuickTime

·         Video Profiles: 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: 2 channel AAC low complexity (LC)

·         Audio Max Bitrate: No restrictions. See question number 11 for more information.

 

4.    What exactly does the Xbox 360 support for WMV (VC-1)?

Xbox 360 supports the following for WMV:

·         File Extensions: .wmv

·         Container: asf

·         Video Profiles: WMV7 (WMV1), WMV8 (WMV2), WMV9 (WMV3), VC-1 (WVC1 or WMVA) in simple, main, and advanced up to Level 3

·         Video Bitrate: 15 Mbps with resolutions of 1920 x 1080 at 30fps. See question number 11 for more information.

·         Audio Profiles: WMA7/8, WMA 9 Pro (stereo and 5.1), WMA lossless

·         Audio Max Bitrate: No restrictions. See question number 11 for more information.

 

5.    Can I mix and match the video and audio codecs outside of those defined in questions 1 through 4 above?

No you cannot.  We only support each audio and video codec in the explicit containers defined in questions 1 through 4.

 

6.    How can I determine if a video file that I am trying to play conforms to the specifications as laid out in questions 1 through 4?

You can use a 3rd party tool to analyze your video files to determine what audio and video codec is used.  A popular 3rd party tool to analyze video files can be found at http://www.headbands.com/gspot/. 

 

7.    How do I create WMV, AVI, H.264 and MPEG-4 content? What encoders does Xbox 360 support?

You can create this content on one of many 3rd-party applications. Xbox 360 supports many popular encoders. Specifically for encoding to WMV you can use Microsoft Expression Encoder or Windows Media Encoder.

 

**8.    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.

 

9.    What are the different ways to play video content on Xbox 360?

You can play video from a USB 2.0 FAT32 removable drive, optical media, and by streaming from the Zune software, Windows Media Player 11, or Windows Home Server.

 

10. What are the different video codecs that are supported in all the different ways to play video content on the Xbox 360?

See table below for more information:

 

Scenario

Supported Codecs

From USB storage device to Xbox 360 Dashboard Video Player

WMV(Unprotected),

Mpeg4,

H.264,

AVI

From Windows Media Player 11 to Xbox 360 Dashboard Video Player

WMV(Protected),

WMV(Unprotected),

*Mpeg4,

*H.264,

AVI

From Zune Software to Xbox 360 Dashboard Video Player

WMV(Unprotected),

Mpeg4,

H.264

From Windows Home Server to Xbox 360 Dashboard Video Player

WMV(Protected),

WMV(Unprotected),

AVI

From Windows Media Center to Xbox Media Center Extender

WMV(Protected), WMV(Unprotected),

Mpeg2

 

* = Please refer to question 32 on how to configure Windows Media Player to share these file types to the Xbox 360.

 

11.    What is the "real" max bit rate, resolution, and frames per second that you support for all the different formats?

Xbox 360 does not specifically block video from playing based on a maximum bit rate, resolution, or frames per second. The maximums listed above for each codec are what we have tested for various video playback sources. Higher rated content will not be blocked, but playback may be less then optimal. Use higher bitrates at your own risk.

 

12.    What size USB storage device does the Xbox 360 support?

The Xbox 360 will support as big of a storage device as you can format using FAT32.  Unfortunately when formatting a device in Windows Vista or Windows XP you will be restricted to a maximum FAT32 size of 32GB.  You can work around this limitation by using a 3rd party utility or using an alternative Operating System that does not have this restriction.  Please note that the maximum size of any single file on FAT32 is 4GB.

 

13.    What is the maximum video file size that is supported?

The maximum file size for an AVI, MPEG-4 Part 2, and H.264 file that can be played is 4 GB. 4GB is also the maximum size of any single file that you can store on a FAT32 USB hard drive.  However, Windows Media Player 11 and the Zune software do support streaming WMV files greater than 4GB.

 

14. Do you support 5.1 channel AAC?

No. Only 2-channel AAC is supported. If you want to play a 5.1-channel video on your console, you will need to encode it to WMV with WMAPro 5.1 audio or use the AVI container with Dolby® Digital 5.1 audio.

 

**15.    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. 

 

16.    Why don’t some of my older versions of DivX® files play?

Since we only support Mpeg-4 compatible codec implementations, we will not be able to play video files older than DivX® 5.0.

 

17. Does the Xbox 360 support video artwork when browsing my collection from Windows Media Player 11 or the Zune PC software?

The Xbox 360 will display whatever video artwork that is displayed in Windows Media Player 11 or the Zune PC software for each video file. 

 

**18. 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.  See question number 21 for more information.

 

19. What is the maximum album artwork size that the Xbox 360 supports?

You should not exceed 512KB for all scenarios.  This includes embedding artwork in the mp4 container, storing artwork alongside the file in a separate .jpg container, or streaming from Windows Media Player 11 or Zune PC software.

 

**20. 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.  See question number 21 for more information.

 

**21. 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)

 

22. How do display modes work?

There are 5 display modes: auto, letterbox, fullscreen, stretch, and native. You can access these modes while watching a video by pressing Display on your remote or A on your controller.

a.    The auto setting attempts to automatically determine what the best viewing experience is for your video. If it is a very low resolution video, it will enlarge it enough to be viewable on your screen while limiting the size for optimal viewing. If the video is of higher resolution, it will it will enlarge it to fit the TV. For both scenarios, it will retain the aspect ratio of the original video (for example, 4x3 or 16x9).

b.    Letterbox mode will display your image full screen while retaining the aspect ratio of the original video. Use this if you want to override the auto function and fit the content to your TV.

c.    Fullscreen mode will display your image full screen with the assumption the video is 16x9 formatted for 4x3 screens. This can be helpful for older content that may be 4x3 with black bars encoded into the video. This mode will allow you to zoom through the black bars and see it as wide screen.

d.    Stretch mode will display your image full screen and stretch 4x3 content horizontally to fill a 16x9 TV. This can be helpful for those who always want to fill their TV regardless of the aspect ratio of the content. This causes 4x3 content to appear stretched.

e.    Native mode allows you to see the content at its original resolution. Use this to view content that is extremely low resolution or very low bitrates.

 

23. How are display mode settings saved?

Every time you watch a new video, the display mode defaults to auto. If you decide to change the setting, each time you watch the same video the console will remember what you chose last time.

 

24. What is the information bar?

The information bar on the on-screen display now shows you exactly where you are in the video and where the chapters are in the file. In addition, for downloaded content, it will also show how much of the video has been downloaded.

 

25. How are the chapters determined?

Each video is divided into 10 chapters, allowing you to quickly move around the video content. Use skip to move to the next or previous chapter. Each chapter appears as a tick on the information bar.

 

**26. 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.

 

27. Is there other 3rd party software out that I can use to stream from my PC to my Xbox 360?

The Xbox 360 team extensively tests that we work well with Windows Media Player 11 and the Zune PC software.  If you do decide to use 3rd party software, please contact them directly for support. 

 

28. How can I stream content from my Mac?

To share from a Mac computer you will be required to use a 3rd party streaming solution.  Please note that we do not support 3rd party streaming solutions and you will be required to contact them directly for support. 

 

29. After the May 2007 update, my 3rd party software doesn't stream videos correctly. Why?

Video navigation was changed in the May 2007 update. 3rd party software that does not support folders through network sharing will not work correctly. You'll have to contact the software developer for support.

 

30. How can I set up Windows Media Player 11 or Zune to share my media to my console?

For info about setting up sharing, see www.xbox.com/pcsetup.

 

31. Should I continue to use Windows Media Connect (WMC) to stream video to my Xbox 360?

Windows Media Connect can be used but is no longer supported outside of Windows Home Server. We strongly suggest people upgrade to Windows Media Player 11 or use the Zune software to receive the best experience for managing and streaming content to Xbox 360.

 

32. How can I get Windows Media Player 11 to stream MPEG-4 Part 2 and H.264 to my console?

By default, Windows Media Player 11 does not support MPEG-4 Part 2 and H.264.  Your first option is to install a 3rd party MP4 DirectShow decoder to import MPEG-4 part 2 and H.264 files into your library. Once they are in your library they can be streamed to your console and they can be played from within Windows Media Player 11 on your PC.

 

An alternative approach is to rename all of your mp4 files to have an “.avi” file name extension.  This will enable Windows Media Player 11 to import them into the library and will allow them to be played on your Xbox 360.  To enable the playback of these files on the PC, you will still need to install an appropriate decoder on the PC.

 

33. I can't see my video files from the Zune software on my console. What's wrong?

Make sure that the folders containing the videos you want to share with your console are included in the Zune software's list of monitored folders.

 

34. I received a message that says a media update is required to play the content. When I download the update I get the message "The download could not be completed. Please try again later. Any points you used for this transaction have already been deducted from your balance and will not be deducted again" with error code 80070005. Explain.

You'll get this error if you previously downloaded the media update on another Xbox 360 console with the same profile. You are only allowed to download the update on one console per profile. You can work around this by creating a temporary Silver membership to download the update. Once it's downloaded, you will be able to use the update with any profile.

 

**35. 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.

 

**36. 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.

 

**37.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.

 

**38.How can I play music from my iPhone® and iPod Touch®?

Unfortunately the iPhone® and iPod Touch® uses a different mechanism for storing your music then a traditional iPod®.  We are currently unable to play music from the iPhone® or IPod Touch®.  You can still browse the pictures stored on these device through the Pictures area in the Xbox 360 dashboard.

 

**39.Can I play videos from my iPod®?

The Xbox 360 does not support playing videos from an iPod®.

 

40. When trying to play 25 or 50 fps content, I don’t get any video over VGA

This only affects consoles which output PAL-50 and PAL-60 output modes. There is a known issue in which 25 or 50 fps video sometimes doesn’t display over a VGA connection if you have previously connected your Xbox over component video output.

 

The workaround for this issue is as follows:

1.       Connect your Xbox 360 to a display device using a component video cable

2.       Go to the System Blade

3.       Go to Console Settings

4.       Go to Display

5.       Set your display settings to a different resolution than is currently selected (e.g., set it to 480p if your current setting is 720p)

6.       You should see a slider with the words “Your display settings have changed. You can keep this setting or try another. Do you want to keep the new settings? If you keep the new settings, your TV will be tested to see if it also supports this setting at 50Hz.” Answer “Yes, keep these settings” to this prompt.

7.       After this your display will be tested for 50Hz output

8.       You should see a slider with the words “Now displaying at 50Hz. Does this display appear correctly?”  Answer  “No” to this prompt even if the display is correct. Again, make sure to answer “No” to this prompt.

9.       Connect your Xbox up via VGA again. The videos should now play correctly.

 

41. I can’t stream content to the Xbox after upgrading the Zune software to version 2.1

After you upgrade the Zune software to version 2.1 on a Windows XP-based computer, you may be unable to use the Media Sharing feature to connect to an Xbox 360 system. This issue may occur if you used an account that has administrative permissions to log on to the computer when you upgraded the Zune software. More information is available at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/945037