XBMC on XBox is definitely too slow to play HD H264 content

For a while I’ve known that getting the original XBox to play HD content was going to be a big ask. Plenty of places have said it just won’t happen.

Today I tested a 720p H264 movie that is freely available for download called Big Buck Bunny.

With debug information turned on there was still plenty of memory free (~20Mb) but the CPU spiked to 100% and playback was a miserable 17fps. The sound was playing fine, but the video was very laggy.

In the debug log I was very amused to see the following:

16:39:31 M: 18128896 DEBUG: msg:
************************************************
**** Your system is too SLOW to play this! ****
************************************************
Possible reasons, problems, workarounds:
- Most common: broken/buggy _audio_ driver
- Try -ao sdl or use the OSS emulation of ALSA.
- Experiment with different values for -autosync, 30 is a good start.
- Slow video output
- Try a different -vo driver (-vo help for a list) or try -framedrop!
- Slow CPU
- Don't try to play a big DVD/DivX on a slow CPU! Try some of the lavdopts, e.g. -vfm ffmpeg -lavdopts lowres=1:fast:skiploopfilter=all.
- Broken file
- Try various combinations of -nobps -ni -forceidx -mc 0.
- Slow media (NFS/SMB mounts, DVD, VCD etc)
- Try -cache 8192.
- Are you using -cache to play a non-interleaved AVI file?
- Try -nocache.
Read DOCS/HTML/en/video.html for tuning/speedup tips.
If none of this helps you, read DOCS/HTML/en/bugreports.html.

It’s very saddening to see that the Xbox has almost come to the end of it’s usefulness.

I could look at hooking in some of the mplayer options to try and help the CPU out but it really looks like its time to start putting together a new Linux HTPC now that HD TV is available in New Zealand via DVB-T.

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