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MCE v1.1

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Gentoox Media Center 1.1 - General notes



* An Xbox with a drive of at least 20GB. The installation will fail if you have a stock Xbox hard drive.
* A modchip.
* A DVD remote kit.
* An Xbox controller (Hereafter referred to as an Xpad).

(A keyboard is optional but HIGHLY recommended)


The installation is split into 2 parts, the "CD" portion, and the "Rescue" portion.

When installing from scratch, you will be required to first execute the "CD" portion (this is done by inserting the Gentoox Media Center CD and selecting the "Stardust" icon from the boot screen. You will be asked to change CDs half way through this stage. To inject the second CD, simply push the "Eject" button, or push the tray closed. Once this portion has finished, turn off your Xbox, then power back up. The middle "Native" icon should now be selectable. This will boot "MCE-Rescue". If it is not, then you must re-run the "CD" portion of the installation. Otherwise, continue. (Note that running the "CD" portion WILL DESTROY ANY PREVIOUSLY UPLOADED MEDIA! IT WILL ALSO DESTROY YOUR GENTOOX INSTALLATION. IF YOU WANT TO CONTINUE USING GENTOOX, YOU MUST ALSO REINSTALL IT AT THIS POINT! THE CD PART OF THE INSTALLATION IS THE ONLY WAY TO RECOVER THE GENTOOX INSTALLATION!)

When you run the "MCE-Rescue" portion of the installation, it will format the root filesystem for the media center, however, it will NOT format the media partition meaning that all previously ripped or uploaded materials will not be deleted. However, any playlists, database changes (such as saved websites, music information etc...) will be lost. The "MCE-Rescue" part of the installation ONLY recovers the Media Center portion of the distribution.

Both parts of the installer will flash a BIOS to a modchip or TSOP without asking so it is suggested that you have a modchip installed that is recognised by raincoat. If the flash fails, then the installation will continue and you must flash your modchip manually. The Xenium and SmartXX modchips cannot be automatically flashed, users will have to flash the BIOS (found on the CD under the BIOS directory) according to the modchip's instructions manual.

Finally, once the Gentoox Media Center is fully installed, a second and third text label will appear under the "Native" icon labelled "MCE" and "Gentoox". (Note that the "Gentoox" label will only become active if the user has selected to install Gentoox during the CD portion of the installation)

The text labels should appear in the following order:

After selecting the "MCE" label, you will be presented with the "Video Select" script which will guide you through setting up your video mode. You can use a keyboard or an Xpad to complete this stage. To complete the setup with a keyboard, simply type the answer exactly as displayed on the screen (the input is not CaSeSEnSiTIVe, but when in doubt, keep to lowercase, not UPPERCASE). If you want to complete the installation by Xpad, it is a little more complex.

For questions where the answers are on individual lines, simply move the cursor to the line which contains the answer you desire, then tap the "A" button THREE TIMES in quick succession. This should highlight the ENTIRE line, if it has not, press the "A" button, then begin again. Once the line is highlighted, press the "B" button to accept your choice. For questions relating to HOC and VOC, move your cursor over the desired value, then tap the "A" button TWICE in close succession, this should highlight JUST the value you desire, if it does not, press "A" once, and begin again. Once the value is selected, press "B". This will paste your answer into the answer space. You now need to move your cursor to the red block on the screen, then tap "A" TWICE to highlight the redblock and the line beyond the redblock. Once you have done this, press "B" and your answer will be submitted.

If you happen to enter invalid answers into the Video Select script, it will restart from the beginning of the script.

The "Gentoox" label will boot your chosen Gentoox distribution version (i.e. Pro or Home). THE FIRST THING YOU MUST DO AFTER INSTALLING GENTOOX IS RUN "magic" IN A TERMINAL AS THE "root" USER!

If you choose not to install Gentoox at the time of MCE installation, you can always install it later. This will enable another icon called "FatX" and Gentoox will be bootable from there.


If for some reason the Gentoox Media Center refuses to boot correctly or malfunctions (usually occurs after powering down incorrectly), you will need to re-run the "MCE-Rescue" portion of the installation to return the media center to its full functionality. Each time you run "MCE-Rescue" it will backup your old MCE boot parameters and rename them to "MCE-Old" under the "Native" icon. Once you boot up MCE and re-run the "Video Select" script the "MCE-Old" entry will be deleted.

If execution of the "MCE-Rescue" portion repeatedly fails, you will have to begin again from the "CD" portion of the installation.

If Gentoox fails to boot or malfunctions, you will need to begin from the "CD" portion of the installation again. This will result in you losing any unsaved media and any changes made to your Gentoox installation! To avoid errors, ALWAYS reboot/ shutdown properly!

General information

1.0 - Passwords
1.1 - Access
1.2 - Remote Control
1.3 - Adding media
1.4 - Misc info
1.5 - Known issues

Note: Where you see xbox_ip, replace it with the IP that the Media Center displays when it boots up.

1.0 - Passwords

VNC: Password: mediacenter
SSH: Username: root - Password: xbox
Username: media - Password: xbox
FTP: Username: media - Password: xbox
SMB: Username: media - Password: xbox

The user should typically never need to login as root or use SSH. It's just there for emergencies and advanced users.

1.1 - Access

Network defaults to DHCP, if it cant find a DHCP server, it will resort to using the following defaults (Which is perfect for linksys routers...):


Access VNC by going to http://xbox_ip:5800
Access SMB by going to \mediacenter
Access FTP by going to ftp://media:xbox@xbox_ip:21
Access SSH by going to xbox_ip in PuTTY (get PuTTY from Google...)

1.2 - Remote control

Up - Up
Down - Down
Right - Fast-forward by 30 seconds
Left - Rewind by 5 seconds
Forward - Fast-forward by 10 minutes
Reverse - Rewind by 10 minutes
Back - Previous menu level
Select - Ok/ Select
Play - Play/ Enter
Stop - Stop/ Escape
Pause - Pause
Menu - OSD
Info - OSD Info
Skip + - Skip to next track (Music)
Skip - - Skip to previous track (Music)
0-9 - Numbers (Correspond to whats shown on screen)

Video / DVD (With mPlayer)
Up - Hue +1
Down - Hue -1
Right - Aspect zoom in
Left - Aspect zoom out
Forward - Fast-forward by 30 seconds
Reverse - Rewind by 10 seconds
Back - Quits out of video
Play - Resume from pause or fast-forward by 1 minute
Stop - Quits out of video
Pause - Pause
Menu - Show OSD
Skip + - Fast-forward by 10 minutes
Skip - - Rewind by 10 minutes
1 - Brightness -1
3 - Brightness +1
4 - Contrast -1
6 - Contrast +1
7 - Saturation -1
9 - Saturation +1

DVD (With Xine)
Up - Up
Down - Down
Right - Right
Left - Left
Forward - Fast-forward by 30 seconds
Reverse - Rewind by 30 seconds
Back - Quits out of DVD
Select - Ok/ Select
Play - Resume from pause
Stop - Stop DVD playback
Pause - Pause
Menu - Go to DVD menu
Info - OSD
Skip + - Fast-forward by 10 minutes
Skip - - Rewind by 10 minutes
0-9 - Numbers

1.3 - Adding media

Add your media to the appropriate directory through FTP or SMB. After adding music, you need to go to "Select Music" and tick the music you want to be available for playback. When adding videos, you need to open the "Video Manager" then press 'Back' and go to "Browse Videos" to play the video. Alternatively, you can go to "Video List" for instant video access.

1.4 - Misc info

MythTV is autostarted as the "mythtv" user for greater security. Login for this user is disabled as it is never needed.

MythTV takes quite a while to boot up for the first time (the second boot) depending on what video resolution you selected. Be patient while it caches the theme images.

You can select menu items with the Xpad during DVD playback. You can also press "B" on the Xpad to bring up the Xine menu where certain options can be set.

You can switch between using Xine and mPlayer for DVD playback by changing the "DVD Player Command" setting (found under Setup > DVD Settings > Play Settings). By default it will read "sh /media/.mythtv/mplayerlaunch dvd xine %d", the 'xine' keyword indicates it is using Xine to playback DVDs currently. If you want to use mPlayer, simply replace 'xine' with 'mplayer', e.g. "sh /media/.mythtv/mplayerlaunch dvd mplayer %d".

!! You MUST always shutdown properly. Never press the power button to exit the media center or the filesystem will become corrupt. If this does happen, you can select the "MCE-Rescue" label, and the media center will be reinstalled.

1.5 - Known issues

After playing a video (video, dvd or vcd), the screen will briefly flicker to the "PLEASE WAIT..." background. Unfortunately, to allow mPlayer to go to fullscreen mode properly, the window manager has to be killed before mPlayer launches, then reloaded after mPlayer quits. This causes mythTV to minimise for a brief moment. There is nothing that can really be done about this (maybe extra ram/ faster CPU will help) as it is necessary for kwin (KDE window manager) to be run in the background so that after web browsing, mythTV regains focus for remote and keyboard usage. If kwin is not run, then it becomes impossible to shutdown mythTV properly.

If Xine says that there is no available plugin for dvd://, then the Xbox has not recognised your DVD. Eject it then inject it and try again. If this continues to be a problem then your DVD may be dirty.

With respect to Gentoox, you MUST run magic first thing to enable the video configuration tools. This only applies to Gentoox Pro v1.4 or lower, and Gentoox Home v3.1 or lower.

Running MCE-Rescue more than once in a row will generate multiple "MCE-Old" entries under the "Native" icon. To get rid of these, just boot up MCE and finish the "Video Select" script.


08 January 2005 - 1.1
+ Integrated with Gentoox Loader.

31 August 2004 - 1.0
+ Swapped all traces of Friendtech for Gentoox.
+ Changed backdrops.
+ No major bugs/ complaints reported so calling this is a landmark release, v1.0.

14 August 2004 - 1.0-RC0
+ Completely rewrote BIOS flashing portion of the installation - it now detects the bank size and resizes the BIOS accordingly. Bank size detection is important for people who are flashing their TSOP - flashing the wrong size would cause the Xbox to FRAG. If flashing fails or the modchip is not detected, it continues regardless so that the user can flash the BIOS manually.
+ Added option to switch DVD player software.
+ Replaced mPlayer with Xine for DVD playback as default selection, this gives DVD menu functionality.
+ Made mPlayer and Xine take up to 40 arguments from the setup screen.
+ mPlayer and Xine launch with -20 niceness for full priority, this will minimize any jitter.
+ Gentoox installation is now optional.
+ Added free-space check when installing Gentoox. (You need 4.5GB free on E)
+ Disabled drive tray locking in kernel source.
+ Upgraded media center to kernel 2.4.27.
+ Added Xecuter 3 flash support.
+ Minor changes to BIOS to take into account that Gentoox may not be installed.
+ Minor splash image changes.
+ Minor installation changes.
+ Minor documentation changes.

24 July 2004 - BETA 4
+ Gentoox integration (New bootloader icon for Gentoox, Installer now deals with Gentoox).
+ Fixed video posters not downloading properly (metadata retrieval).
+ Minor documentation changes.

15 July 2004 - BETA 3
+ Changed installer so it no longer zero fills the partition table (was zero filling too far and causing X: to disappear).
+ Changed "Video Select" script to start over if the user inputs an invalid response.
+ Minor document changes.
+ Fixed bootloader to work with locked LBA48 drives.

12 July 2004 - BETA 2
+ Fixed browser not working.
+ Added DVD ripping feature and transcoding.
+ Rewrite of installation section in this document along with other minor alterations.

10 July 2004 - BETA 1
+ Initial Release.
+ Changed installation to 2 stages to avoid the use of a CD each time the software needed to be reinstalled.
+ Changed installation method so that a seperate partition is used to store media, this way when a rescue is needed, the media will not be deleted.
+ Altered bootloader so that icons become active from left to right.
+ Altered bootloader to work with the new installation proceedure.
+ Changed repeat rates for certain remote functions.

09 July 2004 - ALPHA prerelease
+ Initial version - Unreleased.

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