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Turn an old XBox into a $200 Multimedia Player

At a glance...

  • Cheap multimedia player
  • Handles nearly every format of sound and video files
  • Networks to your PC
  • Plugs straight into your TV
  • Expandable to large hard disc
  • Free multimedia software
  • Better looking in your lounge room than a PC!
  • Infrared remote available

The Microsoft X-Box gaming console has been replaced with the X-Box 360 . . . and that makes secondhand X-Boxes very cheap indeed.

And now you can fit a ‘mod chip’ that allows the X-Box to become a full multimedia centre – at a lower price than sourcing a used PC – and with an end result that looks far more at home in your lounge room, not to mention working seamlessly with your TV.

It’s also possible to fit a large hard drive which will give you an almost endless source of multimedia entertainment.

There are several approaches that can be taken to X-Box modification.

One approach is to take your X-Box to a specialist who will fit the mod chip, load the new software, upgrade the hard drive capability and even convert the output to suit HD TVs.

At the other end of the spectrum, you can do it all yourself. However, you’ll need to plough through lots of very geeky instructions from a number of web sources, do a very big web download and be familiar with open source software.

Doing it yourself also means it’s possible to make big enough mistakes in the software installation to completely disable your X-Box.

We chose a middle road of buying and installing the mod chip and then having someone else install the software and configure it for our home PC network.

And since the X-Box was being used solely as an MP3 music player, we also kept the standard 8GB hard drive. If required, it can be upgraded later.

Overleaf, we show each step required – it’s not hard to do as long as you’re methodical.

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