[mythtv-users] Mythtv on xbox

Shaun Bryant sbryant at thepit.org
Tue Jun 21 17:30:49 UTC 2005

This seems to keep coming up, you do not need a mod chip to load Linux and then myth on a Xbox. All now 4 of them I have running as frontends are all soft hacked. They all still can play Xbox games as long as Xbox live is not needed. 
See below. 


From: mythtv-users-bounces at mythtv.org on behalf of Mark Knecht
Sent: Tue 6/21/2005 11:14 AM
To: Chris Henderson; Discussion about mythtv
Subject: Re: [mythtv-users] Mythtv on xbox

On 6/20/05, Chris Henderson <jchendo at gmail.com> wrote:
> > There are a couple of install options - one of which is to create the root
> > filesystem as a loopback file on the xbox filesystem - no need to run
> > fdisk.  The entire system is contained in a half dozen files on the E:
> > drive.
> That sound interesting.
> > When I boot with the modchip, the evox dashboard comes up, and I added the
> > option to "boot Xebian" to a menu.  When I choose that option, Xebian
> > starts up (most of the time - it's probably closer to 3:1 now)  Supposedly
> > this is an issue with Xebian 1.12 on v1.6 xboxes.  I haven't tried 1.13
> > yet to see if it fixes the problem.
> >
> Ok this is sounding good. So that sounds like that you don't need to
> use a new BIOS. and the wife can use it simply. Cool.

No, actually you do need a new BIOS to run anything other than XBox.
The way the modchip in my XBox works is like Greg said earlier:

1) Power up using the top button and the machine boots with the M$
BIOS. It plays XBox in that mode. The M$ BIOS is still in the machine
and the modchip is not being used.

2) Power up using the bottom button and the machine boots with the
modchip BIOS. (In my case EvoX but there are others. More in a
second...) In this mode the M$ BIOS is not being used and you cannot
play XBox. The machine boots to some 'environment' - in my case
SlaYer'S. From there I use the file manager tools to get Xebian going
and MythTV running.

This all works fine. It takes some training to teach non-computer
folks to be able to boot this mess by themselves but eventually things
get worked out and it does work.

> How did you get it to boot to Xebian. did you have to configure the
> chip to boot to the right files?

I boot to SlaYer'S, then Avalaunch, and use the file manager to select
the default.xbe file in the Debian directory. After that it looks like
a normal Linux boot.

> Did the install of Xebian do this for
> you or did you have to edit the mod chip to allow the booting of linux
> for this menu.

Neither. Xebian cannot work until the modchip is in, so you need to go
get that done first. After the modchip is in you'll then need to set
up your hard drive in the box to allow you to put Xebian on it. This
is what SlaYer'S is most useful for. It can restore all the XBox
stuff, other than your XBox Live codes I think, if you make a mistake.
(And I made enough mistakes to write a book about when I did this 6
weeks ago!) You may want to consider asking you modchip installer to
put a larger hard drive in for you if you intend to both watch MythTV
and play XBox. With a larger drive you can store copies of your game
CDs and not need the actual CD to play. (Or so I've been told...) ;-)

> Really i don't know of the use for the xecuter3 then. it sounds as if
> you can boot linux/mythtv from the dashboard of evox. If that is the
> case and it can be done by a simpleton like me, i am going out to by
> one.

Not sure about this. I've not used it. the cheapest BIOS (EvoX) seems
ot be good enough that my 76 year old father can get it to boot when
he needs to. (I gave the XBox to him since I didn't want to run a
hacked BIOS.
> I have only had the briefest look at the xbox. but the start up time
> on the thing is really quick. too quick for a computer. I don't know
> how it works. might be worth  reading up on that.

No, it is a computer and it is booting, but they aren't checking
hardware like a PC does so it goes fast.

Now, about BIOS's. There are really 3 BIOS classes for you to know about:

M$ BIOS - it comes in the machine and it only runs XBox.

Cromwell BIOS - completely open source but will NOT work with the
newer XBoxs that are available in the retail chain. I went to Best
Buy, bought an XBox, and promptly found out that Cromwell does not
work and probably never will work with the newer XBoxs. If you want
Cromwell make sure you get a Rev. 1.4 or earlier. (And possibly 1.5
migh work too. I've forgottend.)

Hacked BIOS's - These BIOS's are ALL derivitives of M$'s BIOS and have
been hacked up by developer types to allow them to use their XBoxs as
they wish. It is my understanding that it is legal for them to do this
for personal use by *may* be illegal for them to distribute it to you
and I. I don't know for sure so I decided I didn't want to mess with
it and gave up on doing any more XBox MythTV setups unless I run into
some clean, oder XBoxs somewhere.

You MUST use either Cromwell (open source) or Hack (reverse engineered
and modified) to make any form of MythTV run on an XBox today.

Hope this helps,
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