Streaming h.264 from Windows Home Server to Xbox 360 (Part 1)

I’ve been working on this one for a while.  I’ve seen suggestions all over the place for streaming movies to the Xbox 360, ranging from using transcoding apps to converting your ripped movies to various formats.  For my purposes, I would prefer to use a single, standard, portable format for my ripped DVD movies which precludes the use of a transcoding app like Transcode360 or some of the others.  h.264 appears to be the dominant format moving forward for video storage, usable across many platforms and devices, and retaining high quality at decent bit rates.

Unfortunately WHS v1 has Windows Media Player 10 and Windows Media Connect 2.0 installed, which doesn’t support streaming MPEG-4.  The Zune software appears to offer such support.  Unfortunately, the Zune software doesn’t install on WHS natively, and requires software from Windows Media Player 11.  WMP 11 also will not install on WHS or Windows Server 2003.  After doing some searching, I found a post on the We Got Served Wiki on installing WMP and Zune.

I followed the process for installation and configuration of WMP11 on WHS.  Only difference was that I used 7-zip to extract the WMP11 download.  Then, to install Zune, I downloaded the setup package (ZuneSetupPkg-x86.exe), and extracted it with 7-zip into it’s own folder.  Then I went into the packages folder and ran Zune-x86.msi, which installed successfully.  After the Zune install finished, I ran it and set the folders to recognize the WHS media folders.  This allowed me to stream h.264 files (with .M4V extension) to the Xbox 360.  Using the right settings for converting movies so that it will play smoothly on the 360 is another story.

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