Thursday, January 15, 2009

Watching BSG webisodes on your XBOX 360

I've been playing around with ways to watch online movies on my PC and XBOX, mainly due to the new Battlestar Galactica webisodes which have been released on I thought it would be cool to watch them before the new episode airs this coming Friday, and since we will have a few people over at our house, I wanted to get them up on our TV screen instead of watching them on a PC.

There are several tools available to grab movies (which in this case are Flash .FLV files) from a website and save them locally. The one I used is Orbit Downloader, which works OK but seems to make Internet Explorer 8 very unstable. (I uninstalled Orbit as soon as I had the files I wanted). Another option (not tried by me) is Keepvid which seems to not require any software installation.

Anyway, once you have the .FLV files locally, you might want to watch them. My system didn't have a codec to play these files, so I installed the current version of the K-Lite codec pack. Depending on which tools you use to convert the files (see the next step), you could skip this.

Finally, you need to convert the .FLV files to a format that the XBOX can play. I chose to use a tool I already had installed, Handbrake. (Handbrake is also great if you want to transfer videos to your iPhone/iPod Touch)

In Handbrake, simply select the files, and choose the XBOX profile. I chose to increase the video size to 1024 wide so it would look better on a large screen. (The XBOX can also stretch video to fit the screen, but it looks more blocky). The resulting MP4 files that Handbrake creates can be put on a USB storage device and played on the XBOX easily.

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