Home > Media Center > Connecting XBox to your MCE PC

Connecting XBox to your MCE PC

I can tell that back-to-school season is upon us because the number of times I’ve seen this question is on the rise.  Lots of people with fancy new PCs to take to the dorm room, and they want to bring along the XBox to play with them in that small space.  My usual answer is “nope, can’t be done” but I thought that it was enough of an issue that we should investigate some alternatives.

So, why can’t it be done in the traditional way you might expect?  The Media Center PC has a video input that theoretically you should be able to use in order to view external video signals, one would think that you could patch in the XBox to the MCE PC like you might patch it into the video inputs of your VCR.  Unfortunately, the way that the Media Center PC works with TV signals makes this setup pretty much unusable.  Media Center buffers all video coming in through the tuner to the hard disk, which makes it possible to do cool things like pause Live TV and get instant replays of Live TV.  That buffering causes a delay of a couple seconds which under normal circumstances isn’t really noticeable, but when you’re trying to take down the Covenant Heretic with a beam rifle that delay makes it impossible to play.

By this point in the article you’re wondering why I would bother to write the article if it’s not possible.  Well, let’s think a little bit outside of the box.  While you can’t play XBox through the Media Center PC, you certainly can use the monitor and the speakers of the MCE to give you a fantastic gaming experience using the MCE hardware that you’ve purchased.

What you’ll need is a VGA adapter for your XBox, preferably one that will let you connect both your MCE computer’s VGA cable and your XBox to the same monitor.  There are a few options out there, but based on my research today plenty of them get bad reviews.  This one, the X2VGA+ seems to get thumbs up all around.  Although I haven’t tested any of these myself, I would probably opt for the X2VGA+ since it enables HDTV resolutions on your monitor (which is certainly capable of these resolutions and has been for years) and allows you to quickly switch inputs between your MCE PC and your Xbox with the press of a button.

If you’re not concerned with high-definition quality, you might also want to think about more of an SVideo to VGA adapter, which will probably be compatible with not only the XBox but your PS2, your DVD player, and pretty much anything else that outputs a standard video signal.  Beware though, picture quality reviews aren’t so hot in general for this category of devices.  It’ll do the job, but it will be at a resolution much lower than what your monitor is actually capable of.

These VGA switchboxes should allow you to effectively play your XBox using the key hardware from your Media Center system.

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Categories: Media Center
  1. conor o s
    November 28, 2006 at 8:57 pm

    are there any adapters for DVI – D connector or 15 pin D-Sub Connector . what im trying to say is will it work on a LG 19″ LCD L194WT TCO-03 monitor. please help!!

  2. conor o s
    November 28, 2006 at 8:57 pm

    are there any adapters for DVI – D connector or 15 pin D-Sub Connector . what im trying to say is will xbox work on a LG 19″ LCD L194WT TCO-03 monitor. please help!!

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