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Full Version: HOW-TO enable HD (High-Definition) on a European PAL Xbox with ndure softmod
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Sorry about the long title, I wanted to include most of the keywords I think people might search for.

I just went through the process of turning my standard definition XBMC installation into a high definition one and it took a while (and a fair amount of searching) to gather the information needed. I thought I'd write a guide to help anybody who wants to do the same thing.

Audience

This guide is aimed at owners of PAL (i.e. european) XBoxs who have already soft-modded their Xbox using ndure (I used version 3.0 but I imagine later versions should work). You should also have XBMC installed and preferably have some experience using it.

Ndure has many settings and options. I followed a guide written by a guy called Textbook (google "ndure xboxhdm textbook" to find it) when I softmodded - with one exception; I unselected "Default boot xonlinedash console" because I wanted to have easy access to the Settings page of the standard XBox dashboard.

If you followed another guide when you softmodded then the process below may still work for you but no guarantees.

Prerequisites

Okay, so you have a Pal xbox running ndure and XBMC, what else will you need?

A High Def TV that can display NTSC input (most should be able to)
A High Def cable (see below)
An Xbox gamepad (I don't think you can perform the steps with just a remote)
XBMC running the default PMIII skin (at least while you do the upgrade)
An xbox program called Enigmah* (Google is your friend)
FTP access to your Xbox

*Enigmah usually comes as a CD image. For the guide you just need the program so you'll have to locate a utility that will allow you to extract the files from an xbox ISO image - note that ordinary ISO readers won't work, xbox cd images are a non-standard format.

The cable

You need a special cable to get the high-def signals from the Xbox to a high-def TV or projector. The cable will have a standard Xbox AV connector on one end and five RCA jacks on the other (three of these are component video connectors, the other two carry the left and right audio signals). The cable may also have a socket or connector for a TOSLink optical/digital audio cable.

There are several brands of xbox high-def cables available and they vary a lot in quality. Bad cables can really mess things up so this is one area where spending a bit of money up front will prevent headaches later on. Two types of cables are generally recommended as being reliable:

The official Microsoft High-Definition AV Pack

These weren't sold in Europe because HD was still very much a niche technology here at the time. You can sometimes pick them up on auction sites like ebay though. There are two versions, as far as I know both perform equally well.

The first version is a two (or three) part cable - first there is a block with the xbox connector, five RCA jacks and a TOSLink socket, second there is a set of component leads included that can be used to connect each RCA jack on the block to the corresponding jack on your TV. If you want digital audio you have to buy a TOSLink cable and plug it into your AMP and the socket on the block.

The second version does away with the block in favour of having a chunky connector at the xbox end and five built-in component leads at the TV end. The chunky connector end has a TOSLink socket - again you have to supply your own cable for that.

Monster GameLink 400 X

This is similar to the official MS type 2 version - it has a chunky end with the xbox connector and a digital audio socket and five RCA component leads at the other end.

The digital audio connector isn't a standard TOSLink socket. Moster sells a companion TOSLink cable (the LightWave 100 X) which comes with an adapter to plug into the socket on the GameLink.

The HD enabling process

1. Hook up your Xbox to your High Def TV using your shiny new cable. Don't worry if the picture looks a bit poor at this point, you haven't actually enabled HD mode yet.

2. Create a blank text file on your computer and rename it "EEPROM_off.bin" without the quotes - make sure that is the whole name, Windows sometimes hides the last extension and EEPROM_off.bin.txt is no good to us.

3. Connect to your xbox using an FTP program (you'll have to find another guide if you don't know how to do that). Once connected copy over the Enigmah program folder (I put it in E:\Apps\Enigmah) and copy the "EEPROM_off.bin" file into the root of E. What this does is disable the "virtual EEPROM" which prevents the switching of video mode in the next step.

4. Switch off your xbox then power it back on. Use your dashboard to run Enigmah. If you are in XBMC you can use the filemanager to search your XBox drive for the program. Click on "default.xbe" in the Enigmah folder to run it.

5. The Enigmah screen should say "Current Region: PAL". Press B on the controller, the screen should now say "Current Region: NTSC". Exit the program by pressing Left trigger, Right trigger, Back button and Black button all at the same time. You should now be in your default dashboard, start XBMC if you aren't already there and go to Settings-Appearance-Screen. The resolution choices should now be NTSC based rather than PAL based.

6. Switch off your xbox then power it back on. Start XBMC and go to the Settings-Appearance-Screen. The resolution choices should still be NTSC based rather than PAL based. If they are PAL based then check that "EEPROM_off.bin" has the right name and is in the right location, then go through steps 4 through 6 again.

7. Your Xbox is now running in NTSC mode. You need to delete "EEPROM_off.bin" from the root of E. Probably the easiest way to do this is to use the filemanager in XBMC. Navigate to the file, highlight it using the Y button, press the White button and then select delete from the menu. When that file is deleted it is important that you switch off your xbox.

8. Switch on your xbox USING THE EJECT BUTTON. This should take you to the standard MS dashboard. If it doesn't you could try starting the MS dash by using the XBMC filemanager to locate and run the program file - it should be "c:\xboxdash.xbe" - I don't know if the settings you are about to change will stick if you do it this way though.

9. In the MS dashboard go to Settings-Video and enable all the HD resolutions your TV supports. If you are using the TOSLink digital audio connection then go to Settings-Audio and enable the audio types your decoder supports.

10. Switch off your xbox then power it back on. If not already in XBMC start it up. In XBMC go to Settings-System-VideoHardware, hopefully it will reflect the settings changes you made in the MS dashboard. You might want to check that the audio settings stuck too.

11. Still in XBMC go to Settings-Appearance-Screen and select the resolution you would like XBMC to run in from now on. Most users seem to recommend 720p as providing the best combination of resolution and speed.

12. Still in XBMC go to Settings-Video-Player and change the resolution you would like videos to be played at. I believe that XBMC will scale the video up or down as necessary and output it at this resolution. If you chose 720p for your screen resolution then 720p would be a good choice here too.

13. Since you are running at a new screen resolution you should probably go through screen calibration again, just to make sure you are seeing all of that HD goodness.


That's it, you should now be enjoying XBMC in high resolution. I know moving to 720p made a huge difference in my setup - everything in the interface appears crisper, I can read small text on album and dvd cover images, even the standard resolution video files seem to look much better (presumably because of upscaling).

I've only just started messing around with HD in XBMC so if I have left out any steps or settings that should be applied then perhaps people could mention them in this thread. For instance I'm not sure which of the render methods work best for HD, or whether changing the cache settings would improve performance. Any tips from long time HD users would be appreciated.


Disclaimer

You perform the steps in this guide at your own risk. If in the course of doing so you destroy your xbox, your TV, your house, yourself or planet Earth then I accept no responsibility. Xboxs were designed to play official games and sit in the corner of a room looking ugly, any modding or running of homebrew software is done at your own risk.
Good 'HOW-TO' guide! ...so I thought why not copy it to the wiki HOW-TO (Tips And Tricks) section and hey presto:
http://www.xboxmediacenter.com/wiki/?tit...And_Tricks
http://www.xboxmediacenter.com/wiki/?tit...n_PAL_Xbox

Please send a PM to "Pike" if you like to get write access (ninja status) to the wiki yourself so that you can edit your article (and others).

Thanks for your guide!
Geddon Wrote:This guide is aimed at owners of PAL (i.e. european) XBoxs who have already soft-modded their Xbox using ndure (I used version 3.0 but I imagine later versions should work). You should also have XBMC installed and preferably have some experience using it.

First of, thanks for the nice tut but i have on question. as stated above this was aimed for softmodded boxes....is it the same for hadmodded?
Nice Tut! Well done.
Kieeps Wrote:First of, thanks for the nice tut but i have on question. as stated above this was aimed for softmodded boxes....is it the same for hadmodded?

Not really, you are better off googling the name of your modchip and "High definition" to find specific instructions for enabling HD with your particular chip.

The advice about which cables to use still applies, as do steps 11 through 13 which deal with setting up XBMC to take advantage of the HD features one they have been enabled.
Geddon Wrote:Not really, you are better off googling the name of your modchip and "High definition" to find specific instructions for enabling HD with your particular chip.

The advice about which cables to use still applies, as do steps 11 through 13 which deal with setting up XBMC to take advantage of the HD features one they have been enabled.
I use a smartxx and when i googled for it i found that enigmah was the way to go there to so the tut pritty much is the same Wink i'w not ye foncirmed this since i'm currently repainting my livingroom so i don't have my TV or xbox plugged in. I'll come back as soon as i'w done this and you can add smartxx to the Audience Smile
Ignore the above statement i made Tongue ther's actually an option for this in the smartxx menu where you can switch to NTSC at any time without enigmah.
It's amasing what a bit of googling can do for yer knowledge Tongue
Note that the EEPROM_off.bin file may be needed for enabling the HD modes (i.e. not just for NTSC switching) and digital audio, as these are stored in the EEPROM as well.

Also: No need to use the MS dash to switch the HD options on - XBMC can do it.
jmarshall Wrote:Note that the EEPROM_off.bin file may be needed for enabling the HD modes (i.e. not just for NTSC switching) and digital audio, as these are stored in the EEPROM as well.

I thought that would be the case too but my xbox remembered the HD settings and digital audio modes even with EEPROM pretection on.

Perhaps the softmod detects that those settings have changed in the real bios and updates the shadow bios to match.

jmarshall Wrote:Also: No need to use the MS dash to switch the HD options on - XBMC can do it.

XBMC locked up every time I tried to enable the HD modes inside the program without first enabling them in the MS dash. After a bit of head scratching I finally found a forum post somewhere that recommended changing the settings using the MS dash instead and that seemed to work, that's why the added steps are in the guide.
Hi all, I'm desperate to get this working. I've only just stumbled across this guide. I have a few specific issues though.

Ive got XBMC running at 720p (confirmed by pressing Y during video playback). My problem is that I have serious ghosting on my TV. Its most noticeable with text in the menus but its also present during playback.

I've done most of the things in this guide already but not all. I didnt make the EEPROM_off.bin file though. I have successfully switched to NTSC though and my HD settings now stick.

Should I switch everything back and go through it all again with the eeprom bit? I dont think I can do the MS dash part as I dont seem to have it. (someone else softmodded my xbox using a new HDD). Could that be the problem?

Thanks, and great guide btw!
If it says it's running in 720p then it is.

Ghosting may well be the cable - you got a 3rd party one, correct?
Yeah Ive got a 3rd party HD kit (the box type one where you connect your own cable to it) and some random component cable I got on ebay.

Is there a good quality alternative available (to UK)?

Thanks
There are three likely causes of a bad picture when using a HD connection:

A. You haven't properly enabled HD in XBMC. I was dismayed when I first connected my xbox via a HD cable because the picture was worse than using the old SCART connection - like you I experienced a lot of ghosting, particularly on text. The problem was that I was still running in standard definition, I had to specifically enable the 720p mode on my xbox and then tell XBMC to run both the interface and the video player at that resolution before I got the picture quality I was expecting.

B. Your TV has trouble coping with the HD signal that the xbox puts out. Some HDTVs have problems with certain sources, a particular model may display the output of a standalone Bluray player with no problems but struggle with the xbox or PS3 output. Before you spend money on a high quality cable it might be worth searching a few AV Forums to see if your model of TV is known to have a problem with the xbox in HD mode.

C. You've got a poor quality HD cable. With a lot of electrical equipment you can get away with using cheap no-name cables as interconnects, unfortunately the xbox doesn't fall into that category. A lot of the third party HD cables available for the xbox will cause problems (it seems to be a common complaint on forums) so it's best to stick with the ones I recommend in the guide.


Double-check that you have set up XBMC to use the HD capability, if for some reason it is still outputting SD that could well be the cause of the ghosting. Also do a bit of googling to see whether anybody else has run into problems getting your model of TV to work with an xbox running in HD. If you're sure that everything is set up properly and your TV should work okay then it's probably your cable that is causing the problem, you'll have to buy a better one. They can be hard to find in the shops so ebay is your best bet - do a search for "xbox -360 component" (no quotes). If the listing doesn't state that the cable is an official Microsoft one (or a Monster Gamelink) then steer clear.

Good luck!
SixShot84 Wrote:Yeah Ive got a 3rd party HD kit (the box type one where you connect your own cable to it) and some random component cable I got on ebay.

Is there a good quality alternative available (to UK)?
You best bet is to get the original "Microsoft High Definition AV pack" (HDTV Component) cable of eBay. There is a whole topic thread on where to get a good Xbox component cable here:
http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=20699

Personally I have good experience with the third-party K├ÂNIG (Konig) Xbox Component Cable on 720p LCD TVs, ...but others have reported some issues with it.
Good Tut! I've ordered my cable, but thought I would try it out while waiting.

I've got the xbox 'sticking' in NTSC mode using Enigmah, however when I use the MS daschboard to enable the HD settings, all I have under Settings / Video is Normal/Letterbox/Widescreen.

Is this because I haven't got the cable plugged in - or am I missing something?
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