Geek Weekend Project: My P90XBox

I started the P90X fitness program a couple of weeks ago. I absolutely love it, even though a killer sinus infection knocked me out for a few days, making me re-start Week 2. For those who aren’t familiar, P90X is a 90-day program of strict diet and daily exercise six days a week. It is video-driven, consisting of 12 different hour-long workouts on DVD.

Since you do a different workout every day, you’re continually swapping discs in and out of the DVD package. Dealing with a stack of discs is pretty low-tech; plus, I don’t want to run the risk of damaging a disc. So, what’s a geeky dad to do?

Since I had already decided to use my original XBox as the DVD player for my garage workouts, I thought I’d take it a bit further. Most technophiles know that the XBox isn’t just a gaming machine; it’s really a pretty capable computer. Hackers have been messing with it for years, adding funcitonality far beyond what Microsoft originally intended. That was my plan.

Using these awesome directions from the always-helpful, I spent last Saturday hacking my XBox into an awesome media center. I replaced the XBox operating system with the Softmod OS and then installed the XBox Media Center application on the box. This great combo enables me full media control over all the pictures, movies, music, and more on my home network. It even allows me to FTP into the XBox itself to move media files onto the internal hard drive. That’s where the magic is.


My original plan was to move all of the ripped DVDs from my DVD set onto the box, but I was disappointed to find that there is only about 5gb of internal storage available on the stock XBox hard drive. From here, I can either take the mod a step further and replace the hard drive, or just use the hacked XBox’s new media capabilities to play the ripped movie files directly off a backup DVD-R. Not wanting to spend any more money on this experiement, that’s the option I’m going with. The end result is the same: boost my geek cred while protecting the original P90X DVDs. And, I was able to get the whole P90X series on four DVD-Rs, compared to the original 12. That means I only have to swap discs every three or four days.

The project is complete and the setup is currently housed in my garage ready for a workout anytime. I call it my P90XBox.


5 Responses to Geek Weekend Project: My P90XBox

  1. Troy says:

    Well done. Geeky dad geekiness: +1.

    Probably a good choice with the hard drive. I’m 2 for 3 on hard drive swaps, with one attempt resulting in a ruined original xbox drive. :\

  2. Heather says:

    You are such a dork. And man, would my husband be proud. I’m going to have to share this post with him. Can I just admit that I can’t wait until Abigail gets here so the posts are more “Dad” than “Geek” for awhile. Sorry…

    • Allen says:

      It’s funny. I have a few people who say that, and then I have just as many who want more geek and less family. I guess that means I’m keeping it fair and balanced already. 🙂

  3. Michael Morton says:

    So how long did the mod take you to complete?

    • Allen says:

      Had a slight hang up getting part of it to work. It involves loading hacks on an external card with a game adapter on a Windows computer, and Windows kept choking. Once everything was ready to go on the XBox, it was only like 20 minutes of work.

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