For all intents and purposes, the original Xbox, with its NVIDIA GPU, 8-10GB hard disk and custom Pentium III processor was a high-end PC for its time -- albeit, one that connected to a television. What Microsoft didn't realize back then, though, was that when you put that kind of hardware in the hands of hackers and enthusiasts, it's only a matter of time before people start doing more than just playing Halo. Fast forward to 2003, the year the Xbox Media Center was born. Nowadays, it's simply referred to as XBMC, since it runs on more than just your Xbox. In brief, XBMC is an open-source software solution that enables a plethora of media streaming capabilities on all sorts of devices. What once was limited to the original Xbox, can now be put to use on everything from a bare-bones Linux desktop to an Apple TV. In this how-to, we'll show you how to build a simple XBMC setup using XBMCbuntu. Catch us after the break for the full step-by-step.

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Sometimes it's hard to draw the line between "fair use" and "just plain ol' dumb," but if being in charge of the playback and storage of your purchased media is of the utmost importance to you -- to the tune of a couple grand -- then Jake Ludington over at MediBlab has a solution for you. His argument in favor such extreme measures is the tried and true "backup" excuse, since, so far, managed copy hasn't made its way into his discs or hardware. Of course, with the amount of money involved in his method, he would probably be better off just paying buying a few extra copies of any disc he might purchase, and storing 'em in a vault someplace. However, if you would like to follow in Jake's fair usin' footsteps, the method is really quite straightforward. Just score yourself an Xbox 360 and HD DVD drive (one of the view HD DVD solutions which will output 1080i or 720p via component), a minimum of 4 eSATA drives in a RAID 0 array (for which you might need an external SATA card), an AJA XENA LG analog HD capture card (which will be doing most of the heavy lifting in this process), and a speedy PC for processing the video once you've got it all captured. Not quite 1080p, and not quite digital perfection, but it should win you a good bit of love and recognition in the BitTorrent community be plenty good for most "backup" purposes.

[Via eHomeUpgrade]