What's Up With Xbox Media Center

December 12, 2005

Big Pimpin: Custom Interface Sounds

A few months ago, interface sounds finally made it into Xbox Media Center. Being a Tivo owner, this is something I'd wanted for a while. Luckily for us, the developers kept it open enough for us to add our own "Sound Themes." Here I'll show you how to add your own.

Project Mayhem III, the default skin for Xbmc, comes with its own sounds embedded into the package. Incorporating new sounds is almost as simple as adding audio files to your /sounds folder. With a catch. You just need to have an edited XML file to go along with them.

Audio Files

Let's start with the audio files. Find some sound effects you'd like to use for your interface sounds. Some of the controls you're going to make audible are cursor movement, selecting, going back, screenshots, and interface popups. I downloaed the Tivo sound effects (thanks to Sean M. Burke) and luckily for me, they were already wav files. If your's aren't then use Quicktime or any other of the numerous free applications out there that will convert them for you.

Now rename your files with logical names.


XML File

The supporting XML file is used to map your sound files to the interface commands. Doing so will tell Xbmc to fire off your sound effect everytime one of the commands occurs. The format is normal XML and is simple to edit. Here's a blurb from it so you can see its format.




There's just two elements for each Action item. Name and File. Name will be the corresponding control name, IE. up, down, select, previousmenu, etc. File is the filename of the sound effect. Save your file and you're done.

Upload your sound theme to /sounds in your Xbmc directory. Keep separate folders for each theme. Inside your folder you should have all of your sounds plus the XML file you created.

Once it's uploaded, restart your Xbox Media Center and go to the Appearance settings. Choose your sounds from the menu and you're done. Custom interface sounds!

Try your own, or use my Tivo sound theme as a starting block.

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