Windows Media Extender Features
What Else Does Xbox360 Extender Do for Me?
Streaming video to the Xbox360 extender from Windows Media Center is the most sought after feature of the Extender. There is a lot of confusion and some misconceptions about exactly what is and what is not possible with the Extender. Let's take a closer look.
Speed/Choppy Video: If you establish a hard-wired connection between Xbox360, your Media Center PC, and your router, and it will playback flawlessly. Using wireless 802.11 b, and to a lesser degree 802.11 g, exposes your communications to interference which will result in choppiness. Microsoft suggests using 802.11 a wireless protocol for uninterrupted video.
This is an expensive and unnecessary option to resort to. Remember that both your PC and the Xbox360 must be hard wired to your router in order to receive the benefits. This will be covered later in "Wireless Networking with your Media Extender."
What about AVI, QuickTime, MPEG4, DivX, and all my other video?
Media Center will play back other video formats through the PC only using Media Player 10. None of these video formats will stream to Xbox360. You can convert them to one of the two supported formats. The conversion of formats is called transcoding and will result in the loss of some audio and video quality. There’s a free transcoder that converts just about every video format you can image to something that will stream to the Xbox360 called the Xbox360 Converter.
MP3 Music Library
Media Connect will stream MP3 music to the Xbox360 from either Windows XP or Media Center. Media Center isn’t required to playback mp3s, but it will work. Windows Media Player controls the Media Library through Xbox360 and, if you have a very large library, you will want to create Media Center play lists. Album and artist views of your music library are difficult to navigate using the Xbox360 Extender. It’s best to do any file management through your PC. You can navigate through your library much more easily through the PC and will be able to build play lists you can more readily access through the extender. Through the Xbox360, you can select a play list and start listening to music. It sounds good, but not great. Streaming music through a network doesn’t hold a candle to popping in the CD or even playing back MP3s from a connected player. However, the benefit is the convenience.
Other Options & Features
Of course, the Media Center Extender has a slideshow feature, which is a great to way to view images. The Media Center Extender is very good at displaying large, high- resolution images that look quite nice. Dividing galleries into different folders is an intuitive way to maintain your images and works well through the Xbox360 extender.
There is an online option you can use through the extender, which allows you to look at content provided by cable networks in streaming video. It’s a nice diversion and a great way to get light info you might have to otherwise surf the web for. The ability to bookmark this information is a nice benefit.