Extend your entertainment

Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console is packed with powerful hardware that gives it a breath of capabilities including media sharing. So, if you want to turn your console into a handy ‘media extender’, read on as WINDOWS explains all.

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By  Jason Saundalkar Published  February 22, 2009

Microsoft's Xbox 360 console is packed with powerful hardware that gives it a breath of capabilities including media sharing. So, if you want to turn your console into a handy ‘media extender', read on as WINDOWS explains all.

Today's world is filled with a vast array of digital content such as high resolution digital images, High Definition (HD) movies and more. In most cases all this content is stored on your PC, which in turn is likely relegated to your bedroom or a dedicated workspace inside a study.

But, what if you want to view this content on a larger HD screen rather than being forced to view it on the smaller screen that your PC is connected to? Enter Microsoft's Xbox 360 console.

The 360 is designed primarily to play HD games but thanks to its high-end internals, it can do more than just run the latest 3D games.

It can in fact be used as a sort of ‘media extender' that can take the content stored on your PC's hard drive and pump it onto the screen and sound system it is connected to.

This way you can better enjoy the content stored on your PC while leaving your PC exactly where it is at the moment. To get this sort of functionality however, you'll need to do some groundwork.

The necessities

Assuming you have your Xbox 360 connected to a home theatre audio system and a HD screen, you'll only need to invest a small amount of time and money to turn your 360 into a proper media extender.

First and foremost, you'll need to have your Xbox connected to your PC via a network. The choice of whether to go the wired or wireless route here depends on a number of factors.

From a performance perspective, if you're considering streaming high-bitrate HD movies from your PC to your console, you'll need a solution that offers sufficient bandwidth.

This then dictates that you go the wired route with a 10/100Mbits/sec network. However, if your 360 and PC are in close proximity to each other, you may be able to get away from using cables by going the WiFi route and using a ‘N' standard adapter.

Cable free

If you want to hook up your Xbox 360 console to your existing network and want to avoid running cables throughout your house, you can opt for a wireless solution. A number of USB WiFi adapters are compatible with the 360, so look around and pick one that suits your budget. If you're having difficulty finding a third party adapter however, you can't go wrong with Microsoft's own 360 Wireless Network adapter.


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