Sunday, November 21, 2010

How to stream content to your Xbox 360 or Playstation 3

From any windows computer, it is very easy to stream content to either of these gaming consoles. Before you try to set up streaming here are some important points.

Content that is protected with digital rights management (DRM) will not likely stream. If you use iTunes to download TV shows for example, you can't stream that content to a game console unless the content is DRM-free.

You should also consider connecting the source computer to your network via a wired connection. If you have an older wireless router you will have issues streaming video to these console. If you have a newer 802.11n router, you will have better results but a wired connection would still be faster.

You should make notes of your firewall settings before you begin. If you run into problems connecting, your firewall configuration should be your first stop.

At this point you're ready to begin. If you don't already have it on your machine, download Windows Media Player 11. As part of the install your windows operating system will be validated. Once that is successful, install the player software and follow the instructions.

When the install is complete, open the media player. The first time you run it, you will prompted to set defaults. As part of the initial configuration, any items in your My Music, My Photos and/or My Videos folder will be added to your library. Under the Library button you will see an option for Media Sharing. Make sure you check the box under Sharing Settings to begin sharing and click the Settings button. From here you can name your Media Share and identify what kinds of content you want to make available. At the bottom of the window is a check box which will tell the media player to allow new devices and computers to connect automatically. The risk in checking this off is this; if you use your laptop away from home other people on the network will be able to access your content. If you leave your computer at home, I feel that the risk is pretty low in turning that on. If your network is compromised then you are also at risk. Use your best judgement. If you're not sure, leave it unchecked.

Now that the media server is running, go to your gaming console and try searching for the computer. On the Xbox 360 it is a simple as navigating to your library and selecting Window PC as your source. On the PS3, you have to search for media servers first. Once the server is found, you can navigate to the respective library and select the PC as the source.

In an earlier post I talked about using podcasts to tailor content to your interests. If you place the podcasts in the shared PC library, they will be available on the consoles. It's that easy!

If you're still not sure if this will work for you, my next post will walk you through the costs and savings of streaming content to help save money on your cable tv bill.


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