Thinking of Using Your XBox 360Extender to Watch HDTV Over Wi-Fi? You May Want to Think Again

HDTV over WiFi: tips and tricks – HD Beat So I still haven’t gotten my hands on a coveted XBox 360 yet so I can’t speak from personal experience here but Kevin Tofel over at HDBeat has a very interesting post out this morning regarding the ability to stream HDTV content from his Media Center PC to his XBox 360 Extender via wi-fi.

Now I will have to say that even though it is supposed to be *technically* possible to stream HDTV via wi-fi with a Media Center / XBox 360 combo, before even testing this capability I’ve already in my own mind resigned myself to the fact that it won’t work for me. I’ve had too much trouble with wi-fi over the years to consider it reliable and HDTV television files can be pretty big. At present I’ve got a Gigabit switch with Cat6 wiring in my home and this is what I will stream my XBox 360 with once I finally get one.

But irrespective of my own bias against wi-fi, according to Kevin, Media Center HDTV over wi-fi might be a bad idea:

“If you recall, we were demonstrating the Windows Media Extender technology with the Xbox 360 for high-def. I’ll say right up front, it works as advertised: you can stream high-definition content to the 360 that’s hooked up to an HDTV set. I’ve been completely impressed with the quality of the streaming; both recorded HD as well as live. The best way to say it: there is no noticeable difference if I’m watching HD via my over-the-air tuner or from the Xbox 360.

So what’s the kicker? Bandwidth, baby…bandwidth. Those MPEG-2 streams I used to watch OTA can be up to 19.39 megabits-per-second. If you don’t have the pipe for that bandwidth, your video will be choppy, will stutter, or will even be dropped for a time.

“OK,” you say, “so for me to do this via WiFi, I need to have fast WiFi capability.” You guessed it, but your options are VERY limited if you want to use the Xbox 360 for one reason and one reason only. The WiFi adapter for the unit is capable of the three main 802.11x standards: a, b, and g. Don’t even consider the 802.11b network for this purpose. It’s fine for Xbox Live, but the 11 Mbps speed won’t even come close for high-def streaming.”

Kevin’s got more on the story including a bunch of screen shots to demonstrate his point over at HDBeat.com. My advice? The idea of HDTV over wi-fi seems really convenient — and while I’m sure I’ll test it to see how it works for me, in the end you’ll probably be much happier with networking it via Cat-6 cabeling to a gigabit switch.

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2 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Is the Xbox 360 network adapter Gigabit?

  2. The Xbox 360 network adapter is 10/100