Impressions on XBox 360 as a Media Center Extender Unit

sMoRTy71.com: Impressions: XBOX 360 & MCE 2005 Shawn Morton is out with his impressions on using your XBox 360 as a Media Center Extender unit and reports, “Overall, I am very pleased with how well the 360 and MCE box play together.”

“Video streaming to the XBOX 360 is awesome! I built a few HTPCs in the past few years and the XBOX 360-as-media-center-extender idea is brilliant. Unlike the HTPCs I built, this one worked without any tinkering with drivers or video card settings.

I have ripped about a dozen DVDs (the ones that I tend to watch a lot) to the Media Center box (look for a post about how to do this later this week). It is great to able to pull those up either in the bedroom on the Media Center box or in the Manroom on the 360.”

Shawn is not running HDTV (yet) and he is running on a wired not wireless network but I think that most people have been pretty happy with the set up so far.

I still have not been able to test it out because I still have not been able to get my hands on an XBox but I’m sure I’ll have a review out before Christmas this year!

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  1. Aaron says:

    My biggest gripe thus far is the lack of visualizations for My Music. It’s a problem when running on a plasma TV.

    Though relatively speaking, if that’s the biggest problem then I’d say things are pretty damn good. HDTV works perfectly on a wired CAT5 network.

  2. The HD is very pretty, but the problem with HD — as anyone with HD knows — is that there’s no damn source for it. WMV-HD clips downloaded from Microsoft’s little demo page are cool and all, but more a novelty than anything else. (I’m slightly bothered that the DRMed WMV-HD files don’t stream to the 360, though — shouldn’t that work?) This will probably become a killer app when I buy a CableCard-certified PC in the post-Vista world.

    Other than that, it works about how you’d expect: If you’ve used Media Center, you’ve used the 360’s Media Center interface, as it’s identical (as far as I can tell).

    The main downside remains the loud fan. If you don’t want a computer in your AV rack for noise reasons, you don’t want a 360 there for the same reason. It’s at least as loud as an unsilenced desktop computer. Because of that, I prefer to still use my Squeezebox for music purposes when playing non-DRMed music.

  3. Aaron says:

    Re: HD source.

    I get about 10 OTA channels in high def. Most programming that I watch is on these channels, and most prime time programming on thse shows is recorded in HD. If you think that it’s limited to “wmv-hd sample downloads” then you haven’t seen an OTA tuner….