The Xbox 360 has been touted as a media hub for everything – plug in usb sticks and it will play music, films and pictures from it. Plug in mp3 players and they’ll work too – even the iPod. One of the most touted features was that it would work as a Media Centre Extender. So if you have Windows Media Centre the Xbox would connect to the pc and play all content – music, pics, films (including hi def) and recorded tv. Great, but I don’t have Media Centre. I tried it but because I’m not using it to record tv I found it to be a bit clunky compared to using iTunes or other software on the main pc. Meh.
However after doing a bit of digging there is hope for us non Media Centre folk. The 360 will allegedly support Windows Media Connect. This allows other devices to link to a normal XP machine and play music, videos etc in the same way as Media Centre. Looks like the software could be a bit flaky but for me this is great news as I had no intention of setting up a Media Centre machine. I’ll still be keeping the chipped Xbox and accessing media that way as the support for viewing online trailers, playing emulated games etc is superb and will not be do-able with a 360…well not until they are chipped at least. However being able to access all the media from the new machine is really cool – roll on November.