If you have a wireless network in your home, and a wireless computer, you can stream videos and music to your Xbox 360. This will allow you to see your videos on the larger screen on your TV or take advantage of your speakers or surround sound when listening to audio.The good part about this is that it doesn't have to break the bank. Any inexpensive desktop with a wireless card, or any one of the many cheap laptops on the market will do just fine.
To set up audio and video streaming to your console, you will need a wireless computer that has at least Windows XP Service Pack 3 and Windows Media Player 11. (Windows Vista and Windows 7, with any service pack, are also compatible.) If you have at least Windows XP you can download updates to SP3 and WMP11 for free on the Microsoft.com website, or through Windows Update.
You will need to make sure that both your computer and your Xbox 360 can connect wirelessly, if either are not connected the streaming will not work. If you do not have a wireless adapter for your Xbox, you will need to purchase one. Once you have confirmed that both devices are able to connect wirelessly, you will need to set up your computer to allow sharing to the Xbox.
To do this, you will open up WMP11 and select the arrow under the "Library" tab, next select the "Media Sharing" option. Once you are in "Media Sharing," you will check the box under Sharing settings that says "Share my media," and then hit "OK." After a few minutes, in the Share my media screen, you will see your Xbox show up as an option. Once it does, click on the Xbox icon and click "Allow," and then click on "OK."
Now that your computer is able to share audio and video to your Xbox, to access the media on the console, you will use the controller to select "Media." Once you are in Media, you will select "Computer." A box will pop up saying "Windows-based PC" and then you will choose "Yes" and "Continue." After a few moments your computer's network name will show up, and once that happens, you will select your computer. Once you have selected your computer, it will show you a list of available media to stream to your Xbox. After you select your media from the list, it will begin to stream and play through your console.
However, not all formats are compatible. For example, your Xbox doesn't play DivX. If you have a DivX movie that you want to watch on your TV you can install software to transcode the DivX movie from your PC and stream it to your Xbox. I used a software called PlayOn, (http://www.playon.tv/playon). It can co local media streaming(like DivX movies) as well as internet streaming, so you can watch Hulu on your Xbox without the need for paying for Hulu Plus.
About the Author
Walter Carlyle is a software programmer who is an avid movie watcher and video game player.