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Saturday, December 03, 2005

Xbox 360 wants to be your hub

Xbox 360 wants to be your hub

"The Xbox 360 is the most powerful games console currently available, but Microsoft is hoping the device will attract more than just hardcore gamers thanks to a raft of multimedia features.

Games consoles have for some time been able to play music CDs and film DVDs but now Microsoft's 360 machine can also access music and photographs stored on a computer running Windows XP.

It may sound unimpressive but at a stroke Microsoft has started the process of taking the versatility and storage capability of a PC and bringing it into the living room.

The growth of MP3 players and digital cameras in recent years combined with the access to broadband has seen many people stuff their PC hard drives with music tracks and photographs.

Many want to play that music on a living room hi-fi but running a long cable from your PC is not the best option.

Connect wirelessly

In the last few years a number of so-called media extender boxes have gone on the market that can connect wirelessly to a PC and do the job of connecting the hi-fi with computer.

To get the 360 and PC speaking you need to download a small piece of Microsoft software called Windows Connect, available free of charge, on to your computer.

From there it is an easy job to install, and if your PC is on the same local network as your 360 - they are both connected to the same router - you can select the folders where you store your music or photos and then start browsing via the 360 within minutes.

The browsing function on the 360 is limited and if you have a sizable collection of music on your PC's hard drive, it can be a slow process to locate your chosen album, artist or track." [more]

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