Connecting to a Shared Music Library with Xbox 360

With Xbox 360 game consoles now found in tens of millions of homes worldwide, Microsoft has found a perfect way to share PC-based music libraries with a device that is probably connected to the best TV display and stereo system in the home. Thankfully, the process is simple:

1. After you’ve confi gured Windows Media Player 11 to share its media library, ensure that your Xbox 360 is connected to the home network, and then turn it on. You will see a Found Windows Media Center Extender balloon window, but you can ignore this for now (unless you’re using your Windows Vista–based machine as a Media Center PC).

2. You will also see a balloon window appear for sharing with the Xbox 360. Doubleclick this icon and click Allow in the resulting dialog box. Alternatively, access the Media Sharing dialog box described earlier and make sure the Xbox 360 is configured to allow sharing.

3. Access your Xbox 360 and navigate to the Media blade. This part of the Xbox 360 user interface enables you to interact with PC-based digital media, connected portable devices (e.g., iPods and other MP3 players), and even external hard drives with stored digital media files. Right now, of course, you are just concerned with sharing media content from a Windows Vista–based PC.

4. To play shared music, select the Music option to display the Music page. Then select the name of your Vista-based computer from the source list on the left. (You’ll also see options such as Console, Current Disk, and Portable Device.) If this is the fi rst time you’ve done this, Xbox 360 will need to download Windows Media Connect, which is the same software many devices use to stream media from Windows Vista–based PCs. After this download is completed, Xbox 360 will automatically connect to PCs that are sharing media libraries. Just select the correct PC from the list to continue. Now you can access your PC’s media library using a simple menu that consists of albums, artists, saved playlists, songs, and genres (see Figure 11-43). Xbox 360 also includes a decent media player for playing back this content.

As you might expect, photos and videos are accessed in a similar manner.

If you attempt to access photos or videos from an Xbox 360 or other Windows Media Connect device and receive a “No photos found,” “No videos found,” or similar message, then you’re not sharing any content of this type. To add photo or video content to Windows Media Player, you can either add it via Windows Photo Gallery or use the Find Media steps to manually search folders that include photo and video content.

The Xbox 360 isn’t the only electronics device that can access digital media content on your Vista-based PC over the home network. A variety of hardware makers, such as D-Link, Linksys, and others, sell so-called digital media receivers, which are simple set-top boxes that bridge the gap between your home stereo and TV and your PC. Sony’s PlayStation 3 (PS3) also offers Xbox 360–like media connectivity functionality, also using Microsoft Windows Media Connect technology. Increasingly, it’s getting easier and easier to access your content regardless of where you are.

Source of Information : Wiley Windows Vista Secrets SP1 Edition

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