Finally giving into the inevitable, I decided to upgrade my old Xbox 360 with the new, redesigned unit which is supposed to be both smaller, more power efficient and very quiet. Since I primarily use my Xbox 360 for media streaming and not as much gaming and since I had to go back through the Media Center setup for the new unit, I figured this would be a good time to go step-by-step through the process of setting up an Xbox 360 for media streaming in Windows 7.
Media Center is a great product, but how a user takes Media Center from their Windows machine and puts it on their main TV is where the difficulties usually come. While there are many different ways and devices to use to setup Media Center on your TV, the two best ways, that I’ve found, are: are a media PC and an Xbox 360. I’m going to go through the steps for the Xbox.
First, you will need to make sure your copy of Windows 7 comes with Media Center. Second, we need to make sure we have all of the hardware setup correctly. Configurations will vary depending on what devices you have and how you have everything setup, but the basic idea is in the diagram below. My Xbox is one of the new ones with Wi-Fi built-in, so there is no cable directly connecting my Xbox and router. You may also have a wired connection or a seperate wireless card connected to your console.
On the Xbox…
There are a few different ways to get started. You can select Windows Media Center from the My Xbox menu or navigate to Settings and select Network connections. You can then test the connections for Xbox LIVE, PC and Media Center. If you choose “Media Center”, you will begin the process of obtaining your 8-digit setup key (write this key down, you’ll need it shortly).
On the Windows 7 PC…
With the setup key in hand, you will boot up your Windows 7 PC and open Windows Media Center by clicking on the Start button, then Media Center in the Programs menu.
At the Media Center Home screen, scroll down to Tasks and select Add Extender.
Click Next to continue.
It should ask you for the 8-digit setup key.
Complete the setup process.
Once the setup finished, my Xbox automatically started up Media Center.
(For best results with streaming media wirelessly, Microsoft recommends a wireless-N network, but I have no problems on my wireless-G home network.)
Using the Xbox 360 as a media extender is one of the best ways that I have found to deliever my Windows 7 PC’s media to my living room television. While Microsoft has made the process of setting this up fairly simple, I figured there are users out there, like myself, who can use a step-by-step guide as a reference.
For any gamers interested, I’m currently playing Gears of War 2 and Madden 11. Gemertag – jmlefevers07