XBox 360 Media Extender Capabilities…Foiled Again
Earlier this afternoon I saw news about an update to the Windows Media Player 11 beta. I wanted to wait to install it after I got home, but in the meantime, I took a look at what was supposed to be new. I read some bullet point about sharing your media — music, pictures, AND movies — with devices like the Roku Soundbridge, or the XBox 360. So immediately that got me wondering, did Microsoft really give non-Media-Center-Edition users the option to stream video finally? Apparently not.
Though the XBox 360 was able to see my computer’s shared library via the new WMP 11 beta 2, the video option wasn’t working. It seems there was a catch, which I think probably was pre-existing, but still p***es me off — apparently, just because you can enable video sharing, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the device that you are streaming to can access those files. So the original limitation of only sharing music and pictures if you aren’t running Media Center Edition still applies. The only difference with beta 2 of WMP 11 in this regard is that the Windows Media Connect functionality is now built-in, instead of a separate app. What a let down!
I don’t understand why Microsoft is so stubborn about this. I know that it’s a way (scuzzy way, if you ask me) to force people to upgrade to Media Center Edition, but the people who are likely to take that upgrade path probably were already thinking of doing so, without relying on this “halo effect” with the 360. GRRRRR. Why not do a bit of a teaser functionality where you can stream lower-res videos if you only have XP SP 2, but you can stream HD videos if you have Media Center Edition? That would’ve been more appealing and less “greedy b*****d”, IMO. The average consumer would want to be able to preview the functionality on their own machines before laying down the money to upgrade to an MCE machine. Now that Vista will include MCE, that makes it less of an issue, but while Vista is still not here, why not try to draw people in with some basic video streaming? *sigh*
If there is actually a way to stream video with WMP 11 beta 2 and an XP SP2 machine, please negate my blog post!