Xbox 360 media skills revealed

We spent a day playing the Xbox 360’s games when we went to the unveiling of the console in Amsterdam last month. But it wasn’t until yesterday that w

We spent a day playing the Xbox 360’s games when we went to the unveiling of the console in Amsterdam last month. But it wasn’t until yesterday that we witnessed the 360’s multimedia capabilities – and we have to say we’re impressed.

Back at the beginning of October, Xbox boss Jay Allard demonstrated the Xbox’s ability to hook up to an iPod to soundtrack your games, so you don’t have to re-rip all your CDs. What he didn’t show, however, was how the Xbox can also wirelessly link to a Windows XP computer to stream music, movies and even TV recordings. Which means you can have a PC in the study or bedroom, and access all its content through your TV in the lounge.

There is one problem – your PC will need to be running the Windows XP Media Center Edition software. And you can’t upgrade to Media Center Edition – it only comes with new computers because it needs a large amount of memory, a TV tuner and other multimedia features.

But if you’re the lucky owner of an official Media Center PC, then the Xbox 360 will wirelessly connect to it and give you a familiar Media Center-style interface – with big text that’s easily readable even if you’re sitting ten feet away from the screen on your sofa.

This isn’t a new idea – you’ve been able to buy a standalone Media Center Extender box for some time – but to see to see the system built into a £210 games console is impressive indeed. And guess what? Unlike most demos, this one actually worked.

Sign me up, Bill.

Related stories:

Hands on with the new Xbox

Xbox 360 shortages predicted

360 launch games in doubt

Apple’s media centre PC