Looking at next-gen offerings from Microsoft and Sony, it seems like incorporating video, TV, music, and your photo collection (and possibly social media) into the combination of games and unlocking achievements is now an integral part of owning a game console. This is the main selling point to deliver the ultimate entertainment experience in living rooms and homes across the developed world.
But wait — why wait for Xbox One or when can you stream video and music from computers over your home network and from the Internet to your existing Xbox 360, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo consoles?
But before that, this: the original Xbox
Before we get excited about the current crop of console-based media centers and next-gen devices like the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, let’s think a little about the original Xbox.
Although the Xbox was limited to standard definition video, it was instrumental in bringing media and games into the same devices as game consoles gradually evolved into networked entertainment hubs capable of displaying photos, TV, video, music, and of course running games.
The original Xbox was the starting point, and if you can get a hold of it, you’ll have a competent media center for a penny.
Xbox 360 media centers
- BBC iPlayer (UK only)
- ESPN3 / ESPN.com
- Hulu Plus
- tonight show
- Zune Marketplace
Last.fm and Pandora are also available to Xbox 360 users (the latter only through a browser-based UI), while TVersity can also be used for audio streaming.
All in all, Xbox 360 users have plenty of options to transform their game console into a media center!
PlayStation 3 media center
If you’re planning on streaming from your PC to your PlayStation 3, you’ll need the PS3 Media Server app, available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.