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Windows 7 Streams Media To the Xbox 360 and PS3 Seamlessly 121

HardcoreWare reports that the release candidate for Windows 7 contains improved video codecs, and does a much better job of streaming media to popular consoles out of the box. "No longer will you have to install special REG files to 'trick' Windows into streaming video to your PS3 or XBOX 360. And no longer will you have to use UPnP media servers like TVersity that transcode video, severely reducing quality and cause unnecessary CPU load on the server."
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Windows 7 Streams Media To the Xbox 360 and PS3 Seamlessly

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  • Not so new... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 27, 2009 @03:45AM (#27727247)
    WMP11 has long supported streaming to the 360. I have WMP11 on my XP laptop, and it works like a charm....
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Kokuyo ( 549451 )

      What about the PS3, then? I find this step rather interesting. Microsoft often does not acknowledge their competitors even when those are market leaders. That they do so now, IMO, just points out how shaky they feel about the Vista situation and Windows 7.

      • Re:Not so new... (Score:5, Informative)

        by XDirtypunkX ( 1290358 ) on Monday April 27, 2009 @04:11AM (#27727349)

        You can stream to the PS3 from WMP11. In fact, you can stream to any device that implements the right set of UPnP media functionality. There are even a reasonable number of digital media receivers that offer this functionality from 3rd parties too, meaning you don't have to deal with either MS or Sony, which is a plus in my book.

      • I stream xvid files from my windows pc via WMP11 just fine to my PS3. Aside from normal codec requirements for playing xvid, I haven't needed to install anything else. I don't see what the fuss is all about.
    • Yeah, I have to agree, not new. Why such a big deal, the old XBOX did this just fine. I mean I have been streaming media to my XBOX (not 360) for years, from my Linux media server, perfectly flawless, it's the center of my entertainment system.

    • Yeah, seconded. WMP11 streams to ps3 without reg files, or any of the hoops described by the summary. It feels like the snuggie commercial... Are mundane tasks like answering the phone now impossibly difficult? []
    • I use it WMP11 too. I'd be impressed if they improved their codec support. I get annoyed when I can't play an mkv file or when my avi uses too new a version of xvid.
  • Odd article (Score:5, Interesting)

    by boaworm ( 180781 ) <> on Monday April 27, 2009 @03:54AM (#27727287) Homepage Journal

    It looks like it cannot make up its mind:


    And no longer will you have to use UPnP media servers like TVersity that transcode video, severely reducing quality and cause unnecessary CPU load on the server.

    So how are you going to stream to the PS3? The PS3 is a UPnP client, of course you have to provide UPnP services. That has nothing to do with the transcoding.

    They they state:
    The Playstation 3 streams through UPnP.

    So, now you do use UPnP.

    And sure it is convenient to have this built-in, but why would that use less resources than a 3rd party server? The job has to be done anyway...

    Its a nice feature, especially if they can get transcoding to work smoothly in conjunction with pausing, stopping, searching backwards and forwards in files. Otherwise the new PS3 feature to get 1 minute snapshots to browse back and forth in episodes will not work very well.

    From what I can see from the format list, they don't do transcoding anyway, they just provide UPnP streaming, and it is way too rough when it says "YES/OK" for XVid/DivX. That depends not on the container, but what is contained in them. Some DivX files I have are not encoded with standard mp3 sound, hence they are not playable without transcoding to begin with.

    • Re:Odd article (Score:5, Informative)

      by RyuuzakiTetsuya ( 195424 ) <taiki AT cox DOT net> on Monday April 27, 2009 @03:57AM (#27727305)

      UPnP serves up the plain ol' media to the client.

      However, some UPnP servers are smart enough to know some UPnP clients can't decode certain files, so it, in real time, transcodes to formats they know are readable by most clients.

      • Re:Odd article (Score:5, Informative)

        by k-macjapan ( 1271084 ) on Monday April 27, 2009 @04:28AM (#27727415)

        And that is why I will not stop using PS3Mediaserver( It is by far the best UPnP client for PS3 and is catching on with Xbox360 users as well.

        It is an open source project that is updated quite frequently. For anyone still using Tversity I would highly recommend giving this a shot. It transcodes all basically all formats for viewing on the PS3.

        The official forum for PS3Mediaserver = [] You can find beta builds here and interesting conversation.

        • I love ps3MediaServer. I use it on my mac notebook to serve files to my 360 and my ps3.

          I am in the process of building a ubuntu machine to handle the streaming to reduce the load on my notebook.

          • If you're custom building an ubuntu machine you might as well install XBMC on it and have done with the streaming completely.

          • by Nursie ( 632944 )

            Check out mediatomb if you're installing ubuntu, it's available from the repositories and rather good.

        • by godfra ( 839112 )
          That looks really useful, WMP11 is just painful really.

    • by aliquis ( 678370 )

      Some DivX files I have are not encoded with standard mp3 sound, hence they are not playable without transcoding to begin with.

      Of course they are playable if you have an AC3 codec ..

      Or do you mean on your console of choice? One can't install additional codecs on either off them?

      • by boaworm ( 180781 )

        Or do you mean on your console of choice? One can't install additional codecs on either off them?

        Yes, I meant on my PS3. And I cannot install codecs on that one apparently, so I'm stuck doing playbacks on the few formats it does support.

        Hence the need for transcoding.

        • by Nursie ( 632944 )

          It's supported nearly everything I ever threw at it. The PS3 has a wide range of codec support now. .mkv files are still a problem, but otherwise it's great. I've been using a linux based upnp server called mediatomb that can transcode if you like, but I've never bothered setting it up because it's unnecessary for 99% of stuff.

          • I have had the opposite experience. I don't have a single video on my computer that my PS3 could stream without transcoding. I have a lot of mkvs, ogms, avis... But now everyone will say "Those are just containers, not the codecs!" I don't know what codecs they use. But, the PS3 can't play 'em!
            • by boaworm ( 180781 )

              Yep, the PS3 does play far from everything. Lots of WMV files, and some downloaded divx/xvid, in particular those not with standard audio streams, it simply refuses to play.

              I've that seen MPG4/AAC in AVI containers rarely works for instance.

              • Why are people putting mp4 vide + AAC audio in an AVI or mkv container rather than an MPEG4 container?

  • ... assuming Microsoft really is supporting MP4 and other non-WMV-based codecs by default. Of course, they'll get all this credit from their fanbase for basically just catching up to where the rest of the world already has been for a couple years.

    I still have a suspicion WMV will get snuck in when people least expect it - time will tell.

    • by bcore ( 705121 )
      "for basically just catching up to where the rest of the world already has been for a couple years."

      Another way of looking at is that they are now well ahead of where apple are in this regard.. i.e. locked down daap, only supporting one single video codec and 2 minimalist containers, etc.
  • by beef3k ( 551086 ) on Monday April 27, 2009 @04:07AM (#27727337)
    I stream video and audio content to my PS3 via TVersity (and MediaTomb on a linux box) all the time. There's never any transcoding involved for files that the PS3 natively supports. How exactly is a Windows 7 machine supposed to serve alien formats to a PS3? The ones "tested" in the article are all natively supported. There's no way for the PS3 to play back content in formats it doesn't support unless the host computer transcodes the media.
    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      I stream video and audio content to my PS3 via TVersity (and MediaTomb on a linux box) all the time.

      WTF are you people watching? Seriously? When my day is over I crash on the couch late at night and I turn my TV to the On position and channel surf.
      Last night Futurama: Bender's Game was on. Cool. When it's time to veg out on the couch and stare at the tube there's usually something to watch on regular old TV (cable, FIOS, DirecTV, whatever). If there's something really cool I need to find, there's
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        Obviously you don't download much content via BitTorrent. There are many BBC shows that I can't get on North American TV e.g. Richard Dawkins' specials on Darwin, evolution, and atheism; BBC's "Horizon" series (like PBS' "NOVA", some shows shared), sir Patrick Moore's "The Sky at Night" etc. Also many NOVA shows that I missed. I now have a large collection ready on demand to watch, no digging for a DVD. My wife copies her movie and hobby-related DVD's to the server. Again, no fumbling for disks. Concert fil
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Theoboley ( 1226542 )
        I'm watching TV Shows that i've missed over the past week, or Shows on channels I don't have access to, I.E. Top Gear via BBC, or True Blood via HBO.

        There's little to no effort with setting these things up.

        I Installed Tversity, and within seconds of turning on my ps3, I can be watching an episode of whatever I want to watch. No fuss, no mess.

        I have recently though, bought another external hard drive, hooked it straight to my ps3 and watch movies, tv and whatever via that. Haven't had problems with codecs
  • So any device using this subset of UPnP A/V should work. DLNA 1.0 devices included. Check for the mark on your consumer electronics... or try to make the coherence plugin work -_-

  • As long as you have a compatible router, Windows Media Player 11 streams via UPnP with very minimal setup. You configure media sharing in your library, then you allow the devices you want to see your media.

    In fact, the process for me was this simple:
    1) Install a bunch of codecs (divx/xvid) for the formats I wanted to stream.
    2) Go to "Media Sharing..." under the library tab in WMP11 and tick the "Share My Media" box, then allow the 360 and the PS3.
    3) Connect from the Console.

    There is no need to put in specia

    • by iainl ( 136759 )

      The reg hacking is for all the formats (chiefly .m4a and .mp4, if memory serves) that the 360 and PS3 will play just fine, but Microsoft don't like to point WMP at out of the box, because they're a little bit too Apple-y, or something.

  • by Rennt ( 582550 ) on Monday April 27, 2009 @04:24AM (#27727389)

    Or you could just share your videos via samba and watch them with XBMC on the original xbox - this has worked great for years.

    The fact that this is news shows exactly how broken closed source platforms are. The only reason this is not already possible is because you are not in contol of hardware that you own.

    • It is already possible from the PC to the 360, it's just that Win7 supports more codecs natively and therefore will happily stream more. The PS3 goes a step further and supports generic UPnP.
      • by marcop ( 205587 )

        The 360 and Win7 combo isn't as feature rich as XBMC on an original Xbox. The only benefit I can see is that the 360 can support HD content whereas the original Xbox's hardware cannot.

        XBMC, an old Xbox, and a NAS with Samaba or SMB and you have a great media setup. I have ripped all my children's DVD's and put them on the NAS for playing directly from XBMC. It boots fast and it's easy to use.

        XBMC also does Internet streaming from Youtube. There is even a Hulu plugin that worked for a while until Hulu br

    • It all falls down when you move to HD unfortunately. The original Xbox lacks a digital video output and unfortunately it's poor little 733mhz cpu can't decode H.264/VC1.

      I've been migrating all my old Xboxen to small form factor pc's running XBMC for Windows as each of the CRT's in the house has been replaced with a new LCD.

      • I know what you mean. I love running XBMC on my old Xbox, but it just can't handle higher quality videos.

        Could you offer any suggestions about setting this up? My Dad has been wanting to set up something similar so that he can purchase a web subscription to Major League Soccer and stream those games to the TV.

        I have two main questions. First, can you recommend a particular small form factor pc? Second, how well does such a system function as a general purpose PC? Would a person be able to sit 8-10 feet away

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Mine are set up in ASUS P2-M2A690G Barebones, as at the time they were the only acceptable looking AMD compatable systems with HDMI out. There may be better ones out there now, so go take a look and see what's about. Inside it's running AMD Athlon X2 4800+ / 2x1GB PC6400 / 80GB Seagate Baracuda. It handles the decoding of 720P video just fine through XBMC Windows. The ram and hdd are probably overkill, but halfing the quantities would only have saved me £10, and you never know what things you mi

          • Thank you, that is helpful. You make a good point about keeping the PCs as clean as possible to avoid slow downs.

  • I hope they add transcoding (perhaps hardware accelerated) because without it, streaming various formats is very trouble some.

    Currently I am using PMS (PS3 Media Server for Win/Mac/Linux []) to watch movies on my PS3 and there is minimal quality from transcoding as PMS can create 70+Mbps MPEG2 streams on the fly. Only thing it current is missing is ability to playback ripped DVDs.

    • PMS can create 70+Mbps MPEG2 streams on the fly

      Yeah, but sadly, the PS3's wifi can't handle that, and mine's not in a place where I can run a wired connection. I also like PMS, and it works quite well, but for HD stuff I still mostly use sneakernet. Eventually I'll get Tomato or DD-WRT installed on my Linksys router and try booting the signal a little, see if that helps the wifi speed.

  • What about MKV containers and ASS subtitles. I bet it can't handle those or if it does, it renders these crappily.

    No thanks! I'll stick to my chipped XBox server running Samba on Gentoo and my other chipped Xbox running XBMC.

    This setup worked better in 2005 than Microsoft's current offering.

    • by Torp ( 199297 )

      Or MKV with any subtitles for that matter. If it only plays back WMV crap, it's useless.

      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        by FictionPimp ( 712802 )

        I've often thought it was a conspiracy that all pirate downloads for HD content are in MKV. It's not like you cant do high def content in containers that all major consoles will play.

        All pirate downloads seem to not work with apple tv's, 360's, or ps3's out of the "box" so to speak. Yet when I transcode my own video's I can easily pick a format that any of those 3 will play.

        In fact, I've straight up associated in my mind mkv files with piracy.

        • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

          by CronoCloud ( 590650 )

          If pirates used MP4 containers, they couldn't complain anymore. IMHO they don't want their stuff to work on the commercial boxes, thay way they can proclaim how superior their setupfoo is.

    • But how do you watch HD .mkv's on XBMC? I've never had any luck running anything 720p or above.

      • Like you said, the XBox's CPU (a Celeron 600MHZ) is not capable of running an MKV which contain x264 video encoded on anything higher than 720p.

        Fortunately, XBMC is also available for both Linux, AppleTV and the Apple Mini.

        The Linux editionof XBMC (and I think the Apple version) comes with the bonus that ASS subs are rendered correctly (i.e. as styled in the Subs).

        I'm just waiting to find a good Linux supported HD video capture card before I build my new Linux PVR.

    • What about [...] ASS subtitles.

      That has got to be the shittiest acronym ever! I wonder who would approve of it; you know, who would get behind it.

  • Since when has anyone had to "trick" their PC into streaming to their Xbox? Put the videos somewhere that Media Player can see them, set up the Xbox as a media extender and you can watch them on your XBox as long as your PC is online.

    Installing REG files? Does TFA author have any idea what they're talking about or did I suffer a head injury and forgot this part of getting my movies on the XBox?
    • by Xest ( 935314 )

      I was wondering the same.

      Installing reg files to stream to my XBox 360 is not something I've ever had to do, it has always just worked.

  • I doubt we will see it support Matroska .MKV files. I'm sure they want everyone to use WMV.

    I'm not sure if i'm a fan of .MKV but the asian films I watch are mostly in mkv format. Its probably because of subtitles. Will windows 7 start supporting .srt files? I doubt it. I doubt it will support MKV.

    I'm sure Tversity... or even better, PS3 Media Server, will still be required unfortunately.

    Of course SONY could solve this issue by supporting codecs/containers better but i doubt that it is in their interest.

    • Did you even read the article? The whole point is that Windows 7 supports more formats than it used to, although MKV is not one of them . As far as Sony goes, they've been increasing support for file formats and containers from the outset, so whether it's in their interest or not, they've been doing what you want.
      • Sony is slow at doing EVERYTHING.

        Windows 7 supporting divx/xvid is no big deal. Its a little too late thing and thats the point.

        Still no MKV support.

        Will windows 7 support the latest divx spec or will it be behind just like the 360 and PS3's divx support?

        The latest divx atleast supports mkv containers and subs.

  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan ( 730745 ) on Monday April 27, 2009 @06:53AM (#27728025)

    The real solution is simple do not use consoles for viewing media. Use a PC.

    Build yourself nice small PC with some horse power and HDMI out. Network it to a storage server and play every dam media format available easily.

    I dont know why we keep trying to stream stuff to game consoles. I'm guilty of it as well, but why turn a console into a PC when we already have PCs capable of far more, with more freedom and less headaches?

    Its the fault of the console makers really. They want to let you do somethings, but they really dont want you to do other things :)

    Sony could have done far better, even though its fairly good at what it does. It still cant play DVD's with regions outside of yours. It still cant play MKV, it still has poor MP4 support.

    Its just not going to happen. Build a small PC and use it for watching media.

    • Give me the $$ needed and I'll build myself a pc for playing my media. Until then, I'll use the xbox 360's I already have in various rooms to stream my media. Oh wait, you'll need to give me $$ to build 3 pc's because I currently have and stream to 3 xbox 360's.

      And wait again because I just realized I don't really want yet another device in these rooms, especially not one that could get viruses or have other problems. Sure my 360's can get the RROD or crap out for some other reason but I already have them
      • "What you seem to be missing is the current consoles ARE pc's"

        If your 360 is a PC, show me how to browse the internet on your 360? Ok you can browse the internet on the PS3 but its painful.

        They COULD be PCs, but they are not. They're not even close. They're strictly limited in format support and functioanlity. They're designed to deliver you content with microsoft and sony's approval

        I agree it would be IDEAL to easily stream to these things without transcoding etc... but Microsoft and Sony do not make it so

        • "They COULD be PCs, but they are not. They're not even close. They're strictly limited in format support and functioanlity. They're designed to deliver you content with microsoft and sony's approval" YellowDog Linux runs just fine on My PS3. Sony even helpfully has a built-in feature to let you install and run other OS's. Surfing the web, reading PDF's, watching video content, printing, listening to music is quite nice on my PS3 and large LCD TV. (shrugs)
          • "YellowDog Linux runs just fine on My PS3"

            But can linux take full advantage of the PS3 hardware? No. Sony decided not to give you that freedom.

            A PC will always win as long as they are open and free. Microsoft and many others are trying their hardest to put an end to computer freedom. Consoles are in fact evidence of this.

    • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Monday April 27, 2009 @07:12AM (#27728107) Homepage
      It's been said before but I guess I'll say it again. I already have a DVD player, Game console, digital cable box, and surround sound receiver sitting by my TV. I don't want yet another box sitting there, when one of the current ones has all the physical capabilities to perform this task. All we need is software

      My game console is the Wii. Which is the weakest of the current gen systems. Using homebrew, I'm able to watch videos. It works great. There's some movies that don't play, either because of encoding errors, or unsupported codecs, and network is a little slow, but on the whole it works pretty good. If there was commercial software product that "just worked" and provided this functionality, I would be one of the first to buy it. I will get around to building a media centre box sometime, but until then we should at least let the boxes do what we all know they are capable of.
    • by Yosho ( 135835 )

      Build yourself nice small PC with some horse power and HDMI out. Network it to a storage server and play every dam media format available easily.

      Please, show me the part list for a small form-factor PC that can play 1080p video and costs less than an Xbox 360.

      • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

        Show me a Xbox360 that can play 1080p. I have yet to be able to get a real 1080p video displayed out of a xbox360 and streaming video from the useless WMP11 client or other Upnp server.

        • by Yosho ( 135835 )

          Any Xbox 360 has been able to play 1080p video for years []. I use connect360 [] on my OS X box for streaming video and it works perfectly, so I don't know what's wrong with the clients you've tried.

    • I've toyed with the idea, but ultimately I keep deciding against a pc in the livingroom.

      I already have a 360, ps3, wii, Uverse 2wire box, Uverse DVR box, wireless router (the Uverse box does not do wireless N), and a UPS (for the uverse phone) all in my tv stand. I really don't want anything else there.

      Both the 360 and the ps3 are powerful enough to do the job. There is no reason they can't.

    • I dont know why we keep trying to stream stuff to game consoles. I'm guilty of it as well, but why turn a console into a PC when we already have PCs capable of far more, with more freedom and less headaches?

      Why pay for enough horsepower to rival a small PC and then pay for another small PC to do what the first chunk of hardware could do itself if only the console manufacturers didn't build walled gardens?

      I think the console makers aren't just shooting themselves in the foot but fucking themselves up their own asses. They could make a killing by creating a new model for people to get used to, console as not only game machine but general PC. I suppose that Microsoft's biggest fear is that people will run miro or

    • Build yourself nice small PC with some horse power and HDMI out.

      Microsoft already did that. It's called the XBox 360 Elite. It's been streaming media from my old Mac for some time now.

  • I have a media center computer hooked up to the big screen for that, why would I care what a console can do with media files?
  • Nice as it is to have this on your desktop, I'd much rather have decend UPNP/DLNS/whatever on my NAS.

    Does this have any ramifications for the server build? Better yet, are there any BSD or OpenSolaris with similar functionality out of the box that'd give you ZFS capabilities?

  • I use Connect360 and MediaLink from Nullriver to stream from my Mac to my Xbox 360 and PS3. Works great so I dont see all the fuss when everybody been doing for years what Windows 7 is allowing (one way or another) so meh. Theres a cheap easy solution for whatever platform you running (Linux, Windows XP/Vista or Mac OS X) already available so go out and get it.
  • by Kelz ( 611260 )
    How about adding Windows Media Center support for the PS3? Its the only reason I turn my 360 on anymore. I believe I've just answered my own question.
  • I'm hoping it will stream easily at speeds approaching that of NFS to devices like the WDTV. Right now I'm streaming 720p over a windows samba share, but it sure would be nice to have built-in faster transfers at speeds that would allow HD content to stream to the devices that can decode it on the fly.
  • The nice thing about Windows 7 in relation to media is that MS provides a much wider selection of audio and video codecs and splitters for more containers than ever before. That is nice for those that are not into using things like mplayer, vlc, or ffdshow. The bad thing is that somehow Windows 7 treats the system supplied ones as special so things like ffdshow and Maali media splitter stopped working, the MS provided stuff was always used first. By now I think the devs have a handle on stuff like this but

  • I am glad to hear that microsoft is making it easier to view media.

"More software projects have gone awry for lack of calendar time than for all other causes combined." -- Fred Brooks, Jr., _The Mythical Man Month_