Demo: Setting up an Xbox 360 as an Extender for Windows Media Center

Snapshot from this demo

Watch this demo to learn how to get the complete Windows Media Center experience on your television using an Xbox 360.




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Hi, I’m Ben Reed from the Windows Media Center team. I’m going to show you how to get the Windows Media Center experience onto your TV.

Although you could connect your Windows Vista-based PC directly to your TV, you, like many people, you might prefer to have your PC and TV in different rooms. By using a device called an Extender for Windows Media Center, you can extend the experience to TVs throughout your home.

Now, there are a number of different Extender for Windows Media Center products available. However, there's one you might already own: an Xbox 360. All Xbox 360’s have the functionality built right in.

Setting up the various extenders for Windows Media Center is essentially the same process. Here I’m going to demonstrate how to set up the Xbox 360.

What I have here is an Xbox 360 Elite. You don’t have to use this model though; the Xbox 360 and the Xbox 360 Arcade versions also work as extenders for Windows Media Center. First, connect your Xbox 360 to your home network router using an Ethernet cable. I recommend using a wired connection. If you prefer wireless, use a wireless dual band N router, ideally 5 gigahertz, for optimal streaming quality.

Once your Xbox 360 is connected to your home network, your PC should automatically recognize that it is connected. You will get a message on your PC saying it’s ready to set up the extender. If you don’t see this message, start Windows Media Center, and from the Windows Media Center menu, select Tasks, then Settings, and then Extender.

Now, just follow the onscreen instructions. They’ll direct you to go to the Xbox 360 dashboard. If you're using the new Xbox 360 dashboard, go to My Xbox and then to the right to select Windows Media Center. If you're still using the old Xbox 360 dashboard, scroll over to the media blade, and down to select Media Center. In either case, it will check the network and provide you with an 8-digit code. Write this number down.

Now move back to your PC and type in the code. Click Next and then the system will update the computer settings to share the media. When prompted for permission, click Yes.

Now let’s move back to the Xbox 360.

You’ll need to complete this setup process only once. From now on, you can just go to My Xbox and then select Windows Media Center, or if you're using the previous Xbox 360 dashboard, go to the media blade and then down and select Media Center. Of course, if you have an Xbox 360 remote, you can just press the green Windows Media Center button.

If you’re going to use the Xbox 360 predominantly as an extender for Windows Media Center, you can actually configure it automatically to start in Windows Media Center. The interface works essentially the same as the one on your Windows Vista-based PC.

Remember, this Xbox 360 setup is almost identical to the setups for other extenders for Windows Media Center. There might be a few extra screens to configure a different extender, but there will be the same 8-digit code and same setup on the PC.

I’d like to show you one thing that you can do with an extender for Windows Media Center (or multiple Extenders) that you can’t do with a typical DVR.

With the extender, I can stop or pause a show, and then go to another room and resume where I left off.

You can have up to five extenders connected to one Windows Vista-based PC. They can all be Xbox 360s, or a combination of the other extenders for Windows Media Center. To learn more about the other extender devices, go online to visit or from the Windows Start menu, click Help and Support, and then search for "Extender."