Mac OS X streaming support may never officially live inside Xbox 360 consoles, but that doesn’t mean Mac owners must go without. The same smart team behind PSP media conversion app PSPWare is back with MP3 and JPG streaming solution Connect360. The app automatically indexes all MP3s in your iTunes library and JPG photos in iPhoto, making them available to any Xbox 360 over a wired or Airport network. With Connect360 active on your Mac, Xbox 360 consoles will automatically detect your Mac and your Mac will detect your Xbox 360. An Access Control List provides control over which Xbox 360 gets access to your Mac, so no need to worry about streaming tunes to the neighbors. While this isn’t quite as full featured as the Windows Media Connect experience or the Media Center Edition experience, it’s certainly cheaper than buying a PC. [Mac OS X $10.00]
There’s some confusion around the appropriate steps to take in adding an Xbox 360 to a home network with optimal results. In an ideal universe, connecting an Xbox 360 with a wired connection is the best course of action. Wired connections generally guarantee close to 100Mbps per machine across a local area network. Wireless networking is significantly less reliable, with things like cordless phones and microwave ovens operating on the same frequency as the 802.11b and 802.11g standards.
802.11a is the standard Microsoft is recommending, but it’s not necessary. My own home network is segmented with an Xbox 360 on one 802.11g access point and all other wireless devices are on a second 802.11g access point. My wired Media Center successfully streams the 1080p HD content available from Microsoft’s WMV HD Showcase without any hiccups.
If you currently live in an 802.11b wireless network world, it’s definitely time to upgrade. 802.11b results in lousy streaming of audio using Windows Media Connect and most of the existing hardware won’t support the WPA security standard you should be using to protect your network. If you live in a house like mine, with one portable machine stuck with onboard 802.11b, you definitely want to segment your 802.11b traffic from the Xbox 360 802.11g traffic to prevent a slowdown in gaming or streaming performance.
Read on for tips on segmenting your wireless network