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How to Connect Your Microsoft Xbox 360 to Your PC

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How to Connect Your Microsoft Xbox 360 to Your PC

The Microsoft Xbox 360 is one of the leading home game consoles. It is capable of doing everything from playing the hottest games to streaming movies, music, and more. It allows friends to gather and enjoy games like Madden or Super Street Fighter IV. They can also go head to head over an online connection in games like Call of Duty or Halo Reach. Once game time is over, everyone can gather around to watch a movie, either on DVD or streamed across the web. The Microsoft Xbox 360 also allows users to stream movies and other media directly from a Windows PC.

As long as that PC is running a Microsoft Windows operating system, it is compatible with the Microsoft Xbox 360. This allows the game console to join the same home network as the PC, which then allows the PC to stream its media to the game console. This way, any movie or music files that are stored on the PC can be enjoyed on the HDTV and surround sound system in the living room or wherever the Xbox 360 is set up. This guide provides users with step-by-step instructions for connecting and streaming media from a Windows PC to the Microsoft Xbox 360.


Preparing to Connect the Xbox 360 and Windows PC

The setup process involves connecting the Microsoft Xbox 360 to the Windows PC via a home network. There are multiple ways to do this. However, each method requires that both units are connected to a router, either wired or wireless. So before connecting the Xbox 360 to the PC, it is important that they are both connected to the network through which they will communicate. Keep in mind that streaming media from the PC to the Xbox 360 does not require an Internet connection.

Creating a Network on a Windows PC

In order to establish this link, the user needs a home network. To create one, go to the Start Menu. Once the Start Menu pops up, navigate to the Control Panel, and click to open it. Choose Network and Internet. Then choose Network and Sharing. Here is where the user can choose to create a network or connect to an existing one. Either process can be completed in a few simple clicks. (Note that these instructions are for Windows Vista and may vary slightly depending on the type of Windows operating system used.)

To join an existing network, simply choose "Connect to a network". To create a new network, choose the "Set up a new connection or network" option. A wired connection (PC is connected to router by an Ethernet cable) should establish itself automatically. For a wireless connection, choose "Setup a wireless router or access point." This wizard quickly runs the user through the process of getting connected. Name the network and choose a security passcode to ensure that the network has no unwanted visitors. Once this is done, the PC should be connected and visible to any other devices on the network.

Connecting to a Network on a Microsoft Xbox 360

Like with the Windows PC, there are two ways to connect an Xbox 360 to a home network, wired and wirelessly. All Xbox 360s come with Ethernet ports and can be connected to a nearby router with ease. Simply plug one end of an Ethernet cable into the Ethernet port located at the rear of the game console and then plug the opposite end into an available port on the router. Wired connections are great for streaming, because they do not suffer any loss of signal strength or the subsequent random disconnects. However, the wireless option is still a good one, and if there is no router nearby, it is the best one.

Any user that is not yet familiar with the Microsoft Xbox 360’s use interface might want to take a moment to learn its layout. This allows for faster, more seamless navigation and a smoother setup overall. Once the user is familiar with the console’s menu systems and interface, he or she can establish a wireless connection on the Microsoft Xbox 360 by using the following steps:
 

Step 1

Press the "Guide" button on the Xbox 360 controller, the large button in the middle.

Step 2

Choose "Setting," and then scroll to the right and choose "System Settings".

Step 3

Choose "Network Settings" and then find the name of the network and select it.

Step 4

If a passcode is required, enter it and select "OK".

Step 5

The system may ask to update. Select "Yes".


Choosing "Yes" to update the console is a good idea because this improves many areas of the console’s overall functionality. Once the update is completed, the user can either test the connection under "Network Settings" or simply move on to the next step.


Connecting the Microsoft Xbox 360 to a Windows PC

Once both the Xbox 360 and the PC are connected to the home network, they are ready to communicate and share files with one another. As mentioned above, there are multiple ways to do this. Each method uses a different Microsoft program. These programs are Windows Media Player, Windows Media Center, and Microsoft Zune software. All of these programs are very effective in streaming media to the Xbox 360, so which one the user chooses is purely a matter of personal preference. However, many opt for Windows Media Center due to its sleek and intuitive interface.

Connecting With Windows Media Center

Before connecting with Windows Media Center, it is imperative that any old connections are removed. So, if the Xbox 360 was ever connected to a computer previously, go to "System Settings," choose "Computers," then "Windows Media Center," and press "Disconnect." Likewise, if the PC was ever connected to an Xbox 360 before, going into Windows Media Center’s "Tasks" menu and choose "Settings." Go to "Extender" and find "Xbox 360 Media Extender" select the "Uninstall" option. Now the two units have had their Media Center settings reset to default and are ready to be connected.

Perform the following steps on the Microsoft Xbox 360:
 

Step 1

Go to the "Apps" menu and choose "My Apps."

Step 2

Find "Windows Media Center," select it, and hit "Continue."

Step 3

An 8-digit setup key will appear. Write it down.


Perform these steps on the Windows PC:
 

Step 4

Open Windows Media Center.

Step 5

Under the "Tasks" menu, choose "Add Extender."

Step 6

Enter the 8-digit setup key when prompted and choose "Next."


Once this is complete, the user may return to the "My Apps" menu on the Xbox 360 and have direct access to the Windows Media Center program on his or her PC. Accessing Windows Media Center through the console will take some time as it constructs the media library. After this initial setup, however, Xbox 360 users will be able to access all of their PC media files through the console instantly and seamlessly.

Connecting with Windows Media Player of Microsoft Zune

Streaming music and movies to the Microsoft Xbox 360 through Windows Media Player or Microsoft Zune only requires a few clicks here and there. It should be noted that once the necessary settings are changed, the media files on the PC can be accessed by any device on the network unless otherwise specified. As such, it is recommended that any user wanting to limit media sharing to the Xbox 360 does so either by making the correct changes under the PC’s sharing options or by using the Windows Media Center method. If this is not a concern, simply follow the steps outlined below.

Perform the following steps to stream via Windows Media Player:
 

Step 1

Open Windows Media Player and navigate to the "Stream" menu.

Step 2

Select "Turn on media streaming." On the popup, select "Turn on media streaming" again.

Step 3

Make up a name for the media library and then choose "OK."


Perform the following steps to stream via the Microsoft Zune software:
 

Step 1

Open the Zune software and navigate to the "Settings" menu.

Step 2

Select "Software" and then choose the "Xbox 360" option.

Step 3

Choose which types of media to stream and then choose "OK."


After using either of the above methods, perform the following steps on the Microsoft Xbox 360:
 

Step 4

Hit the "Guide" button and navigate to the "Media" menu.

Step 5

Select "Music Player" or "Movie Player" and choose the name of the PC.

Step 6

Select the desired file and press "Play."


Once either of these methods have been completed, the user should be able to play any music and movie files located on his or her computer through their Xbox 360 as well as view any available image files. If any errors are encountered, the user can find many troubleshooting tips online in various electronics and gaming forums. However, for optimal support, the user should consider contacting Microsoft directly.


Buying What You Need to Connect the Xbox 360 to a PC

You may find that you are missing a few major components required for this process. For example, you could need a new Ethernet cable, a wireless router, or a wireless networking adapter for your Xbox 360. The later versions of the console have wireless adapters built in, so owners of the original console must get the Xbox 360 Wireless Networking Adapter, which is sold separately. To find the adapter for the Xbox 360, or any other components you might be missing, you can check various gaming and electronics stores in your local area. You can also shop for these items online.

Websites like eBay have listings for thousands of consumer electronics, including computers, game consoles, and all their accessories. The extensive list of categories found on eBay makes it easy for shoppers to narrow their search. By selecting various search options that allow you to limit item listings based on things like price range or product condition, you can find exactly what you are looking for in a matter of seconds. For instance, selecting the Video Games & Consoles category and searching for the keywords "Xbox 360 Wireless Networking Adapter" should yield highly relevant results.


Conclusion

The Microsoft Xbox 360 is a wonderful home console that is designed to provide hours of home entertainment for the entire family. It can be used by serious gamers who like to compete in full circuit races on Forza 4 or gritty war scenarios in Battlefield 3. Even casual gamers can enjoy a few rounds of Scrabble in Hasbro Family Game Night or any of the latest titles for Kinect. After a bit of gaming, the whole family can gather round for a night of movie watching by streaming media from a PC straight to the Xbox for viewing on the television screen.

After the initial setup detailed in this guide, the Microsoft Xbox 360 becomes a full media center, which can play all the movie and music files on the family PC. Whether the console is set up in the living room entertainment center, in a bedroom, the family rec room, or office, it can become an extension of any PC on the home network and allow users to enjoy their favorite media on multiple devices.

 
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