17 May 2008

I won my fight with Windows Media Player

As you know, I want to stream movies and music from my PC to my TV. I have an all-star lineup of tools:

  • PC running Vista with Windows Media Player 11 (WMP11), iTunes, and Zune software
  • Xbox 360
  • PlayStation 3
  • TiVo
  • Airport Express

And a selection of Xvid, Divx, MPEG 4, MP3, and AAC files to stream. These are all extremely widely used formats, the most popular in their categories (the first three are video, the last two are audio). All the players I mentioned play these formats, at least after installing some popular codec packs.

The PlayStation 3 has the best and most responsive remote, the best music visualizations (cool effects that show on TV while you’re listening to music), and the nicest UI. And it natively supports all the formats I listed. So all I have to do is get stuff to stream to it! BUT…

  • Zune will only stream to Xbox 360
  • iTunes will only stream to the Airport Express, which is audio only
  • WMP11 will not add MPEG 4 or AAC files to its library or stream them

So today I targeted the MPEG 4 portion of this last point using these instructions. It took lots of Googling and experimentation before I finally found those instructions, but it was worth it. I closed the loop, so that I can stream the things that “should” work to the device that “should” play them! Yay!