Still on an Xbox theme, I’ve been reading a few articles about the Microsoft Music Mixer. This is a kind of karaoke game which allows you to sing along with songs that are stored on the Xbox’s hard drive. It also has the ability to display digital photos that are stored on the Xbox too. You can either rip the music to the Xbox via its built in optical drive, or, more interestingly, Microsoft have released a small downloadable application which allows you to transfer your digital music and photos to the hard drive from your Windows XP PC across an ethernet network. Okay. This is definitely a step in the right direction, but it still falls short of what I want – streaming music.

I want Microsoft to release an Xbox version of Windows Media Player, which has the same functionality as the PC version and allows you to stream your music files from your desktop machine across a network to the Xbox. The Xbox could then play the music back through your hi-fi using its built in optical digital connection (or even bog standard stereo phono connections – I’m not really fussy).

There are already home-brew applications that do exactly this, but because they’re not “official” products, they won’t run on the Xbox without you first having it chipped, which involves opening up the case and resoldering some of the circuitry. Which is something I’m not prepared to do. Then you have to download the source code and compile it before installing it on your newly-modded Xbox. It’s not exactly easy is it?

What I want is for Xbox Media Player to be a free download (like the PC version of Windows Media Player already is) either via your PC and install it across your network, or you could download it via Xbox Live, or you could even go to your local games shop and purchase it for about £20 if necessary. Once installed to the Xbox’s hard drive it would just appear on the dashboard and be navigated using the Xbox controller. They’ve proved they can do this with Xbox Live, so surely this would be SUCH an easy thing for Microsoft to do? This would save me the hassle of buying a separate network media adapter, which means more expense and another box of tricks in my lounge. Everyone keeps harping on about convergence, so let’s get on with it!

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