Mac to Xbox 360 with Connect 360
It came to my attention the other day that many Xbox360 owners who predominately use Macintosh computers in their household aren’t aware of a little piece of software that brilliantly links up an Xbox 360 and any form of Mac computer with networking capabilities.
For those who aren’t quite sure what I’m talking about, the Xbox 360 allows you to connect to a Windows XP or Media Centre PC (only), giving you the freedom of streaming music, photos and even movies directly to your console. Unfortunately for us Mac owners, we’re not even given a second look by Microsoft on this one.
But that’s where Connect 360 comes in.
What is Connect 360?
Connect 360 was developed by Nullriver Software, who also happen to develop a wider range of products that enhance connectivity and compatibility between other products not previously supported by their manufacturers to work with the Macintosh platform—for example, PSPWare, which allows a stable connection between your Sony PSP and your iMac.
The idea behind Connect 360 is to literally trick your Microsoft Xbox 360 into believing that the Macintosh computer connected to it is actually a Windows computer.
The main Connect 360 window
You are able to share your iTunes media library, iPhoto library, and movies from within your Movie folder, provided they are WMV or WMA only, between your Xbox 360 and Macintosh computer. Excellent stuff if you’ve either got no hard drive with your Xbox 360, preventing you from storing media on there as it is, or running out of room from all the demos you keep downloading off of Xbox Live.
How does it work?
First you need to make sure you have your Xbox 360 and Macintosh computers connected to a router of some sort (wired or wireless); once the settings are in place on your console, it’s time to install Connect 360 on your Macintosh system.
Connect 360 is available as a demo, giving you the freedom to stream up to 100 songs and 100 photos to your Xbox 360 console, from their website.
Configure Xbox 360: Once you’ve installed Connect 360 to the preference pane in System Preferences, turn your Xbox 360 on and head to the Systems tab, followed by Network Settings and then Test Media Connection. Once everything is connected correctly (you will need to make sure your Xbox 360’s IP settings are correct), head back to the main Xbox 360 screen and click on the Media tab. In here select any type of media you wish to stream (for example, Music) and follow the on-screen instructions. The first time you do this you’ll be prompted to go to a Microsoft website and download a program to run on your Windows computer that allows connection to take place—we’ve already got our little program, so click the relevant button which should say something along the lines of “I have already downloaded this program.”
Configure Macintosh: The next step is to go back to your Mac and open the Connect 360 preference pane (found in System Preferences). In here, make sure Xbox 360 Media Sharing is enabled by clicking on the Start button. You may find at this point that Connect 360 has discovered your Xbox 360 but can’t yet access it due to your OS X firewall; it will automatically adjust the firewall for you but requires you to enter an Administrator username and password (so make sure you have it handy).
After all of this is complete you should see your Xbox 360 console appear in the “Discovered Devices” section. Now it’s simply a case of streaming your media directly from your Macintosh to your Xbox 360 console. Magic!
Having used this piece of kit for over a week now I can honestly say that it’s a joy to have. I’ve been able to casually browse my music while playing online and even looking at last year’s holiday photos on my TV, which is considerably larger than the screen on my iMac. As I’ve already said, Connect 360 is definitely for someone who either doesn’t have much space left on his or her hard drive, or has no hard drive at all (found on the Xbox 360 Core pack). The only major downfall is the lack of video support (only WMV and WMA allowed), preventing you from streaming a lot of TV shows you may have purchased from the internet. As we’re now in a world that is becoming increasingly concerned with global warming, I should mention that having your iMac on just to browse songs, photos and movies on your Xbox 360 is a waste of power and is probably something we could do without, yet there appears to be no way around that at this point.
Connect 360 allows Wired or Wireless connections using a router only; it appears that P2P doesn’t work, or at least it didn’t when I gave it a shot.
You can give Connect 360 a go by downloading a demo from the official website. The demo allows you to stream up to 100 songs and 100 photos, after which you’ll need to purchase and register for $20.00, which isn’t exactly going to break the bank any time soon.
A must for anyone who owns an Xbox 360 and a Macintosh computer.
Latest Release: Version 2.82
Requirements: OS X 10.3.9 or later, Xbox 360 with network connection (wired or wireless), Flip4Mac Quicktime components to allow for streaming