Earlier this week Microsoft rolled out their highly-anticipated Xbox 360 update. The update was chock full of bug fixes and new features. However, to me, one of the most exciting new features was their long-overdue update to the 360’s UPnP client. That’s right; they finally added the ability to stream video from your computer to the 360. While it’s technically always been possible to stream (using the 360’s Media Center Extender technology), the new update gives the masses who aren’t yet using a Media Center box a quick and easy way to stream video to the television. Or does it?
On the surface it’s quite an exciting turn of events. However, as many now know all too well, there’s just one problem: it only supports WMV. There’s no DivX support. There’s no H.264 support. There’s just WMV. Now, I’m sure that there are many purists out there reading this right now who are flat-out appalled by this decision. The anti-Microsoft crowd (you know the type — they’re the ones who think it’s still clever to say Micro$oft) are quick to malign anything not open source and/or anything Microsoft. Frankly, I’m not one of those people. I respect Microsoft’s decision to not pay licensing fees to each of the different codec companies. In the end, the decision keeps the price of the unit down. However, there is one HUGE caveat:
Microsoft, you have got to make it easier to transcode into WMV.