Microsoft's Media Center Extender idea wasn't the most well-received. The extender devices (mostly from third parties like D-Link and Cisco) were supposed to connect to Windows PCs to pipe the Windows Media experience to your home entertainment system, but they never got past the clunky stage, and they really didn't sell that well.
Well, there was one Media Center Extender that sold rather well. You know it as the Xbox 360, and much like these other devices, Microsoft's console could be used to stream videos and music. The only problem is that the types of media that can be streamed are somewhat limited, which really limited usage.
There's now a glimmer of hope for those who use Extender devices, as Microsoft announces a sort of relaunch of the technology, now calling it Extenders for Windows Media Center. A new range of devices launching soon will support this new technology, which is said to support the DivX and XviD codecs, as well as streaming high-definition video. Exciting news, isn't it?
Well, don't get too excited yet. While these third-party devices are launching soon, no announcement has been made for the Xbox 360. Also, these new features require a Windows Vista PC in your home network.
Don't get too discouraged, though. Our bet is that this will be coming to the Xbox 360. There's about 10 million Xbox 360s out there, which would probably make that the largest group of Extender users, so Microsoft would be crazy not to work that function in. Our guess? Look for this to be one of the new features to be added in the fall update.
Until then, you'll have to continue transcoding.