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How to stream media from your network hard drive to your Xbox 360

Network hard drives are popular media storage solutions, and Xbox 360 consoles are popular home media centers--but they don't always work well together. Learn how to use free TVersity software to bridge the gap in this blog post by Rob Lightner.

The Xbox 360 is a terrific home media portal even for those who look down on gaming. It's dead simple toaccess media from your Windows PCs, but for those of us who like to store our media on network hard drives, the Xbox connection can be tricky, inconsistent, and frustrating. Here's how to use free TVersity software to stream that media flawlessly to your console.

1.       Before you get started, make sure your network hard drive is up and running and the Windows PC you'll be using can recognize it. This computer will need to be powered on and connected to the network any time you want to stream, so it's a great way to take that old Windows box out of retirement. While you're at it, make sure your Xbox is on the same network as the PC.

2.       Download the free version of TVersity (after checking the system requirements, of course). The Pro version is nifty--especially if you want to stream to an iOS device--but try before you buy.

3.       Install TVersity. After the obligatory license agreement, you'll need to configure the basic features. I'd recommend keeping all the boxes ticked unless you're a pro firewall tweaker and want to set up security on your own; the rest of the choices should make your life a little easier in the future. Next, it asks for your YouTube username (if you want your subscriptions to flow through TVersity) and offers to set you up with a TVersity toolbar. Both are totally optional.

TVersity install screen

4.       Fire it up and add your network drive. Click on the plus symbol in the top left and then click "Browse" to select the folders you want to stream from your network hard drive. It's a good idea to click "Advanced" and then "Transcode when needed" for each folder  to tell TVersity to translate your media on the fly if it uses a format your Xbox hates.

TVersity library screen

5.       TVersity will automatically start finding and sharing your files over your home network. Wait a few minutes, then turn on your Xbox and navigate to the Music, Picture, or Video Library. There should be a new category called "TVersity on [computer name]." Select it and you can view your media by folder and date added. It should be much more reliable than your old connection.