The current generation of video game consoles have greatly expanded on their predecessors by offering media capabilities that would have been unthinkable a decade ago. The Nintendo Wii, for instance, can browse the web and download classic games, but the Playstation 3 and the Xbox 360 even offer music, photo, and video streaming options. These streaming features have become a major reason to buy a game console, so it’s certainly worth evaluating which company’s doing it the best.
Here’s a comparison of the video streaming abilities of the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 game consoles.
1. Supported Video Types. Both consoles play AAC, H.264, MPEG-1, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 files, and the Xbox 360 supports some DivX codecs and WMV files, too. For most computer users, DivX is the way to go, as it’s a very convenient and widespread codec, but you can easily get it working on either console by using a program called TVersity, which streamlines the process for the Xbox 360 and the PS3 and allows some of the stranger file types out there to play fairly flawlessly.
2. Ease of Use. Out of the box, the PS3 probably has a bit of an edge on video streaming. The Xbox 360 requires you to go through a lengthy setup involving Windows Media Player 11, and you’re sort of out of luck if you don’t already have Media Player. The Media Center option for the Xbox 360 is practically a nightmare, and rarely works very well unless you’ve got a very fast computer and Internet connection. The aforementioned TVersity program standardizes the video streaming process for each console, though, so with that installed you’ll have an easier time if you’re able to make some light changes to your computer’s network sharing settings.
3. Functionality. In my tests, the PS3 was able to stream video significantly better than the Xbox 360. Xvid DVDs were smoother and faster, and my roommates and I dealt with less problems on average than with the PS3.
With that being said, neither system was too shabby. The Xbox 360 only had video streaming problems when odd video types were used, and both systems performed very well for the file types that they claimed to support. Nevertheless, the PS3 won in this respect.
Overall, the consoles are fairly close to one another, but the PS3 ultimately has better video streaming capabilities, though if you don’t want to use third party software a slight edge may go to the Xbox 360.
Do you think that the Xbox 360 or the PS3 has better video streaming capabilities? Post in our comments section below.