Hands-On Impressions: Streaming YouTube and Google Video to the Xbox 360, Wii and PS3

If you're not familiar with Orb, it's both a streaming and a broadcasting solution to get audio and video onto your TV. They've just introduced a new version of Orb MyCasting that works with the Xbox 360, Wii, and PS3 game consoles. This means you can now play back pictures, music, and movies sitting on your computer directly on your TV through your gaming system. The Xbox 360 could do this already, and so could the PS3 (somewhat), but the Wii was a bit more limited.

However, even if you have an Xbox 360, you can use MyCasting to stream YouTube, Google Video, Yahoo! Video, Daily Motion, Guba, AOL Video, and thousands of other streaming Internet TV stations to your set. That's pretty nifty.

But how well does it work?

Pretty darn well. Setting up regular streaming (vids, music, pics) on the Xbox 360 was simple. Just pick shared folders on your PC (Windows only) and select the "Orb" PC option from your 360 in the correct media section. It streams just as you'd expect it to.

Plus, if you're trying to play back DivX or a format your Xbox 360 won't support, Orb will transcode it on the fly for you. The only downside to this is that Orb transcodes at what seems like 320x240 and stretches the image to 720p or 1080i or whatever resolution your 360's running. This makes the image blocky, but watchable if it's your only resort.

The best feature would have to be the Internet video content, which is fairly confusing to set up at first. After jumping through various hoops—you actually have to find stations on your PC and mark them as "favorite" before you can watch them—we got Internet video playing.

As for YouTube and Google, you can't actually just sit on the couch and flip through a bunch of videos. You have to find them on your PC first, then mark those as favorite before they're viewable on the console. Definitely clumsy, and hopefully fixable in future updates.

All in all the media streaming is handy for the stuff on your PC's hard drive, but the real gold here is being able to watch Internet content.

More impressions from PS3 and Wii later.

Press Release [PRNewswire]