If you're here reading Gizmodo, there's a good chance you have a hard drive full of video somewhere. And you also probably have a PS3, Xbox 360 or Wii. If those two things aren't working together for you in beautiful symbiosis, allowing you to watch all of your downloaded or ripped video on your TV instead of hunched over a laptop screen, well, this is the guide for you.
Now there are two general strategies you can take: physically copying your files to a USB drive, memory card or CD/DVD, which is pretty straightforward, or streaming your video over the network, which is where things get more fun and interesting. So let's dive in.
First things first, codecs. Now that you're all learn-ed on the ways of video encoding thanks to Matt's Giz Explains from this week, the issue of codecs will make a lot more sense. Thankfully, it's not something you have to worry too much about here, because all three consoles can handle a large number of the codecs you will find commonly: AVI, MPEG (1, 2 and 4), H.264, DivX/XviD, and WMV—and if a particular format you want to play isn't supported, it's often possible to convert it to work on the fly. The PS3 also supports AVCHD, a format used by many HD camcorders. Not all formats are supported with every streaming method though, especially in the 360's case, which we'll get to in a second. Now, for getting all those files on the TV.