So, I caved and bought an Xbox 360 tonight. I’ve been wanting one for a while, but I also wanted a media center PC and couldn’t decide on which to get. When I finally realized that a 360 can essentially be turned into a very powerful media center PC, I was sold. The only thing that it can’t do, which isn’t really a big deal, is play Blu-ray movies. If I so desire, I can buy the HDDVD player for it, but that probably won’t happen anytime soon.
Before I bought the Xbox I had sort of a small project planned out on how to get it hooked up to my home network. Running a cable from the router to the unit was completely out of the question, so I started researching wireless options. It turns out that Microsoft actually makes a nifty little wireless adapter specifically for the 360 units… too bad they’re $90-100, and tend to fail most of the time. I was quite disappointed to learn this until I ran across an article (thanks Google!) describing how to put the DD-WRT firmware on a wireless router and use it as a bridge for your wireless home network. It seemed pretty simple, so I decided that is what I’d try.
I headed to Wal-Mart first because I had a few gift cards from Christmas that I could use for an HDMI cable and the router. They just so happened to have a v7 model of the Linksys WRT54GS router for $40, not bad at all considering you can turn it into a bridged access point for up to five devices. The HDMI cable was $30 for 6 feet, gold plated of course. Lastly I went to Gamestop to get the unit itself. I bought the $299 Pro bundle which came with LEGO Indiana Jones and Kung Fu Panda (meh… but hey, they were free).
Once I returned home I unpacked the 360 and got it physically set up, then went to work on the router. After installing DD-WRT I followed the nifty guide and set the router up as a wireless client bridge, tested it out, and everything was looking good. I put the router in place, connected the Xbox, and I was in business.
Right now I’m getting XBMC and Rhapsody set up for UPnP so I can watch movies and listen to music on the nice big HDTV; I’m definitely glad I went for the 360 instead of a media center PC.