Almost a year ago I recommended owners of an Xbox 360 to immediately download a copy of Connect 360, a program that enabled you to stream your media (audio, video and photographs) to your Xbox 360.
The weak link in this equation was the Xbox 360 though. Now, before the PC-brigade jumps on me for being anti-Microsoft, I'll quickly point out that I think the Xbox 360 is the best gaming console on the market. But as a media set-top box it sadly leaves a lot to be desired: the fan is too noisy, the menu system is cumbersome; Microsoft unfortunately backed HD-DVD as via an external drive; and the implementation of Media Center Extender is really only of interest to PC users; and even then it's decidedly ropey.
The Xbox 360 has also got a nasty case of the gremlins and is prone to overheating; which melts the solder on the motherboard and causes it to display three red lights instead of working. This forced Microsoft to extend the warranty to three years for the thousands of affected users; a club I'm now sadly a member of.
This is what prompted me to buy a PlayStation 3 console.
Now: the PS3 is undoubtedly an ugly device. The bulky case and shiny-black and silver frame make it look like something out of the 1970s; you half expect it to be a top-loader that takes some defunct tape format. And its menu is every bit as awkward as the Xbox 360s but with roughly 8-billion options to choose from. In fact: it's hard to imagine something less Apple-like.
But on the upside it's got a Blu-ray player and the fan is mercifully quiet. It's also got a 40GB hard drive and supports a lot of Apple-friendly video and movie formats, which could make it an interesting alternative to an Apple TV.
Well Nullriver, the makers of Connect 360 have been quick off the mark and created a new program called MediaLink, this plug-in does roughly the same thing. Simply install it on your Mac and if your PS3 is on the same network it'll discover it, and enable you to play all movies, audio tracks and offer complete access to your photo library. There are a couple of nice features that MediaLink has that Connect 360 lacked, such as the ability to copy files from your Mac direct to the hard drive, and you can also stream files from a Mac to a PSP using MediaLink and the PlayStation 3's Remote Play functionality.
Nullriver seems to have cornered a niche market with great product that simply works.