Microsoft's Xbox 360 gaming console is one of the most popular ever. It's great for sitting around and playing games with friends and you can even play DVD's and music CD's on the console. While this isn't terribly exciting, if you have a system that is running Windows Media Center (MCE) or Vista Ultimate Edition, you can stream Windows Media Video (WMV) movies to your 360 console over the network.
The down side is that you are forced to use one of these operating systems and the WMV codec isn't all that good – compression is not that great and although it's becoming more popular these days, DivX and Xvid are preferred "DVD backup" choice codec's, shall we say? These lesser mainstream codec's offer better compression and many folks on the darker side of the Web mostly use this format to distribute movies around the Internet since they are the most 1337 choice among enthusiasts.
Since the Xbox 360 is essentially a PC wrapped in Microsoft 360 dashboard software, I always thought there must be some way to play movies other than WMV on the console – without actually hacking the 360 software and hence voiding your warranty. It turns out you can!