The XBox 360 is a great networked media client for Windows XP regardless of whether its host is running Media Center
software, but it is surprisingly poor at handling such media on its own. The 360's hard drive can not be used for
storing content other than the same ripped CDs the original XBox allowed, and Microsoft's "integration" with iPods and
PSPs is limited to playing content from these devices.
This represents a partial retreat from the last media-savvy game device launched from a major manufacturer. Perhaps because the PSP is less likely to be connected to a fast and reliable network and because Sony has a vested interest in Memory Stock Duo purchases, the PlayStation purveyors have so far favored local storage to network streaming for the PSP (although the latest firmware does enable it to stream video across a network using Sony's Location-Free TV system).
Sony took another step toward bolstering the PSP's media features recently with the release of its PSP Media Manager. Available for just under $20 online or $30 in a box (which also includes a USB cable and five free songs from the Connect music service), the offering attempts to bring Sony closer to the tight integration of hardware and software that Apple has benefited from with the iPod and iTunes. Sony's decision to charge for the software seems short-sighted compared to Apple's approach with iTunes. Unlike iTunes, which is a useful music jukebox even to those without iPods, PSP Media Manager has almost no incremental value to anyone but PSP owners.