by Courtesy Microsoft

Digital photos, movies and music would be far more entertaining if you could get them into your entertainment center. Pumping digital files from PC to TV (and through your good speakers) makes eminent sense, but the communication gap between AV system and computer has proved stubborn. Good news, however. You may already have a solution attached to your TV: a videogame console. With Xbox Music Mixer, you download pictures and music (it doesn’t do video) to your Xbox. Transferring takes time, but the program allows you to play files, strip out lyrics for karaoke, and add effects. Mad Catz GameShark Media Player streams content from your PC through a PlayStation 2 without the transfer step, providing instant access to every audio, video and picture file on your computer (though without giving you the ability to manipulate them). You can create song playlists and musical accompaniment for your slideshows. Both programs require a home network to work their magic.