Windows Media Connect Overview


The big day has arrived.  You unwrap that shiny new beautiful Digital Media Receiver (DMR) or Xbox 360.  The smell of new plastic and Styrofoam lingers in the air as you connect wire after wire (after wire, after wire) to your home entertainment system.  With an air of triumph you make that last connection, go to the PC, and nothing works.  Well, now what?


Here’s the unfortunate truth about WMC.  When it works it is great.  When it doesn’t work it is just too hard to figure out what went wrong.  As simple an idea as a network media server is, there are still lots of complicated parts that all have to work together.  Let’s trace the path from the PC to the DMR and over the next several posts try to help narrow down where the problem could be.


Windows Media Connect User Interface (wmccfg.exe)
Windows Media Connect Service (wmccds.exe)
Universal Plug and Play
The Network Stack (TCP/IP, Network Drivers, etc).
The Firewall
The cable from the PC to the Router
The Router
The cable from the Router to the DMR
The DMR


On the first day, I’ll tackle the easy stuff, namely the cables.  If you use your network card to connect to the internet via a router and you can browse external web pages, you can be confident that the cable from the PC to the Router and the network stack are working.  You can often use this test on your DMR too.  If you can listen to internet radio (for a DMR) or get to Xbox Live, then you can eliminate the cable as the source of the trouble.


So, what would it look like if it was a cable problem?  Basic network connectivity would fail.  If you check the IP address you’d have an IP in the range for “Auto IP”, something like 169.xxx.xxx.xxx.  When I see this it means that my computer or DMR wasn’t able to get an IP address from an outside source (usually the router).  If the router is plugged in and turned on then it will usually pass out IP addresses in the Private IP range 192.168.xxx.xxx. 


Of course, I’m not going to spend a lot of time explaining how to fix this problem.  If you can’t get basic network connectivity working, then you can’t read this post anyway. [:)] The strategies are fairly simple here and include things like checking the cables, unplug the router or modem, reboot the computer, etc. 


From here out all of our troubleshooting will assume that basic physical connectivity is sound and that the basic network stack is in place and works without errors.  It isn’t much, but we’ve got to start someplace.  Next time we’ll look at installation issues.

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