A huge and often untapped advantage of any Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 console is its capability to stream media from a nearby computer or media server. It's untapped because, in the case of many home users, setting up a nearby PC might be one step too many for people looking for convenience.
Popgoplug's new software update just might change the equation, however.
When we first experienced using Cloud Engines' Pogoplug (read our full review), we remarked on its ease of use and its affordably simple method of turning any available USB thumb drive into a wireless server. We also noted that, though the device was great at enabling an online drag-and-drop source for sharing music, photos, files, and even video, streaming video often didn't work very smoothly in our test experience.
Adding PS3 and 360 support to the Pogoplug should allow photos, music, and video to be easily transferred from a Mac or PC to the device--and from there to be streamed to a game console with considerable ease. We haven't tried it yet, but we will update this post when we have--we hope everything will work as effortlessly as Pogoplug claims it will.
One interesting wrinkle with this functionality is that your PS3 or 360 should be able to not only access a Pogoplug in your house, but any online Pogoplug anywhere in the world that you have access to. We're already imagining the possibilities for sharing home movies, or other slightly less legal media.
Another significant firmware update allows the Pogoplug to make active backups from specified folders, automatically adding and changing files as the folder is used, and even copying changes to another Pogoplug location for redundancy. As a backup tool, the Pogoplug would suddenly become a lot more useful.
The Pogoplug from Cloud Engines costs $129, and doesn't include a hard drive (although it has a number of USB ports that accept them).